Let’s Sew Together! Welcome to the January Block of the Month Pattern for 2019!

It’s the first day of the first month of a brand new year, so now is a great time to join us for the start of our #QP2019sewalong.  If you’re sewing along with us and want to enter to win prizes each month, post your finished blocks to Instagram or in our Facebook group (between January 15th and January 31st) with the #QP2019sewalong hashtag. Each month, we will post tips and tricks to help you with your blocks.  To keep up with the Tips and Tricks, visit our 2019 Block of the Month Landing Page here.  You might want to make it one of your Favorites on your computer so it’s easy to find.  You can also find it on QuiltersPlanner.com under the Patterns and BOMs tab. This year, you have a few options for which layout you choose.  The blocks you sew each month will depend on which layout you choose to sew.


Which Layout Will you Choose?

Original Snowflake Layout

as found in the Quilter’s Planner Magazine that comes with every purchase of the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. Click here to purchase.

Alternate Pyramid Layout

Click here to download the FREE instructions to make this version of the Hexie Snowflake Sampler. Instructions also include a coloring page to try out different color and fabric placements.

Create Your Own Layout

Click here to download a PDF of the sampler’s blocks for you to experiment with! You can use these blocks on any of the square graph paper in your planner.

How Do I Get Started?

Just take it one week at a time! The first week of every month is just about choosing your fabric.The following week, sew your blocks, and then post your blocks on Instagram or in our Facebook group between January 15th and January 31st with the #QP2019sewalong hashtag.   Every block is eligible to win a prize – winning is not about perfection or color choices…. it’s about participation and having fun! We know choosing your fabric may seem daunting, so be sure to join our Facebook group if you need ideas, or want to ask like-minded quilting friends their opinions.    This is a great way to figure out what color combinations make your heart sing.  Remember, you can change the color of the background, go monochromatic, use scraps…. this is YOUR quilt and you can make it look exactly the same as our inspiration photos or completely different.  

How Much Fabric Do I Need?

The amount of fabric you need varies a little based on the layout you have chosen.

Hexie Snowflake Layout:

Check page 14 of the magazine for the Fabric Requirements

Pyramid Layout:

Check page 1 of the QP 2019 Pyramid Layout Instructions.

Which Block Should I Sew for January?

Hexie Snowflake Layout:

For January, you will sew one Center Block.  The instructions for this block are on page 17 of the 2019 QP magazine

Pyramid Layout:

In the Pyramid Layout, there is no center block.  So, for both January and February, you will sew two of the Inner Ring Block 1 (you will end up with a total of 4 of these).  The instructions for this block are on page 17 of the QP magazine.

General Tips:

Tip 1: Use a Scant 1/4″ Seam Allowance

Our sampler is written with the expectation that you will use a scant quarter inch seam allowance.  That is a seam that is just shy of a 1/4 inch.  The reason is that when you press your seams, there is a hair’s extra room for your thread and the folding of the fabric, so your seam is an accurate 1/4″.  If you need help obtaining a scant quarter inch seam, consider adding the Perkins Seam Guide and Vinyl Seam Edge Strips to your sewing toolbox.  They are affordable, and can really make sure your scant quarter inch is consistent forever more.  The Perkins guide is placed under the presser foot and the needle is lowered through the hole in the guide to allow you to stick the vinyl seam stopper accurately next to the ruler, with confidence that you are marking a true scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Then you remove the ruler, and the thickness of the vinyl strip creates an edge that guides the fabric in front of the foot. To illustrate the difference between scant ¼” and regular ¼” seam allowance, look at the picture below.  First I marked a line.  To make it easier to see what a scant seam allowance looks like, I then marked a line exactly ¼” away from that first line.  When sewing a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, you will be sewing a seam that’s about thread’s width more than a typical 1/4″ seam.  In the picture below, you can see that I’m sewing on on the inside edge of the line.  It might not seem like a lot, but it really can add up.   To ensure that your seam allowance is accurate, take a scrap of fabric and sew a line ¼” from the edge of your fabric (use the Perkins guide first and the vinyl sticky tape if you have it) then measure it with a ruler.  If it’s just shy of ¼”, great.  If it’s not, make adjustments to your machine’s settings and keep rechecking until it is.

Tip # 2: Pressing Seams

As a side note, there’s an ongoing debate in the quilting world about whether it’s best to press seams to one side (the dark side) or to press them open.  The are pros and cons to both methods. Pressing seams open generally allows for a quilt top to lay more flat, but has drawbacks (weaker seams, less of a clear ditch for stitching in the ditch during the quilting phase).  Pressing seams to one side allows you to nest seams, which adds strength to your stitching, and leaves a clear ditch for following if you are going to stitch in the ditch in the quilting phase.  You choose!  There is no right answer!

Hexie Snowflake Sampler Tips

Tip #1:

I recommend starting out with oversized pieces of fabric when making Half Square Triangles (HSTs).  This allows me to have room for seam allowance wobbles.  After I make them, I can trim them down.  My favorite tool for trimming HSTs is my Bloc Loc Ruler.  

Tip #2:

Step 2 of the Hourglass Instructions (p. 15)  says to place 2 fabric HSTs right sides together so the seams nest.  Make sure that your seams are going the same direction before marking your diagonal line that runs perpendicular (across) to those seams. 

Tip #3:

To trim your hourglass, take advantage of the 45 degree line on your ruler as a guide for squaring. 

Tip #4:

When assembling the block, be sure to watch the orientation of the hourglass units and match them to the picture provided on page 17.

Pyramid Sampler: Middle Ring Bock One (make 2)

Tip #1: Trimming HSTs

The Middle Ring Block of the pattern is written using a very commonly used method for making 2 at a time HSTs. As I mentioned above for the Hexi Snowflake Sampler, HSTs can be easily squared up using a Bloc Loc ruler. My Bloc Loc ruler is one of my favorite tools in my sewing room.  It has definitely been worth the money given the number of blocks that I sew that include an HST.