Summer Sampler Series : Rocky Road to Kansas

Our eleventh quilt block for the Summer Sampler Series is the Rocky Road to Kansas. It can be found in Chapter 16, Page 361, Block 2979 of Barbara Brackman’s The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Some quilt blocks are named after the time or event when they first appeared. The Rocky Road to Kansas is such a block, referring to the period of early settlers in late 1800’s and their difficult traveling conditions.

I loved this block as soon as I saw it. One of the first quilts I made was a string quilt, and it felt so “modern” and “hip” to me. Well this quilt block just shows that strip and string quilts are not a new design, but have been around for a long time. They were used as a way to use up leftover fabric scraps, let nothing go to waste. So go ahead, channel your inner pioneer, and let’s get started on the Rocky Road to Kansas!


Rocky Road to Kansas Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished
Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.5 stitch length.

Paper Piecing Templates
Print 4 of the Paper Piecing Template below. Be sure to print them at 100% and check the scale icon with a ruler before starting.

Rocky Road to Kansas Paper Piecing Template

Prepare the templates. Cut out the templates around the seam allowance line.

Step 1. Cut your fabric. When cutting fabric for paper piecing, you will be cutting rectangles that will be larger than needed.

I recommend cutting 1 of each piece below, making a block, and ensuring it is enough fabric for your sewing style. Then you can make adjustments later for the rest of your blocks. These are the fabric sizes I used for my paper piecing.

Pattern Piece Fabric Color
1 – Star Cut 4 6″ x 7.5” Strips sewn together to required size* -or- single piece of fabric cut to size
2 – Background Cut 4 4” x 7.5” White
3 – Background Cut 4 4” x 7.5″ White
4 – Center Square Cut 4 3.5” x 5.5” Purple

* I decided to go for the scrappy look, so I cut strips 6″ long, and random widths ranging from 1.25″ and 2″.

Step 2. If you cut strips for your star, sew the strips together until they are 7.5″ tall.

Step 3. Take your fabric cut for Piece 1 and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1. Pin into place.

Step 4. Take your fabric cut for Piece 2. Place it right side together to Piece 1 which you pinned into place in Step 3. Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2.

Step 5. Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1 and 2. Remove your pins.

Step 6. Flip your block over. This is what your seam will look like.

Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Press your fabric open.

Step 7. Repeat this process and sew background piece 3 and center square piece 4 into place.

Step 8. Turn your block over and trim the excess fabric from around the template. Before trim:

After trim:

Step 9. Now repeat these steps for the other 3 templates. Once you have all four squares pieced, remove the paper from the back. This should perforate easily as long as you remembered to shorten your stitch length before sewing.

Step 10. Sew your squares together to create your quilt block. You’re done!

Summer Sampler Series : Evening Star

Wow, I *love* today’s block for the Summer Sampler Series – the Evening Star. Katie has a great looking tutorial over on her blog, so don’t forget to go check it out and then post your blocks to the Flickr group. Simple paper piecing!

I spent the weekend in Cincinnati and stopped at a couple fabric shops along the way. I plan on blogging about them later this week and even have a giveaway which includes a charm pack donated by Sewn Studio and other fabric and goodies I picked up on my trip – so check back probably Thursday for that. :)

Update: Here’s my block!

Evening Star

Summer Sampler Series : Minnesota

Today is the ninth block for our Summer Sampler Series - the Minnesota quilt block. I was definitely intimidated by the look of this block, but after reading through Lee’s tutorial, it looks easy! I am visiting family in Cincinnati this weekend, so I will have to wait until Monday to make mine though.

Don’t forget to post your block and any questions in the Flickr group!

Update: Here’s my block!

Minnesota

Summer Sampler Series : Lucky Pieces

Lucky Pieces is the eighth quilt block we are going to make for the Summer Sampler Series. It can be found in Chapter 22 – Eight-Pointed/45 Degree Diamond Stars on Page 455, Block 3752b of Barbara Brackman’s The Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It was in the early 1800’s when the Eight-Pointed quilt block pattern appeared. Brackman’s book contains 140 Eight-Pointed/45 Degree Diamond Stars patterns, signifying the abundance and historical popularity of this variety of quilt blocks.

The Lucky Pieces quilt block was first seen in the The Nancy Page Quilt Club, a syndicated column written by Florence LaGanke Harris which appeared in mail order magazines in the 1920’s to the 1930’s. While I was researching Nancy Page, I discovered that by the end of the 1920’s, quilters were looking for more modern patterns and designs. Sound familiar? I love that so many aspects of the “modern quilting movement” today really trace back generations.

The Lucky Pieces quilt block can look different depending on how you lay out your colors. This tutorial uses all half square triangles and the cutting directions below are based on my color layout in the graphic at the top of the blog post. I know we have thrown some challenging blocks at you over the last week, so sit back, relax, and get ready for an easy one! :)


Lucky Pieces Quilt Block Tutorial

Please note, all seams are 1/4″; Final block size 12.5″ unfinished

Step 1. Cut your fabric:

Pattern Piece Fabric Color
Center Pinwheel Cut 2 4” x 4” White
Center Large Star Cut 4 4” x 4” Purple
Corners 1 Cut 2 4” x 4” Dark Turquoise
Corners 2 Cut 2 4” x 4” Pink
Background Cut 6 4” x 4” Light Turquoise

Take all of your squares and cut them diagonally into half square triangles.

Step 2. Lay out your HSTs into the design of the quilt block as shown below.

Step 3. Sew each set of HSTs into squares. Trim your squares to 3.5″. Lay out your resulting squares into the design of the quilt block again.

Step 4. Sew your squares together. You’re done!