Monday, January 21, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL : The 4-patch (Block 1)

We are so very excited to share our very first block in the Hand Pieced QAL.  Nine blocks and 2 possible settings with lots of opportunity for learning and quiet sewing for everyone!  (If you missed it, please visit the Hand Pieced QAL kick-off page for the big reveal as well as coloring pages.)  

The wonderful 4-patch block is so very versatile.  It is both fun and quick to make plus it will provide practice for both a beginning and a experienced hand-piecer.

I've chosen to cascade colors down my quilt (set on point) so my prints are purposely set in the block.  Make sure you download the coloring pages so you can plan out your fabric placement.

We can't wait to see your finished blocks - the link-up opens Thursday!  (See the overall QAL post for more information on how to link-up.)

As needed, refer back to our tutorials (including video) on each of the hand piecing skills:
Fabric requirements are available as well as some suggestions of useful tools and notions and a coloring page.  (See overall QAL page for more information.)

Kristin is hosting the tutorial for the 4-Patch block on Simple Handmade Everyday.  Click image below to visit tutorial and enjoy time piecing this week's block!

Thanks to Fat Quarter Shop and Famore for sponsoring the block tutorials!

The link-up for the 4 Patch block - block 1 in our QAL - opens on Thursday, January 24!  Finished blocks can be shared in any weekly link-up, however, so don't worry if you get behind.

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, January 18, 2019

2018 Temperatures

I had so much fun recording the daily high temperatures in 2018.  I choose hexies because it gave me a chance to both make the pieces ahead of time and to practice my hexie sewing. 

Clearly, as the photo of the back demonstrates, I still have a way to go in my hexie skills - the back is a bit of a hot mess.  (In my defense, this is only my second hexie project - Random was my first.)

As a quilting design, I choose to put several spirals.  I really like the way it looks but it was a bit of a bear to do because I didn't really think things through before starting and found myself in tough corners!

I've started on my temperature quilt for 2019.  I am staying with the same color palette so that I can compare 2018 to 2019.  I decided to drop the hexie and go for simple 2'' squares, hand pieced.  I have managed to keep up daily - only takes a moment.  This photo is through January 9. 

You can see already how different the year is shaping up.  We had a high of 71 degrees on January 1!  I am thinking about recording the low temperatures with big stitch quilting when it is all assembled.

Comparing the two years is going to be fun.  For my 2018 quilt, I am going to bind it with the colors from my temperature scale and will use the hexies (shown in the photo below) as a label on the back.(Want to make your own temperature quilt?  See the tutorial!)

For reference, here is the scale I am using.  I am actually in the process of turning these hexies into the label for the back of the quilt.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Large Scale Paper Piecing

I love paper piecing and I had the chance recently to take a class from Nicole Neblett at Mama Love Quilts called Big & Bold Freezer Paper Piecing.  Nicole is a member of our guild and will also be teaching this very same class at QuiltCon.

How lucky for us to get a sneak preview!

My quilt is roughly 20'' square - pillow sized on purpose.   What looks like black in the photo is actually a deep navy color - the same color as the stripes.

I am thinking about whether I should bring a little blue up into that upper left corner - what do you think?

The technique itself was a lot of fun - like putting together a puzzle.

I brought along  Precision Quilting Tools Wool Ironing Mat (affiliate link)   and it worked really well for pressing the freezer paper to the fabric.

Nicole is on an episode of Fresh Quilting demonstrating this technique - check it out!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL - Frequently Asked Questions

We've been getting lots of great questions about the Hand Pieced QAL and thought it would be helpful to gather them together in one place.  (I'll keep adding to this post as more questions come up.)

Need to get caught up?  Review the Hand Pieced QAL Kickoff and Reveal post.

