Vintage Quilt Revival gorgeous quilts

If you’ve been reading quilting blogs this week, then chances are you’ve seen some of the reviews of the new book Vintage Quilt Revival by Faith Jones, Lee Heinrich, and Katie Clark Blakesley. These three are a talented bunch of quilters. I’ve admired each of their work for years now and have even taken classes from Faith and Lee. They know their stuff.

This is a gorgeous book. The basic premise of the book is that these quilters have taken traditional quilt blocks and given them a modern spin. They have patterns for 20 different 12″ quilt blocks. There are three different quilt layouts for using all 20 blocks. In addition, there is a separate project for each quilt block design. I love a book that has multiple good projects and this one has them in abundance.

If you are a quilter looking to enhance your quilting repertoire, this book is perfect for you. There are some great skill-building lessons in this book, including some gorgeous paper-piecing blocks.

The best part is the book comes with a CD with 12 printable paper-piecing patterns.

I made one of the quilt blocks called Art Square. This block will be included in one of three charity quilts Faith, Lee, and Katie are making and sharing on Friday.

I chose a different use of fabric and color compared to the block in the book, just to play with a new look. Like all quilt blocks, the versatility of color and design options is what makes quilting full of so many possibilities. This is the quilt Katie made with the Art Square block design.

And this block is one of my favorites in the book. I really want to give this one a try because it will push me out of my comfort zone.

If you would like to see other reviews of Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks as well as the blocks created for the charity quilts, check out the other blogs below. I can’t wait to see Katie, Lee, and Faith’s charity quilt versions with such a variety of colors and styles.

January 13th (Monday):Crazy Mom Quilts – Amanda Jean 
Don’t Call Me Betsy – Elizabeth 
Film in the Fridge – Ashley 
Happy Quilting – Melissa 
Noodlehead – Anna 
January 14th (Tuesday): 
I’m A Ginger Monkey – Katy 
Quilting Is My Therapy – Angela 
A Quilting Life – Sherri 
Sew Mama Sew – Kristin 
Tall Grass Prairie Studio – Jacquie 

January 15th (Wednesday): 
Christa Quilts – Christa 
Diary of a Quilter – Amy 
Quilting Gallery – Michele 
Sew Take a Hike – Penny 
V and Co. – Vanessa 
West Coast Crafty – Susan 

January 16th (Thursday): 
Bijou Lovely – Holly 
Don’t You Know Who I Am – Sukie 
Lily’s Quilts – Lynne 
One Shabby Chick – Amber 

January 17th (Friday): 
Swim, Bike, Quilt – Katie 
Freshly Pieced – Lee 
Fresh Lemons Quilts – Faith

Virtual Quilting Bee – Square in a Square tutorial

Welcome to part 1 of Finishing Your Quilt as part of the Virtual Quilting Bee! (Apologies for it being a little lot late in the day. It’s just been one of those weeks.) There will be three most posts after this one to help you finish your quilt! That’s it!

If you are new and wondering what the Virtual Quilting Bee is, or looking for links to past blocks, etc. visit the Virtual Quilting Bee page here.

In this post we are going to add corners to our sixteen pieced blocks to make them larger. This block is traditionally called a Square in a Square. I’m also going to talk a little bit about color and fabric choices.

The Square in a Square block is a very traditional block where a square is set on point, with four corners added to create, you guessed it, another square. In this case we are going to take our 8″ (finished – 8 1/2″ unfinished) blocks and set them on point with a triangle on all four sides. For the blocks in the Kona solids version, I am putting white corners on every block. (I’m using Kona Snow as my white.) I’m going to used colored solids for the sashing for this block, hence the reason the setting squares are all white.

For the print blocks with I am using assorted prints from the Happy Go Lucky collection from Moda. So lets talk about prints and colors for a minute. I want the setting triangles to be contrast and show off, not compete with, the prints in the blocks. I am purposely using the colored prints from the Happy Go Lucky collection that will definitely ‘read’ a specific color: navy, green, orange, yellow, red and aqua.

