Pieced Primrose QAL Week 4 – Block Finishing, Choosing Layouts

I know that last week’s foundation paper pieced tutorial was quite intense, so this week I wanted to give you some extra time to finish sewing your blocks. Last week I shared the steps using the cool colorway of my Abstract Garden fabric. Now here are more pics of the warm colorway:

Pieced Primrose Quilt Blocks

Remember to piece as many blocks as you need for the size you are making. The primrose block is constructed from 3 units per block: the A & B foundation sections (full sized paper template to photocopy is included in the quilt pattern), and the corner triangle unit:

Paper Pieced Primrose Blocks

Once all 3 pieces are sewn, then you can trim up the block to the proper size, including the seam allowances. When you tear off the paper is up to you. Some people like to tear off the paper once each block is sewn; others like to wait until the entire quilt top is sewn before removing the paper. But if you use a shorter stitch length while sewing, that will perforate the paper, making it easier to remove.

Pieced Primrose Warm Block

Design Layout

Due to space constraints, the Pieced Primrose quilt pattern includes one basic layout, made by sewing 4 blocks together into one larger Primrose block. If you choose to make this layout, be sure to rotate 4 blocks so that they look like this, then make the number of larger blocks listed in the pattern:

Warm Primrose Blocks

Here’s the same layout for the cool colorway blocks:

Pieced Primrose blocks cool colorway

Alternate Layouts

I had fun rotating the blocks in EQ8 software and coming up with these different layouts. They are all based on the smaller throw size, but can be adapted to the larger size, too:

Pieced Primrose Alternate Layout

Pieced Primrose Alternate Layout

Pieced Primrose Alternate Layout

Pieced Primrose Alternate Layout

To make any of the layouts above, simple rotate each individual block to create the new design. This is just a small sampling of what you can do, and some designs read busier than others. But once you blocks are finished, spend time playin around with different rotations of the blocks and take pictures with your phone when you find one or two that you like!

This Week’s Homework:

Finish sewing all of your blocks and then assemble them into larger 4 block units if you get that far. Next week will sew all the blocks together and add borders to complete the quilt top. Just remember, work at your own pace and come back to any of the blog posts you need for a refresher as you make your quilt.

Pieced Primrose Blocks

Larger Primrose Blocks in the Warm and Cool Colorways of Abstract Garden
Kits are available in both colorways.

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

Making of Terrace Tiles Part 2 – Piecing Tips for Sewing the Blocks

Welcome back to part 2 of Terrace Tiles quilts from my Gridwork fabric line. I’m excited to let you know that I’m now offering kits to make all 3 colorways of this quilt in two different sizes each!

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

Click here to get Terrace Tiles kits in Amethyst, Breeze, and Citron

Click here to catch up on part 1 and think of this as a shortened version of my quilt alongs. You can bookmark this post and come back to it when you are ready to make YOUR version of Terrace Tiles.
Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Amethyst Colorway of Gridwork Fabric.
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

The quilt blocks for Terrace Tiles sew up really fast! This is by far one of the quickest quilts you can make, which was good for me since I sewed all 3 of them in a hurry for quilt market last fall. I could have just made one version of the quilt, but I really wanted to showcase all 3 colorways of my Gridwork fabric line. So 3 quilts it is!!

Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Breeze Colorway of Gridwork Fabric
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

For the making of this quilt I wanted to share piecing tips just as much as quilting tips. Because I make all of my own quits from start to finish, the piecing can really impact the quilting and I like to make things as easy as possible so I can enjoy the entire process from start to finish.

Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Citron Colorway of Gridwork Fabric
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

Tip #1 Sew with a shorter stitch length

When you use a smaller stitch length it does two things: (1) It secures the seams so that there’s less of a chance that the edges will split apart while handling. (2) It also helps hide the thread so that you don’t see it poking through the seams. The default stitch length on my BERNINA is 2.5 so I turn the stitch length down to 2.0 whenever I’m piecing blocks for a quilt.

Gridwork Fabric

Pairing up fabrics in each block is half the fun!!

Tip #2 Sew with the Long Skinny Strip on Top

Any time you are working with pieces that are longer than a few inches, they have a chance to bow or warp out of shape as you stitch because of the action of your sewing machine and the feed dogs. So if you can sew each set of units in opposite directions, this will help compensate and ensure that your blocks stay nice and square.

An easy way to automatically switch sewing directions is to sew with the skinny center rectangle on top when you are making the Terrace Tiles blocks. It’s also easier to handle the cut pieces this way, too.

