I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: Setting Tutorial

I can't believe it's already time to reveal my finished quilt top! This quilt along has certainly gone quickly. If you missed it, you can find the last block right here. You can also check out my quilt along page for links to all of the past blocks and information. Remember, all of the block patterns are only free through January 15, 2018.

Before I get to the reveal, I have exciting news to share! Many have asked if we will be doing another quilt along, and the answer is yes. We're thrilled to announce that we will be doing a Fall themed quilt along in 2018! We're still ironing out the details, but we'll let you know more as soon as we do. Announcements about the next quilt along will be made right here on the blog, as well as in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Facebook group.

My Setting Choice

For my quilt top, I wanted a setting that was quick, easy, and forgiving. If you've had any trouble with your blocks coming out slightly different sizes, this is the setting for you. After framing the blocks, they each get trimmed to the same size.

Since I used four different background fabrics in my quilt, I decided to use those same four fabrics for the frames. It would also look really nice to use only two framing fabrics so they alternate between blocks.

My quilt top finishes at 48" by 64". If you wanted it larger, you could always add a border or two all the way around.

Setting Tutorial

I will be demonstrating on my Reindeer Games block. The process is the same for every block in the quilt.

For each block, cut two strips of framing fabric 3" by the width of fabric. Remove the selvedge and square up the ends of the strips.

Line up the ends of one strip with the top center of your block. I do this with the strip folded in half to save myself some time.

While holding the strip in place, smooth the fabric along the center of the block. Be gentle so you don't stretch the fabric.

Line up a ruler with the bottom edge of your block. You want to make sure it's square to both the block and the strip that you are about to cut.

Here's a closer look. You can see that the ruler is lined up with the edge of the block, and that the strip is in line with the marks on the ruler. You may have to adjust the strip to get it perfectly straight.

Use your rotary cutter to cut the strip even with the edge of the block. You now have two 3" wide pieces that are the exact height of your block.

Pin the newly cut pieces to the sides of your block. I folded each piece in half to find the center, and pinned it to the center of the block. Then I pinned each end.

Sew with your regular 1/4" seam allowance and press towards the framing fabric.

We will follow the same process to frame the top and bottom of the block. Take your second 3" strip folded in half, and align it across the center of your block horizontally.

Once again, make sure that the ruler is lined up with the edge of the block, and that the strip is in line with the markings on your ruler. You may have to adjust the strip to make this happen.

Use your rotary cutter to remove the excess fabric. You now have two 3" high pieces of fabric that are the same width as your block.

This time, I used five pins per side. Fold each framing strip in half to find the center, and pin to the center of the block. Next, pin the ends at the edge of the block. Finally, pin in between to secure it further.

Sew with your normal 1/4" seam allowance and press towards the framing fabric.

Note - If you are only using two fabrics to frame your blocks, you may want to press towards the framing fabric on all of the blocks that use one fabric, and towards the block on all of the others. This way if your seams align when you put the blocks together, you will be able to nest them (It isn't guaranteed that the seams will align since the individual blocks weren't required to start at exactly the same size).

Finally, trim to 16 1/2" square so the framed block will finish at 16" square in the quilt.

After I framed all of my blocks, I played with the layout until I was happy with it. At that time, I re-pressed some of my framing seams to go towards the block instead of the framing fabric. This allowed the seams between the blocks to nest when they lined up.

I'm really pleased with how my quilt top turned out. If you decide to use this method, I would love to hear about it.

More Setting Ideas

The other 10 ladies that are hosting this quilt along also have finished quilt tops to share! We each came up with our own settings, so the odds are that they're all different. Check them out to get ideas for your own quilt.

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting <---- That's me!
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

Grand Prize

We have an incredible grand prize package to share with you! To be eligible to win, post a finished quilt top that includes all 12 quilt along blocks by 11:59 pm Eastern on January 15, 2018. It doesn't need to be quilted to enter. You can post your picture in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or in the link-up at the bottom of this post.

The grand prize package includes:

Link-Up

I'm so excited to see all of your finished quilt tops in this link-up! I'm really hoping we end up with quite the collection of them.

