365 Challenge Quilt
Make a quilt block every day for a year.
I’ll present a new quilt block, every day, for 365 days. Your challenge: To complete the blocks every day, and build a stunning 90″ square sampler quilt!
The quilt will be repeated in 2021 (with a few minor alterations for dates which have changed, for example, Easter).
Begin this year, or catch up from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020!
Sign Up for 2021
All the blocks will be rotary cut and machine pieced, using quick-piecing techniques. Most blocks will be either 3″ or 6″, but we are making a few in larger sizes, too. The project is suitable for confident beginners, and becomes progressively more complicated. Tutorials for each technique are included!
Here’s the general layout of the quilt, from my design drawing in EQ7, so you know what you’re in for …
But … you will have to wait for your daily update to know which block to make!
Tips to Get Started
• Every day, you can find your blocks under the menu at the teachable site; you can see them only if you are logged in. They are in reverse chronological order. The blocks are only on the website for 3 months, so don’t delay too long if you want to download the PDF.
• The blocks are released at 3pm UTC. There is a Time Zone Converter available so you can work out what time that is in your country.
• Although we start with the basics, and introduce each new technique with a tutorial, there is a tiny little bit of presumed knowledge that you should check over before you start.
• There is a Birthday Block for your special day!
• Overall there are slightly more than 365 patterns, so that there is a little flexibility with block selection; and, if I give a particularly difficult block, there is often a simpler substitute given at the same time.
Also, make sure you read the information about copyright. Even though the pattern is free, it still belongs entirely to me. You absolutely may NOT distribute or copy the patterns; this includes Pinterest or Instagram
• You can find inspiration in the gallery and the quilts exhibited in Italy 2017.
• There is lots of information about selecting your fabric, using various colours (since the pattern in in monotone), and selecting your yardage over at teachable.
• The Facebook Page is a great place to ask for help or clarification. It’s also fun to share the quilting journey.
So bookmark the website, and join the Facebook Page, and lets get started!
The challenge is free again in 2021!
I’m so thrilled to be running the quilt again this year! It’s great to have you on board.
Free Quilt Patterns
Thank you for visiting our Free Quilt Pattern Section! We have collected an array of free quilt patterns using some of Eleanor Burns’ quick and easy techniques. Here you will find illustrated instructions on how to make Flying Geese Patches, Half Square Triangles, Quarter Square Triangles, Triangle in a Square, and strip piecing. Our easy quilt patterns for 4 patch, 9 patch, and 16 patch quilt blocks are fun to make and will save you lots of time! Whatever pattern you use, we hope you will enjoy making these free quilt block patterns. We add new free quilt patterns all the time so check back often!
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Got scraps???? I’ve got the perfect block for you, then–STRINGS!
These things are like potato chips–I bet you can’t make just one! They’re a great way to use up strips and scraps from old projects.
I keep a bin (well, two) on the bookshelf behind my cutting table. Every time I need to straighten the edge of a bolt of fabric (or a hunk of fabric), I toss the resulting strip into the bin. If I’ve been using strips for a project and have leftovers, into the bin they go. And what about those 2 or 3 or 4 inches of fabric left after cutting out the pieces of a project. ZIP! Into a strip and into a bin!
I like to use a fabric foundation when I do string blocks. You can use paper, but I hate to tear away paper if I don’t have to! So, if you’re ready to begin, follow along. Layer four pieces of your foundation fabric–anything goes!
Cut into 10″ squares. I like 10″ because you get the best use of your fabric. You could do any size.
String pieced blocks are simple, easy, forgiving even!
Grab a handful of strings. I like mine to be between 1″ and 3″. I like the look of narrower strings in my blocks, but the wider ones come in handy for corners. More on that below. The don’t have to be straight. In fact, some slight angles make the blocks look better!
Take a string of fabric and place it right side up, diagonally, on one square.
Now place a second string, right side down, on top of the first string, aligning the right edges, then stitch down that right side with a 1/4″ seam allowance–or not! It doesn’t really matter!
Press the top strip over–and repeat until you have covered up your square!
You don’t have to use white fabric, and you don’t have to use yardage. Do you have some “ugly” fabric that you are never, ever, ever going to use in a quilt? It’s perfect for the foundation for your string blocks. When I do this, I use the back, as it’s usually a bit lighter. Here’s and example. This is the back of a red print fabric. The red was just a bit “off” and didn’t seem to work with other reds in my stash.
I did my string piecing on it, just like I did on the white foundation.
When you’re piecing these blocks, it works great just to feed a whole stack of them through your machine, one after another.
When you’re finished, they’ll look like this! Notice that I used wider strips on the ends. You don’t want to end up with a teeny tiny strip at the end. It makes it bulky when you’re putting your blocks together.
