100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

It’s the final chance to win a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 6 AND a mug! I sure hope you’ve had as much fun on Quiltmaker’s Blog Tour as we have . . . we love reading all your comments and we love seeing what all the designers have to say as well.

QMMS 120024 COVER 500 shadow4 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

On sale now at local quilt shops or newsstands. Also available at QuiltAndSewShop.com.

Vol6 mug5 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

Before I get to my block, let me respond to some of your comments, especially from the Day 4 post where Diane asked what you want to see in upcoming issues of Quiltmaker. It was fun to see what you want and know that we’ve already got a lot of that planned for 2013! It’s almost like we read your minds icon smile 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut or you read our minds or…well, we’re thinking a lot of things alike!

  1. Lots of you said you want to see more applique. Quiltmaker is declaring 2013 our Year of Applique! Starting in the Jan/Feb ’13 issue we’ll be showing a different applique technique with how-to photos in each issue. I would also invite you to revisit Sue Garman’s needleturn applique project Fleur-de-Lis Flourish in QM’s July/Aug ’12 issue.
  2. Some of you asked for a Bonnie Hunter mystery. It’s in the works and launches in March/April ’13. It’s a four-part series that concludes in Sept/Oct ’13. (Special subscription offers are still good if you want to make sure you get every issue!)
  3. Lots of you asked for small quilts and miniatures. We have a collection of seasonal wall quilts planned with Margie Ullery (she calls them “Skinnies”) that also runs March/April ’13 through Sept/Oct ’13. Each pattern is complete in each issue and each wall quilt can hang on its own or you can combine them into one quilt at the end. We’ll think about more miniatures.
  4. More modern/more traditional icon smile 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut Hmm . . . yes, we’re working hard to balance these two styles. You can see it in the blocks presented in 100 Blocks Vol. 6 and I think you’ll see a good balance in upcoming Quiltmaker issues.
  5. More quilts for boys/men. This is another area that we strive to balance, especially in our color options. If a feature is particularly feminine, we’ll make the color option more masculine.
  6. More baby quilts. In 2013 we’ve added a Big Block Baby Quilt in each issue where we will enlarge a block from that issue and give you yardage and instructions for a crib-size quilt.
  7. More foundation quilts. We include at least one foundation pieced pattern in each issue. Sometimes more. Watch for a focus on foundations in July/Aug ’13.

Your comments are very helpful as we plan for future issues. In fact, two years ago it was this kind of question that gave us the idea for the Scrap Squad who create scrappy versions of a QM pattern that we post online. If you’re interested in joining the Scrap Squad, be sure to watch for a recruitment announcement in the next few weeks. And please “like” us on Facebook so you don’t miss out.

Now back to my block in Volume 6 . . .

QMMS 120024 DUDLEY 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

Shortcut block #570 by June Dudley. Appears in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 6.

pin it button 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

Sometimes I just want an easy block that I can turn into a quick quilt. And that’s where Shortcut comes into play. I knew I’d have fun with these yummy teal and purple batiks from Lunn Studios for Robert Kaufman.

Let’s see how Shortcut works in a couple of settings. Because of the diagonal nature of this block, it works great in traditional Log Cabin settings:

shortcut1 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

setting #1: blocks set 4x4 and rotated to form diamonds "Sunshine and Shadows"


shortcut2 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

setting #2: blocks set 4x4 and rotated to form diagonal rows "Fields and Furrows"


shortcut3 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

setting #3: blocks set 4x4 form diamonds inside diamonds "Barn Raising"


shortcut sashes1 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

setting #4: blocks set 6x6 with 2" sashes

I like Shortcut in setting #4 where it looks like the blocks are set on point, but they’re not—easy blocks, simple setting, a fun sash with quarter-square triangles at some of the intersections for a bit of interest.

Leave a comment by midnight MST Sunday 11/18 and tell me your favorite quiltmaking shortcut. One more lucky person will win a copy of the issue AND a 100 Blocks mug! And the winner is….. Comment #23 ritainalaska! Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who participated!

About June Dudley

I'm the Editor-in-Chief of Quiltmaker magazine. I have enjoyed quilting for many years. And I love to collect fabric, thread, books and all things quilty. I especially like batiks, bright colors, florals, dots, stripes and anything purple or teal.
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177 Responses to 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut

  1. Gina says:

    My favorite shortcut is using leader and ender blocks to make a second quilt in no time at all.