Gridwork fabric

Seams pressed open = flatter blocks!!

Tip #3 Press Seams Open

I press the seams open so that the blocks will lie as flat as possible. This is super important especially when quilting on a home sewing machine because it will help eliminate friction and drag on the quilt while shoving it through the machine.

The less bulky you make your seam joins, the easier time you’ll have when your machine easily glides over the block intersections. And contrary to popular myth, you CAN still stitch in the ditch. In fact, it’s much easier to actually stay in the ditch and see what you are doing when your seams are pressed open.

Gridwork

The more fun prints, the better!!

Tip #4 Sew Blocks into Larger Chunks

To keep things random, I like to sew all of the blocks together into pairs and chain piece as I go. The only rule is I try to make sure each pair has 4 different fabrics. I like to press my seams as I sew each pair, so there’s less to press later and everything stays nice, flat and square.

Block Pairs

Pairs of blocks from the Amethyst and Breeze colorways.

Once all the pairs are sewn, you can choose to sew them into rows, or sew together into sets of 4 and then into larger rows. Because this is supposed to be a scrappy looking quilt, I don’t overthink it. I try to not have the same fabrics touch each other, but there will usually be a repeat of the print in the larger 4 patch design and that’s ok with me.

Terrace Tiles Blocks

Citron Terrace Tiles Blocks

Tip #5 Pin and press for success!

I press every seam as I go, and pin generously whenever I’m sewing together two pieces of fabric. It helps prevent the pieces from stretching and I especially pin where the seams come together. I get better joins this way, and of course I remove the pins as I sew.

Below is how I pin: with the pins perpendicular to the fabric. I pin next to each intersection on both sides rather than right where it’s sewn (so it doesn’t split apart). This is also the orientation in which I feed the blocks under the machine:

Pinning

In the next post, I’ll show how I assembled these finished blocks into the quilt tops and prepped the quilts for machine quilting, so stay tuned! And honestly, it’s not much more work to make 3 quilts than it is to make 1 and I enjoy every step of it!

Terrace Tiles Blocks

Breeze Terrace Tiles Blocks

Links at a Glance:

Click here for the making of Terrace Tiles, Part 1
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern  – PDF version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt kits + Gridwork by the yard

Terrace Tiles BlocksAmethyst Terrace Tiles Blocks

Join the Club at My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe!

I’m always excited to tell you when my quilting friends are doing cool things! Did you hear about the new online club being run by My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe? They contacted me about offering a giveaway for this fun club to one of you – so read to the end for details!

My Girlfriend's Quilt ShopBut first, I have to tell you a little bit more about them. The shop is owned by talented friend Kris Thurgood. (Many of you also know her twin sister Kim of Kimberbell designs). Well, I first got to know both Kim and Kris over several years at quilt market and we had an instant connection. I love supporting women in business and especially love meeting powerhouse entrepreneurs that are go-getters in the quilting community.

Christa's Quilts

Some of my quilts on display at My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe in 2017

A couple of years ago, Kris invited me out to teach at her shop in Utah and I had the most amazing time!! Of course the students were fabulous and the location was amazing! But even better was assistance I received while teaching. Just a month prior I had dislocated my elbow by trying to be a little too ambitious at the climbing gym (that’s another story for another day). To make a long story short, I ended up teaching one handed and everyone was so fabulous to help me pitch in and fold up my quilts for me and drive me around where I needed to go.

If you’d like to see a fun little blast from the past, check out these two videos that Kim and her staff shared about my visit from 2017. It’s a sneak peek into what it’s like to take a class from me:

Facebook live with Christa Watson at My Girflriend's Quilt Shoppe

Facebook live with Christa Watson at My Girflriend's Quilt Shoppe

Over the years, My Girlfriend Quilt Shop has carried a few of  my books and patterns in their shop. But the best news is, I just found out that they are getting my Gridwork fabric line in next month. So if you are local to the area – be on the lookout for that!

Gridwork Charmpack

Be on the lookout for my Gridwork fabric coming soon to My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe!

Anyway, all of this is to say that Kris and her staff are one of the reasons that I love being a part of this industry – we help each other out while inspiring our fans and customers to be the best quilters they can be!!

So now – onto the giveaway!!

My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe

My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe is going to give away a membership to their exclusive club to one of you. All you need to do to enter is answer this question in the comments section of THIS blog post. Which of these topics is your favorite to explore: piecing, quilting, serging, machine embroidery, longarm quilting, software, wool, or hand embroidery?

