splendid sampler 2 — connection block

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

Today has been a long time coming… it’s my day to reveal the block I designed for The Splendid Sampler 2 book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. I designed, made and submitted the block in the summer of 2017, almost a year and a half ago! I’m excited to share the process and some tips for making the block today.

If you’re new to the blog, let me introduce myself. I’m a designer, award-winning quilter, independent pattern/product publisher and teacher. My mission is to enhance people’s lives through beautiful, meaningful design as well as to empower and inspire others to enjoy the process of making. I love sharing the stories of what I make with others. Interested in seeing more of my work? Check out my gallery here or my shop here.

behind the scenes of designing the block

When Pat and Jane approached me to participate they asked me to create a block in my signature style that answered the question, I’m living my best quilting life when…

As a trained graphic designer, all of my designs start with a concept and after brainstorming potential directions, I start sketching. Once I have a fairly developed design in mind, I then decide the best way to construct and piece the quilt.

To answer Pat and Jane’s question, I started to think about my process and how I feel when things are going really well with a project. My block, entitled Connection, is inspired by how I feel when the idea for a quilt comes together and the concept and design are connected. There’s this wonderful spark when the layout, fabric selection and quilting all support one another. Here’s the original sketch for the block (with the final block you’ll find in the book):

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

While I love designing, writing and sharing quilt patterns using all types of techniques, I especially like to develop quilt patterns using foundation paper piecing. This technique allows for precision and for creating designs that just couldn’t be achieved through traditional piecing. Paper piecing does require a bit more brain power than traditional piecing for some quilters. It gets easier with practice!

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

Here are some of my top paper piecing tips:

• You may find it helpful to use a water-soluble fabric glue stick to attach the fabric to the first section of each piece of paper.

• Reduce your stitch length to 1.5. This shortened stitch length will make it easier to remove the paper at the end.

• I like to match my thread to one of the colors of the fabrics that I am sewing, especially for seams that are pressed open.

• After adding each piece, trim seam allowance (the optional “Add a Quarter” ruler is handy for this) and press seams before adding the next piece. This handy tools makes it easier to align your ruler to the folded edge of the paper pattern, allowing you to trim a precise 1/4″ seam. This ruler really speeds up the trimming process.

• Before pressing with a hot iron on the fabric side, I use a wallpaper seam roller or Hera Marker to press the seam on the paper side.

• Be prepared to use your seam ripper! Even the most experienced paper piecers will need it at times.

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

One question that has come up is about the bulk of the seams and alignments, especially in the middle of the block. One of the challenges with foundation paper piecing can be the handling of seams. This block is a bit bulky in the middle, but it is manageable. I want to share some “behind the scenes” or the back side of my block to show you what mine look like. 

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

It does look a little bit messy, but I find if I get it somewhat flat on the back (with a hot, dry iron) and then flip it over and give it another good hot press it will be good to go for quilting. I’ve recently been using a wool pressing mat and find that I get flatter seams. The wool mat retains heat, so when you press your seams, it’s like pressing from both sides at the same time. This helps with paper piecing since you should not press on the paper side—all of your ink from your paper with come off on your iron (ask me how I know!).

There’s definitely some bulk to this block, but not so much that it’s difficult to quilt through.

Spark your inspiration!

Sketch and final Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book and sew along with us. 80 quilters contributed blocks to this book, so there’s something for everyone!
Splendid Sampler 2 book

