Tuesday Tutorials: Eight at a Time Half-Square Triangle Units

Patterson Kathy 70px Tuesday Tutorials: Eight at a Time Half Square Triangle UnitsHalf-square triangle units (also known as pieced squares) show up in SO many quilt patterns. One of our most popular free quilting tutorials shows how to make 8 half-square triangle units at the same time, which is really handy when your quilt design calls for a lot of these units.

Flock of Geese 300px Corrected Tuesday Tutorials: Eight at a Time Half Square Triangle Units

The Flock of Geese Block is patterned in the November/December 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting

 

The Flock of Geese Block is a good example of a design requiring many half-square triangle units. There are 2 large white/green units and 8 small white/red units in each block. If you were making a quilt with several or many of these blocks, you’d need a TON of half-square triangle units, and by the time you got them made individually or in pairs, as is often done, you’d be ready to tear your hair out!

 

The answer…make 8 units at a time! Watch this short video of Erin Russek demonstrating the technique, and you may never make half-square triangle units any other way again. The formula for resizing to any desired finished dimension is included.

Erin 350 Tuesday Tutorials: Eight at a Time Half Square Triangle Units

This technique is fast, fun, and nearly magical!

Remember, you can watch any of our free MQU how-to-quilt video lessons any time day or night—click here to see the full selection.

And don’t miss any of our Tuesday Tutorials—access them all right here!

 

 

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandma’s Afghan

Patterson Kathy 70px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas AfghanThis week’s Friday FREEbie is a lap quilt pattern inspired by a cozy knitted afghan! Lynn Lister actually created two of her Ziggity Zag quilts for the June/July 2009 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, and we decided to feature the bright pastel version in the magazine and offer the country-colors version as a free web bonus throw quilt pattern. Here’s Grandma’s Afghan!

Zig Flat 400 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas Afghan

The Grandma’s Afghan quilt pattern finishes 61″ x 69 1/4″

A couple of the fabrics Lynn used in the quilt had directional prints/stripes, and the pattern even includes instructions for fussy-cutting those fabrics to keep the prints going in the same direction, in case you want to get really fancy  icon smile Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas Afghan

Download the FREE Grandma’s Afghan lap quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

Here are a few more quilt patterns by Lynn Lister, one of our reader-favorite quilt designers:

DPMQ02 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas AfghanHome Is Where the Heart Is 125px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas Afghan Match Game 125px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Grandmas Afghan

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Traditional Quilt Binding, Modern Technique

Patterson Kathy 70px Traditional Quilt Binding, Modern TechniqueNo quilt should ever go unfinished because its maker didn’t know how to bind it or was put off by the quilt binding process. After all, if you’re ready to bind, you’re SO CLOSE to a complete project! Just one more step and you’ll have a wonderful new quilt to love or give away.

Traditional Binding Traditional Quilt Binding, Modern TechniqueWhat we think of as traditional quilt binding is an applied fabric edging, typically machine-sewn to the quilt front, turned to the back, and hand stitched in place. This gives a beautiful finish, and is often preferred by quilt show judges. We have a thorough, easy-to-follow series of FREE videos done by editor Sherri Bain Driver available for you to watch 24/7 that will walk you through this process from beginning to end. Many quilters have written us to say they never “got” traditional binding or some individual step needed for it until they watched Sherri in action, so please take a look if you want this kind of binding and are stalled out!

Macnine Binding Webinar 300x232 Traditional Quilt Binding, Modern TechniqueIf you love the look of traditional binding but are put off by the time-consuming, tough-on-your-fingers final step of hand-stitching to the quilt backing, there’s hope! All-machine-stitched binding techniques are very popular with today’s quilters, and when done well they enhance your quilt as much as a hand-turned binding.

We have a live web seminar coming up, Machine Quilt Binding Made Easy with Jenny Kae, that will show you every step of the machine quilt binding process. Even if you love hand-turned bindings, every quilter should have an effective, attractive machine binding technique in her or his bag of tricks. You never know when you’ll have to finish a project in a hurry, and this is definitely the technique for that situation!

I hope you’ll join us at the live event on February 17, but if you can’t, don’t worry! Your registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. You will receive a copy of the recorded presentation in an email that goes out within 1 week after the live event.

Watch, learn, and never leave a quilted quilt unfinished again!

 

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Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Meet guest blogger, quilt designer, and author Wendy Sheppard! Read on and don’t miss the book giveaway contest at the bottom of the page.

Wendy 125px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy SheppardHello to all McCall’s Quilting blog readers!  I am Wendy Sheppard from Ivory Spring.  It was a real joy and honor to have one of my quilts, Making Valentines, featured in McCall’s Quilting’s March/April 2015 issue.

