Piece & Quilt Sampler Tips for May

Today, I have some Piece & Quilt Sampler Tips to share with you for the May blocks. Even if you’re not participating in the quilt along, these tips are general enough to use in many quilt projects. There are two blocks this month and they contain HST’s (half-square triangles) and QST’s (quarter-square triangles). I have some tips for making those units perfectly and efficiently!

You can find my piecing tips for April here. The fabric I’m using for my version is a fat quarter bundle of Starberry by Corey Yoder for Moda Fabrics. I love the variety of prints and the combination of red, black and green in this collection.

Piece & Quilt Sampler tips for making the May blocks @ The Crafty Quilter

About the Piece & Quilt Sampler

If you’re not familiar, let me tell you about the Piece & Quilt Sampler. The project instructions are from the book, Celebrate With Quilts, by Susan Ache and Lissa Alexander. This book is a treasure trove of 60 quilt blocks and 12 quilt projects. Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a quilt along so we can have fun together (with monthly prizes) and keep everyone on schedule. There’s an info packet that you can download here. The quilt blocks are all traditionally pieced and the sampler quilt comes together in a beautiful quilt that finishes at 72.5″ x 91.25″.

Piece & Quilt Sampler QAL; tips for making the May blocks @ The Crafty Quilter

Piecing tips for May

NOTE: I won’t be giving specific measurements or cutting instructions. You need to purchase the book to get the full instructions if you want to follow along.

As I mentioned last month, I start by starching my fabric and then pressing with a dry iron. This stabilizes the fibers and allows for better control and accuracy during the cutting and piecing process. My favorite starch product is Magic Quilting & Crafting Spray. You can ready my full review of it here.

Hovering Hawks block

This block is easy and made with HST’s and plain squares. It’s a two-color block which further simplifies the process. Sometimes picking the fabric and color combinations is the hardest part!

The Hovering Hawks block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.

There are eight HST’s so it’s a perfect candidate for the 8-at-a-time method of making HST’s. For this technique, you start with two larger squares of each fabric. You then draw a diagonal line in both directions (forming an “X”) on the wrong side of one of the squares. Then you stitch 1/4″ on both sides of the lines and cut it apart into 8 pieces. Once you press the seams, you can trim them to the correct size.

I pressed the seams in each row toward the plain squares. When the rows are sewn together, the seams will all nest. This is a perfect opportunity to “spin” the seams as shown below. This means that one side of the seam is pressed up and the other side is pressed down. At each seam intersection, they will all be spinning in the same direction (either clockwise or counterclockwise).

The Hovering Hawks block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.
The Hovering Hawks block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.

Album Star block

The Album Star block is a more complex block with QST’s and one square-in-a-square unit. I think the color placement and the way the units are put together makes for a striking block.

The Album Star block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.

This block is also perfect for fussy cutting the corner squares. I used the Fussy Cut Ruler by Quilt In A Day. It makes it easy to see the exact center of a square so you can position it just right. It’s also a great ruler for trimming QST’s!

The QST’s in this block can be made oversized and then trimmed to the perfect size. I started by making HST units with squares of two different main colors paired with the same background color. Then I placed two of the HST’s right sides together, nesting the diagonal seam and making sure that opposite colors faced each other. Then you draw a diagonal line that is perpendicular to the seam and stitch 1/4″ on each side of that.

Trim to size using your favorite ruler. My personal favorite is the Tucker Trimmer ruler or a Creative Grids square ruler. As I mentioned earlier, you can also use the Fussy Cut Ruler for this step.

The last unit in this block is the center square-in-a-square unit. This can be made in a few different ways and, of course, there are specialty rulers that can help achieve perfect results. I like the Square Squared Ruler by Studio 180 Designs. It’s easy to use and creates an oversized unit that trims down to the perfect size.

The final tip for this block is matching the diagonal seams when you sew the rows together. I didn’t take photos of this process while making my block, but I’ll refer you to my quarter square triangle tutorial that shows the exact same method. Below are a few images from that tutorial.

Tips for matching diagonal seams in an Ohio Star block @ The Crafty Quilter
How to match diagonal seams using pins; Image from the QST tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter

Using washable glue instead of pins has become very popular for matching seams.  I purchased Seam Align Glue by Acorn Precision Piecing from The Quilt Show and I used it for this quilt block.  I love it!  It was easy to apply and it didn’t make the fabric stiff.  My seams came out perfectly.  Elmer’s Washable School glue would work also.

Using washable glue to match diagonal seams works really well.

The Album Star Block from the Piece & Quilt Sampler is very similar to an Ohio Star block, except it has the addition of the center square-in-a-square unit. This gives the illusion of an open square on point in the middle of the block. I love it the way it looks!

The Album Star block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.

I pressed each row so the seams would nest and them twirled (or spun) the row seams.

The Album Star block made by Julie Cefalu. Piece & Quilt Sampler pattern from the Celebrate with Quilts book.

That’s it for the Piece & Quilt Sampler blocks for May! If you haven’t joined the quilt along, it’s not loo late to start! No sign up is required. You can find all the information at Fat Quarter Shop’s blog here or download the info packet here.

Remember to post a photo of your blocks on Instagram and use the hashtag  #piecequiltsamplerqal so we can all see. Plus, this will enter you in the giveaway each month! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Piece & Quilt Sampler QAL; tips for making the May blocks @ The Crafty Quilter.  Pattern is from the book, Celebrate with Quilts by Lissa Alexander and Susan Ache.

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2 Comments

  1. I love all your tips and tricks. I made my May blocks and they turned out much better than the April one, which I may redo. I still struggle with the perfect 1/4 inch with some of my blocks, especially the more tedious ones, but I managed to get my corners to match quite well this time. Slowing down and pinning, pinning, pinning (I’ll have to try your glue method) really helps. Anxiously awaiting your update for the June blocks. Happy stitching, Julie!

  2. I love reading your blog!
    I was thinking. I know people are super intimidated by y seams. I saw a cool tutorial and was wondering if you could do one?

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