Is there a charge to participate?
No. This is a completely free quilt along to spread the love of hand piecing.
How do I “join”?
Basically, just start sewing!  Tutorials will be posted each Monday with the instructions for a block. Consider signing up for the QAL newsletter and subscribing to our blogs - Elm Street Quilts and Simple Handmade Everyday - as a way to keep up to date on the QAL.  You can interact with other QAL participants by joining the Hand Pieced QAL Facebook group and visiting others through the weekly link-up.  (More on that later.)
When do we start making blocks?
The first tutorial will be on Monday, January 21, 2019.
Will you give instructions for all the blocks at one time?
We will post instructions for each block, once a week on Mondays, starting on January 21, 2019.  
 I've never hand pieced before. Is it ok to be a beginner?
Yes!  Our primary goal of the QAL is to introduce fellow quilters to the fun of hand piecing.  The basic blocks will come first and the skills used to sew a 4-patch, for example, will be used each week to construct the actual block.   There will be videos along the way too.  We've already published some basic tutorials that you can practice with right now - marking stitching lines, running stitch, and dealing with seams.
Are there tools or notions I should buy? 
You likely have everything you will need.  To see our favorite sewing notions, check out this post of Patty's and of Kristin's.
How much fabric do I need?
Fabric requirements are available as well as coloring pages you can download!

I love each of the quilts you made. Do we have to use the same number of fabrics and colors as one your quilts?
Absolutely not! Color choices are completely your own. Have fun with it!

Do I have to make the blocks the same way as you did?
The blocks need to be “visually” the same as the block posted, but you can use different construction methods to make the sub-units. For instance, if you would rather make a flying geese unit with two half square triangles, that’s fine.  
But does “visually” mean I have to color my blocks the same way?
No, you can vary your fabric placement as way that you would like.  Go completely scrappy. Make the quilt with just 1 color and a background fabric
What kind of changes can I make to my quilt?
It’s your quilt! Do whatever makes you happy! The only requirements to be eligible to win a weekly prize is that the blocks must be the same as a block from the QAL plus the block and the quilt top must be hand pieced. To win be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to have a completed quilt top with at least 5 QAL blocks.
Do I have to make all nine of the blocks?
No. Do as many as you would like and enter them in the link-up as you go. To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to have a completed quilt top with at least 5 blocks.
 What if I want to substitute your 4 patch block with a 9-patch block in order to better use my fabric?
To enter the weekly giveaway, your block will need to visually match our block - which means no, you can't change it to a 9 patch if you want to enter that block in the giveaway.
However, it is your quilt and we want you to really like your quilt when you are done.  Make the substitution you want and just don't enter that block into a weekly giveaway.  There are 9 weekly giveaways so plenty of other chances to win. Just remember, to enter the grand prize giveaway, you will need to have 5 QAL blocks in your quilt top.

Will you give directions for blocks of different sizes?
No.  The directions and tutorials will be for 6'' finished (6 1/2 '' unfinished) blocks.  You are welcome to make them a different size but will have to do the math yourself.
I'm unsure of which layout I am going to choose.  Any advice?
You don’t need to decide now - just make sure you have ample supply of background fabric so you can play with layout options once your blocks are done. Block assembly is the same and the sashing is the same for both layouts. See fabric requirements for the requirements.
I love each of your quilt layouts but I think I want to do something different.  Is that going to be ok? 
Yes!  This is your quilt so please set the blocks in a layout that you want.  The only requirement for entering the grand prize drawing is that at least 5 of the blocks from the QAL are in a quilt top.  Just make sure you have the additional background fabric for your fantastic layout.  We can't wait to see it! 
What happens if I don't make all the blocks?
You can make as many or as few blocks as you want.  For a chance to win one of the wonderful sponsor prizes, enter the blocks into a weekly link-up.  If you don’t get the quilt top done during the QAL, don’t worry about it. We hope the QAL will spark an interest in hand piecing and you’ll get the quilt done in the future.
What happens if I am away and can’t make a block in a specific week?
Make the block when you can and enter it into the next weekly link-up.  There will always be a link-up open and you can enter any block into any weekly link-up.  For example, the very first block is going to be the 4-patch.  If you don’t get the block done - or maybe lose it in your sewing room - you can enter it into the link-up on week 5 or week 7. We know everyone is busy, so we’ve tried to make this easy as we can for you to catch up and still be in a drawing for prizes.  
Will there be instructions on how to quilt the finished quilt top?
No.  We will be only provide instructions and tutorials on how to make the blocks and assemble the quilt top.  We will certainly share how we are quilting our versions. and we’d encourage everyone to share their ideas for inspiration as well.
Do our quilt tops need to be finished for the grand prize link-up?
You will need to have just a quilt top - i.e. flimsy - with at least 5 blocks sewn together.  You do not need to have created an actual quilt - i.e. with batting, quilting etc.