Making Valentines FLAT 600px1 Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Making Valentines is patterned in the March/April 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting; kits are available!

It’s about that time – the celebration of LOVE!  I have constant reminders from my 6-year old daughter about the upcoming Valentine’s Day.  I have enjoyed making different Valentines over the years.

heart wreath 200px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard heart wreath w candy 200px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy SheppardAnd Making Valentines is inspired by the Valentines I have made with  my daughter.   I don’t know about you, but when I make my paper Valentines, I get tired after making 4 or 5 with the same look.  Then I try to make changes just to spice things up a little, and that tends to make making 30 Valentines go a lot quicker. I have to say there’s just something about anything heart-shaped that makes one’s heart go afluttering.

block Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Wendy’s Heart Block design finishes 8″ square

I set out to design a pieced Heart Block that is easy to construct so that the REALLY fun part would be picking out the fabrics for the different sections of the block for different final looks.  The blocks are basically made up of flying geese units and rectangles.

I thought the fabrics in Lynette’s Anderson Hearts and Flowers collection for RJR Fabrics are perfect for mixing and matching in the Valentine’s Blocks.  I am in love with the rusty red and gray fabrics in the collection.  I thought the colors give the usually bright Valentines a Scandinavian twist.

quilting 300px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard quilting B 300px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

I quilted an allover swirl motif on the quilt to give the quilt a textured final look.  Quilting is done with Aurifil Mako 50 cotton over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.

You will notice that I kept my outer border simple because I want the blocks to shine!  The versatility of the blocks allows different layouts — 3 block runner, pillows, just about anything that suits your fancy.

Simple border 400px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Wendy’s quilt design finishes 62 1/2″ x 73 1/2″

I hope you have enjoyed Making Valentines, and I hope you will have fun making the quilt. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to McCall’s editorial staff for featuring Making Valentines.

Wendy

Thanks so much, Wendy! We have a limited number of quilt kits available for Making Valentines. We are also giving away copies of Wendy’s new book, Recreating Antique Quilts (Landauer Publishing LLC, 2014), book 225px Making Valentines: A Visit with Wendy Sheppardto 3 lucky readers. Leave a comment below before February 14 telling us whether you’re making any Valentine quilt projects this year, and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. Three names will be drawn on February 14 and notified by email. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.

The contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winners: Brenda Hulsey of Calhoun, Kentucky; Ruth Rocker of Beavercreek, Ohio; and Peggy Terry of Cascade, Idaho.  And THANK YOU to everyone who left a comment!

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby Quilt

Patterson Kathy 70px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby QuiltBaby quilts and baby quilt patterns have been on my mind a lot lately, probably because several of my coworkers have recently had happy additions to their families. Every quilter should have a library of cute baby quilt patterns that they can call on when the stork drops by! This baby quilt version of the Cross & Crown quilt featured in the March/April 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting is a worthy addition to your personal library:

Cross and Crown WB FLAT 300px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby Quilt

Cross & Crown baby quilt pattern finishes at 33 1/2″ x 43 1/2.

These classic blocks look great in almost any fabric theme. Imagine assorted pinks for baby girl, black and white prints for the ultra-modern nursery, or even reds and greens for baby’s first Christmas. The pattern even includes step by step photos demonstrating block construction…easy peasy!

Download the FREE Cross & Crown baby quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

Here are some collections of baby project patterns you may enjoy:

Baby Wraps Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby QuiltSew Magical Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby Quilt     Just for Baby Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Cross and Crown Baby Quilt

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Hot Off the Press: McCall’s Quilting March/April 2015!

The 16 fresh-as-spring quilt patterns in the March/April 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine are ready and waiting for you! Grab your favorite beverage, put up those feet, and let’s dive right in…

Cover 500px Hot Off the Press: McCalls Quilting March/April 2015!

Traditional quilters will recognize the classic Cross & Crown design of this lovely quilt, and modernists will embrace the contemporary fabrics by Denyse Schmidt and fresh aesthetic of Sandra Clemons’ version of the pattern. We liked this quilt so much we even downsized it for a FREE baby quilt pattern! Kits are available for the large lap size version featured in the magazine.

Cross Crown 300px Hot Off the Press: McCalls Quilting March/April 2015!

The finished size of Cross & Crown is 73 1/2″ x 83 1/2″.

 

Making Valentines is an adorable heart-themed throw quilt designed by Wendy Sheppard, and there’s something pleasingly Scandinavian about the color scheme and style. Make this one for someone you love as a gift they’ll never forget! This is definitely a quilt pattern you want to have in your personal library.