The club will encompass all of those topics and more. Click here to read full details about what’s included with your membership.

My Girlfriends have also included a courtesy membership for me so I can be a part of the club, too! I think it’s going to be such a fun place to be and hope you’ll consider joining, even if you don’t win the giveaway!

I’ll pick a winner on Monday morning January 27, and will notify the winner via email. So good luck and happy quilting!!

My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe

My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe in Logan, Utah – January 2017

Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 3 – Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Are you ready to start sewing your blocks? Notice how there are 3 separate sections you’ll need to create for each Pieced Primrose block. Just follow my step-by-step tutorial below and you can adapt this process to any foundation paper pieced (FPP) design you can think of!

Paper Piecing with Christa Watson

Preparing the Paper Foundations

One of our quilt along participants, Michelle Hanus recommends folding all of the sewing lines (the dark lines on the pattern) before piecing. That will make it easier to rip off the papers later on. Thanks for that great tip, Michelle!

After photocopying the master template (one for each block you are making), roughly cut apart the two FPP sections (A and B), leaving a little bit of space around the dashed lines – those are your seam allowances for the outside edges of the blocks.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Above  is what the master template looks like. In the examples below, mine look slightly different because I was working from a draft before I finalized the pattern for printing.

I highly recommend making one test block out of scrap fabrics following the steps below. Then, once you understand the process, you can sew multiple blocks at the same time with your chosen fabrics. You can even chain piece the same sections if desired – just know that you’ll use a little bit more thread in the process, but that’s ok.

Fold, Trim, Sew and Press (FTSp)

This process might seem very awkward because it’s different then what you are used to with regular piecing. I’ve heard it described as dancing like Ginger Rogers – backwards and with high heels! But if you just follow the same “dance” steps each time, you’ll have no problems getting precise results every time!

Position the First Piece Into Place – A Units

To begin, line up the wrong side of your A1 fabric piece underneath the A1 section so that there is fabric sticking out on all sides of the A1 unit. To keep it from shifting, you can pin it or add a dab of glue from a glue stick to keep it in place.

A rectangle works much better than a long skinny triangle so that you can ensure coverage of the entire piece. You will be sewing on the paper side with the printed lines facing up, just like the image below:

FPP by Christa Watson

Step 1 – Fold

Position a piece of cardstock (such as the pattern cover, or an index card) on the first line that you will sew (the line between A1 and A2 above). A piece of thin, rigid plastic works, too!

Fold the paper template over the piece of cardstock, exposing the extra fabric underneath. Remember that the wrong side of the fabric will be touching the blank side of the paper each time.

Paper Pieced Primrose

Step 2 – Trim

Keeping the fabric, cardstock, and paper template in position, place the Add a Quarter ruler on top with the lip securing everything in place. This will add 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the fold line.

Trim the excess fabric with a rotary cutter.

Doing it this way ensures that the long skinny triangle is positioned at the correct angle for sewing.

Pieced Primrose Quilt

Step 3 – Sew

On the non printed paper side, line up the freshly trimmed edge of piece A1 with the edge of piece A2, with the fabric right sides together. Align the raw edges ensuring that the A2 piece is long enough to cover the entire A1/A2 line plus 1/4″ seam allowances on both ends.

FPP by Christa Watson

Lower your stitch length so that it will perforate the paper, making it easier to tear off later. My default is 2.5 so I turn it down to 2.0 or even 1.8. Use a brand new needle for best results.

Sew from 1/4″ before the A1/A2 line to 1/4″ after the printed solid line to ensure you have seam allowances on both sides of the marked line.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Here’s what my piece looks like after sewing the first seam. It’s ok to go slightly beyond 1/4″ if needed. I do this especially when chain piecing multiple blocks at the same time.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Step 4 – Press

Open up the A2 piece so that both fabrics are right side up. With a wooden seam roller, press the the seam from the front of the fabric. This is easier to do for each step than using an iron.

Foundation Paper Piecing

repeat The Dance over and over until the unit is complete
A3: Fold and Trim

Reposition the cardstock again along the next line. For this example, it’s the very short line between A2 and A3. Click the image below to enlarge if needed.

Fold the paper template over again. Use the Add a Quarter ruler to add the 1/4″ seam allowances and trim the excess with a rotary cutter.