This link-up is special, because it will appear on all of the hosts' blogs. So, if you link up here, your link will automatically appear everywhere! How cool is that?

Once you've linked up, please take some time to visit the other links and spread the quilty love.

I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: Christmas Lights

After a wonderful few months of sewing together, our quilt along is drawing to a close. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have! If you need to catch up on any of the past blocks, you can find all of the links on my quilt along page. I'm also sharing a setting tutorial today, so be sure to check it out!

I'm really excited to share our final block with you. It's one of my favorites, and I have some great tips to make it even easier. The Christmas Lights block was designed by Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts. You can find the pattern here. Remember, all of the patterns are free through January 15, 2018.

Tips for Success

This block was made so much easier by using fusible bias tape for the wire. You can purchase fusible bias tape, but I decided to make it myself. Even though I don't have a bias tape measure, we don't need much, so I didn't mind making it by hand.

First, I made regular bias tape. I cut 1" wide strips of black at a 45 degree angle and sewed them together on an angle (just like sewing binding). I was working from scraps, so I just cut enough pieces to make sure my sewn strip was at least 30" long.

I pressed the strip in half lengthwise wrong sides together. Then I opened it and pressed both sides in to the middle crease. Since I didn't have a bias tape measure, I took my time with this and was careful to keep my fingers clear of the iron.

Once I had pressed the whole length, I went back and gave it another good press with a bunch of steam to make the edges nice and crisp.

Next, I cut 3/8" strips of fusible web and fused it to the back of the bias tape. Since the bias tape was 1/2" wide, that left me a little bit of room on each edge. I fused the wire in place first, and I was still able to slip the squares just under the edge of the fabric before fusing them down.

To use my fabric more efficiently, I traced two bulbs at a time onto my fusible web. After fusing it to the fabric, I cut between the bulbs. That made it much easier to cut around the individual bulbs without accidentally cutting the adjoining one.

It can be a challenge to peel the paper backing when you're fusing round shapes. I score the paper with a pin, and fold along the score line so it pops right up.

I loved this block so much that I just couldn't resist adding a few extra bulbs to it. I hope you enjoy making this one as much as I did!

More Pretty Blocks

As always, I am joined by 10 other ladies that have all made their own Christmas Lights blocks. Be sure to check them out to see the wonderful variety and other tips.

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting <---- That's me!
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

Prizes

This week's prizes are a 6 month subscription to Make Modern Magazine and a pdf pattern of your choice from Sandy Maxfield of Sandy Star Designs.

To be eligible to win, post your finished Christmas Lights block by 11:59 pm on December 18, 2017. Enter by sharing your block in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or by joining the linkup on Laura's post.

We have a wonderful set of sponsors for our grand prize. Check out my final reveal for details on the grand prize package and entering to win.

I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: North Star

It's hard to believe that it's already time for the penultimate block of I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long! If you're just joining in, you can find all of the information and past blocks on my quilt along page.

This week's block is a lovely North Star designed by Kathleen McCormick of Kathleen McMusing. You can find her blog post with the block pattern right here.

Tri-Recs Tutorial

I chose to make my block using the Tri-Recs rulers by EZ Quilting, and I've written a detailed tutorial in case you would like to do the same. The rulers come in a set, but we will only be using the Recs Tool for this block. I find that these rulers are pretty slippery, so I stuck some clear bumpy bandage tape to the backs of them.

To make the star points with the Recs Tool, you will need a 4 1/2" by 7" strip of each of the star point fabrics, and a 4 1/2" by 14" strip of the background fabric. I find that these come together better if I place the entire 4 1/2" line of the ruler on the fabric when cutting the strip (rather than putting the line right next to the edge of the fabric with the line itself on the cutting mat).

Cutting the Star Points

Since the star points are mirror images of each other, place the 4 1/2" by 7" strips of fabric right sides together before cutting. The fabric for the right star point should be face up, and the fabric for the left star point should be face down. For my block, that meant the green fabric was face up, and the red fabric was face down.

