Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tips for Piecing Small Quilt Blocks

We're up to block number ten on the Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop!  
Free quilt blocks patterns from the Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop

This month's block pattern is called Country Roads and you can find the free block pattern here.

As I sat and stitched up my blocks for this month I thought about the things I do a bit differently when I'm working with small (less than 8") quilt blocks and mini quilts.  So today I wanted to share some tips - and see if you have any tips to add!

Tip 1:  Starch!

Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts

I'm a recent convert to starching.  I used to view it as an unnecessary step.  Silly me.  I was sewing with a friend once who starches everything and I saw how nicely her small blocks were turning out.  I tried it once and was hooked.  I starch the fabric a bit before I cut all of the little pieces, then I also starch the adorable little blocks when they're done.  

Tip 2:  Cut Accurately

Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts

Take the time to cut each piece accurately.  When I'm cutting for a larger quilt I will line up a whole cutting mat of strips and cut them all at the same time for efficiency.  But when I make these tiny blocks, I take my time and cut just one or two pieces at a time.  I've found that cutting less at a time helps with accuracy.  Also, with larger blocks and larger pieces of fabric sometimes you can fudge things a little and the block will still look fine.  But when working with such tiny pieces, each 1/8 of an inch makes a big difference!

Tip 3:  Use Thinner Thread
I used to think that the thread I used didn't make much of a difference.  I would try to match the thread color to the colors of the fabrics, but other than that I didn't put much thought into my thread choice.

The first few blocks of this quilt along, I had problems with my block seams looking and feeling so bulky.  They just wouldn't press as flat as I wanted them.  Changing out my thread to a thinner thread made a difference!  Now when I'm working with small blocks I make sure to swap out my thread.  My current favorite is Aurifil 50/2 (50 weight thread, 2 ply.)  To learn more about thread weight, there's a great article here on the Connecting Threads blog.    


Tip 4:  Adjust The Seam Allowance
Each machine, each presser foot, and each quilter seems to have a slightly different 1/4" seam allowance.  I have a foot that works for my regular piecing, but when I'm piecing small quilt blocks I have to move my seam allowance over just a thread or two.  Just that tiny bit helps!  And if you think about it, with these blocks sometimes we'll have four seams across the 5.5" width of the block.  A thread or two difference in each seam can add up, and make the difference between a 5.5" block and a 5.25" block!


Tip 5:  Press Seams
Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts

This may seem like a common sense one to you, but when there are pressing recommendations as a part of the quilt pattern I pay attention!  Usually when I disregard them- thinking I know better, then the block doesn't lay quite right, or piece as accurately as it could.   If there are no pressing directions in the pattern, then take a minute to think about how the block will go together.  Press seams so they will nest if possible.


Tip 6:  Use Small Scale Prints 

 Ok so this isn't really a tip that will make your piecing more accurate, but it still fits in this list!  Small scale prints work great with small scale blocks.  You absolutely can use large scale prints in small blocks, but you'll lose some of the best parts of the large scale print when you have to cut it up into small 1.5" x 1.5" pieces. 

That being said, use what you want!  There's been times when I love the print so much I use it anyway.  See the red block below?  You can't really tell that those are sailboats, right?  The print I used in the second photo is much more effective for the small block.  It's just something to consider when selecting fabrics for your small quilt blocks & mini quilts.  


Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts

Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts

So there you go - my favorite tips for piecing small quilt blocks.  Have any tips you'd like to add?  


And if you're sewing along with us, be sure to visit the Patchwork QAL Facebook group and add a photo of your blocks!  Want to see more inspiration?  Visit the list of bloggers who are also joining in the quilt along:

Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl (@jedicraftgirl)
Amy of Diary of a Quilter (@diaryofaquilter)
Andy of A Bright Corner (@abrightcorner)
*Bonnie of Cotton Way (@bonniecottonway)
*Camille of Thimble Blossoms (@thimbleblossoms)
Debbie of Happy Little Cottage (@happylittlecottage1)
Greg of Grey Dogwood Studio (@greydogwoodstudio)
Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies (@buttonsandbutterflies)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Melissa of Oh How Sweet (@ohhowsweet)
Pat Sloan of PatSloan.com (@quilterpatsloan)
Renee of Sewn with Grace (@sewnwithgrace)
Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane (@downgrapevinelane)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Taunja of Carried Away Quilting (@taunjalynn)
Tina of Emily Ann's Kloset (@emilyannskloset)
Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie of Moda Cutting Table

Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop


Tips for piecing small quilt blocks and mini quilts



Friday, September 15, 2017

Patchwork Quilt Along Block Nine

Alright - are you ready for block nine of the Patchwork Quilt Along?  It's available today from the Fat Quarter Shop.  

Patchwork Quilt Along free block pattern - cute block called Grandmother's Choice

Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop
This month's block is called Grandmother's Choice, and if you go here you can find the free downloadable pattern and a video tutorial as well - along with the blocks and videos for the past months!  After this one we have just three more!