Tip: if the paper is stuck to the fabric, you can lift it away (gently) from the seam as needed.
Foundation Paper Piecing

A3: Sew

Sew the next piece in the same manner as before. Align the A3 edge to be sewn with the freshly cut edge. In the example below, the small blue square does not need to take up the entire space of the trimmed A1- A2 edges.

Position the fabric square in the middle of the area to be sewn as shown below. Flip the whole unit over if needed and hold it up to the light to ensure that the fabric square will cover the full line between A2/A3 plus seam allowances.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Below is what my unit looks like after sewing the line between A2/A3. It’s ok if the sewn line is slightly longer than 1/4″ on both sides. If you are worried about the seam coming apart at the ends, you can backstitch at either end.

Foundation Paper Piecing

A3: Press
A4: Fold

Repeat the prior steps: open up the A3 piece and press from the front with the wooden seam roller. Then fold over the next line (A2/A4) using the cardstock or other thin, hard edge for stability.
Foundation Paper Piecing

A4: Trim

Repeat the same step as before: use the Add a Quarter ruler to add 1/4″ seam and trim the excess.

Fold the paper template back into position and flip the paper over again so that you can see the proper angle to align the next piece (the green A4 rectangle).

Pieced Primrose Quilt

A4: Sew

Line up the A4 rectangle right sides together. Flip the paper over and sew on the line between A2/A4 with 1/4″ extra on either end of the drawn line. Below is what this next step looks like:

Pieced Primrose

A4: Press
A5: Fold and Trim

Repeat the same steps over and over again: press the green A4 rectangle (below left), fold the paper back (not shown), trim the excess (below right).

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A5: Sew and Press

Align the A5 square (light blue), sew the seam and press from the top.

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A6 and A7: Fold, Trim, Sew and Press!

Fold the paper, trim the excess, Sew A6 (light purple), press A6 (below left).
Fold, trim, sew, and press the A7 unit (light blue square, below right).

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A8: Fold, Trim, Sew and Press

This will complete all of the sewing for the A side of the block!

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

Sewing the B Units

Now repeat the process for the B half of the block. It has a total of 10 units to piece. Remember to fold, trim, sew and press each and every unit, just like before!

Notice that I used a triangle instead of a square for the B10 unit. This made more efficient use of the fabric when cutting, but it’s still the same process as before.

Foundation paper piecing

Once you’ve sewn all of the Section A and Section B blocks, trim them along the outer dashed lines using a rotary cutter and ruler. Be sure you don’t trim off your triangle points! At this point, your paper should still be intact to keep the blocks stable.

Paper Pieced Primrose by Christa Watson

Sew the A and B unit together. Then sew the oversized corner triangle to the bottom of the block. It’s oversized so that you don’t have to line it up perfectly. (See below, left).

Trim the excess fabric from the triangle to match the rest of the block. (see below right).

Paper Pieced Primrose

After making one test block, continue in the same manner to sew the number of blocks you need for the size you are making. I’m creating this quilt in both the warm and cool colorways of my Abstract Garden fabric line, but the process is exactly the same!

Pieced Primrose Blocks by Christa WatsonAbove is the same Pieced Primrose block in warm and cool colorways of Abstract Garden.

Next week, we will choose from several different layouts, and start sewing the blocks together into bigger units!

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

Making of Terrace Tiles Part 1 – Quilt Design, Cutting Fabrics

Now that my Gridwork fabric line has started arriving in quilt shops, I want to share more about the quilts I made from it. Over the next 4 weeks I’ll share some detailed progress pics of the three Terrace Tiles Quilts I made in three different colors.

Terrace Tiles Quilts

Terrace Tiles Quilts were first shown at Fall 2019 Quilt Market in Houston Texas

With 27 different fabrics in this collection, I wanted to make it easier to work with so I organized Gridwork into 3 distinct colorways with 9 fabrics each: Amethyst, Breeze, and Citron.

Gridwork by Christa Watson

All 27 fabrics from my Gridwork Fabric Line

I love designing fat quarter friendly quilts, and wanted to sew up some sample quilts that would effectively showcase the different Gridwork colorways. I also wanted to offer a quick and easy quilt that could be made entirely from any of the Gridwork fat quarter bundles.

Gridwork by Christa WatsonGridwork 9-piece fat quarter bundles in Amethyst, Breeze, and Citron

The quilt sizes included in the pattern are Crib (1 FQ bundle), Throw (2 FQ bundles) and Twin/Full (3 FQ bundles). Each quilt size is completely made from fat quarters, including the scrappy binding. You can mix and match any of the fat quarters from the line to make a scrappy looking quilt, or you can use multiple bundles from the same color group for a more coordinated look. The choice is up to you!