Making Valentines 300px Hot Off the Press: McCalls Quilting March/April 2015!

Making Valentines finishes at 62 1/2″ x 73 1/2″; kits are available!

 

And if you’re looking for a lap quilt pattern for a special lady, young or not so young, check out Whispering Tulips by Diane Nagle. The pretty appliqué is easy enough for a quilter with a bit of experience and the soft color palette of this 66″ square design is just right for a cozy comfort quilt.

 

And that’s just 3 of the 16 fresh quilt patterns in this issue; preview all the quilts here! And don’t forget to download all of this issue’s FREE web bonus quilt patterns for your own collection.

This issue is available on newsstands no later than February 3, or may be purchased online in print or instant digital download format at our Quilt and Sew Shop beginning February 3. Enjoy!

 

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Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous Bias

Patterson Kathy 70px Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous BiasBias-cut fabric strips are super useful in quilt making. Curving vines in appliqué quilt patterns wouldn’t exist without them. And bias-cut quilt binding strips are a must for quilts with curved edges, like scallops, and a cute plus for certain binding fabrics like stripes. But most applications take a lot of bias-cut strips, and cutting on the bias can be tricky since the bias grain of fabric is very stretchy. So what’s a quilter to do?

There is a very cool method for making as long a bias-cut strip as you need, in 1 continuous strip. I’m not exaggerating when I say…it’s almost like magic! If you haven’t tried it yet, grab a square of fabric, fabric marker, rotary cutter, and a nice long ruler and watch our free how-to video by editor-in-chief emeritus Beth Hayes. You can also refer to the instructions below, but you definitely want to watch the video to get the hang of this technique.

Beth 350px Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous Bias

 Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Determine how many inches of bias-cut strip you need. If using for quilt binding, allow 10″ extra for turning corners and the closure. The equation is: [(height of quilt + width of quilt) x 2] + 10. Refer to chart to find the size fabric square needed.

Size Fabric Square to Cut
Length
Needed
1½˝-Wide
Bias Strip
2˝-Wide
Bias Strip
2½˝-Wide
Bias Strip
3˝-Wide
Bias Strip
110˝ 14˝ square 16˝ square 18˝ square 20˝ square
220˝ 19˝ square 23˝ square 26˝ square 28˝ square
340˝ 23˝ square 28˝ square 32˝ square 35˝ square
480˝ 28˝ square 33″ square 37˝ square 40˝ square

Step 2. Cut the square in half diagonally (Diagram I).

7469 fund diagrone Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous Bias

Step 3. With right sides together, sew the triangles together with a 1/4″ seam and press open (Diagram II).

On fabric wrong side long edges, draw lines to make strips of your chosen width. Use a clear acrylic rotary ruler and a pencil or fine-point permanent pen to draw the lines.

7470 fund diagrtwo Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous Bias

Step 4. Bring the short diagonal edges together, forming a tube (Diagram III). Offset the drawn lines by one strip. With right sides together, match lines with pins at the 1/4″ seamline and stitch seam; press open.

With scissors, cut along continuously drawn line.

7471 fund diagrthr Tuesday Tutorials: How to Make Continuous Bias

 

That’s all there is to it! Presto change-o, you have yards of continuous bias-cut strip.

Remember, you can watch any of our free MQU how-to-quilt video lessons any time day or night—click here to see the full selection.

And don’t miss any of our Tuesday Tutorials—access them all right here!

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I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Deb 100px I Love This Quilt! A Banner DayHi, I’m Deb McDonald, Administrative Editor for McCall’s Quilting. I am excited to share my thoughts and ideas on my choice, A Banner Day, for the I Love This Quilt! feature in the March/April 2015 issue of the magazine. Just look at this super wall quilt pattern!

I Love This Quilt 300px I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

The A Banner Day pattern finishes 20″ x 35″

McCall’s Quilting has published so many amazing quilts over the years it was hard to choose just one. I narrowed my search to a smaller project that would be very versatile and that could easily be made in a day or a weekend.

While taking down Christmas decorations I thought about this feature. Our front door looked so bare without the Christmas quilt that I decided Ellie Brown’s A Banner Day, originally published in McCall’s Quilting July/August 2012, could be adapted to fit many holidays, seasons and special occasions.

Ellie’s design calls for thirteen 2” x 35” strips.

100 1077 300x224 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Piecing the strips together

Instead of using yardage I pulled two fat quarters from my stash and cut them into 2” strips. Then I reduced the number of strips to eleven to keep the overall size of the banner in balance. I chain pieced light green and medium green strips together and trimmed the ends even. So quick!