Patchwork Quilt Along free block pattern - cute block called Grandmother's Choice

All year I've been making my blocks from Bonnie & Camille scraps, and now that their new line (The Good Life) is available in shops, I thought it would be fun to add some of these new fabrics in to my quilt. 

The Good Life fabrics by Bonnie and Camille for Moda


Here's the list of bloggers who are sewing along, and be sure to check out the Patchwork QAL Facebook group!  

Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl (@jedicraftgirl)
Amy of Diary of a Quilter (@diaryofaquilter)
Andy of A Bright Corner (@abrightcorner)
*Bonnie of Cotton Way (@bonniecottonway)
*Camille of Thimble Blossoms (@thimbleblossoms)
Debbie of Happy Little Cottage (@happylittlecottage1)
Greg of Grey Dogwood Studio (@greydogwoodstudio)
Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies (@buttonsandbutterflies)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Melissa of Oh How Sweet (@ohhowsweet)
Pat Sloan of PatSloan.com (@quilterpatsloan)
Renee of Sewn with Grace (@sewnwithgrace)
Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane (@downgrapevinelane)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Taunja of Carried Away Quilting (@taunjalynn)
Tina of Emily Ann's Kloset (@emilyannskloset)
Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie of Moda Cutting Table


Patchwork Quilt Along


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt and Sale


The Holly Jolly Tree Skirt pattern is one of my best sellers, and I gave it a little update this last weekend!  I also wanted to update my family's tree skirt this year so I took this opportunity to make a new, fresh one from the Comfort and Joy fabrics from Riley Blake.  I love that red plaid!  

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt by A Bright Corner

I've been hearing from customers that some brands of fabrics (usually sold at big box stores) tend to not be as wide as some of the brands sold at quilt shops such as Moda, Art Gallery, Riley Blake, and Michael Miller.  To accommodate the narrower fabrics, I adjusted the pattern's cutting instructions slightly. 

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt by A Bright Corner

Another adjustment was to make the backing more longarm quilter friendly!  More and more of you are sending quilts out to your favorite longarm quilter and those quilters appreciate a backing that is 7 to 8 inches wider than the quilt top.    

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt by A Bright Corner

Speaking of backing, did you know you could make this a reversible tree skirt?  Choose a coordinating print for the backing (like a fun plaid, or novelty print), and you'll have the option to flip the skirt over to change the look!  You can see an example of a reversible skirt here in this blog post.   

For the backing on this skirt, I used a red swiss dot print from Riley Blake.  

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt by A Bright Corner

If you're considering making a new tree skirt this year, now is a great time to get started!  Especially if you're thinking of sending it to be quilted - beat the end of year rush!  For the whole month of September, the Holly Jolly Tree Skirt pattern is on sale for $6.00 in my shop.  No code needed - just add the pattern to your cart and checkout!  

PDF patterns are available now (immediate download), and paper copies are available for pre-order.  They'll ship as soon as they arrive next week!  And if you're a quilt shop owner, you can contact me at abrightcorner@gmail.com for wholesale pricing.

Holly Jolly Christmas Tree Skirt by A Bright Corner




Looking for other Christmas ideas?  Check out these projects!  
Cabin Cushion


Christmas Patchwork Pillow
Christmas Surprise
















Friday, September 1, 2017

Free Craftsy Classes? Yes Please!

Hey there everyone!  I just wanted to let you know about a great opportunity coming up this weekend.  All day on Labor Day (Monday, September 4) Craftsy is having a free, All-You-Can-Watch deal on their classes.  Did you catch that?  It's FREE!  So if you've been eyeing some classes, or have some on your wish list, this is your chance to catch them!  

Here are a few great ones:



And here are a few that I'm hoping to watch that day:








All-You-Can-Watch Day starts at 12:01am on Monday and ends at 11:59pm - so make yourself comfortable, and get watching!


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Split Stars Quilt in Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

Split Stars quilt by A Bright Corner from Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

I'm so excited to be able to share that I have a quilt in the latest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting!  And to my delight...it's on the cover!  Issue 51 is available now in the UK, and will be heading to the US soon.

Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 51

  My inspiration for the quilt came from this photo I found on Pinterest:

Succulent inspiration for a quilt
I immediately fell in love with the color combo!  I took a screen shot of the photo on my phone, and used it at the quilt shop as I chose the colors of Riley Blake Confetti Cottons I wanted to use.  Here's the stack that I pulled off the shelves in the shop:

Confetti Cottons Riley Blake Designs

I'm a long time fan of mixing aqua & green together (here, here and here), but I love what the purples add to the group!

You can see sneak peeks of the other projects from the issue here on the Love Patchwork & Quilting site.  And watch for issue 51 to hit your news stands.  I know I'll be stalking my local Barnes & Noble for the next couple of weeks!




Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Piece of Cake!

