Thursday, March 1, 2018

Month 3: The Patchwork Barn

This is the FREE Block of the Month pattern "Patchwork Barn", designed by Edyta Sitar exclusively for The Quilt Show. You must be a Star member of this world-wide quilt guild/show/internet community to receive the free patterns each month, beginning January 1, 2018. Join today and get started on this journey.

Previous instructions are here:

Month 1

Month 2

NOTE: On The Quilt Show, the Forum is the best place to ask questions, find answers, find out if there is an error on the pattern, as there was for Month 2, Block 5. I recommend you check in there frequently. And there is a Show and Tell Topic--show us your blocks. Forum The Patchwork Barn 

Month 3 brings us three more great blocks. Two of them can easily be paper pieced. NOTE: You can always follow the instructions as written. Here I offer options to help you build your "toolbox" of techniques.

Block 7: Flying Geese  is comprised of 8 flying geese units. In Electric Quilt, it is called "Flying Geese 14". It is easy to print this block out from EQ, being sure you set the correct block size. By printing Foundation piecing patterns, and selecting "Separate Units", you will get a pattern for each strip of geese, here is one ready to sew:

Last month there was a lot of information on how to paper piece.  I also have a Tutorial called Paper Piecing Primer, if you need a refresher--see the Tutorial Tab above. 

In order to paper piece, you need to cut the pieces larger than the pattern requires. Luckily, it is easy to find out what size to cut them: My Four Flying Geese Tutorial includes a chart that shows exactly how to oversize the pieces. 

Start at the bottom, placing the first goose on the back side of the paper.  Being sure you have a 1/4" seam allowance, add the first background triangle on top of the goose, flip the whole thing over, and sew on the line. BE SURE to shorten your stitches--I use 1.5. Stitch 1/4" beyond the stitching line, just as you would if piecing regularly:

Continue until the four geese and their backgrounds are in place. Be sure to finger press or iron press firmly after each seam--do not use steam, we don't want to make pulp:

Left strip before trimming, Right strip after
Trim carefully, being sure you have 1/4" beyond both sides of the strip. Measure from the center out:

Remove the paper from both strips and join the two halves to complete the block.Yes, I know I rotated one strip completely around. Do whichever you prefer:

If you prefer to make the geese with regular piecing, try the "make four geese at once" method--discussed at length in the tutorial mentioned above. I use the oversize measurements and "trim to perfection", my preferred method. To easily draw the line on the background, I start with a square that is the size of the 4 squares, in this case, 2.75" means a 5.5" square. Draw the diagonal lines from corner to corner in both directions, then cut the square in quarters--it's magic, you easily have lines drawn on all 4 small squares quickly:

The Process:

Before and after trimming to perfection:

Make your geese however you like. The choice is yours.

Block 8: Rolling Stone presents a math challenge. The four corners are "square in a a square" units. To be 100% accurate the A square should be cut 1.9142"--a number we just can't deal with. 1 7/8" is slightly too small, 2" is slightly too large. You could fiddle with making a very scant seam allowance OR you can use 1 7/8" as the pattern calls for BUT I recommend you cut the B triangles from 2" squares, slightly larger than 1 7/8" listed in the pattern. This will give you just a smidge more fabric to be sure you get the correct size corners. 

BUT to be 100% accurate easily, those corner blocks can be paper pieced. In Electric Quilt I selected the Rolling Stone block, and printed just the four corner units, being sure the block size was correct:

 Cut the fabrics larger than the pattern lists, very important for paper piecing. I chain pieced all four squares, pressing each triangle as it was added. Left unit trimmed, Right ready to be trimmed:

Consider using different fabric combinations in your three blocks--the choice is yours. Even if using a kit, there is enough fabric to customize your quilt:

Block 9: reminds me of a portion of the Bear's Paw block. This one is fast and easy. My preferred method for making Half Square Triangles is to use Creative Grids Half Square Triangle ruler. Add .5" to the finished size of the HST, cut two strips that size, put them right sides together and cut. They are ready to be easily fed through the machine:

When pressing, remember the little arrows in the pattern diagrams show the recommended direction for pressing. If you prefer to press open, that is up to you. Whatever works best for you is the correct method. 

What if I use different fabrics for the HST and the large center? One more block to go and I just might do this, or something else for that large square. Time will tell--I'll sew the 3rd one at the Sunday Sew and Sews class later this month:

I hope you are enjoying the process.

Let's quilt!



  1. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your knowledge. It is a big help.

  2. Your advice is solid, especially for block 8-- why aren't the patterns for paper piecing included in the original downloads if you, our expert, are telling us that is the easiest way to proceed?

    1. I am glad you find my tips helpful. Let's be real clear: I am NOT the expert. Edyta Sitar created this pattern her way and I always emphasize people can follow her pattern exactly if they wish. My "job" is to answer any questions that come up on the Forum, since I am making the quilt and can help with specific questions. These blog posts are intended to share the information I am teaching to the 14 people who signed up for my local monthly Sunday Sew and Sews class. As a quilt teacher for more than 30 years, I try to present options for piecing--there is usually more than one way to get the job done. My class loves when I give them paper patterns--I offer them when that is a viable alternative to regular piecing.
      First and foremost, this is Edyta's pattern, graciously shared for FREE with all of us. I am not trying to tell anyone my way is "better", I just want to offer other methods when they can work.

    2. I should have been clear--this pattern is free to Star Members of The Quilt Show. If you are not a Star member, I encourage you to join--best money I can spend on my quilt journey.

  3. I apologize for not understanding your roll in this. I have been quilting for 40 years and really appreciate different methods for approaching any project and I am a big fan of foundation piecing. I do have a problem when a pattern has inaccurate instructions/specifications-makes everyone cranky (Block 5). Of course one can think of these types of challenges as valuable learning experiences. The Quilt Show has a large audience-hate to think about how many novice quilters got discouraged over Block 5! Hopefully they took your advice. I have made other quilts using Edyta Sitar patterns-they are outstanding and I renewed my Star membership because of this BOM.

  4. Thanks for more tools for my toolbox, Barbara!

  5. Take note, if you’re using the blue kit or a stripe for prints B & D and you’re using the Four at a Time Flying Geese Method, the stripes will go different directions for 2 if the 4 units. Using paper piecing method will work better in this case unless there’s something I missed.

    1. You are correct. Some people don't care about the direction of stripes, some want them all the same. Do whichever you prefer.

  6. Yes, agreed - very helpful! I have done a lot of paper piecing, having taken 4 Judy Niemeyer workshops. I do not have EQ however. IS it possible for TQS administration include a paper pieced pattern with the Edyta Sitar directions every month? I have been having a terrible time getting 6 1/2" blocks when finished. Mine just aren't quite that size. I try and try to be SO precise in piecing and trimming. I vote for paper piecing templates included extra with the patterns. PLEASE?!!

    1. I am 99% certain it is not possible to provide paper patterns monthly. BUT there is an easy solution--draw them on paper yourself. When paper piecing is appropriate for a block I will show the paper pattern I used in the Monthly blog post I write each month. Simply draw the pattern on paper and you're all set. HINT: there are no paper patterns for April but I did do some speed piecing--those instructions are included in the April 1 blog.