Fat-Eighths, Layer Cakes, Jelly rolls, charm squares or make it scrappy. We love our little Farm Sticks 5″ x 10″ strips of our favorite fabrics.
Download How to finish the Sampler-shuffle_pattern
All the blocks in the Sampler Block Shuffle will finish at 6″ .
Note: Finished is the block size after it has been sewn into a quilt. Unfinished is the size of the block / unit before it is sewn into a quilt /block.
Start with the Basics
Straightening your fabric
Iron the fold out of the fabric. Hold the fabric up with the selvages together and adjust back and forth with your fingers until the fold hangs straight. Note: the ends will not necessarily line up and that is okay. Carefully place the fabric on cutting mat with the fold closest to you. Use two rulers, one 24 inches long and the second 12 inches long. Place the 24 inch ruler on the left edge of the fabric. Using the shorter ruler, line up a horizontal line on the fold and butt the two rulers up together. Move the shorter ruler out of the way and with your rotary cutter, straighten the left edge. You are now ready to start cutting your strips / pieces for blocks, sashing or borders. Always cut strips across the grain of your fabric from selvage to selvage. If you are cutting multiple strips, you may need to re-straighten the left edge of your fabric from time to time. Use a ruler to measure and cut with. Be sure you have a sharp rotary blade in your rotary cutter. If you are left handed, you will reverse and straighten from the right side of your fabric.
The Quarter-Inch Seam
Having problems with the 1/4″ seam?
How to test your quarter-inch seam. Start by cutting three rectangles, each 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. Sew the long sides together. Press your block, it should measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. If it isn’t…here are some tips.
When cutting check to see if the fabric edge is inside, outside or on the line of the ruler. Your fabric should be lined up with the line of the ruler. Be consistent with the brand of rulers as marking lines do differ from brand to brand.
Seam allowance. Check placement of needle with the foot and mark the ¼” to the right of your sewing machine foot to use as a guide. Use the Sew Straight, painters tape, mole skin or stack notecards to mark the seam allowance.
Pressing verses Ironing
Don’t iron your patchwork pieces with the same vim and vigor you use for pressing a shirt. Incorrect pressing can stretch, distort and heat set the pieces into a real mess. When you take two pieces to the ironing board, consider the direction your seam will be pressed. Normally we press to the darker side of the fabric, so the darker piece will be facing up. There can be exceptions to this rule, so when in doubt refer to your pattern.
Start by pressing your seam closed. This helps to set the seam by bonding the thread into the fabric, which makes it so much easier to get that nice crisp, flat seam and eliminates puckers and pleats. Open up the two pieces of fabric and remember to always press from the right side to the left side of the fabric.
The Strip Stick is a great tool for the quilter who likes to press their seams open. It keeps the other seams out of the way and comes in four different sizes.
Choosing your fabric – -
Grab your stash, choose your colors, or your favorite designer’s line.
Reds, Creams, Marshmallow and light beige’s make up my pallet. Debbie is making two sets, one using a selection of Carolyn Friedlander’s , “Architecture”, “Botanics” , “Doe” and soon, “Carkai”. They work so well together. Her second set is made using a selection of Bonnie and Camille.
Blocks 1 – 3
Block 1 focuses on learning the proper methods for making half-square triangles. Half-square triangles are the result of sewing two triangles right sides together on the bias edge (long side). There are so many ways to make this simple block.
I recommend always cutting your squares 1″ larger than the finished size. IE. if your half-square triangle unit finishes at 1 1/2″, you would cut your squares 2 1/2″. This allows for just a little room to straighten or square up your half-square triangle before sewing it into the block. The half-square triangle in block one finishes
at 1 1/2″.
Traditional method, my grandmother might have taught me:
Starting with two squares of equal sizes, cut both on the diagonal. Take one from each color, place them right sides together, pin, pin, pin and sew on the long bias edge 1/4″ from the raw edge. Press to the darker side. This method does come in handy when you are working with lots of scraps and want that scrappy look.
A more modern method:
Starting with two squares of equal size, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.
Sew 1/4″ on both sides of the drawn line.
Cut on the solid line and press to the dark side. Square up to 1 1/2″.
To square up your half square triangle, use your favorite square up ruler. I like the Precision Trimmer, however a 6″ square ruler with a 45 degree also works nicely.
Lay the 45 degree across the diagonal line, leaving a small amount of fabric around the square. Right hand – rotary cut up the right side and across the top. Left hand will cut up the left side and across the top.
Rotate the unit so that the right side and top now sit in the 90 degree angle on the bottom left edge. Once more, rotary cut up the right side and across the top. Your half-square triangle will now be squared up and ready to sew into your block. Left hand will cut up the left side and across the top, rotating to the right bottom corner.
Using Triangle Paper:
Quilters love the Finished Triangle Paper, which comes in many sizes, is simple to sew, accurate to cut, and effortless paper removal.
Cut your squares to the appropriate size based on the directions that comes with the Triangle Paper. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together and lay the Triangle Paper on one of the wrong sides.
Sew on the dotted lines, Cut on the Solid lines. You will need to adjust your stitch length to 1.0 or 1.5 when using Triangle Paper. This makes it so much easier to tear away the paper after cutting. Press to the darker side.
The not so proper way to do a half square triangle.
Oh, no, please don’t put those bias edges on the outside of your blocks. We have seen a “quick” method of placing two squares together, sewing around the outside edges and then cutting both directions on the diagonal. This places those bias edges on the outside of your block, making it a challenge for sewing into a quilt. This method is not for a beginner.
Block 1 – Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe and Botanics
Block 1 – Reds and Creams
Block 1 - Creams and Reds. By reversing the reds and creams, you will notice how the negative space adds a more modern look to the block. Lots of opportunities for some beautiful quilting.
Block 1 – Bonnie and Camille Fabrics
Block 2 is a good block to test your 1/4″ seam.
Block 2 Carolyn Friedlander’s Pallet
Block 2 Creams and Reds Pallet
Block 2 Bonnie and Camille Pallet
Block 3 teaches the proper method for sewing on the diagonal line to make easy Corner Triangles. Be sure to draw the line line from corner to corner. Sew slightly to the right of the diagonal line helps, it gives you more fabric to press back and makes up for the thread width.
To cut away the back fabric or not; sometimes keeping the back fabric intact helps keep the unit square or to size.
Great tools for marking that diagonal line; try the Frixion Pen, the ink disappears when you press over the line. The White Gel Pen works great on darker fabrics also comes in black and of course, there is always the mechanical pencil.
Block 3 – Carolyn Friedlander’s Pallet
Block 3 – Bonnie and Camille Pallet