  2. Lauren aka Giddy99 says:

    I’m a newbie, so I don’t know much, but I know that pre-cuts are already some of my fave things. :)

  3. Lisa Marie says:

    If I’m using a pattern that’s new to me I always make a block or two before planning or cutting a whole quilt. If I find I don’t enjoy making the block or don’t like the way it looks then I save myself the trouble of making a lot of them. It’s better to work on things that are enjoyable.

  4. Karen says:

    One of the best things I did when I (recently) started quilting was to find and watch tutorials online where I learned strip piecing, chain piecing, how to make hst’s, as well as a lot of other useful “shortcuts”. I love the block showcased today; it looks like it’s perfect for a new quilter!

  5. Beth Brown says:

    My best quilting tip (not really a shortcut) is make sure that you have really, really good light!

  6. Donna Wingo says:

    My favorite is Eleanor Burn’s flying geese method. Using her rulers.

  7. Karen says:

    The blocks are outstanding! anxious to see the book.

  8. carol l says:

    My shortcut is to read ALL the instructions. Looking forward to the 2013 issues on applique.
    Carol L

  9. Shanon Haas says:

    My favorite short cut is the piece of fabric I use at the beginning and end of my piecing so that my machine doesn’t eat the points of triangles. I also like chaining pieces rather than sewing them one at a time.

  10. Laurie says:

    My favorite shortcut is to reuse a small piece of fabric at the beginning and end of my machine stitching – it catches all the threads so you don’t have to keep cutting and cleaning up loose threads (it’s like chain stitching).

  11. Kate says:

    Neat block, a good way to use scraps too. I dont have any real short cuts, although I do like the no waste method of flying geese blocks, may take longer to sew but I cant stand throwing out little bits…
    Thanks for the chance!

  12. Pat V. says:

    Chain piecing!

  13. Debbie says:

    My favorite short cut is chain piecing, love to minelessly sew fabric at a continual speed, before setting my blocks together!!

  14. Nancy Angerer says:

    Love the block and the colors used. Also love the setting on #4. I always fill several bobbins and read the instructions all the way through before I start cutting and sewing. I also like to do strip piecing. And marking the line I am using on the ruler is really helpful.

  15. Kristi R. says:

    I love all 4 versions! I always read the entire pattern and like to use Thangles for my triangle squares. Keep up the good work!!

  16. Jan G. says:

    I like layout #4 also, My fave short cut is pre-cuts!! Charms, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, and Honeybuns!! But I always Measure twice, three times before I cut anything!!!

    Sorry the block party is over it has been fun, thanks for all the info and hard work in putting the book, and blocks together!! And thanks for all the giveaways!!

    Jan G.

  17. Beth says:

    Chain stitching and rotary cutting are where it’s at!

  18. Amy says:

    I’ve been doing chain peicing, but I need help to go faster!

  19. lindawwww says:

    I’ve learned that I can save myself loads of time and much less picking out seams if I take the time to read all the way through the instructions for a project before I start. It also helps to underline the measurements for cutting the fabric and also any unusual steps that are part of the instructions.

  20. suzette norby says:

    I don’t have quilting-specific software, so I’ve been using MS Visio to plan quilts. Not perfect, by any means, but better than nothing.

  21. Gun Adrian says:

    I save small pieces, 1.5″ and then I sew Postage Stamps Quilts. Really easy and quick and you can chainsew so many you like :)
    Gun, Sweden

  22. Patricia Hersl says:

    Chain piecing is the bomb! I don’t think anything else can compare to time savings,

  23. Tammy Hempel says:

    I like your block. Very different looks with the same block very nice.

  24. Pam from CA says:

    My favorite shortcut is to audition my sashing fabrics or my border colors by taking a digital photo. This reads the best selection better than my own eye.

  25. Julie in GA says:

    I love to chain piece–it saves so much time on sewing, plus fewer threads to cut off. I even chain pieces together when I am sewing garments.

  26. Judith says:

    My shortcut is to use Elmer’s washable school glue instead of pins to hold the binding and quilt together while I sew on the binding. It washes right out, and as a bonus, I don’t get poked.

  27. Florence Dupuis says:

    I need some new blocks to check out to use my stash of butterfly fabrics.

  28. Diantha says:

    My current favorite shortcut is one I’ve used on “postage stamp” quilts – laying out the squares onto fusible interfacing. It has greatly helped me get the blocks even.
    (I also like chain piecing.)
    I really like your block and how different the various layouts look!

  29. Regina says:

    I try to do things in “chunks” – do all the same thing in one step for ALL your blocks, then press them all, then go to the next step for all. It means less starting and stopping and changing gears, and less getting up and down.

  30. eileen in spain says:

    I use chain piecing all the time, a real time saver! Thanks for the chance to win!