How do I enter to win prizes?
There will be a weekly link up.
I’ve never done a link-up before.  What do I need to know?
You will need three basic things - a photo of your block a computer, and a place to share your photo - a blog, Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr.  We’ve written a step by step tutorial . 
Can I post my block photo in our facebook group and link-up from there?  
No, you can not.  Photos have to be shared in a place that is publically available to everyone for the link-up to work correctly.  Our Facebook group is private.
Can I just use my phone instead of a computer to join the link-up?
You really need a computer.  While it is possible with a phone, it can be tricky.
I’ve read the tutorial and I am still confused.  How can I enter the weekly link-up?
You can enter via email.   Send an email to and include your photo.  In the subject line write the block name and number.  Your photo won’t show up in a place that others can see but it will be entered into the drawing.
How will I know whether I won a prize?
We will send you an email!  And we’ll give you 72 hours to get back with us confirming that you are interested in the prize.  If we don’t hear back from you, we will choose someone else.  Our sponsors are awesome so don't miss that email!

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, January 11, 2019


Every quarter, Curated Quilts issues a challenge for a mini quilt and provides a single word prompt and a color palette.

Some of the quilts that link-up are selected to be featured in the magazine.  The latest challenge arrived right in the middle of the holidays with a deadline of January 2.

This was my first attempt - an improv curve using bias tape applique.   As you can see, I never buried those threads or finished the edge.  (I did however nail the bias tape part!)

While I had enormous fun putting it together, I wasn't sure it was any good.  So I started over, made some quick cardboard templates and hand pieced my curvy river.

Turns out small scale curves are really hard - even hand piecing. This mini is 11'' x 11'' and as a result, the smallest error resulted in issues and very few of the seams lined up.  For the quilting pattern, I choose something with less threads to bury.  Pebbles on such a small scale were fun.

I started this December 31 and finished it January 1 so it was a quick finish.

My mini did not get selected but I love these challenges and I'll keep trying!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Carolina Quilt Project

Hurricane season 2018 was rough on the Carolina's - both Florence and Michael came barreling through leaving a path of destruction.

Carole from My Carolina Home is organizing a quilt drive to support those who have lost everything.  Carole says -

The Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project is well underway, collecting new and nearly new bed size quilts for the victims of Hurricane Florence and Michael on the North Carolina coast.  Even if you do not sew or quilt, there is a way for you to contribute, and I’ll get to that in a minute.  Just to define the scope of our efforts, the latest reports are that over 4500 homes have been totally destroyed and more than 700,000 homes have sustained damage mainly by flooding.  So, as you might guess, we need a lot of quilts. 
The deadline is to collect these quilts  is this summer.  Carole has secured several drop off points in North Carolina plus there is a mailing address you can send a finished quilt to.  She is also compiling a list of LAQ who will finish that UFO quilt top so that it can be donated.

I've got two quilts I am going to send - one still needs a binding.  I made these quilts a few years ago and they have been sitting unused in a closet ever since.  I love them but I think someone else will love them even more.

