I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: Snowman

Can you believe it's already time for block 5 of I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long? Time certainly does fly. If you're just joining us, you can find information about the quilt along and links to all of the past blocks right here.

This week's block was designed by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting. You can find the pattern on her post. Remember, all block patterns are free until January 16, 2018, so you'll want to go ahead and download it now.

I have to say, I just love this snowman. He's so cute! You'll want to be careful to have good quarter inch seams for this one so he comes out just right. Though, I'll let you in on a little secret - I'm planning a layout that's pretty forgiving if your blocks come out slightly different sizes, so there's no need to stress if you're having trouble. I'll share a tutorial for that layout at the end of the quilt along.

Tips for Success

I found it super helpful to label all of my parts as I was cutting them. That way I could easily see that I was sewing the right pieces together without having to go back and reference the cutting chart.

This block involves several stitch and flip corners. I always find that those come out best if I draw a diagonal line on the back of my fabric and sew just to the outside of the line. That gives me the extra couple of threads of fabric I need to have the triangle reach all the way to the corner after I flip it.

Now for my favorite fusible applique tip - to easily remove the paper, score it with a pin and fold along the score line. The paper will readily release as you're folding. From there, just grab the tail to pull off the rest of the paper.

Since embroidery isn't my favorite technique, I decided to applique the arms. A straight edge made tracing them a breeze. I've also decided to use buttons for the eyes and down the front. For now, those are just laying on top of the block. I'll attach them after quilting. I'm currently on the lookout for some smaller buttons I can use for the mouth.

Note - If you'll be sending your quilt to a longarmer to be quilted, it's important to wait to add all embellishments (like buttons) after it has been quilted. This protects both their machine and your quilt from inadvertent damage.

The Rest of the Gang

There are 10 other wonderful ladies hosting this quilt along with me, and they've all made their own versions of Sherry's snowman. Don't you just love this one by Sandy Maxfield of SandyStar Designs? He's one cool dude!

Check out all of the other's hosts' blogs to see their take on the snowman and pick up some more helpful tips. We all love comments, so if you like what you see, be sure to let them know!

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

We have two more fabulous prizes this week. First up is a copy of Simply Redwork signed by the author, Helen Stubbings. This book was generously donated by Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts. Next is a pdf pattern of your choice by Vanda Chittenden of Quilt in Piece.

To be eligible to win the prizes, just post your finished snowman block by 11:59 pm Eastern time on Monday, September 25, 2017. You can share your block in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or by joining the linkup on Sherry's post. I can't wait to see what you make!

But that's not all! Sherry is having a pattern sale just for quilt along participants. Her latest pattern, Circular Illusion, is on sale for the low low price of $5.99. You can get 25% off the rest of her patterns with coupon code MERRYQAL25. The sale is good from now through the end of September, 2017.

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!

Posted on September 11, 2017 .

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

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are lucky enough to get two new blocks this week! How cool is that? Click here if you missed the post about block 3 (psst...it's Santa's belt!). And if you aren't familiar with this amazing quilt along, my quilt along page will get you up to speed. It even has the links for all of the previous blocks!

Block 4 was designed by my friend Jennifer Fulton of The Inquiring Quilter. I love that she named this one Christmas Memories. I don't know about you, but every ornament on my tree holds memories of Christmases past.

The pattern for this block can be found here. Remember, all of the block patterns for the quilt along will be free until January 16, 2018.

Tips and Tricks

I had a blast making this block. Jennifer's instructions were fabulous, and everything fit together so well (remember to check the test squares on every page to make sure your pattern printed correctly).

Of course, I do have some tips to make sure it's smooth sailing as you make your own block. Firstly, I always prefer to trace the applique shapes with pencil. That way I can easily correct any mistakes.

I chose to do all of my tracing first. I labeled each piece as I went, and I checked the pieces off on the template pages so I would know which ones still needed to be done. At the end, I counted to make sure I had traced all 19 pieces. I'm glad I did, because I had somehow missed a piece!

I found that it was easier for me to visualize what my fabric choices would look like if I stacked the pieces for each ornament together. For that reason, I roughly cut out my shapes before choosing the fabrics. This had the added benefit that I could cram all of the shapes together when I was tracing since I didn't need to separate them by what fabric they would be fused to.

For me, the trickiest part of making this block was cutting out the little bitty connector pieces. I started by fusing them all to a tiny scrap of fabric, then cut between them so I only had to work with one at a time. I found that I was much more successful if I cut the curved side first, and then cut the straight edges. When I tried it the other way around, it was much harder to hold on to the piece while I cut the curves.