Just take them to your cutting mat and lay them upside down.
You can either use your foundation square as a guide for trimming, or measure and trim. If you use your foundation square as a guide, your blocks may be a little smaller that the 10″ you started with, as the stitching tends to draw the fabric up a bit. No matter, just make them all the same size.
There’s a lot you can do with string pieced squares. Here are a couple of great examples. This is a vintage quilt I saw on Ebay.
Here’s one from Em’s Scrapbag.
But my favorites look like they have sashing like this one from Quilting Board. Guess, what? They don’t! It’s faux sashing!
Here’s how it’s done. On your foundation block, mark a diagonal guide that’s 1-1/2″ – 2″ wide, centering it with the points on your square.
You aren’t going to sew on these lines, you’re going to line your fabric up with them. If you marked line is 1-12″ wide, your “sashing” will be 1″ wide.
Lay your first string down along the edge of the line and stitch.
Press your string over…
…and keep going!
Arrange your squares and, magically, you have sashing!
It’s fun to play around with your squares, arranging them in different ways.
You can get creative, like this quilt I found from Blue Ridge Girl on Flickr.
And, oh! Your “squares” don’t have to be square. They could be rectangles, like this one from Leedle Deedle Quilts.
And your sashing doesn’t have to be white! Check out the controlled color palette and black “sashing” in this example from Angelina79.
So, are you ready to try string piecing? I hope you do. And I hope you’ll join my Facebook page, A Quilt Block A Day, and share your photos.
What block? This one:
Notice there are three blocks in the photo? Yes, you get to choose which style of "Star of Bethlehem" block you make. I made up the block in two "scrappy" variations and one "controlled" version.
This is a very old block pattern. The earliest reference I could find was from the Kansas City Star newspaper, c. 1937. The tutorial begins with the scrappy variation on the far right. It's made with 30s reproduction fabrics in honor of Karen Snyder, founder of the Quilt Block a Day. I visited her shop in Washington in 1997 and was so taken with all the 30s prints, I bought . . . well, a lot.
This is a good version to start with, because it has a built-in quarter-inch seam check.
SuppliesFor each block, cut:
- (8) background squares, each 3.5" square
- (8) star points, each 2.5" square
- (1) center square, 2" square
- (2) center background rectangles, 1.25" X 2"
- (2) center background rectangles, 1.25" X 3.5"
Sew the Center square
Begin by sewing the center piece.
Sew a 1.25" X 2" piece of background fabric to either side of the center 2" square. Measure to ensure it is now 2" X 3.5".
Then add a 1.25" X 3.5" background rectangle to the top and bottom of the center square. Measure again -- it's OK if it is one or two threads too big, just square it up to a perfect 3.5" square. But if it's too small, adjust your seam allowance.
Star PointsNext, make four "star point" squares. You will need four 3.5" background squares and eight 2.5" "star point" squares.
Draw a line diagonally across the wrong side of each "star point" square.
Place the star point square on top of the background square, aligning two sides so it is exactly in the corner. Stitch along the drawn line.
Repeat for the second "star point."
Notice that I have sewn one thread-width to the outside of the drawn line. This allows for the "roll" of the fabric over the seam, so that the print reaches exactly to the cut edge of the background square.
If you don't want to draw a diagonal line on 720 2.5" squares, get yourself an Angler 2. This handy tool allows you to sew corner to corner without marking the print square:
See how the point of the print square is just barely to the left of the center line on the Angler? Same as stitching one thread-width to the outside of the drawn line.
Repeat to make four "star point" squares for each block.
Block ConstructionThen lay out your block and sew the pieces together:
If you finger-press the seams in opposite directions, the inside corners of your star points will align perfectly!
PressPress the horizontal seams toward the outside of the block, the vertical seams to the inside. This will make it a lot easier when you sew all your blocks together -- the seams will "nestle" and align much more easily.
My favorite thing about my version of the Bethlehem Star block is the "floating" points. The colored points don't extend to the very edge of the block, so no worries about cutting off the points!
If you want a simpler block, use a single piece of fabric cut to 3.5" square for the center.
Or, if you like really scrappy, make the backgrounds all different!
This version is inspired by a quilt in a new book from the Kansas City Star, "Classic Modern Quilts." If you like this block, you'll love the book! Get your own copy from the Pickledish Store.
The block finishes at 9.5", raw edge to raw edge. Ninety blocks will make a quilt just right for a full-size bed.
Check out the Quilt Block a Day page on Facebook. Sometime this summer, I'll host a "B-a-D" quilt parade!
From the desk of your
A day block quilt
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It was evident that the guys were "fine. " Then why on the train. Okay, then I'll calculate. Now I didn't want to strain my brains. For the acquaintance.
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