Hi Friends!  I hope you had a great weekend – I was a working double duty all weekend with Joe backpacking up in the Unitah’s.  We had some special fun, a little bit of drama, and I stayed up late sewing too!  I have blocks sewn up, and a few rows pinned for a top, hopefully I can show it to you tomorrow.  
For now I have this weeks Sampler Blocks!  
Just in case you are starting now, these will catch you up –
Simple Sampler Quilt Along Details (includes a pic of the quilt)
Simple Sampler Quilt Along — Week 1
Simple Sampler Quilt Along — Week 2
Simple Sampler Quilt Along — Week 3

Originally I had planned to put all the HST blocks at the end and work up to them…but then I decided we should slowly work through them, so I have one more for you this week.  I hope you aren’t cringing – they really do get easier with practice, and that’s just what we are doing!  Perfection is good and all, but don’t forget to enjoy the process, and learn as you go.  And remember – I have been sewing for 20+ years, I’ve had a bit of practice with straight seams and working with my machine daily the last (almost) 2 years, it all makes a difference.  Please don’t get frustrated, or down on yourself.
Our first block this week is a traditional favorite – Log Cabin.  You can make these so many different ways, I have one side in white and the other scrappy – feel free to play with color placement!

 Here’s what you need:
From your solid – cut 2 – 2″ strips and cross cut into:
1 – 2 x 11″
1 – 2 x 9 1/2″
1 – 2 x 8″
1 – 2 x 6 1/2″
1 – 2 x 5″
1 – 2 x 3 1/2″
From a variety of prints –
1 – 3 1/2″ square – fun opportunity to fussy cut a favorite part of your fabric
1 – 2 x 5″ and 1 – 2 x 6 1/2″
1 – 2 x 8″ and 1 – 2 x 9 1/2″
1 – 2 x 11″ and 1 – 2 x 12 1/2″

 For this block we work from the center out, one piece at at time, lay out your pieces like I did, and prepare to sew and press, and sew and press!

Lay the 3 1/2″ length of white over your center square, pin and sew.

 Press your seam open, and working counter clockwise continue around the center block, adding the 5″ length next.  Pin and sew.

 How’s yours looking?  Now we start adding prints, still working counter clockwise, lay the 5″ print length over.  Pin and sew.  Are you thinking I’m super anal?  always pinning..?  I find that if I don’t pin, the fabrics have give and will shift under the needle without my knowing.  When adding these strips, I pin to keep the seam below in place, and two ends, just so that they match up nicely.  When we get to the longer strips I add another to keep things in line.

 Continuing on, add the 6 1/2″ print length.

 Back to the white strips, add the 6 1/2″ length.  Pin, sew and press open.

 Still in counter clockwise fashion, add the 8″ length.

 Now add the print 8″ length.  Pin, sew and press open.

 Now the white, 9 1/2″ length.

 The final white length is 11″.  Pin, sew and press open.

 Next add the print 11″ length.

Add your final print length, at 12 1/2″, to finish the block!
I’ve told you how much I like starch, but I don’t think I told you that when I’ve finished a block I like to set it with a little starch.  When complete, AND ONLY THEN, (you don’t want to shrink things before you finish) spray a bit on your seam allowances on the back to set.  And carefully press.  The seams lay nice and flat and I don’t have to worry about things getting wonky as I wait to quilt.  Not necessary – but something I find helpful :)

Our second block for this week is a mosaic block, my software named it Mosaic, No.5…so uninspired!  Let me know if you have a good name for it – I think a quilt full of these would be really fun.

 Here’s what you need:
From your solid – 8 – 4″ squares.
From one print – 2 – 4″ squares.
From a second print – 6 – 4 ” squares.
If you aren’t using a solid, look to the contrast of your fabrics – the difference of light and dark in your fabrics.

 On the wrong side of your white or light, mark the diagonal.  If you are having trouble, consider also drawing 1/4″ away from your center diagonal, for a sewing line.

 Pin a white square to each of your printed squares.

 I thought I would share where I start things, and how I use my hands to guide the pieces.  These things take time to find what works best for you.  Having a friend/mom over your shoulder as you learn, reminding you of where your hands are is handy, even if trying in the moment :)

I like to start with my needle down with these blocks so that I can get it as close to the needle as possible before stepping on the gas.

 I hold my thread tight, and gently hold the square firmly in the direction you want it to go.

 I keep my hand in front of the needle, guiding the square.

 And when I reach the other tip, use my finger tips to steady the square as it moves past the needle.  Usually I use my other hand on the right side as well, to keep it straight.  And I go SLOW when sewing these HST’s always.

 After sewing your seams on both sides, set with the iron, and cut on the diagonal.

 Press your seams open.  And trim to 3 1/2″, using the diagonal as your guide.

 Here’s the little pile of scraps, after the fact –

 Now we can lay out our block and sew the rows together!  Actually there’s a lot of options for sewing these together – I have a couple more in the weeks to come – it’s fun to play with the triangles and see patterns form.

 Lay your blocks over, carefully match the diagonals, pin and sew.

 Press your seams open, and lay out the block again to finish sewing the rows together.

 Carefully match seams up again and pin – notice that I flipped my top two rows over so that I have a running start to the bundle of seams.  It sews easier and things line up better (in my experience).

 Sew and press seams open.  Lay things out again.

 Match seams up, starting in the center, and working out, pinning carefully, the first row to the second, and the third to the fourth.

 Sew and press seams open.  Then repeat the last step to complete the block!

 I really love the effect of this one!  What do you think?

Here’s my blocks so far – half way through the blocks this week!

**After you make your blocks, post about them on your blog, then post a link here:

Let me know if you have questions and I will answer them in the comments :)
Happy Quilting~

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