Sunday, June 10, 2018

Links for Students

I recently started teaching a brand-new six-month class locally, called My Favorite Things. During this journey, my goal is to teach the 12 students ways to improve their quiltmaking and become a bit more creative in their work. They can follow my pattern for the class quilt project, or make smaller quilts on their own, whichever they prefer.

The first session features Basic Pieced Units--Half Square Triangles, Four Patches, Quarter Square Triangles and Nine Patches, the building blocks of thousands of pieced quilt blocks. Once you can make these accurately, you are set.

Students receive handouts of the pattern and the class instruction, with links to helpful online videos or blogs. To make it easy to access those links, here they are, for anyone to find.

For those who are less experienced with piecing, I recommend:

Perfect Piecing--the Cutting--the First Step to Accurate Blocks-- it all starts with the cutting, strips or individual units. There is lots of info here to help make your cutting as accurate as possible.

Thread--Why Quality Matters--good thread makes for good piecing results

We use half square triangles a lot, here are three ways to make them:

Two Methods for Making Half Square Triangle Units

The Grid Method for Making Half Square Triangles--when you need a lot of the same two fabrics. This post also contains LOTS of tips/tricks for precise pieing.

One of the fun things I showed the class was the Fast Method of Making Nine Patches:

This method makes these two blocks, one with four neutrals and one with five neutrals. It's fast and fun and if you can work with those two block designs, well worth a try.

Here I made two sets at once and shuffled them up a bit:

The other skill that I preach about often is using Leaders/Enders, or Thread Kittys or Startie/Stoppies, at the beginning and ending of chain piecing. Find out why here: Time Management for Quilters.  I make "free" quilts from the small units made as Leader/Enders, I improve my piecing, save thread, and could not chain piece without this method. This link also takes you to Bonnie Hunter's info on this method--she is the Queen of this method. I can often convince new quilters to establish this habit more easily than I can convert more experienced quilters--but if you try it, I think you will see the advantages. Many tell me "I wish I had learned this trick years ago" once they do it.

Nothing is as good as being in a class, seeing the actual sewing demos, and hearing the answers to students great questions. But these links will help provide a taste of the skills this group of students will learn.

We also talked about fabric selection--I showed many quilts in class to see how these units, even though simple and basic, can make great quilts. The one that got the most attention was this one. I call it Hot Summer Nights, made it in 2000, and it's only half square triangles with a quarter square triangle border. What they liked the best was the rich, saturated colors. I used the one multi-print fabric to help me select the palette:

Find out how I selected fabric for the class project quilt, My Favorite Things, here.  The class project quilt will look like this--I am making this as we go, I just have to keep ahead of the students:

This should give you plenty to read for a while.

Let's quilt!



  1. Aaaah...lots of good stuff here! Thanks for the tips and the great links!! I love the nine patch block easy method -- we used that for a block swap in Stitcher's! :)

  2. Great tips for accurate "short-cuts"! I can't wait to try out the grid method for the HST & the one for the 9-patch blocks! Thanks for sharing! :)