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

Click here to get the Terrace Tiles Quilt Pattern – PDF Version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles Quilt Pattern – Paper Version

Because I  wanted to show off this fun design in all 3 colorways, I decided to make three quilts: two of them are Crib size using one bundle each of Amethyst and Citron; and the third one is Throw size using two fat quarter bundles (or half yards) of the Breeze colorway. Here are all my yummy pieces, cut and ready to sew!

Amethyst ColorwayGridwork Amethyst by Christa Watson

Breeze Colorway

Gridwork Breeze Colorway by Christa Watson

Citron Colorway

Gridwork Citron Colorway

Click here to get fat quarter bundles or yardage of my Gridwork fabric.

Cutting tip: I love to assembly line cut and piece so I’ll usually stack 4 fat quarters on top of each other for speedy cutting. When making the scrappy binding, I’ll go ahead and cut one strip from each fat quarter at the same time I’m cutting the block units.

Stay tuned for next time when I show what the blocks look like when they are all sewn!

Registration Opens today for the Minnesota Quilter’s Annual Show in June!

I hope you all know by now how much I absolutely love traveling all over to meet enthusiastic quilters and make new friends! I especially enjoy going to places I’ve never been before, especially when it’s a long-time regional show such as the Minnesota Quilter’s Show  & Conference.

Minnesota Quilter's Show

Can you believe they held the first show in 1976 and it’s been running continuously now for the past 20 years. How cool is that?? Well today is opening day for registration, and show dates are June 11-13 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Minnesota quilters get priority registration starting today, and non-members can register beginning on February 3rd.

Here’s What I’m Teaching:

Workshop: Improv Piecing – Facets
Wednesday, June 10, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Dive into improv piecing, but in a more structured way when you make this scrap friendly quilt!
The pattern can be found in my book Machine Quilting with Style.

Facets

Lecture: How Do I Quilt It?
Thursday, June 11, 12 -1 PM

Based on the easy-to-follow methods I teach in my books, I’ll share my best tips and tricks for machine quilting success!

Books by Christa Watson

Lecture: Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting
Thursday, June 11, 4-5 PM

Learn how the modern quilting aesthetic can be applied to the machine quilting process!
I’ll share lots of eye-candy examples from my books and patterns.

Christa Watson trunk show of quilts

Workshop: Walking Foot Wonders
Friday, June 12, 8:30-4:30

Get out of the ditch and create dynamic quilt designs with your walking foot!
Detail below is spiral quilting on my Sparkling Stars Quilt.

Walking Foot Wonders

Workshop: Free-Motion Favorites
Saturday, June 13, 8:30-4:30

Learn fast, fun, and fool proof free-motion!!
Detail below is jagged stipple on my Terrace Tiles Quilt.

Free Motion Quilting

If you’ll be in the area – I hope you’ll stop by and see me. It should be a rip-roaring event!

Click here for Minnesota Quilter’s Quilt show info.

Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 2 – Cutting the Fabric

This week we will work on cutting out all of the fabric pieces to make your blocks. The cutting chart is on pages 3-4 of the Pieced Primrose quilt pattern. I include instructions to cut enough fabric for 1 block (for practice), 16 blocks for the wall size, or 80 blocks for the throw size.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Abstract Garden Fabric

Above is the one of the bundles of fabrics I used from my Abstract Garden fabric line.
Click here to get a kit in the cool or warm colorway.

When it comes to cutting, I like to speed through the process as fast as possible by layering multiple fabrics on top of each other and cutting strips, then cutting those strips into subunits. I was generous in my cutting calculations so that there would be enough fabric to cover each piece as it’s sewn.

Refer to the pattern to cut each of your fabrics into piles as shown below. If your fabric colors are different, just make a note in the pattern and label your piles so you know what is what.Abstract Garden Fabric

How to Measure a Foundation Paper Pieced Template

I still want to teach foundation paper piecing to those of you who are aren’t following my particular pattern because the methods are still the same. So here’s how you can easily figure out how big of a piece to cut:

For each section of the foundation template, measure the length of the longest line and add one inch. For example, look at the section A1 below and let’s figure out how big the piece of fabric needs to be so that it will cover the entire area on all sides:

Foundation Paper Piece Measuring

Measure the length of both of the long lines on either side of the A1. In this case, one side was about 4 3/4″ and the other is 4 7/8″ so I just rounded that up to 5. Then I added 1″ for seam allowances, so the LENGTH of the piece to cut is 6 inches.