100 1079 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

The finished background

 

 

 

 

 

Now it was audition time. You may have already guessed this banner will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. What would St. Patrick’s Day be without shamrocks, but how do I want to arrange them?

100 1083 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Applique placed similar to the original quilt

Like this, roughly following Ellie’s original layout? Maybe, but let’s look at a few more options.

100 1084 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

How about this? Booo-ring! I don’t care for this at all.

100 1085 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Not thrilled with this one either

100 1087 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

How about seven lucky shamrocks in a circle?

100 1088 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Adding an extra big dose of luck in the center here. Nope, this is too much.

100 1091 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Shamrocks scattered right to left?

100 1093 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

Going back to the original layout, but with a four-leaf clover thrown in for fun. Yes, this is a keeper.

I plan to make several more banners and will blog about them throughout the year. Here are some hints.

100 1095 224x300 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day100 1105 300x224 I Love This Quilt! A Banner Day

 

 

 

 

What do you think is coming next? How could you adapt this pattern to fit into your home? Pull out some fabric and have fun!

Download the A Banner Day wall quilt pattern here.

You may also enjoy our Friday Free Quilt Patterns and Tuesday Tutorials.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall Quilt

Patterson Kathy 70px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall QuiltWall quilt patterns are favorites among our readers. Quilters enjoy a smaller project, one that can brighten a room without a huge time investment. This week’s Friday Free Quilt Pattern certainly fills that bill…here is Twisted Craze by McCall’s Quilting graphic designer Tracee Doran:

Twisted Craze WB 300px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall Quilt

The Twisted Craze wall quilt pattern finishes 44″ square.

It’s easy to imagine this wall quilt made in any 2 favorite fabrics, to customize it to your needs. And if you fall under its spell and want to make a bigger quilt, the pattern for the bed size version is in the March/April 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting, just now headed to newsstands and subscriber mailboxes. Cover 500px 246x300 Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall QuiltConstruction is made simple and fast for both quilts thanks to clever strip piecing. The graphic impact is seriously awesome and very on-trend! Labyrinth-style quilts are enjoying a wave of popularity right now.

Download the FREE Twisted Craze wall quilt pattern now…it’s a Friday FREEbie.

Have you missed any of our previous Friday Freebies? Click here to find them all!

And here are some more inspiring wall quilt patterns. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pinwheels 125px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall QuiltCeltic Circle FLAT 125px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall Quilt      Sarasota Sun 125px Friday Free Quilt Patterns: Twisted Craze Wall Quilt

 

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Customizing Baby Quilt Patterns

Patterson Kathy 70px Customizing Baby Quilt PatternsBaby quilts are so very special. In the McCall’s Quilting office, we sometimes refer to baby quilt patterns as the gateway drug…a baby quilt is often the very first quilt someone attempts, and it also often leads to many more, bigger, even better quilts! But whether your next baby quilt is your very first or your hundredth, there are lots of fun ways to make personalized baby quilt patterns and since it’s for baby, customizing is definitely worth the effort.

Now, I’m not recommending you make a Feathered Star to make your baby quilt a special one. Baby quilts should be simple enough that the parents won’t look at them and think “we are NEVER GETTING THIS DIRTY”. We want our quilts to be used, every day if possible, and loved to within an inch of their lives.

But there are some easy things you can do with basic baby quilt patterns to make them extra special. How about:

Selecting fabrics that represent something special to the new parents. When my animals composite Customizing Baby Quilt Patternsniece Alysia was expecting, I found fabrics featuring animals from around the world and incorporated them into my baby quilt design, since she and her husband are both intrepid travelers and animal lovers. It made the quilt really personal with no extra fuss at all.

 

 

Warm Fuzzies 300px Customizing Baby Quilt Patterns

Using extra-cuddly fabrics. Flannel and plush fleece are both good options, and with just a bit of special handling they can add loads of comfort to a simple pieced baby quilt pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

Adding a label with baby’s date and time of birth and height/weight statistics. A quilt label only takes a few minutes to put together, and gift quilts should definitely have labels anyway, so why not personalize?

Making the entire quilt a custom piece! I’m working on a quilt like this right now, adding a giant appliquéd initial to a simple pieced background. E1 289x300 Customizing Baby Quilt Patterns

No matter how you decide to customize your next baby quilt, I hope it brings joy to you, the new parents, and that adorable baby as well.

Here are more inspiring baby quilt ideas!

ebook Customizing Baby Quilt Patternsbig block Customizing Baby Quilt Patterns      modern  Customizing Baby Quilt Patterns

 

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