  31. Margaret Andrews says:

    I think the best shortcut is one that my husband says, “Measure twice, cut once.” Sure saves time and frustration. I have to add, make sure that you are using the correct side of your ruler and not the one that has the 1/2 inch addition…sure makes a difference as to the size of the block…and correctness.

  32. Norma says:

    I don’t know any shortcuts other than what I have learned from others. I am still a beginner and always looking to learn more. I like the #4 version, although I would also want to practice on one block first.

  33. Nancy B from Many LA says:

    I like chain piecing!

  34. Margaret Harrington says:

    Lately I have been “kitting”as many of my fabrics as I can along with the pattern or idea if it is a method quilt. It saves a lot of time figuring out what I had in mind for a particular fabric. My quick “go to” quilt type is Mary’s strippie quilt which I kit quite often. I have been a subscriber to “Quiltmaker” for a very long time and never tire of the ideas, methods and new techniques I see. Thank you.

  35. Allison42 says:

    I make a checkoff list of all the parts so I know exactly where I am on quilt!

  36. Pingback: 100 Blocks Vol. 6: Shortcut | Quilty Pleasures Blog | How To Quilt

  37. Barb J says:

    My favorite shortcut is the “four-at-a-time” Flying Geese technique. I don’t know the official name, but that is what I call it! You start with one big square for the geese part, and four smaller squares for the backgrounds. No triangles and no bias edges to handle!

  38. LouAnn says:

    Everyone should completely clean their sewing room at least once a year….it”s amazing how many items and fabric you find, that you just forgot you had:)

  39. Cathy K says:

    I love using Bonnie Hunter’s “Leaders and Enders” system! This way I’m actually working on 2 quilts at once! – Love the progress that I make! Every time I sew I’ve got my “leader” already in my machine (which helps out with loose threads or threads getting caught in my machine) – and once I finish with a group of piecing blocks I “end” with another “ender” – It is amazing how fast my secondary blocks come together!

  40. Deb S. says:

    I like to assemble blocks “assembly line” style making all the same units at the same time and then putting them together into the blocks. It feels like I get so much done more quickly that way.

  41. Judy A says:

    WoW… Thanks to Darlene for the binding quick tip…makes it sound simple enough.

  42. Susan Paxton says:

    I love to strip piece and it really does save time…I also love to read the entire directions for a quilt before I start that way there are no surprises…I love the magazine and it is on my christmas list. I would love to win it!!

  43. Darlene Krystal says:

    My favorite shortcut comes to in the binding…I had a difficult time trying to cut the binding using the triangle method so I came up with my own quick method…..(1) Measure the four sides…(2) add them together…(3) add 16 inches…So if a quilt measures 88 inches the math would be 88 x 4 = 352 + 16 = binding needed 368 inches… Quick, and usually you end up with a few inches left over at the end…Hope this works for you too….

  44. grahamplaid says:

    Chain piecing is my favorite technique!

  45. Judy says:

    I use tiny sandpaper pieces, placed in each corner, on my square ruler to keep it from shifting as I cut.(You can buy the sticky-backed pre-cut disc)
    Chain sewing does makes sewing seem to go faster.
    Love the batik fabrics and block design!

  46. Mary Arline Smith says:

    I am presently making a 20″ pillow sample quilt top “Swooping Eagle” as a shortcut for 10 year Grandson in order to allow him to have input in the larger quilt. This also allows me to “practice” sewing the diamonds. Since this project is considerably smaller, I have made a graph paper square and cut paper diamonds in the colors of the fabric to insure an interpretation of the eagle on the smaller scale will be a good match. I may then submit the “paper quilt” to a local hospital who will raffle as a fund raiser and then frame and post to add to their displayed quilt collection.
    “Thank you for sharing your block and choice of fabrics as well as offering an opportunity to win a copy and the “so special” mug!” Mary Arline

  47. Carol Grayshock says:

    My favorite shortcut is to use ‘thangles’ and chain piece them. It also helps with accuracy. Another one is to make sure that I read completely through the pattern before beginning. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  48. pyamada says:

    I wanna win this! Thanks for the giveaway.

  49. Linda P in Il says:

    I love the 100 Blocks Magazines!!
    My tip is..I iron a large piece of freezer paper to the ironing board. It covers up any dark places and I can draw lines on it for reference. Then just replace as needed.

  50. nel fraker says:

    I always love to look at something new. My short cut is-all those cardboard templates we use. Put a little tack it over and over on the back and they will stay still and move to cut again.

