Posted in classes, Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Teaching, Uncategorized

Four Patches

Four-patches look like the simplest piece to make, right?

But getting them to be perfect isn’t all that easy.

Even after careful cutting, stitching and pressing, these units may not quite line up. That can be frustrating.

I’ve probably sewn thousands of four-patches over the years, and the truth is mine weren’t always spot on.

In fact, they were always a little wonky. But I was able to make them work by lining them up with the trimmed V-Block (or whatever) unit I was stitching it to.

When this tool was first introduced I wasn’t convinced that most quilters would need it. Then I started using the right tool for the job and it made a huge difference for me.

The Four Patch Square Up Ruler works like all the Studio 180 Design tools: You’ll make the piece a little bit bigger than needed, then trim it to perfection with the tool.

Here is what my four patches looked like before. Not quite big enough and not quite square.


Here is what my four patches have looked like ever since I started using the Four Patch Square Up Ruler every time I make a four-patch.


Being a little off here and there is no big deal. But if everything is off, all those mistakes start to snowball. After all that time, effort and money, the last thing you want is to be unhappy with your finished project.

Everything won’t always be perfect, but this tool is going to get you pretty darn close.

DT17_-_Four_Patch_Square_Up_ruler_with_instructions_1024x1024       IMG_1976[1]



GALAXY is a class favorite and one of my favorite quilts!  I love a quilt that looks difficult to make and it’s not!  Many Four Patches and V-Blocks create this stunning quilt!  And there’s no curved piecing! Would you like to have this class at your guild or quilt shop?


Have you used the Four Patch Square Up tool?  Do you struggle to get those
Four Patches perfect?

Until next time –





Posted in classes, Quilting, Teaching, Uncategorized

How to get the most out of your quilt class

Heading out the door for quilt class and your car keys are nowhere to be found. Maybe it’s a flat tire on the way to class, spilled coffee, a fender-bender — or all of the above and total mayhem of a morning.

 We’ve all been there.  That’s real life — and it sure can get in the way of a wonderful day.

 While we can’t control everything, there are some things we can control to minimize the chaos in class. Here are a few tips to follow so that everyone can get the most value from a day of learning new techniques and patterns.

 At least a week before class

• Gather supplies. Review the teacher’s instructions for what tools you’ll need for the class. If you are missing a tool, check with the teacher to see if one will be available to purchase in class.

• Select fabric you like. Use good-quality, cotton fabric. If cutting is needed before the class, don’t wait until the night before or the morning of your class! Call or email your teacher if you have questions – don’t rely on your best friend’s help……

• Give your travel sewing machine some spa time. Make sure your travel machine is in good working order. Give it some tender loving care with a good cleaning and oiling. Or, take it to a local dealer if you have not used it in awhile. It might need a tune-up.

• Give your machine a test run. Replace the needle with a new one. Select a good thread, wind the bobbin (and maybe an extra) and give the machine a practice run.

• Pack up.  Be sure to pack an all purpose foot, an open toe foot, a quarter-inch foot and any foot specified on the class instructions. Bring extra needles, bobbins and don’t forget the power cord and foot pedal for your machine!

• Questions? A good teacher welcomes questions before, during and after class.With a week to go, you have plenty of time to ask before the class bell rings.

 On class day

• Pack some snacks. (Your teacher loves snacks too!)

• Bring a beverage — just be sure to use a covered container with a tight lid! (Really, you don’t want to be that person who spilled coffee all over your neighbor’s favorite Kaffe Fassett  fabric!)

•  If you need help during class –  ask your teacher.

• Likewise, if your neighbor is struggling, let your teacher help. (Your teacher wants everyone to get the proper information.)

• Seeing friends and meeting new people is a great part of taking a class. Just please be mindful to catch up or get to know each other when you take a break — not when the instructor is walking everyone through something new.

• Go at your own pace. Everybody learns and works differently. So don’t compare your progress with others.

• Take breaks.

• Have fun!

 What would you add to this list?

For more information on Barbara’s classes –

Posted in classes, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Sue Pelland Designs tools and techniques, Teaching

Top 8 Reasons to take a quilt class!

  1.  Most obvious – learn a new skill.  Whether its a new tool, new technique, or new pattern, taking a class is a great way to learn. Your teacher is an expert in class content and can explain to you in a way you can understand.  We all learn a little differently and a good instructor will be able to help you understand the concept.
  2. Refresh or perfect a skill.  If it’s been a while since you’ve quilted or you’re struggling with a tool or technique a class is a great way to get “back in the saddle”.
  3. It’s the little things. In class you may learn a new way to pin, perfect your quarter inch or learn to spin your seams..
  4. You’ll be encouraged to change your rotary cutter blade.  None of us change it often enough – go change your blade right now!  You will thank me!
  5. You’ll “need” to buy new fabric – like you need a reason!  Of course you can use something out of your stash – but that new fabric line would be perfect!
  6. In class you’ll get to see the fabric combinations of all the other students.  I’m always amazed by the different styles and colors chosen for projects.  And inspired!
  7. Sometimes there is Show and Tell – more inspiration!
  8. Make new friends, hang out with other quilters, share ideas and laugh!

Do you take quilt classes?  What would you add to the list?

Click HERE to check out my classes – I just added 4 NEW classes!