Love paper piecing? Check out my other paper pieced patterns:
Patchwork Petals are fun, modern quilt blocks that make cute pillows, placemats and minis for quilt swaps. Make additional blocks to construct a table runner, wall hanging, throw or large quilt (layout ideas included in the pattern). Mix and match blocks! Need a handmade housewarming or hostess gift? This is the perfect pattern! You’ll enjoy making these fully-tested, foundation paper pieced blocks. This pattern is fabric stash friendly! Scraps, fat eighths and fat quarters work great for the petal portions of this pattern. Use prints, solids and/or fussy-cut your favorite fabric for the petals. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Butterfly Bunch is a fun graphic wallhanging / mini quilt that uses foundation paper piecing techniques. Make additional blocks to make a larger quilt (layout ideas are provided to make a lap, twin or queen quilt). This tested pattern contains both detailed instructions and diagrams, making it easy to piece. Each butterfly block measures 14″ x 14″ making it a flexible design to customize your own quilting project. Use what you have in your fabric stash, fat eighths or fat quarters for the butterflies. Just add yardage for the background! Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Ladybug Loop is a graphic wallhanging / mini quilt that uses foundation paper piecing techniques. Make additional blocks to make a larger quilt (layout ideas are provided to make a lap, twin or queen quilt). This tested pattern contains both detailed instructions and diagrams, making it easy to piece. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. A great mini quilt to make as a wall hanging for your sewing space or gift to a sewist! Sew Speedy is a graphic wallhanging / mini quilt that uses foundation paper piecing techniques. Make additional blocks to make a larger quilt (layout ideas are provided). Sew Speedy is pre-cut strip friendly! Use a pre-cut strip roll (with at least 31 strips), add 1⅓ yard fabric for the background of the quilt top and you can make this mini quilt top, back and binding! Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Dragonfly Dance is a graphic wallhanging / mini quilt that uses foundation paper piecing techniques. Make additional blocks to make a larger quilt (layout ideas are provided to make a lap, twin or queen quilt). This tested pattern contains both detailed instructions and diagrams, making it easy to piece. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Bzzzzzz is an award-winning modern, graphic wallhanging/mini quilt featuring a combination of traditional machine piecing and foundation paper piecing. Make additional blocks to make a larger quilt (layout ideas are provided to make a lap, twin or queen quilt). This tested pattern contains both detailed instructions and diagrams, making it easy to piece. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Make Up and Away mini for your next quilt swap or as a gift. This 18″ x 18″ quilt is great as a wallhanging — add a border to make an oversized pillow or make multiple blocks and construct a larger quilt! This is the perfect pattern to use up your fabric scraps! If you need additional fabric to complement your stash, charm packs and fat eighths work well with this pattern. This tested pattern contains both detailed instructions and diagrams, making it easy to piece. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Deco Daybreak is an easy, beginner-friendly foundation paper piecing pattern. The design incorporates the repeat of a foundation paper-pieced block. Use my color selections as inspiration or customize the pattern using the supplied coloring sheet. Instructions are provided for four sizes: Throw, Twin and Queen. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Shoreline Sweets are easy, quick blocks to make in an afternoon. Included in this foundation paper piecing pattern are two block designs(finished size: 18″ x 4.5″ and 4.5″ x 9″). Approximate fabric requirements are included but this is also a great pattern to use up your scraps! Pattern by Whole Circle Studio. Celebration Candles is an easy, quick block to make in an afternoon. This is the perfect quilt project to make for birthday or holiday celebrations. Included in this foundation paper piecing pattern are 3 designs (one candle leaning to left, one candle leaning to right, one candle upright). This is also a great pattern to use up your scraps! These blocks are the perfect size for a mini quilt, table quilt or pillow. Make multiple blocks to make a table runner or larger quilt. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio.

Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks. Connection quilt block by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill | Whole Circle Studio. Featured in The Splendid Sampler 2, another 100 Blocks from a Community of Quilters book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Sew along and make all of the blocks featuring a variety of traditional and modern blocks.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for your lovely Connection block. I’ve never done FPP until SS2 sew-along; but I’ve discovered I now love FPP. So much fun! Thanks for sharing your lovely block.

    1. Hi Patricia, So happy to hear you’re enjoying FPP! It’s one of my favorite techniques and I love designing patterns that use paper piecing. Enjoy!

  2. Sheri, you explained your process beautifully. I can’t wait to make your block! I still have other patterns you designed to make that I purchased from you when you did a show in our community. I love FPP! Wishing you a happy and creative day!

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