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In the Quilting World

Making Small Quilts an Easy Way

Decorating with quilts is popular with quilters who are looking for the best way to display their handiwork. It's usual to see quilts on beds, sofas, chairs and quilt ladders, but another great way to display quilts, especially small quilts, is to fill a sewing-room wall or hallway with little masterpieces. To give you an idea of how popular these are, do a search on Pinterest for "small quilt wall display." You'll find tons of inspiration!

Hi, it's Carolyn Beam here again; I'm the editor of Quilter's World magazine and the person who writes this update. Thanks for joining me as I share my thoughts about quilting with you. As always, I'd love to hear ideas and suggestions from you as well.

This update is all about small quilts, but before I start with them, I have selected a quilt pattern that I think might be of interest to you. For this update, I'm recommending the Let Freedom Ring quilt pattern. I love to decorate my home with seasonal quilts, but I typically wait until the season is here to start thinking about which quilts to display. That doesn't leave much time, or any time, to create something new. For those of you who decorate for the seasons, here's a quilt to start now and have ready to display from Memorial Day throughout the summer.

Now, back to the subject of this update, small quilts. Back in the 1980s, when miniature quilts made up of very small 1" to 1 1/2" blocks were popular, I fell in love with making and hanging these little masterpieces on my sewing room wall. Now, I think it's time for an update. I need new quilts for my wall. I have no desire to repeat the mini block craze; 4" or 6" blocks are perfectly fine. I've also discovered the perfect tool to help with these blocks.

One thing that's particularly important when making small quilts is accuracy -- accuracy in both cutting and piecing. There's little or no room for error when making small blocks. In April 2021, AccuQuilt, the company that produces and sells fabric cutters and dies to go with them, will be releasing a new set of dies and two companion die sets that are designed for making 4" blocks: Mix & Match 4" Block, Corners Companion Set and Angles Companion Set. Beginning April 20, you can find these here. The products are not available until 4/20/21 and are available to purchase at Accuquilt.com or your local retailer.

AccuQuilt Mix & Match 4" Block with Corner Companion set AccuQuilt Mix & Match 4" Block with Angles Companion set
AccuQuilt Mix & Match 4" Block with Corner Companion set. AccuQuilt Mix & Match 4" Block with Angles Companion set.

I was excited to give these a try. I played with the dies in the Mix & Match 4" Block set and tried one of the 14 free patterns that are included with the dies. I decided on the Old Maid's Puzzle pattern. Each pattern has a block diagram that shows which of the dies are needed to make the block. The Old Maid's Puzzle uses dies #55232, #55712 and #55765.

AccuQuilt Old Maid's Puzzle Pattern. -- Click here for larger image
AccuQuilt Old Maid's Puzzle Pattern.

With the fabric cutter and dies, up to six layers of fabric can be cut at once. I planned to make four blocks and sew them together to make an 8" Star block, so I needed eight 2" HSTs (#55712) in my teal print. I accordion-folded my fabric, put it on the die and cut out eight triangles -- so easy to cut eight at once! All eight HSTs were cut in no time.

Teal fabric accordion-folded on die. -- click here for larger image
Teal fabric accordion-folded on die.
Cutting the fabrics with the GO! Baby fabric cutter. -- click here for larger image
Cutting the fabrics with the GO! Baby fabric cutter.
Eight 2" HSTs cut at once. -- click here for larger image
Eight 2" HSTs cut at once.

One thing I particularly like about how the triangles are cut is that the dog-ear corners are already cut off, so lining up and sewing two triangles together is nice and easy, and the extra step of trimming the dog ears is eliminated!

I cut all the pieces and laid them out ready to sew. I can't stress enough the importance of an accurate seam allowance. I would suggest that you double-check your 1/4" seam allowance before sewing. I sewed the triangles together and then sewed the block quadrants together and assembled one 4 1/2" (4" finished) block. I made four blocks and sewed them together to make one 8" Star block.

 Pieces for one block laid out. -- click here for larger image  Pieces for one block laid out. -- click here for larger image
Pieces for one block laid out. Block quadrants sewn together.
One Old Maid's Puzzle block sewn	 -- click here for larger image Four blocks sewn together to make one 8" Star block -- click here for larger image
One Old Maid's Puzzle block sewn. Four blocks sewn together to make one 8" Star block.

This Star block will be the start of a new quilt for my sewing room wall.

Next, I tried the Band Box pattern from the Corners Companion Set. The Band Box block is made up of four bow tie units and uses dies #55239 and #55240 from the Companion Set, along with #55232 from the Mix & Match 4" Block set. With a little rearrangement, I can make something different than what is shown.

Band Box Block Pattern -- click here for larger image
Band Box Block Pattern.

I made 36 little 2" bow tie units from a collection of Dear Stella polka dot 5" precut charm squares that I had been saving and arranged the units differently than the pattern drawing. Charm squares worked great with these dies, and I was able to cut out pieces for six bow tie units at once. What a great time saver!

Bow Tie quilt top -- Click here for larger image
Bow Tie quilt top.

I used the #55232 die from the Mix & Match 4" Block set to cut 28 (2 1/2") squares to make the borders. I ended up with a 16 1/2" x 16 1/2" quilt top, and I quilted my little project with diagonal straight lines.

My Bow Tie quilt -- Click here for larger image
My Bow Tie quilt.

I'm on my way to a wall full of new small quilts! I might even have to paint my sewing room walls for a real update before I hang up the new quilts.

The free patterns included with the dies are just the beginning of the different blocks you can create with this collection. These dies are also a way to cut your scraps into pieces to save for future projects. I have a drawer next to my sewing machine where I keep 2 1/2" squares to use as "Leaders & Enders” when chain piecing. I might have to start one or two triangle drawers as well.

I hope you'll stop by again to see what we have up our sleeves! I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. Is there anything special you'd like to see in these updates? Do you like learning about our designers? Would you like to see more tips and techniques? Do you like sewalongs for projects? Please feel free to email me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com with your ideas and suggestions.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Take care,

Carolyn

Carolyn Beam

Carolyn Beam
Editor, Quilter's World magazine


Carolyn has been quilting for over 40 years. She took her first class when her oldest son was a baby and hasn't stopped since. She has traveled the country teaching and lecturing and has had many designs published in books and magazines. Besides making quilts for family and friends, she also makes quilts to donate to the fire department her youngest son works for. Carolyn is married with three grown sons and one adorable grandson.



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