Here is an example of some of the prints I’m not using. On the left the prints have a white back ground making them a “low volume” print with less contrast from the busy pieced block. The prints on the right are also low volume as well as large scale prints. There is not a dominant color in these prints so I personally chose not to use them as my setting triangles. (Does this mean you have to it just like me? No! I just share what I choose and why.) For more review on choosing colors and fabrics read here.
Once you’ve cut your setting triangles (we’ll get to that part in a second), audition them before you sew. One of the things I found though as I auditioned them, is that the gray I’d intended to use (middle center) was more washed out than I wanted, compared to the other blocks. So I decided not to use the gray. You can use the same fabrics for all four setting triangles, just the same color, or a variety of colors and prints. 
When I made this similar quilt last winter, I was originally going to use a variety of fabrics and colors for each block’s setting triangles, but I thought it looked to busy, so I went with just one color – though different prints – for the triangles for each block. I liked that it still looked scrappy, but a little more controlled. Again, do what you want to do!
Cutting requirements: For the setting triangles you will need 32 squares 7″ x 7″. Cut each square on the diagonal once to create 64 setting triangles.
(In a previous listing I mentioned cutting 32 squares 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. If you have already done that, you can use them. That is what I did with the Happy Go Lucky prints in this post. Those triangles will work, you just won’t have much room to square-up if needed. Make sure you sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.)
Choose four triangles for each block. Again, I recommend laying out all the blocks before you start sewing.
Start with two opposing triangles. Fold the triangle in half along the long side and pinch to create a crease in the center of the long side. (See arrows.) Match up center crease with the center of the side of the block. Put right sides together and pin in place. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Open up sewn triangles and press seams toward the outside triangles. Repeat process with 2 remaining triangles.
Trim triangle ‘dog-ears’ and square up block to 11 3/4″ inches. (If your blocks are measuring bigger or smaller than 11 3/4, just make sure to square them up to the same size. And be careful not to trim sides too close to the intersecting inside-square-points. You want to have a 1/4″ of fabric there so you don’t cut off the points when you sew your blocks together.)
Here is an example of where I used the 7″ squares cut-in-half for the setting triangles. As you can see, there is more fabric on all four sides so that you have more room to square-up your block accurately. 

When I’m squaring off the sides, I like to use a ruler with 45 degree lines that lay right on the edges of my center block, with a built-in-guide giving me my 1/4″ seam allowance.

I rotate the ruler to all four sides, trimming and squaring-off each side. If you’re looking for a ruler like this Simplicity makes one called Simpl-EZ Pineapple Tool. I know Creative Grids made one too. Sometimes specialty Square-in-a-Square or Flying Geese rulers have this mark as well.

Again, make sure to square-up blocks to 11 3/4″.  (Important to remember. When you’re squaring up your blocks, be sure to find the center of the block and use that as your guide on all four sides. (See Squaring up Half- Square Triangles and the Hour Glass Block tutorial for examples.) I know it’s a little more effort to really square-off the blocks, but the crisp edges are so much easier to sew down the road.

And there you go! Here’s how the Happy Go Lucky blocks are looking so far! Next time (2 weeks) we’ll add the sashing (strips that hold all the blocks together) and the borders!  We’re getting close! The sashing for the print blocks will be a solid strip. I’m going to try something new for the solid blocks and do a colored, pieced, sashing! It’s going to be fun to see the varations.
If you’re looking for other inspiration for using the Square in a Square block check out Red Pepper Quilt’s example here (one of these is on my ‘to-do’ list) and this tutorial by Lori Holt. If you’re looking for a simple calculator to make different sizes of square-in-a-square blocks, I found one here. I also love the free Quilting Calulator App by Robert Kaufman and have it on my phone. Although I would recommend rounding up 1/2″ on the sizes for the squares that become outside setting triangles (don’t change the size for the center square!), just so you have a little extra wiggle room as we already discussed today.

Happy Go Lucky yardage, precuts and some bundles, is still available at The Little Fabric Shop, Poppyseed Fabrics, and Southern Fabrics.