  51. Gloria says:

    The most important shortcut for me is cutting the entire quilt out, marking each part of the block, and placing in zip-lock bags until I am ready to start sewing.

  52. Mary Scholl says:

    I just love trying something new all the time such as quilts, ruler etc.

  53. Terri says:

    I guess my favorite ‘shortcut’ is to press all fabric for a project before I begin to cut – My pet peeve is ‘wrinkles’ ha ha ha – thanks – love all the combos for this block!

  54. Marianne Dunn says:

    My favorite shortcut it to chain piece.

  55. Kay Mc says:

    Chain piecing is probably my main shortcut. I also, use spray starch when I am making small quilts. The fabric pieces are much easier to work with & they blocks come out nice & crisp when I use starch.

  56. Barb Shoffner says:

    Love these blocks! I like making log cabin looking quilts.
    One short cut I like is using double sided sticky tape when piecing to match the seams. Make sure it is below the 1/4″ seam line (don’t want to sew through it, as it will be hard to get out) and remember to remove it before pressing. Keeps the fabrics from shifting when sewing the seam.

  57. My favorite shortcut is strip piecing. I have been known to adapt patterns simply so I can do more strip piecing, because it really does speed things up that much.

    I love the block you are sharing today, it’s really stunning especially done in batiks. And the teal/purple color combo is my daughter’s elementary school colors… so perhaps I will have to make a quilt in these colors for their big raffle fundraiser at the end of the year. Thank you for all the inspiration!

  58. Rina Mason says:

    Always make a test block when using a new pattern. Doesn’t sound like a short cut but can save a lot of grief in the long run.

  59. Terry H. says:

    Shortcuts – Does that include having ‘stash’, so that I do not have to run to the store
    and get something to match because it is one of those ‘last minute gifts’. I also do
    chain piecing when ever possible. It it is just faster. Thanks for a chance to win.

  60. Pauline Gudas says:

    I always make one complete block when I start a new quilt pattern. I then can see if I am going to have an issue with constructing it or if there is a problem with it. Also serves as a reminder when I am sewing a lot of the same blocks to keep the orientation correst.

  61. JanetB says:

    I like Bonnie Hunter’s technique for cutting half square triangles using the Easy Angle ruler. It’s much easier (to me) than cutting squares, drawing lines, sewing, and cutting the squares apart. It’s my go-to technique for half squares.

  62. Leslie says:

    I like taking any standard blocks and setting them on point to make a larger quilt.

  63. Jenelle Boxberger says:

    Love your block and thanks for the chance to win. This really isn’t a short cut, but I read all the instructions and make sure I understand it before starting a project. Because if I get half way through and get all messed up I just want to toss it all in the waste basket. LOL

  64. Lynn says:

    Chain piecing has to be my all time shortcut as it saves thread and time.

  65. vickie van dyken says:

    Love all the 100 Block Mags! They are so unique and you know you will find more than one that will be a favorite :) The Mug is soooo way cool , I hope I win one :) I will proudly display it at the LQS for all to drool over!! fingers crossed on this one.

  66. Kathy Harris says:

    I keep a silicone spatula handy near my longarm quilting machine. When I ‘have’ to use a seam ripper and take out any questionable stitching, wiping the silicone spatula over the loose cut threads really helps pulll them up and out. It also seems that the red silicone spatula works better than any other color.

  67. Donna says:

    My favorite shortcut is the way to make half square triangles – so nice! Thanks for this opportunity to win!

  68. Pat Winters says:

    I like Quiltmaker and look forward to the special 100 blocks volume 6.

  69. Marie says:

    One of my favorite quilting shortcut is making 4 flying geese at once using one big square and 4 smaller squares! Fast and wastefree! Your block is great! I’m thinking it would be fun to do and great for beginners.

  70. Pat Winters says:

    I look forward to seeing all the blocks in one volume …. a nice companion for travel!

  71. Michelle Olson says:

    GORGEOUS! I was going to make a couple bags with the purple & blue batiks I bought in Hawaii, but this is simply stunning! Good thing the fabric wasn’t cut yet!

  72. Karen says:

    I chain piece wherever possible.
    Thanks for the chance to win the magazine and mug. I usually miss out on this magazine as it is hard to find locally… or maybe it sells out quickly. :-/

  73. Tracee says:

    I love the look of half square triangles so being able to sew a few straight lines on two large squares right sides together & then makes cuts to give 8 identical blocks is a wonderful shortcut.

