Friday, November 17, 2017

A Bow Tie Quit

I have an update to share with you today!  Almost two years ago I created this quilt from some yummy Liberty lawn fabric-

Bow Tie block and quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

I love traditional quilt blocks and this quilt is made from the classic bow tie block.  Can you see it?

Bow Tie block and quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

 I recently updated my original tutorial for this quilt by adding a printable PDF pattern for it.

Bow Tie block and quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

I know that printable PDF patterns are so convenient so I added this one to my craftsy shop.  Have you bought patterns from Craftsy?  I love that any PDF pattern you buy stays  in your pattern library and you can refer back to it and download it over and over - super helpful if you're like me and keep losing downloaded patterns.  

Bow Tie block and quilt pattern from A Bright Corner

I've been wanting to make an updated scrappy version of this quilt and this week I started with these two blocks.  

You can read my original blog post for this quilt here - and see a few more photos as well.  And find the printable PDF pattern here.  

Happy sewing!




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Patchwork Quilt Along Block Eleven!

We're on the second to the last month of the Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop!  This month's block pattern is called Spinning Tops - you can find the free block pattern here (scroll down to the bottom to see all of the block patterns).  

Patchwork Quilt Along

If you haven't joined in yet, don't worry - it's not too late!  The Fat Quarter Shop still has some kits available here.  And you can find all of the block patterns here.

Patchwork Quilt Along

Even if you just made one of each month's blocks, it would create a cute mini quilt!  I'm getting excited about starting to piece the quilt top.  I took a few minutes to add just a few of the blocks to my design wall yesterday.  They all look so great together - I wanted to keep going!    

Patchwork Quilt Along with the Fat Quarter Shop

The list of bloggers who are sewing along is below, and you can also join the Facebook group and see what quilters around the world are creating!  


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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Swap Talk - All About Quilt Block Swaps

Today I'm talking swaps!  I've been a part of many block swaps and exchanges and I've loved them all.  I recently finished this quilt - it's made from blocks sewn by quilters from around the country.  I love the scrappy look it has and I love knowing that many talented hands went into making it.  

low volume plus quilt

So what is a swap?  It's a way for quilters to make and exchange quilt blocks with one another.  Usually the swap is set up in such a way that each quilter puts in a set number of blocks, all the blocks are put into a group or pool, shuffled and then a different set of blocks is sent back to each quilter.  Another option is for quilters to be assigned to one another to do a direct swap - for example my blocks would go to you, and your blocks come to me.  

Everything you wanted to know about quilt block swaps!

Why should I join a swap?
Swaps are a great way to get a scrappy look!  For this low volume plus block swap, I made 20 blocks from the same few fabrics, but I received 20 blocks made from dozens of different prints - so fun!

Meet new people and make new friends.  Every swap I participate in  results in me gaining a new friend.  You get to swap with people from around the country - sometimes around the world!  I have a quilt from 2009 that has a couple of blocks in it from Jodi Nelson (a.k.a. Pleasant Home).  At the time I didn't know her, and now we're friends - even all these years later!  

How can I find a swap to join?  
Most of the time I hear about swaps in different local quilt groups and guilds that I visit.  I also hear about them online on Instagram and Facebook.  If you're looking for a swap, ask your local guild or quilt shop, and ask around online.  Or...you can start your own swap!  (see below for tips).  

This low volume plus swap that I joined was organized through instagram.  We could only use Bonnie and Camille fabrics and we all followed the same plus block pattern.  We could request to get certain color blocks back and I requested red, aqua and navy.  I'm really happy with how the finished quilt looks!

Everything you wanted to know about quilt block swaps!

If you do join a swap...
  • Start small - most swaps are set up so that you can send in as many blocks as you want, and you get back the same number you send in.  If it's your first swap, try signing up for just a small amount of blocks, maybe 5 or 10.  See how you like it!  
  • Give what you'd like to receive.  Use your favorite prints, do your best work, follow the pattern, press your blocks, package them well for shipping/trading.  Think of this as the golden rule of quilting - give blocks unto others that you would want others to give to you.
  • Don't procrastinate - Don't wait until the day before the deadline to start your blocks.  Trust me on this one.  You'll be stressed, and the whole experience will be a lot less enjoyable.  
  • Participate in the group - if there's a way to communicate with the group (group text, Facebook group, IG hashtag) do so!  Encourage others, comment on their posts, share your progress.  This is where you get to know your fellow swappers and make friends.  



Thinking of organizing a swap?

  • Start small - set up a swap with just a friend or two, or your local guild.  Consider putting a limit on how many people can join - it could grow to an unmanageable size quickly!
  • Have a plan - Be clear with the rules (fabric choices, block pattern, finished block size, how many blocks does each person make?)  Decide ahead of time how the blocks will be swapped - will you all meet together to help swap?  Or will one person take care of the swapping and then hand out blocks next time you meet?  Make sure the pattern is readily accessible to all participants.  There are thousands of great block tutorials and free patterns out there! 
  • Set a deadline- Set a deadline for people to sign up by, and a deadline for people to have their blocks finished.  If blocks need to be mailed, have a "ship by" deadline as well.
  • Remember the details-  If you can clearly state all details up front, you'll spend less time answering emails and messages as the swap goes.
  • Have fun! - Give people a way to share their process, either with a hashtag on instagram or a private facebook group.  Encourage members to share photos of fabric choices, blocks in progress, and definitely share the finished quilts - that's the fun part!  Having a way to share will also help to motivate all group members to keep working to meet the deadline.  When I see the great blocks others are creating, it makes me get my rear in gear and start sewing!

low volume plus quilt

Some blocks that are great for swapping




Finished quilt details
block pattern here
67" x 78" (42 blocks)
quilted with Good Vibrations quilting design



Everything you wanted to know about quilt block swaps!

Tips for quilt block swaps and exchanges



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
Pumpkin
Cheddar
Daisy

Salmon
Rouge
Hunter
Brick
Brownie
Redwood
Clover
Grass
Teddy Bear
Cinnamon
Pear
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



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


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