Super Fans Tutorial

When I showed this quilt last week, I promised a tutorial on how to make the blocks. So here goes!

The first (most important?) step is to choose a block size for which you have a square-up ruler in your collection. This makes the whole process easier, as you’ll see.

No my ruler isn’t a trapezoid, but I had to take the picture at an angle to avoid reflections!

Then choose a couple of strips that are about 2″ longer than the square-up ruler. My ruler trims to 9.5″ (for a finished 9″ block), so I chose strips about 11.5″ long. You can either cut wedges for your strips, or join the strips and then trim the edges to make them wedge-shaped. I had a bunch of 1.5″ strips, so I did the sew-and-trim way.

Continue to add strips to each side, alternating sides. Alternating sides makes it easier to keep the block symmetrical. It isn’t necessary to use 1.5″ strips–you can use any width from about 1″ on up.

Press all seams open to decrease bulk. And when you trim seams to make a wedge, leave at least 1/2″ of width at the narrow end to avoid extra bulk when adding the next strip.

The seam that is circled at the bottom just meets because the strip was narrowed to 1/2″ at that end

The piece will, of course, tend to curve. To counteract that tendency, I sometimes add longer strips to correct for the way the edges want to angle down at both ends.

Here’s a longer strip I added to be sure the edges weren’t curving too much.

Keep checking to be sure the block is outside the edges of the ruler at both the top and bottom of each strip.

And finally comes the happy day when the block is as wide as it needs to be at the top!

From here on you can add shorter strips. Align them at the bottom of the block to start sewing. Keep checking, and when the piece is wide enough, trim all edges with your square-up ruler.

When trimming, I pick a line near the middle of the ruler and lay it along a seam near the center of the block to get everything as even as possible.

I stitched about 1/8″ from the edges

Stay stitch all edges! This is important because you really, really don’t want those seams to start coming undone, and because there are many bias edges.


You may notice that the last strips (bottom corners) are a bit wider than the others. That is done to avoid the possibility of having a seam in the block come at a corner when joining to other blocks.

Quilt Stats

Name: Super Fans

Designed and made by me, with inspiration from Pinterest

Finished size: 47″ x 65″ (5 x 9 blocks, 9″ each, with 1″ border on all sides)

Quilted by: Linda

There are 18 pieces in the sample block above. That means the finished quilt has approximately 810 strips. Thank goodness I didn’t calculate that until now!!!


Super Fans!

I haunt Pinterest in my “spare time”  looking at pretty quilts. OK, maybe it’s “procrastinating time” rather than actual “spare time”, but you get the picture 😀

After seeing a number of lovely string quilts, I was forced to make lots of string blocks and assemble them into this “super fan” quilt.

There are many similar examples on the internet. I did not use a fabric foundation, as many string quilters do.

I made no attempt to use the same number of strips in each block, and my husband points out that the blocks do vary quite a bit. All good, I say.

I used strips from my scrap bins.

Those scrap bins are filled by cutting all leftovers into uniform strips, which vary in width from 1.5″ to 4.5″. These strips are useful for many things, from tying up packages to adding just the right bit of color to some projects. They do often overflow, though.

Here are a few of the other projects made from the strip bins:

And WOO! Paducah quilt week is only a week away!!! If you’ll be there I’d love to meet you!

Meanwhile, I’ll have a tutorial next week on how I did this fan block.

More Magic Kaleidoscopes

We had a good time at Studio Stitch with the magic kaleidoscope class. It’s always fun to see the fabric people pick and how the blocks turn out. For the first student, I managed to get both a photo of the fabric and a photo of some of the blocks:

For two students, I failed to get any pictures at all! For the remainder, I got pictures of blocks only:

I thought all the students did a great job!

And my class demonstration quilt came back from the quilter, so here it is:

Here’s a detail:

And here’s the back, showing my effort to get rid of all related fabrics!

Stats for my quilt:

Name: Sassaman Kaleidoscope

Finished size: 52″ x 62″

Designed and made by: me

Quilted by: Elisabeth Pugh

Elizabeth’s Lovely Quilts

I have long admired the pretty, colorful patterns developed by my friend Elizabeth Eastman. She agreed to an interview for this blog, so here is your introduction to her!

