Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Modern Maples Quilt

I finished this maple leaf quilt last year but never was able to get some good photos of it.  So a few weeks ago when my kids asked to pick out pumpkins at the local farm stand, I grabbed this quilt and my camera - I didn't want to miss this perfect opportunity!  I do realize it's a little strange to bring a quilt to the farm stand by the way :) 

Modern Maples quilt done in all solids  - love the color!

For this quilt I used this pattern, called Modern Maples.  I followed the pattern to make my blocks, but I worked out my own layout, placing solid background blocks where I liked them and rotating the leaves as well.  I made a total of 25 leaves, using 17 different solid colors. 

Modern Maples quilt done in all solids  - love the color!

The fabrics are all Confetti Cotton solids from Riley Blake Designs.  They're so soft, and my local quilt shop carries all of the gorgeous colors.  I'll list the colors I used in the details below.

I quilted this freehand on my longarm.  I was going for a mix between wood grain and a windy-swirly look.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I didn't get a photo of it, but the backing fabric is a butter-yellow, super soft flannel.  

Modern Maples quilt done in all solids  - love the color!

The same week we went to pick out pumpkins, we also headed up the nearby canyon to enjoy the scenery for a bit.  Fall is so bittersweet for me.  I LOVE the colors, but I almost can't enjoy them because I know what's coming next.  I hate when the leaves fall from the trees and the mountains turn a dreary brown.  

Utah mountains in the fall

But enough about that!  How about that color?  

Utah mountains in the fall

Modern Maples quilt in Riley Blake solids

Quilt details
Pattern:  Modern Maples quilt pattern here
Size:  60" x 72"
Fabrics used:  all colors are Confetti Cotton Solids (Riley Blake Designs)
Pearl (background color)
Riley Orange

Teddy Bear
Riley Burgandy
Riley Green

Monday, October 23, 2017

New Quilt Patterns - Little Miss and Sincerely

Hi everyone!  I'm excited to share with you my newest quilt patterns today!  I've been working on these for the past month or so and as of this morning you can find both of them in my shop.  First I'd like to introduce you to Little Miss - a layer cake or jelly roll friendly quilt that really lets your favorite fabrics shine!  

Little Miss quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

I named this quilt for my little niece who is equal parts sweet and sassy.  Some days she's "little miss trouble" and some days she's "little miss sassy" and the rest of the time she's "little miss cutie pie."

Little Miss quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

With one layer cake or jelly roll you'll be able to make the throw sized quilt which is shown here.  For this one I used the new First Romance fabrics designed by Kristyne Czepruyk for Moda.  This is Kristyne's first fabric line with Moda and I just fell in love with it as I made this quilt.   

First Romance fabric from Moda

I also wanted to show you a different take on this pattern, so here is Little Miss crib size, done in all solid fabrics.  

Little Miss quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

As with all of my patterns, Little Miss has measurements and instructions for multiple sizes of quilt (crib, throw, twin, and queen.) 

Little Miss quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

Next up is Sincerely.  This is a great pattern for showing off your favorite medium and large scale prints!  

Sincerely quilt pattern by A Bright Corner

Sincerely is a fat quarter friendly pattern and has instructions for four sizes of quilts (baby, throw, twin, and queen).  

Sincerely quilt pattern by A Bright Corner

The size shown here is the twin size, made from the new Flower Mill fabric line designed by Corey Yoder for Moda.  Flower Mill should be hitting stores this month so look for it in your local shops!

Flower Mill fabrics by Corey Yoder for Moda

I actually have a story behind the name of this pattern.  My youngest son is in fourth grade right now.  A few weeks ago we were practicing for his spelling test and I took a short trip down memory lane.  I vividly remember learning how to spell 'sincerely' in fourth grade as we were practicing how to properly write letters.  My teacher gave us a few options of how to close a letter and "Sincerely" was my personal favorite.  It works well in so many situations and my fourth grade brain just loved that.  No one writes real letters anymore, do they?  It's such a shame.

Here's a second version of Sincerely - this time in Corey Yoder's first fabric line from 2015, called Prairie.  

Sincerely quilt pattern by A Bright Corner - fat quarter friendly pattern

I just love how these quilt blocks allow the pretty floral fabrics to take the spotlight!

Sincerely quilt pattern by A Bright Corner

Both Little Miss and Sincerely patterns are available now in my shop, as either a PDF (immediate download) or a paper pattern.  No need to pre-order the paper patterns - they're ready to ship today!  And for this week, get 20% off your entire order when you enter the promo code OCTOBER20!  Code is good until midnight on Friday, October 27 so don't wait!

Want to see your favorite A Bright Corner patterns in your local quilt shop?  Let them know they can order my patterns through Checker or Brewer distributors, or email me for wholesale pricing.  

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

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