Find all the information here on Carole's blog.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, January 7, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL : QAL Kick-off

Ta Da!

Introducing our Hand Pieced QAL quilt!  Our beautiful sampler consists of nine 6'' blocks with options for two quilt top settings.  Fabric requirements are available as well as some suggestions of useful tools and notions.   (See overall QAL page for more information.)

The Big Reveal

We hope you love the quilt and are excited to get started piecing!  As you need to, refer back to our tutorials (including video) on each of the hand piecing skills:

The quilt we designed for the QAL features 9 blocks, each of which finish at 6'' (6½'' unfinished).  We choose this size to keep the quilt manageable for everyone. 

The blocks are comprised of basic units - 4 patches, half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles and flying geese.  The first blocks in the QAL will examine construction of these blocks in depth.  The final five blocks are a bit more complicated and use these basic building blocks.  (We have chosen to name each of the 5 blocks after characters in Friendship Album 1933 - Eula, Bess, Dorothy, Florence, and Emmeline!)  For a few of these, between us, we'll share some variations on assembly approaches.

Instructions will be shared for 2 different layouts.  The first is a traditional grid (Kristin's choice) and will finish at 23  x 23''.  (Visit Simple Handmade Everyday to see Kristin's quilt!)

The second is set on-point (Patty's choice) and will finish at 32 x 32 ''.

You can download coloring pages for each layout.

You are also welcome to design your own layout and, of course, arrange the blocks differently that we have done in whatever layout you've chosen.

The Schedule
  • New block tutorials will be available every Monday for 9 weeks.  The first tutorial is Monday, January 21.
  • Sponsored link-ups will open every Thursday and remain open for a week.  (A new one will open each time one closes.)  Any block you completed that week can be entered.  The first link-up opens Thursday, January 24.
  • The final link-up will be open from Thursday, March 28 through April 30.
  • Prizes to be awarded weekly - keep reading to learn more!

The Basic Rules
  • Your finished block must visually match the design of a block from the Hand Pieced QAL and be entirely hand pieced.  You are welcome to change the size of the block or change the units used to construct the block - using HST to make a flying geese block.  
  • Weekly link-ups will open each Thursday for you to link up whichever blocks you finished that week.  Each block shared earns you a chance for a prize from that week's amazing and awesome sponsor.   Blocks can only be shared in one weekly link-up - duplicates will be disqualified.
  • In order to link-up your block, you'll first share the block via your blog, Instagram, FLICKR or Pinterest. If you don't have access to any of these, we will offer you the opportunity to email your block.  More on this, including a link-up tutorial, soon.

Please don't worry about falling behind - the QAL is supposed to be fun.  Just link-up the blocks as you finish them.  Have a marathon sewing session one week and finish 3 blocks?  Link up each block individually in a link-up and each will earn you a chance to win that week's prize.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, we've assembled some amazing grand prize packages.  There will be four Grand Prize winners.  The Grand Prize link-up will open on March 28.  To be eligible for a grand prize, you must:
  • Share a photo of a completed quilt top (i.e. the flimsy) or a completed quilt.
  • The quilt top must be entirely hand pieced.
  • Your quilt top must use at least five unique blocks from the Hand Pieced QAL and must be complete - i.e. borders attached.

The Sponsors

(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)


Colonial Needle



Fat Quarter Shop 

Green Fairy Quilts  

Jinny Beyer


 (Website   | Facebook  |  |Instagram)

 (Website   | Facebook  |  |Instagram)

Robot Mom Sews
 (Website   |  |Instagram)

Snuggly Monkey
 (Website   | Facebook  |  |Instagram)

Stay in Touch and Join our Community

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Finishes

Happy New Year!

Before we get further into 2019, I wanted to collect up my finishes for 2018 into one post.  (Although I have a feeling I'm missing a few!)

First my wall hanging or larger sized quilts.  Most of these projects were worked over the course of many months!

