Birthday Block of the Month #8: Carole Lyles Shaw

Only one month to go! For Month 8 of the Quilt Alliance’s Birthday Block of the Month, we have a delightfully simple block that creates an illusion of complexity. That’s just one of the many things that I admire about Carole Lyles Shaw’s designs.

As a modern quilter, Carole Lyles Shaw beautifully explores movement in quilts. For her Quilt Alliance design, she created a block that uses only squares and rectangles but gives the illusion of complex shapes. And best of all, it only takes about a half hour to make!

Meet Carole

Carole Lyles Shaw is an award-winning modern quilter, fiber artist, and workshop teacher. Her passion is to inspire quilters to explore the fun and creative freedom in making modern quilts. Carole taught herself to quilt so that she could make quilts for her wonderful nieces and nephews. She is drawn to modern quilting because it focuses on bringing individualism and free expression to the quilts made today. Carole teaches workshops to help quilters confidently and joyfully dive into modern quilting. Her students say that her workshops inspire them to let their creative voices shine.

You can follow her on Instagram or on her website.

Carole’s Top BOM Tips

Each month, our Birthday Block of the Month Designers share their top tips for making the block they designed. Here are three great tips for making this block straight from Carole herself. 

Carole’s Tip 1: Sew With an Accurate Quarter Inch Seam

Accuracy is important in this month’s quilt block to maintain the illusion of complex shapes. Also, because the block is made of four distinct units (described in the PDF pattern), if your seam allowance is too wide or thin, the units may not line up. If you’re concerned about the accuracy of your seam allowance, use scrap fabric to test and measure a few seams before beginning.

Carole’s Tip 2: Press With a Dry Iron

By now, you know that I (Laura) recommend a tailor’s clapper basically every month. I love tailor’s clappers! They work so wonderfully to keep seams flat. However, using a tailor’s clapper requires using steam and there’s a possibility that steam can distort fabric. If that happens, the illusion of this block may also be distorted. Instead of using steam and a tailor’s clapper this month, use a dry iron.

Quilt Alliance BOM Tips

Each month, we share our best tips for making the Birthday Block of the Month as well. These tips come to you from our Birthday Block of the Month host, Quilt Alliance co-president Laura Hopper! 

Here are some reasons I love this block: it only takes about a half an hour to make, the only cutting you’ll do is when you follow the initial cutting instructions, and it looks much harder than it is. That’s the beauty of Carole’s design — a beginner can make it, but it looks advanced.

Stay Organized

The hardest part of this block is keeping all of the differently-sized pieces organized. The PDF pattern will be a big help, but it’s not the only thing you should do, I recommend using sticky notes or scraps of paper to label each cut piece of fabric to keep track of them. Also important — keep those sticky notes on the cut fabric pieces until they are sewn together, not just while they are in a pile waiting to be put together. 

Check the PDF diagrams often!

I’m sure you check the PDFs often each month, but for this one, it’s extra important. It can be easy to accidentally piece fabric together in the wrong order. Or when you complete the four units, you may sew a unit upside down. Oops! Avoid having to use that trusty seam ripper and make sure you’re checking the PDF diagrams at every step.

Let Loose and Have Fun

You don’t have to overthink with this block. You don’t have any complicated techniques to worry about. This is truly an excuse to sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. Have a blast!

See You in December for Month Nine!

Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in the Quilt Alliance’s Birthday Block of the Month so far! Our designer for next month, the last block we’re making together, is the iconic Georgia Bonesteel! Next month, we will also share a blog post and PDF about how to finish the full Block of the Month lap quilt. 

Be sure to tag @quiltalliance and @carole_lylesshaw on Instagram with your block photos this month, and use the hashtag #QuiltAllianceBOM. And leave any questions about this month’s block in the comments below!