Great selection of Kona solids and bundles at Christa Quilts and Mad About Patchwork.

Feel free to ask any questions in email or in the comments!

Playing with new fabric

I have a few new fabric crushes. If you’ve been a long-time reader, this first one will come as no surprise: Sandy Klop’s (aka American Jane) latest collection, Potluck for Moda Fabrics. (I have long-documented my Sandy Klop infatuation, borderline-fettish. She’s one of my all-time fave’s.) 

Whether you too are a Sandy-stalker, or not, this is a great new collection full of primary colors and good, basic prints. I’m so excited to see the tone-on-tone ginghams back from her Peas and Carrots collection. And if you were part of the Pez craze, you will be happy to see the return of those too.

 As well as those awesome ruler prints!
There are also some adorable new prints, such as those baby chicks! I’m thinking of making some colorful Dresden blocks to take with me on our end-of-summer road trip later this summer.  
Potluck yardage will hit stores in October, but precuts will start appearing sooner. (Fresh Squeezed fabric has a few on hand.) You can also preorder Potluck precuts from Green Fairy Quilts.
One of my favorite collections that is available in stores is Baby Jane by Moda. I am SO smitten with this color palette right now (red, aqua, and mustard yellow) – they’re some of the same colors of those vintage tea-cups I found recently. 
The prints in this collection are retro-inspired and so, so cute. How I love those bias-stripes. Also some great low-volume prints. I’m currently sewing a baby quilt with these jelly-roll strips. I’ll share the final outcome in the next few weeks. Baby Jane is available now from the BloomerieFat Quarter Shop, Fabricworm, and Southern Fabrics.

As further proof that I love bias stripes and that I’m digging the red/aqua/yellow color palette, my recent order from JAQS Fabrics looks coincidentally similar! I ordered a bunch of the red and gray bias stripes from Tasha Noel’s Little Red Riding Hood collection for Riley Blake. Perfect for future bindings. Plus some Moda aqua stripes and a bit of yellow Seaside. (Such a good print and color.)

And finally, I even sat down to sew with a friend this weekend. I’m working on a Union Jack pattern, and she was my guinea pig. While I cracked the whip, I also caught up a little on my Virtual Quilting Bee blocks #9 and #11.

One more and then I’ll be caught up. It’s kind of exciting (and fun) to see them all together!

I’m teaching + sewing bee blocks

A quick little head’s up today: I’m going to be teaching a class at the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City in September! 
I’ll be teaching a class where we’ll make a super-easy quilt top and finish it in class! There are lots of options for the design, so you’ll be able to personalize it and make it your own. I’ve had fun playing with the design for this project.

In other news, I’m hoping to catch-up on my Virtual Quilting Bee blocks before we get Block #11 tomorrow. I’ve fallen behind a tiny bit this summer, but I’m planning to get back on track this weekend.

In case this happened to you too, when making Block 10 my block ended up small, but one simple fix worked. Instead of cutting my corner triangles from two 2 7/8″ blocks, I cut two 3 1/8″ squares and cut them on the diagonal. Voila. My block was bigger. If this one, or any of your blocks, end up smaller than 8 1/2″ unfinished, don’t panic. The layout for this quilt will solve any block sizing woes.

I also finished a few more scrappy-trip-along blocks, this time Christmas ones for a bee-swap for Sherri. Any little bit of sewing finishes count, right?

Bee Blocks – tips and tricks

Learn to make a quilt

I have been putting the blocks from the Virtual Quilting Bee up on my design wall as they have been coming it. It’s so fun to see them all together, as well as to be able to see the variations in the block designs depending on the different colors used. It’s going to be fun to put these different quilts together!

Here is what I made for my Block #7.

Because I like experimenting (okay, really because I’m lazy) I decided to try and strip-piece the pieced striped units. So I cut the middle strip 1 1/2″ x 14″ and the two outside strips 1″ x 14″. (Actually, it’s a good idea to cut them a little longer than the 14″ so that you have some wiggle-room for squaring-off the ends. Don’t forget to use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance when piecing quilt blocks!