Now measure the width. At one end it comes to a point. At the other end, it is slightly wider than 1 1/4″. Adding an inch makes the WIDTH to cut  2 1/4″ which is close enough. Therefore, each A1 piece will be cut 2 1/4″ x 6″.

Now If I wanted to save some fabric, I could cut a slightly bigger rectangle and cut it in half on the diagonal to get 2 pieces, but honestly that will be more trouble than it’s worth trying to line up that diagonal properly. I’d rather work with rectangles and have a little bit of scraps left over.

So you could repeat this process to figure out how big to cut each piece in the design. But don’t worry, I’ve already done that for you in the pattern – so just follow the chart given.

Most good foundation paper patterns should figure this out for you, so that all you have to do is cut what you are used to: strips, squares, and rectangles (and maybe the occasional triangle).

Homework: Cut All the Pieces for Your Size

Refer to the chart on pages 3-4 of the pattern for the number of strips to cut, and then the number of units to subcut. Just remember to measure twice, cut once! So double check your measurements as you go. Since I made two versions of this quilt in warm and cool, my cut units for both quilts look like this:

Pieced Primrose Cut Units

Click here for coordinating fabric from my Abstract Garden collection from Benartex.

Next week, we will start sewing the blocks! If you’d like to practice first, just cut enough fabric for one block from scraps so you can see how the whole process works. Remember to share your progress on instagram #piecedprimrosequilt or in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group!

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

Another Colourwerx Quilt Along – Featuring Gridwork

I’m excited to tell you about the PaintBox quilt along being hosted by my talented friend Linda Sullivan from Colourwerx, starting on January 28th. The version below is made from my new Gridwork fabric collection and I’ve even put together some quilt kits to make it.

PaintBox by Colourwerx

Click here to get the PaintBox quilt kit featuring Gridwork.

Linda is such a talented designer and her patterns are top notch! I love that she makes each of her patterns in several different fabric lines so you can see how they look in various colors.

Click here to get the PaintBox quilt pattern from Colourwerx – PDF Version
Click here to get the Paintbox quilt pattern from Colourwerx – Paper Version

You can sign up for Linda’s newsletter to get QAL updates (they are free), or you can join her facebook group where she’ll be sharing and encouraging you to make this amazing quilt! Here’s the complete schedule below:

Don’t you just want to make this gorgeous quilt? All it takes is one jelly roll plus two 1 yard cuts of background fabric. That’s enough the make the 48″ x 48″ size quilt top plus binding.

Paint Box Quilt Gridwork Fabric

Click here to get the PaintBox quilt kit made from Gridwork. 
Click here to get the PaintBox quilt pattern from Colourwerx.

I’m going to follow along and I can’t wait to see all the gorgeous quilts!

Book Review: Modern Curves and Bold Stripes

I love having talented friends and am pleased as punch when they do amazing things! Well today I want to tell you about this brad new book written by two of my friends, Heather Black and Daisy Aschehoug. It’s called Modern Curves and Bold Stripes, published by C&T publishing.

Modern Curves and BoldStripes

Click here to get a copy of Modern Curves and Bold Stripes.

The premise of the book is 15 fabulous modern designs featuring stripes and curves. Heather designed 8 of them and Daisy designed 7. And let me tell you – they are all so fab!! And one of the most clever things about this book is that it gives instructions to make all of the designs with either a pieced stripe or a printed stripe. How cool is that??

Heather and I have collaborated on several quilt patterns in the past and she’s best known for making amazing curved designs with easy to follow instructions. So if you love curved designs but have been holding back on learning how to piece them, then this is the book for you!

Take a look at a few of Heather’s quilts from the book:

This is the same quilt made twice. It’s called Tidbits. One of them is made with pieced stripes and the other is made from printed strips. Can you tell which is which?? They are both fabulous!!

This next quilt below is called Aurora and it’s just stunning, don’t you think? The stripes are all pieced from solids and I love how she layered it with the curves on top. All of Heather’s designs are such a visual feast and are much easier to piece than they look!

Here’s the second version of Aurora made with a printed fabric to create the background stripe. Isn’t it amazing what a different look it gives to the quilt?

This quilt below is called Retro Spin and I think it’s my favorite one in the book.

There are just so many amazing modern quilts in this book. Heather and Daisy are such amazing designers and I just love everything that they make. I keep reminding myself that I’d like to go more modern with my designs and these gals really inspire me!!