For the rectangular pieces, I pulled out my special paper rotary cutter. When my blades start to get dull, I move them over to this cutter that I use any time I'm going to be cutting through paper as well as fabric. I appreciated the accuracy of cutting the rectangles with a rotary cutter and ruler rather than risking any wobbles with my scissors.

When it's time to pull the paper off the back of the fabric, I always find that it helps to score the paper with a pin. Then I fold along the score line, and it's a lot easier to get the paper started. Once it's started, the rest of the paper peels easily.

Jennifer's pattern includes measurements for where to place the rectangles. I found the easiest way to do this was to place my background on my ironing board and lay a ruler right above it. That made it easy to line up all four pieces at the same time. Of course, I moved the ruler aside before I pressed. I don't want to find out what the iron's heat would do to the acrylic!

I just loved Jennifer's tip to press the ornaments together on parchment paper before moving them to the block. That was such a big help! I hadn't tried it before, and I had no idea it would allow you to press a top piece that stuck out beyond the edge of the bottom piece. It worked like a dream. None of the glue stuck to the parchment paper, and those pieces fused to the block just as well as any other piece. I'm excited to have learned a new trick.

I just love my block! I'm planning to edge stitch just inside each of the applique pieces when I quilt my top. If you aren't planning to do that, you'll want to stitch around each piece now. Blanket and zig zag stitches that go over the edge are popular choices for this, or you can do a simple straight stitch just inside the edge.

My Partners in Crime

As you may know, there are 10 of us hosting this quilt along! All of us have posted our own versions of the block, along with our tips and tricks for being as successful as possible. I love that we each bring our own ideas to the blocks. For instance, Becca at Pretty Piney thought to stitch her pieces down with metallic thread. Don't you just love the shimmer that adds?

Be sure to check out all of the hosts' posts for more gorgeous blocks:
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

It wouldn't be a quilt along without prizes! To be eligible to win, share your completed Christmas Memories block before block 5 is released. The official deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on September 11, 2017. Enter by sharing your block in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or by joining the linkup on Jennifer's post.

The winner for this block will receive 2 packages of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 from The Warm Co. and a pdf pattern of their choice from Jennifer Fulton of The Inquiring Quilter.

As an added bonus to all quilt along participants, Jennifer is offering 20% off all pdf and printed patterns in her store until midnight Eastern on September 30, 2017. To get the discount, just enter MERRYQAL20 at checkout.

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!

I Wish You a Merry-Quilt-A-Long: Santa's Belt

It's time for the next installment of I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long, and this week, we get two blocks! If you haven't seen it yet, you can find the other block right here. Haven't heard of the quilt along? It's not too late to join! My quilt along page has all of the information you need.

Up first for this week is Santa's Belt designed by Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts. Click here for the block pattern. You'll want to download it now, because it will only be free until January 16, 2018.

My Tips

I love the simplicity of this block! I enjoy piecing, so I had a lot of fun making this one. As with any pieced block, it helps to double check your seam allowance before you start. That way your sections will all come out the same size.

To test your seam allowance, simply sew two 2 1/2" squares together and press to one side. Your new rectangle should be 4 1/2" long. If it's shorter than that, make your seam allowance narrower. If the rectangle is bigger than 4 1/2", make your seam allowance wider. By measuring the unit size instead of the seam itself, you will ensure that everything fits together beautifully when you make your block.

For pressing this block, I chose to press everything in the center section towards the gold buckle. On the two sides, I pressed towards the belt. This allowed my seams to nest when I sewed the three sections together.

Those are the only tips I have this time around. I told you it was an easy one! Now I'm just excited to see the variety in everyone's blocks.

More Pretty Blocks

Speaking of variety, did you know that there are 9 other ladies hosting this quilt along with me? Each of us made our own blocks, and they are all unique! I just love this one by Jennifer of The Inquiring Quilter. She used prints in her block, even for the black, and it looks fabulous. I especially like the flecks of gold in Santa's suit.

Did the teaser convince you? I definitely think it's worth it to check out all of the hosts' blogs to see what they did with the block. Not all of us chose fabrics as subtle as mine and Jennifer's.

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

Now let's talk about the prizes! We have two more fabulous sponsors for this block. To be eligible to win, share your completed Santa's Belt before block 5 is released. The official deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on September 11, 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.

The winner for this block will receive a 6 month subscription to Make Modern magazine, as well as the pdf pattern of their choice from Beth Sellers of Cooking Up Quilts.

But that's not all! Make Modern is generously offering 25% off all single issues and bundles for quilt along participants from now until March 1, 2018. To get the discount, enter MerryQAL2017 at checkout. Note that this discount is just for single issues and bundles, not for subscriptions.

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!