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
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.
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!