January Color Challenge

Color Challenge

I’m so excited to get started on this project.  Actually, I’ll be doing two projects, one using my designs, and one using Pattern by Jen’s designs.


In case you missed my first post announcing the color challenge, you can read the details here.  To participate in the challenge you need to make something in red, which is the January color of the month.  You can make my block, Jen’s block, or anything else you like.  You should check out the offerings from my fellow bloggers to see if any of the patterns strike your fancy.  Definitely go to Jen’s page – she is the hostess with the prizes.  This month’s prize is a set of Shimmer Strips by Northcott.

Patterns By Jen Block

IMG_5223.jpgJen is the creator of this project, and I’m so pleased she’s letting me play along.  This is the block I made using Jen’s pattern.  I got a little excited when I found both of these polka dots in my stash, and they wanted to play together.  I’m glad I decided on the 6″ version of Jen’s block, because much more of this would be too much.

I’ve decided that this will be the year that I try my hand at pattern design.  I will be offering up a pattern for a 12″ block each month of the blog hop.  The patterns will be available on Craftsy free for the current month.  After that they will be $1.  I will be using the Betty Crocker Ass 1/4 circle template set, which has been sitting in my tool basket for the past two years getting dusty.  (I would love to tell you how to make your own template and avoid buying a special ruler.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how.  I have never had great luck making my own templates.)

I will be using my scrap bins for this project all year long, along with yardage of white from my stash.  I predict this will not be a stash buster, but rather an exercise in changing the shapes of my scraps.

Here is the bad news.  I will be making a quilt using curved piecing and templates.  Boo!  But, I will use the templates for each block all year long, so if you decide to buy it, it won’t be for just this one block.  I have an idea in my head, and I think it will be a lot of fun.  Circles are more intimidating than they should be.  Pinning and patience are all you need to master piecing circles.  By the end of the year we should be expert circle piecers.

I will also be incorporating some different techniques I want to explore.  Nothing should be too challenging, and I will share a detailed walk through of each block.

Without further ado, here is my block for January.

Circle Play


I put together a video demonstrating construction of this block.  Enjoy!


You can download the pattern from Craftsy for free for the month of January.  The instructions are very detailed.

Technique:  Foundation paper piecing

I used some scrap paper to make the template for the circle.  (Disregard the fancy pattern.)  Simply trace the 1/4 circle segment (the Part A template), marking the center notch.  I folded 3 lines to help guide my scrap placement.  I did one line from the point to the center notch.  The other two lines are from the point to about halfway along the arc.  I only marked this one so you could see the lines.  In person, the folds are visible enough for our purposes.


Foundation paper piecing can be a tricky idea to wrap your mind around if you haven’t done it before.  This pattern will be good for practicing – precision isn’t a critical factor with this piece.  Your goal is to make sure the paper section is completely covered with fabric, and that your seams are at least 1/4″, because you really don’t want any fraying or holes in your blocks.

If you make a mistake with this block you have a choice.  Rip out your stitches and try again, or add an extra ray.  I did this myself on my first block, when I neglected to measure my strips.  You will notice that there are 5 rays on one of my pieces.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.05.00 PM.png

Start at one end, your choice which end.  Lay your first piece on right side up, with the raw edge 1/4″ beyond the fold line.  Lay your second piece on right side down, aligned with the first.  Flip it over and stitch along the folded line on the paper foundation.

Return to your cutting mat.  Place your piece on the mat, fabric side down, paper up.  Fold back the paper along the sewn line so you can see your seam allowance.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.  I like using my Add a Quarter ruler for this – the lip makes for less slipping, but you can use whatever ruler you prefer.  Flip your block over, so the paper side is on the cutting mat.  Open up the fabric and press open.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.06.26 PM.png

Fold back your second fabric piece along the next stitching line, giving yourself a little crease to line up your next piece.  Lay the third rectangle with a 1/4″ overlap on the fold line.  Flip the piece over and stitch along the folded line in your paper.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.14.58 PM.pngRepeat these steps until you completely cover the foundation.

Flip it over and trim, lining the Part A template up with the paper foundation.  Give it a shot of spray starch or Best Press and iron again, getting it nice and firm.  Remove the papers from the back.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.18.20 PM.png

Use your Part B template to cut out 4 pieces of background fabric.  Make sure to mark the notch for aligning with Part A.

Take one Part B and one Part A.  Line up the notch on Part B with the center seam on Part A.  Line up the ends and pin.  I like to use plenty of pins.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.22.59 PM.png

Stitch slowly, easing the edges together as you get to them.  It will all come together beautifully.  Press your circle segment with the center pieces towards the outer edge. Square up your block at 6.5″.  Repeat with your other 3 segments.

Take two completed sections and pin them together carefully.  I match them up at the center, edge, and along the sewn line.  Repeat.  Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.24.28 PM

Finally, join your two halves to complete your block.


Be sure to check out the other participants in the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge Blog Hop.

Don’t forget to share your projects with #2018MonthlyColorChallenge on social media!

Dee's block.jpg

Dee’s version of my block!

23 thoughts on “January Color Challenge

  1. You are so good, doing Jen’s blocks and a tutorial for your own! I am very clever at avoiding patchwork with curved piecing, but you make it look possible. I shall tuck this away for a rainy day and I really look forward to seeing how your quilt design develops.


  2. Thanks! That was fun to watch. That iron is cute, but I think I’ll keep my big one. LOL I don’t normally paper-piece, but I could probably do this one.


  3. What a fun block! I love the idea of the challenge and look forward to seeing what you design. This is a great block.


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