Fall into a Quilt Along: Setting Tutorial

The grand reveal of our Fall into a Quilt Along mystery quilt is here! I had a bit of trouble with the lighting for the pictures, but I’m thrilled with my quilt. If you missed the final block, it’s this adorable owl. To find links to the rest of the past blocks and general information, visit my quilt along page. Remember, all block patterns will be free until the quilt along ends on November 12, 2018.

I’m really excited about my setting for this quilt. My goal was to create something stunning that’s way easier than it looks. I know some people struggled with getting the blocks to come out the right size. I’ve compensated for that by framing then trimming every block. The diamond sashings are also trimmed after piecing, and the points float away from the seam (so you don’t have to worry about losing your points!). With the blocks and sashing all the same size, the top sews together like a dream. I hope you’ll give it a try!

For this layout, you’ll need 4 1/2 yards of background fabric to complete your quilt (not counting what you’ve already used in the blocks). Of course, you could also get creative and use different fabrics. I’m excited to see what you make!

Framing the Blocks

To frame the blocks, cut 18 strips at 2 1/2” by the width of fabric. You’ll use 12 strips to frame the sides of the blocks, with the leftover fabric used along the top and bottom.

Important - Don’t use the leftover fabric on the side of another block. If you do, you won’t have enough for the tops and bottoms. If you forget this, you can sew some of your scraps together and make it work.

Step 1 - Smooth a 2” strip along the center of your block from top to bottom. Make sure it is square with the block, then trim the excess even with the bottom of the block. This makes sure the strip is the same height as your block, no matter what size your block ended up being.

Pin the strips right sides together with the sides of your block.

Tip - If the strip isn’t exactly the same size as the block, sew with the longer piece towards the feed dogs. This will ease in the excess fabric.

Sew with your normal 1/4” seam and press towards the framing strips.

We repeat this process to frame the top and bottom of the block. To finish all twelve blocks, you will use the fabric leftover from framing the sides of the blocks, as well as the 6 remaining 2” strips.

Gently smooth the strip along the center of your block from side to side. Make sure the strip is square to the block, then trim the excess fabric even with the side of the block.

Pin the framing strips right sides together with the top of the block.

Sew and press towards the framing strips.

Trim the block to 14 1/2” square. I used a large square ruler. The seams for the framing strips should be at about the 1 1/4” lines and the 13 1/4” lines. Center the block as best as you can, and trim the excess fabric from the top and the side.

Rotate the block and trim to 14 1/2” square.

The block is framed! You want to frame all 12 of your blocks.

Making the Sashing

Tip - I recommend completing one sashing unit before chain piecing the rest of them.

Extra Important Tip - Starch is your friend. The fabric will be on the bias in the finished sashing unit. To help prevent the fabric from distorting while being handled, I starched it heavily prior to cutting.

Place a 5” by 7” background rectangle face up. Make a mark 1” in from opposite corners on the long edge as shown. (I circled my marks in the image below.)

Line up a ruler with the marks you just made and cut the rectangle diagonally.

Do this for all 31 5” by 7” background rectangles.

For each sashing unit, you will need:

  • Bright Colors for Diamonds

    • 2 – 1 1/4” squares (matching)

    • 2 – 2” squares (matching)

    • 1 – 2 3/4” square

  • Background

    • 4 – 1 1/4” by 3 3/4”

    • 4 – 2” by 3 3/4”

    • 2 – 2 3/4” by 3 3/4”

    • 1 – 5” by 7” rectangle cut diagonally 1” in from the corners

We will make 31 sashing units. I recommend finishing one before chain piecing the rest.

Lay out the bright squares with the corresponding background rectangles as shown.

Sew and press towards the bright squares. These are the diamond strips.

Lay out the diamond strips and remaining background fabric as shown. It is essential that the direction the diamond strips tilt matches the angle you cut in the large background rectangle.

Set aside the large backrgound pieces and sew the diamond strips together. Nest the seams where the bright fabrics meet.

Press all seams towards the outside of the sashing unit as shown.

Now we will attach the remaining large background pieces.

Line up the background pieces with the outer diamond strip. The final background piece should be evenly spaced from the corners of the diamond strip.

Sew and press towards the large background pieces.

We will be trimming the sashing to 4” by 14 1/2”. Line up the 2” line on your ruler horizontally through the centers of all of the diamonds. Line up the 7 1/4” line on your ruler vertically through the center of the large diamond.

Trim along the side and top of the sashing unit.

Rotate the sashing unit. Trim to 4” by 14 1/2”.

Your sashing unit is complete! You need 31 of them for the quilt.

Assembling the Top

Lay out the blocks, sashing units, and cornerstones as desired.

I like to use small sticky labels to mark each of my pieces before I start sewing them together.

Each piece has a grid position marked in the upper right hand corner.