When did you start designing quilts? And when did you decide to sell patterns?

I designed my first pattern for Sherri McConnell–really a simple little giant block mini-quilt, which was in her booth at Quilt Market a few years ago.  Now I look at it and shudder, but our starts are always this way, aren’t they?  The next one wasn’t really an original design, but a recreation of an antique quilt, which I did in blue and white.  Riverside Sawtooth is still a favorite.  I think that was the first time I put a pattern up for sale, but then it was accepted by Simply Moderne magazine (one of the QuiltMania magazines) and I pulled it down for a while.

 Selling patterns really evolved from when I started teaching and lecturing at Guilds in my area: each guild likes to have a unique pattern they can draw from, so that’s when Home, Sweet Home was written.  From there, I would get ideas, try them out and then put them up online in my shop. And then Northern Lights was when I learned about creating medallion quilts.
The other factor in all this was the release of software from Affinity by Serif that enabled me to create a professional looking pattern.  I had wanted to upgrade from a word processing document, but didn’t want to spend the money for the Adobe software (recurring fee of 25 dollars per month).  Affinity’s Publisher was released in Beta during this time, and I became a beta tester — as I was so eager to get into the program.  (Side note: Affinity has three programs: Designer, Photo, and Publisher.  I use all three.  I think the last price I saw on them was $55 each.) Sorry to go on so long, but having the tools to create are just as important as the act of creation sometimes.  
The most recent pattern is Heart’s Garden.

Elizabeth’s quilt “Triad Harmony”

Your quilts are so bright and cheerful looking! Do you have a method for how you choose your colors? Intuition? Trial and error? Color theory? Something else?
I live in an area with a distinct light–in Southern California, which has often been written about. I think that has influenced me in my color selection.  I could describe the color choices as high contrast, clear hues, but I love a good muted palette every once in a while.  While I majored in Creative Writing in College, I did a minor in Digital Art, which included photography, etc.  When you get in the color lab and have to decide if your colors are muddy or greyed or low contrast, you quickly learn to tell the difference.  A good way to teach yourselves this is to play around with some of the free photo apps on your phone (Snapseed is a good one), and experiment to find what you like.

And yes, I have lots of bits of cut pieces — sometimes I lay it out and I don’t like it, so I try something different.

Elizabeth’s quilt “Annularity” shows her wonderful sense of color

What’s your current favorite among your patterns?

Always the most recent one.  Kidding.  I’m quite fond of Blossom, as it’s so versatile, but I also like Triad Harmony, especially done in ombré fabrics.  The most popular pattern overall is the Mini Double-Pocket Bag.

Elizabeth’s Mini-bag Pattern

And we are having a great time with the Mystery Quilt-A-Long of Heart’s Blossom.  The complete pattern will be ready Summer 2020.

I know you recently decided to quit teaching. Any plans for the time that will leave?

I decided to take a different approach to teaching, as I only want to teach Zoom classes and all the guilds are opening up for in-person.  So while the venue (guild visits) may change, teaching in some form will continue.

“Merrion Square” was the first quilt I made from Elizabeth’s patterns. It’s so cute I couldn’t resist!

You’re currently leading a quilt-along that will be a pattern eventually on your PayHip site. What made you decide to do this format?
Part of the Heart’s Garden project came about because I had time now to consider other ways of reaching out and teaching.  Many of us learn new things through what we read, and watch, and I wanted to explore that.

Also, because I’m crazy.  I had one design all mapped out, started the quilt-along, and realized I hated my original plan.  So I scrapped it, and had to re-design something I liked much better.  I can hardly wait to show it off!  Three other women have contacted me and shared their progress and I love seeing it in different fabrics and styles.  Such a treat to be a part of this!

I love this quilt design of Elizabeth’s, too! It’s called “Criss Cross”

This is barely a sampling of Elizabeth’s wonderful designs. 
If you want to see more, here’s the link to her blog:
IG: occasionalpiecequilt
And her PayHip store:
Oh! And if you go to her PayHip store, the Heart’s Garden Sew-Along is currently FREE!