Block #8 – Carole Lyles Shaw

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…

Getting ready for the Birthday Block of the Month!

QA Birthday Block of the Month: Introduction
Happy birthday to us! Here at the Quilt Alliance, we love birthdays. And what better way to celebrate our own 30th anniversary than with a huge quilt party? The best part is — you’re invited! And so are nine of your very favorite quilt designers who each designed a block for our first-ever block of the month quilt as a birthday gift to the Quilt Alliance.    What is the Quilt Alliance Block of the Month?  For the rest of our anniversary year, all Quilt Alliance members at any level or donors who have contributed $30 or more will receive a new block pattern each month. You’ll get a reminder of when each block is released in our member newsletter so you’ll never have to worry about missing one.  At the end of our Block of the Month celebration, you’ll have nine fun blocks. Put them together with sashing and you’ll have a cozy 52” square lap quilt!  Each of the blocks, designed specifically for the Quilt Alliance’s Block of the Month, is inspired by some aspect of the designer’s quilt story, and we’ll provide guidance and tips as you work through the blocks for documenting and reflecting on YOUR quilt story!   Who Are the Block of the Month Designers?  Here is the schedule for our 30th anniversary Block of the Month!  April: Ricky Tims May: Zak Foster June: Pat Sloan July: Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill August: Suzy Williams September: Andrea Tsang Jackson October: Bonnie Hunter November: Carol Lyles Shaw December: Georgia Bonesteel No doubt that if you’re a quilter, you recognize some of those names! We are so fortunate to have so many influential and talented designers participating in our Birthday Block of the Month. We can’t wait to share their stories with you through Go Tell It Videos as we quilt together!   Getting Started with Your Own Birthday Block of the Month Like any fun block of the month, your first step for ours is picking your fabrics! You can either choose your own fabrics or use the same fabrics we are using for the cover version of the quilt. If you’re an adventurous quilter, you can even consider using scraps!  The fabrics used for the cover version of our Birthday Block of the Month are Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids in the following colors:  Evergreen Swimming Pool Creme de la Creme Sweet Fig Cabernet For our backing fabric, we added a beautiful Ruby Star Society print for a pop of excitement on the back! The print is from the Darlings 2 fabric line and is called Wildflowers in black. It complements the neutral Creme de la Creme so nicely!  The Quilt Alliance Birthday Block of the Month uses 5 colors. Feel free to choose your own fabrics, but if you’d like tips, we have examples of 7 color palettes that can help inspire you!  Here is the color palette we are using to make our quilt: Here is the easy three-step formula we used to come up with this color palette, which you can use to create your own!  Choose two colors or color families. Ours are deep green/blue and red/purple. Pick one dark and one light color from each.  Choose a neutral color that will be used in both the blocks and the sashing.  It’s that easy! This simple light and dark formula will help ensure that your quilt has enough color contrast while keeping the look cohesive and fresh. Let’s break that formula down using our cover quilt colors before diving into other color palette examples.  Evergreen — dark green/blue Swimming Pool — light green/blue Creme de la Creme — neutral Sweet Fig — light red/purple Cabernet — dark red/purple Here’s an example that uses the same formula. We have a dark yellow, light yellow, neutral, light blue, and dark blue.  This rose garden-inspired palette uses the same light and dark formula, but instead of a traditional neutral like white or cream, we’ve used a soft pink to connect the greens and reds.  This palette uses the same formula, but like the rose garden palette, these tropical sunset colors are connected with a soft color from the same family. We have a dark and light orange, dark and light pink, and a peach that connects all the colors.  You can build on the light and dark formula to make a monochromatic palette! On the left, you can see that we have a dark and light blue. On the right, we also have a dark and light blue. The connecting neutral that will appear in both the blocks and sashing is the lightest color blue, creating a cool-themed monochromatic palette!  Here’s a warm monochromatic color palette that was made the same way as the cool palette above. We have a dark and light yellow, a dark and light pink, and a peach neutral that connects them all! If you like vibrant colors, you can even consider using black as your neutral color! It helps bright colors jump off a quilt and glow almost like neon. Just like the palettes above, this one is made using the same formula — dark and light green, dark and light purple, and black as the neutral. There are so many ways to choose your own fabrics, but using our dark and light formula will help make sure that you have enough contrast in your colors as you make blocks each month!
Quilt Documentation Tip! Once you’ve selected your own color palette, write down the fabrics you used and the company that manufactured them. If you journal or record your thoughts about your quilting, you could also write down the inspiration behind your color palette. Share that inspiration with us on social media using #QuiltAllianceBOM! We can’t wait to see what colors you’re going to use in your Quilt Alliance Birthday Block of the Month quilt! If you use Instagram, be sure to post your fabric pull using the hashtag #QuiltAllianceBOM and tag @quiltalliance so we can see your beautiful creations!…