Top row is Perfectly ImperfectScrappy Celebration and Encouragement - all three quilts that gave me such great pleasure to work on.   In the middle row, there is my Christmas tree wall hanging, my first commissioned quilt Delightful Desert, and a donation quilt I created as part of a blog hop - Jelly Roll Ripples.  Finally, the bottom row is quilts from QALs.  The first is from Magnolia Mystery QAL and the next two - Scraps, and Oh My Darling - were from Fat Quarter Shop.

I do enjoy making minis and made quite a few of them this year.

In addition to these quilts, there was at least one table runner, multiple pillows and two dozen zipped bags of all shapes and sizes!

I'm ready for more making in 2019!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

One Monthly Goal January Goal Setting Link-up


Welcome to 2019 and our first link-up party of the year!   Did you see the overall announcement for the sponsors and featured designers for 2019?  It will blow you away!

New to One Monthly Goal?  Welcome!  To join, share a photo of your project, some words about what you want to accomplish in a blog post, an Instagram post (tutorial) or a post on Flickr and add that photo to the link-up.  Return at the end of the month and share your results.  You can read about the event and the rules on the main event page.

We have wonderful sponsors this month - three (3) winners will be randomly chosen from those that link up in both the goal and the finish event.  

Fat Quarter Shop offers a tremendous selection of fabric, notions, books and just about anything you will need for your project. Consider their Sew Sampler box to receive a monthly surprise delivery of fabric and fun.  Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky participant.

Aurifil is home to a beautiful rainbow of thread in all weights, perfect for any of your sewing and quilting needs.  My favorite product is the designer collection boxes which coordinate with various fabric lines and this month's prize will be a large spool thread set from our featured designer!  (How cool is that?)

I'm excited about our first featured designer for 2019 - Mathew Boudreaux   - aka Mister Domestic!

I just love Mathew's tag line - Spreading joy and positivity through sewing and fabric play.  My discovery of Mathew happened at QuiltCon two years ago when I saw a crowd of quilters enjoying his engaging and fun presentation and I've been a follower of Youtube and Instagram every since!

Mathew designs fabric for Art Gallery and has two lines available - Aura and Loved to Pieces.  Both fabric collections are bright and beautiful, each inspired by adventures with his daughter.  In addition to fabric, Mathew designs quilts and other fabric centered projects.  His love of EPP and weaving is a feature in many of his designs.

Finally, Mathew is a teacher and shares countless tutorials on his Youtube channel.  His enthusiasm and contagious laugh will keep you watching while you learn a new technique.

One Monthly Goal Mister Domestic graphic credit to Mister Domestic
Aura, Optical Illusion Weave, Tree topperTumbling Blocks Weave, and Aurifil thread box.
Quilt and tree topper credit - Mathew Boudreaux aka Mister Domestic
Fabric- Art Gallery Fabric; Thread - Aurifil
Mathew is offering one lucky winner 5 pdf patterns including Heart Weave, Improv Flower, and Optical Illusion Weave. You can find Mathew on his blog, on Instagram, on Facebook, his pattern shop, and - of course - on Youtube.

My goal for January is to complete and quilt my 2018 temperature quilt!  Read more about the project and see a temperature quilt tutorial.  (This picture shows the quilt through end of November - almost all of December hexies are actually attached.)

Now it is your turn to link up - what is your goal for this month?  (A goal could be to finish a quilt but it could also be to attach a binding.  Whatever it takes to help you move forward and make progress on your projects!  And as long as the project involves making something with a needle and/or fabric, you can link up!)

Make sure you visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 
 Your blog post (or Flickr post) must contain a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and a link back to Elm Street Quilts.  Your Instagram post must include a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and the tag #onemonthlygoal.  (Entries which don't contain the required information may be disqualified.)

And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month.   (The One Monthly Goal accomplishment linkup will be available on January 25.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can find the OMG link-up from your blog.  Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post: 

Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day!