Then cut the units into 3 1/2″ lengths and voila: four units done at once! Just an option.

Another little reminder about matching up points: pinning can make a big difference – especially in blocks with small pieces! Put in a pin at the corners to match your points and hold them in place. If one of the pieces is slightly longer than the other side, run the longer side through the machine on the bottom. The feed dogs will help to ease the bigger piece of fabric through the machine without creating any tucks.

I’m also feeling pleased with myself because I was able to complete a couple of the Double-Wedding Ring ‘melons’ for Calli’s quilt.  
I’ve always been a little (okay, a lot) intimidated by a Double-Wedding Ring pattern. I’m still a little tentative with curves, but I’m starting to get a little better at them. I need to remember to just try, for crying out loud. It’s only fabric. (Did I really just say that?) I should just practice until I more confidence. But I think these will do for now. Calli is using Aneela Hoey’s Pickledish tutorial for this quilt.

And finally, a tale of quilt-block woe. Last December when I put together this sampler quilt, I realized afterward that I hadn’t included one of the blocks I’d made for it. I assumed it was just buried in the hazardous waste zone that has become my sewing storage space and would turn up eventually. Well the other night I was in the yard cleaning and weeding and found something blown under a shrub. Imagine my surprise when it was the missing quilt block! (You can see it in it’s original glory at the bottom of this post.)

Poor little block spent the winter trying to find shelter from the elements. The only thing I can figure is that when I took all the blocks outside to get photographed sometime last fall, this one escaped without my notice. That’ll teach it for trying to pull a runner!

Post edit: Someone on FB asked about the tutorial for this block. It is here:

By the way – I have loved reading the Quilting Life comments! Thank you for taking the time to write them. (I wish summer vacation allowed me more time to respond to them individually.) It’s fun to feel the common bonds that run through quilt-y folks.

One quick Public Service Announcement. I’ve been asked to teach a class at a fun new quilting retreat here in Utah next winter called Quilt Bliss. There is a great line-up of teachers, trunk-shows and lectures by Sherri McConnell and Sarah Jane Wright! Tickets went on sale yesterday and spaces are very limited – this is a smallish retreat. You can find our more by visiting the Quilt Bliss site.

Inset Seams Tutorial

tutorial how to sew inset or partial seams in quilts
Howdy friends! I’m home from Quilt Market and trying to jump back into regular life. It was a great time and I look forward to trying to process it all so that I can share some of the highlights with you.  I apologize for the hiccups with the Virtual Quilting Bee Block this weekend. Both Amanda and I were at Market with limited internet access. Poor Amanda’s server has been having glitches. Talk about stress for her.
After having the chance to make my own block today I thought I’d share another technique for Inset Seams (or Partial Seams) since it’s a little bit simpler and quicker. Feel free to use whichever method you choose. Since there was a little confusion on the block, I thought I’d show my process.
Go here for to see the block cutting requirements. **I did make one change – I cut my center square 3.25″ (instead of 3.5″) and it worked perfect.** Make outside flying geese blocks per Amanda’s instructions
After four Flying-geese units were created I laid out my pieces.
Starting with the top flying-geese unit, I lined up the right side with the right side of my center square and sewed a regular 1/4″ seam, stopping and back-stitching about 1″ from the end.
Going clockwise, you will notice that the second flying-geese block is the same length as the right side of the pieced unit. I sewed the second flying-geese block to the pieced unit like normal and pressed the seam toward the flying-geese block. No inset-seams to worry about. Easy-peasy.
Repeat the same process again, moving clockwise and sew the third flying-geese unit to the bottom of the growing block.
 Repeat one more time on the final side.

Now we are ready to finish of the final side.  Fold down the original flying-geese block, matching up edges and finish sewing the partially-sewn seam.

Fold back up, press seam toward the flying-geese unit and voila: you did it!
I hope that helps. I’m sorry again for any frustration or confusion. Thanks for your patience and for those who chimed in in the comments to help out while I was unavailable.