We’re excited about Ellen Luckett Baker’s latest book 1, 2, 3 Quilt, available September 10 from Chronicle Books. Ellen shows you how to create 24 projects with her “building-block” quilting method and the book is organized by quilting shape (circles! hexagons!), helping you build your own quilt design skills as you sew. We can’t wait to start in on our own Argyle Apron, Star Quilt, Hexagon Handbag and more.
Ellen is the author of 1, 2, 3 Sew (perfect for both beginning and intermediate sewists), and she is a fabric designer for the Japanese company Kokka. You probably also know Ellen from The Long Thread, her popular blog with a focus on crafts, sewing and kids.
We’re celebrating the release of 1, 2, 3 Quilt with Ellen and a Flower Path Quilt Sew-Along, a variation on a Drunkard’s Path. Today Ellen shows you how make the quarter-circles for the quilt, and next week she’ll be back with instructions for finishing the 12″ blocks! You can join in any time and we’d love to see your progress. Share links in the comments. You can also pull our Flower Path Sew-Along button to use on your blog if you’d like. Here’s the URL: http://www.sewmamasew.com/blog2/september2013/FlowerPathButton.jpg
Ellen is giving away a copy of 1, 2, 3 Quilt! Tell us if you’re sewing along, how much you love 1, 2, 3 Sew, how you already have your hands on your pre-ordered copy of 1, 2, 3 Quilt… Tell us what you love about The Long Thread and Ellen. Just let us know you’re there! We’ll select a winner after the final sew-along post. (U.S. winners only for this one. Thanks!)
Flower Path Quilt Block
Let’s make a quilt! I’ll be posting the steps to make my Flower Path Quilt, a variation on a Drunkard’s Path. Here, I’ve made four 12″ blocks and joined them together so you can see how the quilt will take shape.
When finished, the quilt will have nine of these four-block segments for a finished size of seventy-two inches. I hope you’ll join me in this sew-along!
In my new book, 1, 2, 3 Quilt, I explore shapes as the basic element of all quilt designs. The chapters are divided by shape and include squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons, circles, flowers, stars and diamonds. Within each chapter, you’ll find three projects for you to build your quilting skills as you work through them, with each chapter ending in a quilt. There are patchwork and quilted projects like tote bags, placemats, pillows, and coasters, so you’ll have a variety of things to sew. I designed this book both for those who are new to quilting and those more experienced quilters who might like to take on a new challenge. Throughout the book are how-to sections that explain different techniques, including one-seam flying geese, foundation paper piecing, half-square triangles, and needle-turn appliqué, among others.
In the circles chapter of my book, there is a simple coasters project that will just introduce you to sewing around curves, followed by a clamshell pillow sham which will help you perfect curved patchwork, and finally a quilt that uses a freezer paper technique to make perfect circles, which are machine appliquéd to the quilt in a clustered design. But I didn’t have time or space to explore other circle techniques used in quilting and I have always loved the Drunkard’s Path design, so I decided to try a variation on that pattern for this sew-along. You can see the basic block below, but first we’ll get started sewing the quarter-circles that make up the quilt.
If you are new to quilting you will soon discover that there are as many methods as there are quilters, so I always recommend trying different approaches to find out what works best for you. When I make quarter-circles, I use lots of pins, which I find gives my curves more accuracy, but it’s definitely not the fastest method. Some people like to glue the pieces together, while others simply stitch and pull the fabric pieces together as they sew. You can find many helpful videos on YouTube that explain both of those other methods. But I’m sticking with pins for now! Here, I’ve used various patterned and solid scraps on a solid linen-blend background, so it’s a great way to use your bits and pieces.
Supplies for the Flower Path Quilt:
- Fabric scraps for the circles and triangles (must be at least 6 1/2″ wide)
- 3 yards background fabric
- 5 yards backing and binding fabric
- Pattern pieces
- Matching thread
- Basic quilting supplies (rotary cutter and mat, quilter’s square ruler)
1. First, print out the pattern pieces and transfer to template plastic, cardboard or cardstock so that you can re-use it. CUT 144 quarter-circles (pie) from the patterned and solid scraps and 144 L-shaped pieces (pie crust) from the background fabric.
2. With one piece in each shape, FOLD in half to make a crease.
3. Align the two pieces at the creases, right sides facing as shown, and PIN at the center.
4. AND PIN around until you have pinned the fabric around the curve, using 8-10 pins to hold the fabric in place.
5. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, STITCH along the edge, removing the pins as you sew. You do not need to backstitch at the beginning and end because you will be connecting these pieces to other blocks, which will lock the stitching in place.
6. On the wrong side of the fabric, PRESS the seam outward towards the corner of the background fabric. Then flip the piece over and press on the right side of the fabric, making sure that your curve is smooth.
7. Next, SQUARE up the blocks using the 6 1/2″ quilters square, trimming any excess fabric.
8. REPEAT until you have made 144 quarter-circles.
Quick Tip: Use an assembly line method to speed up the process. Cut, pin, stitch, press and trim groups of blocks at the same time.
Here you can see a digital sketch of the finished quilt. This also gives you an idea what the quilt might look like in a two-color version, which I really like. It might be fun to try in red and white or neons on a gray background. So many possibilities!
I’ll be back next week to show you how to finish the 12″ block to make the full Flower Path Quilt. Happy Sewing!