Here are a few more:

Below is Perfect Dozen, made from both pieced and printed stripes in the blocks.

Sunset Horizons, Version 1:

Sunset Horizons Version 2:

I remember when Heather was designing her Festoons quilt below. She showed me her design in progress and it was so neat to see the evolution of a design. She has a knack for designing asymmetrical quilts that are still very balanced.

Here’s the last pair I’ll show you today, and these are just Heather’s quilts. Trust me – Daisy’s are just as stunning, too!

Portals version 1: gotta love that lime and chartreuse!

Portals version 2 – isn’t it amazing how different a quilt looks when made from different fabrics??

The quilting is just as much eye candy as the pieced designs! There are a total of 24 quilts in the book, including the duplicates with pieced or printed stripes. If I had time, I’d make every single one. But you know what – sometimes it’s just fun to look at all the pretty pictures and dream!

This is just a taste of all the fabulous quilts in this book. Be sure to pick up a copy and make a resolution to learn a new technique this year!

Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 1 – Getting Started

Welcome to a new year and a new quilt along! I just love quilt alongs – don’t you? To ease into making this quilt, all you have to do this week is gather your materials and read through the introduction below. Then we will dive in and start cutting next week! For anyone new to the blog: click THIS LINK for the full supply list and QAL schedule.

Paper Pieced Primrose

What is Paper Piecing?

First of all, there are two techniques known as paper piecing and they are completely different methods. For our Pieced Primrose quilt, we are going to be doing “Foundation” paper piecing, which means that fabric will be sewn to paper foundations and then ripped away before you assemble the quilt. The foundations stabilize the quilt blocks and allow for more accuracy than what you could achieve with regular piecing techniques.

Foundation Paper Piecing

This is what “foundation” paper piecing looks like.

The other technique that we are NOT doing is called “English” paper piecing, which means that fabric shapes are cut out, wrapped around a paper template and then sewn together by hand along the edges. Think of those super popular hexie quilts or grandmother’s flower garden designs. It’s a great technique, just not what we are using during this quilt along.

Foundation Paper Piecing Pros and Cons

So back to foundation paper piecing (FPP for short)! FPP is super simple to achieve because all you have to do is sew on a marked line. You generally photocopy the FPP pattern (also known as a template) and make as many copies as you need for as many blocks as you are making. You can easily sew together wonky shapes because the paper basically does the work of matching everything together for you at the correct angle.

Below is an image of the foundation paper pieced template that’s included in my Pieced Primrose pattern. Please note that the image below is NOT to scale and can’t be used for purposes of this QAL. It’s an example only so you can see what’s included in the pattern. You’ll need to purchase a copy of the pattern itself to get a usable template to photocopy.

Paper Pieced Template

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Pattern – PDF version
Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Pattern – Paper version

The downside of some paper pieced block patterns is that they are larger than what will fit on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. In that case you’ll need to tape multiple papers of the foundation template together. However, with Pieced Primrose, I purposefully designed the quilt block so that it ALL fits on one piece of paper as shown above. After all, I want to make things easy for you so you’ll actually enjoy the process!!

Printing the Block Template:

If you’ve purchased the paper version of my Pieced Primrose pattern, all you need to do is remove the staple in the middle of the pattern, then you’ll have an intact sheet of paper that you can photocopy as many times as needed.

If you’ve purchased the PDF version of Pieced Primrose, it’s even easier. All you need to do is print off the FPP template page from your computer as many times as you need. What could be easier?? But here’s the catch. Please, please, please REMEMBER to print off one copy first and make sure your printer settings are set to print ACTUAL SIZE. It’s formatted to print as a “spread” meaning that the full template will print horizontally on one 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper.

You can test it with the little 1″ square box that’s included in the pattern. Also, make sure you’ve saved the PDF download into a folder on your computer where you can find it again. In all cases when using PDF patterns, download the pattern, save it first, and then print it out if needed. You’ll have way fewer technical issues this way. Once you know you have an accurate template, then print off as many copies as you need for as many blocks as you are making.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern

Pieced Primrose Pattern Cover

A Word about FPP Paper

Honestly, I just print my templates on regular copy paper. It’s easy and cheap and readily available. However, feel free to use specialty paper if desired. The choice is yours and you are the boss of your quilt!

For reference, the smaller wall size is made from 16 blocks so you’ll need 16 copies of the FPP pattern template. The throw size is made from 80 blocks so print off 80 copies (plus an extra or two if you want to make a test block.) You can always adjust the size of your quilt by making more or fewer blocks, or adding borders.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Throw Size

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Quilt kit in Wall or Throw size, warm or cool colorway.