It's really been a summer filled with Christmas quilts!  This is the third one I've worked on this month (I'll share the others soon), and I have to say it's a little strange to go out and photograph a Christmas quilt when it's 90+ degrees outside and there's plenty of green grass around!  

Surprise quilt from the book A Piece of Cake by Peta Peace

Today I'm sharing a quilt that I made from this fun new book:

A Piece of Cake book by Peta Peace

A Piece of Cake - Sweet & Simple Quilts from Layer Cake Squares written by Peta Peace (a.k.a. She Quilts A Lot).  The book is filled with great quilt designs, lovely photos, and easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams.  

When I fall in love with a new fabric line, often I'll buy a layer cake of it.  A charm pack isn't quite enough, and I find layer cakes to be more versatile than a jelly roll.  But then the layer cake sits there until I figure out what to make.  This book will be a great resource - it has so many great quilts, all layer cake friendly! 

Surprise quilt from the book A Piece of Cake by Peta Peace

The quilt I chose to make is called Surprise.  It finishes at 56" x 71" and I used a layer cake of North Woods designed by Kate Spain.  The line came out last summer and I've been holding on to this layer cake since then - looking for the perfect pattern.  I love the little presents!

Surprise quilt from the book A Piece of Cake by Peta Peace

I backed this quilt in a soft mint flannel - it will be perfectly cozy come December!  For the quilting I used a longarm panto from Urban Elementz called Cake Walk. 

Surprise quilt from the book A Piece of Cake by Peta Peace

You can see more projects from the book by following along on the blog tour.  We've already seen three fun quilts from Sedef, Jemima, and Samantha - and there's plenty more to come!  You can also check out some other quilts from the book on Instagram with the hashtag #apieceofcakebook.

14 Aug Sedef - Down Grapevine Lane
15 Aug Jemima - Tied with a Ribbon
16 Aug Samantha - Aqua Paisley Studio
17 Aug Andy - A Bright Corner
18 Aug Kirsty - Bonjour Quilts
20 Aug Alison - Cotton Factory
21 Aug Carrie - Moda Fabrics
22 Aug Nadra - Ellis and Higgs
23 Aug Angie - Gnome Angel
24 Aug Tara - Tara Sews
25 Aug Jules - The Creative Retreat
26 Aug Kristyne - Pretty by Hand
27 Aug Kimberly - Fat Quarter Shop
28 Aug Lissa - Moda Lissa
29 Aug Amy - Diary of a Quilter
30 Aug Kerry - Kid Giddy & Cat - Hello from Cat on Instagram
31 Aug Jane - Modern Makers Retreat
1 Sept Kate - Never Enough Hours
2 Sept Jodie - Vintage Ric Rac
3 Sept Sharon - Patches Indooroopilly (in store & online!)
4 Sept Amanda - Material Girl Quilts
5 Sept Amber - A Little Bit Biased
6 Sept Xanthe - Wife Made
7 Sept Rachel - Family Ever After
8 Sept Jenny - Martingale
9 Sept Amy - Nana Company
10 Sept          Peta - She Quilts A Lot





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Patchwork Quilt Along Block Eight

Wow!  We're already on the eighth set of blocks for the Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop!  Just four more sets until we can start putting our quilt top together. 

Rolling Nine Patch quilt block  - A Bright Corner

This month's block pattern is called Rolling Nine Patch, and you can find a link to the free pattern here on the Jolly Jabber Blog (scroll down to find the Rolling Nine Patch block).

Rolling Nine Patch quilt block  - A Bright Corner

I started storing my blocks in these stackable wire baskets from the Container Store.  I was finding that the more I moved, arranged and touched the blocks the more they were fraying.  This way my finished blocks can stay in the basket all safe and sound until it's time to piece the quilt top.  

Rolling Nine Patch quilt block  - A Bright Corner

The list of bloggers who are sewing along is below, and you can also see what quilters from around the world are making in the Patchwork QAL Facebook group.  I'm so glad there's a place for everyone to add photos of their blocks, and ask and answer questions!  

Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl (@jedicraftgirl)
Amy of Diary of a Quilter (@diaryofaquilter)
Andy of A Bright Corner (@abrightcorner)
*Bonnie of Cotton Way (@bonniecottonway)
*Camille of Thimble Blossoms (@thimbleblossoms)
Debbie of Happy Little Cottage (@happylittlecottage1)
Greg of Grey Dogwood Studio (@greydogwoodstudio)
Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies (@buttonsandbutterflies)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Melissa of Oh How Sweet (@ohhowsweet)
Pat Sloan of PatSloan.com (@quilterpatsloan)
Renee of Sewn with Grace (@sewnwithgrace)
Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane (@downgrapevinelane)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Taunja of Carried Away Quilting (@taunjalynn)
Tina of Emily Ann's Kloset (@emilyannskloset)
Carrie Nelson/Miss Rosie of Moda Cutting Table

Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop


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