Line up the Recs tool with the left and top edges of the fabric. The 4 1/2" line on the ruler will be slightly above the bottom edge of the fabric. Cut along the right side of the ruler and cut off the notch in the top left corner. Removing the notch is essential for lining up the pieces when we sew.

Rotate the Recs tool so the angled side is lined up with the newly cut left edge of the fabric, and the blunt tip is lined up with the bottom of the strip. Cut along the right edge of the ruler and remove the notch at the bottom right.

Repeat this process to make two more cuts. You now have 4 mirror image sets of star points.

Cutting the Background

Fold your 4 1/2" by 14" strip of background fabric in half right sides together. This will allow you to cut the mirror image pieces necessary to go with the star points.

We will cut the background just as we did the star points. With the top and left edges of the Recs Tool lined up with the fabric, cut along the right edge of the ruler. Cut off the notch at the top left corner so we can line up the pieces when we sew.

Rotate the Recs tool so the angled side is lined up with the newly cut left edge of the fabric, and the blunt tip is lined up with the bottom of the strip. Cut along the right edge of the ruler and remove the notch at the bottom right.

Repeat to cut two more pairs of background triangles. You should now have four sets of mirror image background triangles to go with the star points we cut earlier.

Sewing the Star Points

Match the background triangles with the star point triangles. Since we were careful to cut mirror images, half of the background pieces should work with the left star points, and half of the background pieces should work with the right star points.

Lay the pieces right sides together along the angled edges to sew. The notches in the corners will line up with the bottom edge of the adjoining triangle. Check that the notches are lined up at both ends before sewing.

Sew with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. I find that I need a scanter than usual seam allowance when sewing these. It's a good idea to start with one star point and make sure it comes out right before chain piecing the rest.

Gently open towards the background fabric. Press with a dry iron only, being careful not to distort the unit.

Trim off the dog ears. The star point units should measure at 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" to finish at 2" by 4" in the block. Don't worry about the little notches in the corners. Those will be inside your seam allowance when you sew the pieces together.

You've finished the star point units! Now you can assemble them into the block as described in Kathleen's pattern.

Other Tips and Tricks

Now that the star points are finished, I have several tips to help you with the rest of the block. For the center square-in-a-square unit, I drew the diagonal line on my corner squares. I stitched just to the outside of the line to make sure there was enough fabric to fold over and reach all the way to the edge of the block.

Adding the stripes in the corner blocks was a little bit fiddly, but so worth it. I do recommend taking your time with this part. I pressed the seam open from the front of the block, only going about 1/2" at a time.

Once it was pressed, I flipped the block upside down to trim. I lined up the 45 degree line on my ruler right on the center seam.

I prefer to press my seams to one side whenever I can get away with it. It created a little bit of bulk in this block, but it wasn't too bad.

I started by sewing the pieces into rows. I pressed everything towards the star points. So, for the top and bottom rows, I pressed the pieces to the inside. For the middle row, I pressed the pieces to the outside.

Next I sewed the rows together, being careful to nest the seams between units. I pressed the rows towards the inside. Here's a view of my block from the back so you can see which way all of my seams are going.

This was a fun little block. I always enjoy stars, and this one is really unique. Many thanks to Kathleen for designing it!

The Rest of the Gang

As always, the 10 other quilt along hosts have each made their own versions of the North Star. Check out their posts to see the block in other colorways, and to get some more tips for success.

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting <---- That's me!
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

Prizes

This week's prizes are a Binding Baby from Shari Butler of Doohikey Designs and a PDF pattern of your choice from Jennifer Fulton of The Inquiring Quilter.

To be eligible to win, post your completed block before the next block is released. The official deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on December 4, 2017. Enter by sharing your block in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or by joining the linkup on Kathleen's post.

quilt along prizes

We also have a fabulous grand prize package. Here's a look at the wonderful sponsors we have lined up for that. To be eligible to win the grand prize, post a completed quilt top that includes all 12 blocks by 11:59pm Eastern Time on January 15, 2018. The final block will be released on December 5, so you'll have plenty of time. It doesn't even have to be quilted!