Foundation Paper Piecing Uses More Fabric

I put that in all caps and bold to remind you that you that Yes, FPP does use more fabric and you WILL have a large pile of scraps left over. But here’s my philosophy when it comes to FPP: you can either waste time or you can waste fabric.

You can “waste” time getting frustrated by trying to scrimp and save fabric by cutting all pieces exactly. But unless you are a FPP pro, what usually happens is that once you sew the snugly fitting piece, it doesn’t end up covering the entire area and you end up ripping it out and/or giving up. Or you ruin the fabric with too much “Frog” sewing (aka “rip-it! rip-it!”). So do yourself a favor and be ok with the fact that wasting a little fabric is justified in the pursuit of learning a new skill.

Paper Piecing Scraps

Use your FPP scraps for making pet beds for your favorite critters: throw the scraps into a pillowcase, then sew the end shut when it’s fully stuffed.

If the scraps really, really bother you, then I recommend making a test block out of scrap fabrics first. Cut enough for one block using the measurements given in the pattern. If you don’t like the amount of scraps it generates, then trim the pieces down smaller for the next practice block and see if that works out better for you.

Once you are comfortable with how much extra fabric you need for each piece, then cut out all the blocks that way. To figure out how big to cut a “snug” piece, measure the longest line of each sewn piece and then add 1/2″ for seam allowances. I was generous and added a full inch, just to be safe! Just remember, you can always cut away extra fabric, but you can never add more after it’s been cut.

I know that was a lot of words I just wrote. If it all sounds like gobbledy-gook at this point – don’t worry – I’m going to walk you through the cutting starting next week – so it will be all okay 🙂

Tools and Needles and Thread, Oh MY!!

These tools are not absolutely required, but they sure make the job easier! I’m going to show how to make the blocks using these tools so I highly recommend them.

Paper Piecing Notions

Click here to get my favorite notions for foundation paper piecing.

Good quality needles: I really like the Superior needles – size 80/12. I use them with size 50 weight thread and they are nice and sharp to pierce the paper and make it easy to remove. The paper may dull the needle a bit so be sure to use a fresh needle when starting this project and plan to change your needle after sewing about 20 blocks. Then be sure to use another fresh needle when quilting, or change it if you get a loud clunking sound while sewing. That means your needle is getting dull.

I’ll probably mention this again when sewing, but use a shorter stitch length when sewing as that will make more holes in the paper to make it easier to remove.

Add a quarter ruler – this is the most important tool for FPP. It gives nice crisp lines when you are folding your paper back (more about that later) and ensures that you can cut the excess seam allowances without making a huge mess. I prefer the 12″ add a quarter ruler so that it will work with most sizes of paper pieced units.

Wooden seam roller: I recommend pressing each and every seam in your block as you go. With this design that is a LOT of pressing. So to make the job easier, you can keep a wooden seam roller right at your sewing table and use it instead of an iron for the individual pieced units. Then press the entire block when it’s finished.

My Aurifil thread collections: these are all 50 weight cotton in colors, neutrals or variegated. When piecing with colorful fabrics, I like to use colorful thread that will blend in so I don’t see the thread peeking out from the seams.

Aurifil Thread by Christa Watson

Click here to get my Aurifil thread kits – 12 large spools of premium 50 weight cotton.

I will usually piece with 1 spool of colorful thread, and then quilt with another 1-2 colors so that I can make sure I have enough for the whole project. The nice thing about using cotton for piecing AND quilting is that I can use up any leftover bobbins when making my next quilt!

Gather Your Materials and show off your pretties!

I know that not all of you follow me in all the places, but if you are on Facebook or Instagram, I’d love to see your progress and what fabrics you are using. Use the hashtag #piecedprimrosequilt on instagram, or share pics in my Facebook group ChristaQuilts. If you are the blogging sort, you can include a link to your blog in the comments, and of course you can always email me your pics, too. I love to see it all.

Pieced Primrose Pattern

Feel free to use the yardage requirements as given in the pattern above, or bust your stash and use up a ton of scraps in similar colors. Remember – just because the pattern calls for one blue or pink, that doesn’t mean you can’t use 20 – right??

If you have any questions – feel free to leave a comment. This was a lot of info but I’m ready to get started. Meet me back here and the same time and place next week for the next step!!

Links at a Glance

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

quilting details