Sew into rows. Press all seams away from the sashing.

  • For the sashing rows, press towards the cornerstones.

  • For the block rows, press towards the blocks.

Sew the rows together, pressing towards the blocks.

Adding the Borders

Cut 7 – 2 1/2” by width of fabric strips and sew them end to end for the borders. I’m planning to trim down the border after quilting so it finishes at 1”, but the wider border gives the quilt top much needed stability.

I measure and attach my borders in much the same way as I framed the blocks. Gently smooth the border strip along the center of the quilt, taking care to keep it straight and not to pull on it. Trim the excess fabric even with the bottom edge of the quilt.

Since borders are long, I always anchor one end with pins. I put the pins straight down into my carpet. This ensures that the border strips don’t get pulled and end up too short.

After carefully smoothing the fabric along the center of the quilt, I trim the excess even with the bottom. Make sure the border strip is straight and square with the quilt before trimming.

Pin the border strips right sides together with the quilt top. Sew and press towards the border strips.

Repeat this process to add the top and bottom borders. Pin the border strip to the center of one side of the quilt. Carefully smooth the fabric, making sure it stays straight, and trim the excess even with the other side of the quilt.

Pin the border strips right sides together with the top and bottom of the quilt top. Sew and press towards the border.

The quilt top is finished! Now I just need to figure out a backing so I can quilt and bind it. I really can’t wait to use this quilt.

More Setting Ideas

All seven quilt along hosts are sharing their own finished quilt tops with setting tutorials. Be sure to check them out!

Abbie Danahy at Sparkle On
April Adams at JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman at Snowy Days Quilting <--- That's me!
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Sherry Shish at Powered by Quilting
Vanda Chittenden at Quilting with Vanda

A Special Announcement

Many have asked if we will be doing another quilt along, and the answer is yes! We’re still hashing out the details, but you can expect a quilt along in 2019. We’ll be posting as soon as we know more. Follow the blog, keep an eye on our Facebook group, or check out the Instagram hashtag #quiltypartnersindesign to catch the announcement.

Grand Prize

We have an incredible grand prize package that’s worth $200! Anyone over 18 is eligible to win, including international participants.

To be entered in the drawing, you need to make a complete quilt top with all 12 quilt along blocks. There's no need to have it quilted. Simply share your finished quilt top on Instagram with the hashtag #fallintoaqal, in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or in the linky party below. The deadline for entry is 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 12, 2018.

What are the prizes? I’m so glad you asked! Our grand prize winner will recieve:

  • Exclusive Shabby Fabric quilt pattern “Blessings of Spring” designed by Jennifer Bosworth. The pattern set includes patterns for all 9 blocks to finish to 56" x 62".

  • An Omnigrid zipper pouch containing an Omnigrid 4” square ruler and a

    pair of 4-Inch Needlecraft scissors

  • A six month subscription to Make Modern Magazine

Link-Up

Please link up your finished quilt tops here! I can’t wait to see what you make.

Question for You

There are so many great ways to finish this quilt. What kind of setting are you planning to use? I can’t wait to see what you do!

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Fall into a Quilt Along: Owl

Welcome back to Fall into a Quilt Along. I can’t believe this is our very last block! The quilt along has been a wonderful journey, and I can’t wait to see your finished quilts. If you’re looking for a setting idea, I have a tutorial for a setting that is super forgiving and elegant. Check it out here! You can also visit my quilt along page for links to any of the blocks you might have missed. All patterns will be free until the quilt along ends on November 13, 2018.

Our final block is an adorably fun applique owl designed by Vanda Chittenden at Quilting with Vanda. Isn’t it sweet? You can find the pattern on her blog post.

Tips for Success

Avoiding Stiffness

This block has a lot of layers of fabric all fused on top of each other. If you’re not careful, that can quickly lead to a block that feels more like cardboard than fabric! The best way to avoid this is to cut out the center of the fusible in your shapes.

Here, you can see that I conserved my fusible web by tracing smaller shapes inside bigger shapes. I just made sure to leave 1/2” around the edges to fuse to the fabric.

Here’s what my shapes look like after I cut them out. You can see that I only left 1/2” of fusible web around the edges to hold the fabric in place. This does wonders to reduce stiffness in your final block!

Not pictured - I did cut the centers out of the white and black eye pieces, but I forgot to photograph them. The claws are completely covered in fusible web since they’re so small.

Teflon Pressing Sheet

My teflon pressing sheet was a life saver for this block. It allows you to fuse pieces in sections before sticking them to your block. Parchment paper also works if you don’t have a teflon pressing sheet.

Here I have fused all of the eye pieces before starting to work on the body.

Next, I fused the beak and wings to the body. Then I positioned the head and eyes and fused everything together. It was so nice to have the owl in one big piece that I could center on my fabric.

