Posts tagged #tutorial

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!

I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: Tree Farm

I can't believe it's already time for our second block of I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long! If you're just joining us, you can find the links to the introduction, fabric options, and first block on my quilt along page. I will continue to update that page as we add more blocks.

This week's block is Tree Farm by April Adams of JANDA Bend Quilts. Click here for her post with the block pattern. The pattern is guaranteed to be free until January 16, 2018.

The tree tops in this block are made from a triangle in a square unit. You can use any method you like to make these units. April's pattern includes templates for traditional piecing and foundations for paper piecing. Becca at Pretty Piney wrote up a tutorial on using the Quilt in a Day Triangle in a Square ruler.

Tri-Recs Tutorial

I chose to make the triangle in a square units with the Tri-Recs rulers by EZ Quilting. These rulers are great for both triangle in a square units, and half rectangle triangles. They're pretty slippery, so I put clear bumpy bandage tape on the backs of them.

The Tri-Recs rulers are my favorite method because they make it so easy to line everything up. If you would like to try them, I wrote a tutorial just for you!

Cutting the Background

Cut a 3 1/2" strip of background fabric. I find that my piecing is more accurate if I keep the entire 3 1/2" line of the ruler on the fabric (rather than the edge of the line touching the fabric but the line itself on the cutting mat). Fold the strip in half right sides together and trim off the selvedge.

Note - If your fabric has a right and wrong side, it is essential that the strip is folded in half to produce mirror image background pieces.

Line up the Recs tool with the left and top edges of the fabric. The 3 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.

Since we cut with our strip folded right sides together, we now have two mirror image pieces. These will form the background of one tree top.

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.

Continue cutting in the same way until you have 8 pairs of background triangles.

Cutting the Tree Tops

To make a bunch of trees from the same fabric, cut a 3 1/2" strip of fabric. If you want only 1 tree from a particular fabric, you need a 3 1/2" by 4" rectangle. If you want 2 trees from a fabric, cut a 3 1/2" by 6 1/2" rectangle.

Line up the blunt tip of the Tri tool with the top of the tree fabric. The 3 1/2" line on the ruler will be slightly above the bottom of the strip. Make sure this line is straight.

Cut along the left and right sides of the Tri tool. The small triangle scrap on the left can be discarded.

Rotate the Tri tool so the left 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.

Continue cutting until you have 8 tree top triangles.

Sewing the Tree Top Units

I recommend starting by sewing just one unit so you can be sure it comes out correctly. Once you are satisfied with your results, the rest of the units can be chain pieced.

Line up a background triangle along the right edge of a tree triangle right sides together as shown. The notch in the background triangle should be lined up with the bottom of the tree triangle. The background will extend past the top of the tree triangle.

Sew with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. I find that I need a scanter than usual seam allowance when sewing these units.

Finger press only towards the background triangle. Pressing with an iron before both sides are sewn tends to distort the unit.

Line up the other background triangle right sides together with the left edge of the tree triangle. The notch in the background triangle should be lined up with the bottom of the tree triangle.

Sew with a scant 1/4" seam allowance and press with a dry iron towards the background triangle. Be careful not to slide the iron on the fabric so as not to stretch the bias edges.

Trim the dog ears and check that your tree top unit measures 3 1/2" square.

Finishing the Trees

Remember to cut 1/2" off the bottom of the triangle in a square units to make room for the trunks. After you cut off the bottom, the unfinished tree top units will be 3 1/2" wide by 3" high.

I strip pieced my trunks per April's instructions, then sewed them to the tree tops. To reduce bulk, I pressed towards the trunks.

I couldn't be happier with how this block came out. The little bitty trees are just so cute!

My Lovely Comrades

I am joined by 10 wonderful ladies that are also hosting this quilt along. They have each created their own tree farm blocks, and the blocks are all so unique! I can't get over this one by Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts. She has chosen a limited color pallet for her quilt, and I just love the whimsy that her colors add to the trees.

I'm sure Laura would love it if you visited her post and let her know what you think of her block. While you're at it, don't forget to check out the rest of the hosts' blocks. While you're being inspired by the wide variety of fabric choices, you'll also get lots of tips and tricks for making the block.

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
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

Prizes

We have another lovely set of prizes this week! To be eligible to win, share your completed tree farm block before block 3 is released. The official deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on August 28, 2017. Enter by sharing your block in our Facebook group, on Instagram with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal, or by joining the linkup on April's post.

Our lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop provided by Jan Altomare of Cocoa Quilts, along with a pdf version of the Geese in Flower Pots pattern by April Adams of JANDA Bend Quilts. The giveaway is open to participants worldwide.

I can't wait to see what you make! Leave a comment to let me know what your favorite method is for making triangle in a square units. One of the best parts about quilting is how many ways there are to make a block.