I moved the owl to my background fabric and placed the claws. Then I carefully fused everything in place.

Finishing

Once your owl is fused on the background fabric, it’s time to secure the pieces. I did a straight stitch around each of the pieces with matching thread. You could also use a blanket stitch or zigzag stitch if you prefer.

Once all of my fabric was securely stitched down, I gave my block a final press. Then I trimmed it to 12 1/2” square.

Tada! My fall owl looks right at home among the changing leaves. If you’d like to see what she looks like in the finished quilt, click here. I really think you’re going to like my setting.

A Parliament of Owls

Did you know a group of owls is called a parliament? It’s pretty rare to see owls grouped together in the wild, but we have seven applique owls ready to go! Each of the quilt along hosts has made her own owl and written a blog post with tips and tricks. Be sure to visit all of them!

Abbie Danahy at Sparkle On
April Adams at JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman at Snowy Days Quilting <--- That's me!
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Sherry Shish at Powered by Quilting
Vanda Chittenden at Quilting with Vanda

Prizes

As always, we have some fabulous prizes this week. Anyone over 18 is eligible to win, including international participants. To be entered in the drawing, simply share your completed acorn block  by 11:59 pm Eastern time on October 29, 2018. You can share on Instagram with the hashtag #fallintoaqal, in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or in the linky party on Vanda’s post.

The randomly selected winner will receive:

At the end of the quilt along, we will have a grand prize drawing for anyone that has made a complete quilt top with all 12 blocks. There's no need to have it quilted for the drawing. To be eligible to win, finished quilt tops must be posted by 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 12, 2018. You can see the grand prize package here!

Question for You

I had so much fun choosing the colors for this owl. The slightly cartoonish appearance made me feel free to get creative with my colors. I really enjoyed stepping out of the box.

What colors are you planning to use for your owl? I can’t wait to see!

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Fall into a Quilt Along: Barn

Welcome to block 11 of Fall into a Quilt Along. We only have one block left! On October 16, we will release the final block, as well as setting ideas for finishing your quilt. I’ll be sharing a fun setting that works well even if your blocks didn’t all come out the same size. I can’t wait to show you!

This week we have a lovely barn designed by Abbie Danahy of Sparkle On. You can find the free pattern on her blog post. Remember, all block patterns will be free until the quilt along ends on November 13, 2018.

Tips for Success

Seam Test

I always recommend testing your seam allowance before you start. That way you can be sure your block will come out the right size.

To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press to one side, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.

Stitch and Flip

Stitch and flip corners are super versatile for making all sorts of blocks.  The secret to making a successful stitch and flip corner is to stitch just outside of the drawn line. The line you drew isn't the stitching line - it's actually where the fabric needs to fold! By stitching just outside of the line, you give yourself the extra fabric you need to reach all the way to the corner when you flip it over.

Just to be safe, I always test to make sure my corner is covered before I cut away the excess fabric from the back.

Choosing Colors

I don’t know about you, but choosing fabrics often takes me as long as making the block. One technique that helps me visualize my choices is to place the fabric roughly as it will appear in the block. That way I can see how everything will play together.

Trimming the Pinwheels

I love that Abbie has us make our pinwheels and then trim them down. I usually trim the half square triangles before sewing a pinwheel, but this saved a lot of time! For best results, line up the 45 degree line on your ruler with the diagonal through the center of the pinwheel. Line up the 1 3/4” lines with the horizontal and vertical centers of the pinwheel. It should come out perfectly!

Spinning Seams

I love to spin my seams whenever possible. In this block, I spun the seams of the pinwheels to avoid bulk at those center points.

I just love my Autumn Harvest Barn. I can’t wait to see yours!

My Fellow Hosts

I am joined by 6 other wonderful ladies in hosting this quilt along. They’ve each made their own barns and are sharing tips on their blogs. Be sure to check them out!

Abbie Danahy at Sparkle On
April Adams at JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman at Snowy Days Quilting <--- That's me!
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Sherry Shish at Powered by Quilting
Vanda Chittenden at Quilting with Vanda

Prizes

As always, we have some fabulous prizes this week. Anyone over 18 is eligible to win, including international participants. To be entered in the drawing, simply share your completed acorn block  by 11:59 pm Eastern time on October 15, 2018. You can share on Instagram with the hashtag #fallintoaqal, in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or in the linky party on Abbie’s post.

Our prizes for this block are the Christmas Tree Farm table runner pattern by April Adams of JANDA Bend Quilts, and 1/2 yard each of 4 Boundless solids by Craftsy.

quilt along prizes

At the end of the quilt along, we will have a grand prize drawing for anyone that has made a complete quilt top with all 12 blocks. There's no need to have it quilted for the drawing. To be eligible to win, finished quilt tops must be posted by 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 12, 2018.

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