  74. Virginia S. says:

    My favorite shortcut is where you take two 5 inch charm squares, put them right sides together, and then sew a 1/4 inch seam on two opposite sides. Then cut the block in half parallel to the sewed seam. You have blocks that are ready to be made into a four patch. You can chain piece these as well. Eleanor Burns has some really great tips!

  75. Violet Johnson says:

    I love layout #1. My tip, as a newbie, I need to remember to measure twice, cut once. I am just finishing up my second quilt top and I’ve learned that keeping more than one bobbin ready with thread is very helpful, also.

  76. Rachell R says:

    My favorite shortcut is the No-Waste Flying Geese method. I hate waste and I haven’t yet had a chance to use some of the waste triangles I had before I found this method.
    I love being able to turn out 4 units at once, too!
    This has been so much fun, and I sure would like a mug and a copy! Thanks!

  77. Janet says:

    When paper piecing, to quickly remove paper and not have such mess of tiny scraps of paper, I use painters tape or masking tape or removeable double sided tape to remove the paper. Just press tape on the paper and pull. Bingo… most of the paper gone & stuck to tape. Any bits of paper left, repeat again. I just finished quilting a king quilt using tissue paper with quilt design on it instead of marking the quilting pattern. For removing tissue paper I used the tape method. What a time saver! Hope this helps all paper piecers!

  78. ritainalaska says:

    read pattern through; press and starch fabric; layer when cutting; chain piece! love the batik block … and #3 setting.

  79. rose Durham says:

    Love your layouts…and the two colors for your block..my shortcut is to cut out several quilt projects at one time…label and organize pieces and put in small zip lock bags…put all in a larger zip lock with thread, bobbin,pattern , etc. I have these ready for “retreats”.Projects ready in adnce makes packing much easier and I get more accomplished.

  80. Leanne says:

    I love your block. Setting 4 looks anything but easy once pieced together, great for impressing with a simple quilt! I love to chain piece whenever possible, and put my blocks together assembly line style. It makes it seem faster when I’m doing four blocks at once instead of one at a time. Thanks for all the blog fun these past two weeks. I’m looking forward to Volume 7′s blog tour already!

  81. Jocelyn says:

    I too enjoy an easy block. It makes for instant gratification when constructing a quilt. My quiltmaking shortcut is thinking of ways to strip piece whenever the pattern calls for a template. I’m much more for speedy strip piecing then making one block at a time ;-)

  82. Quiltonia says:

    My shortcut is pressing fabrics right side together before cutting triangles so they are ready to sew. Starch helps with those bias edges, too.

  83. Patti says:

    A shortcut that I use all the time is chain piecing. It is awkward if I don’t do it. I also like to lay out all of the blocks for a quilt on the design wall so I can grab two rows to piece together. Thanks for the chance.

  84. Gill says:

    I’m always looking for shortcuts!
    I like to chain piece wherever possible!

  85. Kathy says:

    My shortcut tip is that I use So Fine or Bottom Line threads in my bobbin as they are finer threads and lasts forever. I also pre-wind a few bobbins so that I don’t have to stop to wind new bobbins in the middle of a project.

  86. Liza says:

    I chain stitch as much as possible. I think it’s a great timesaver.

  87. Robyn Brown says:

    It’s not mine really, it’s Bonnie Hunter’s, the leaders and enders concept where you sew scraps together at the end of a row of what you’re working on.

  88. I don’t really have any shortcuts. Always keep your rotary cutter sharp.

  89. Joyce Mitchell says:

    Love your block – each setting looks so different. My shortcut: lay several layers of fat quarters down & cut them at the same time. Thanks for the last chance to win.

  90. Lee Ann L. says:

    I don’t really have any shortcuts. Even my “designing” is all done via graph paper. I do have Electric Quilt and am going to start using that soon.

  91. ANGELA BARGER says:

    always cut and piece 1 block before cutting rest, helps make sure your completely happy with color/fabric selection. your block is cool really like setting 1 and 3

  92. Dee says:

    I agree, I love layout #4. This is a perfect block for a retreat. I don’t know if it is a shortcut or not, but I have found it is a good idea to go to the pattern’s author’s website to see if any corrections have been printed since the pattern came out. This will save alot of frustration and fabric. Also, do a sample block first. It’s putzy, but then again, much better then cutting out the whole quilt with fabric you may have had a long time in your stash and can no longer get.

  93. I like to fingerpress seams or use my wooden roller. Saves me from hopping back and forth to the ironing board. I only use the iron to press once blocks are fully constructed.
    A real time saver. I am sad that the block hop is over :( It’s always so much fun!

  94. Lynn D in NC says:

    I love your layout #1, the Sunshine and shadows – that really appeals to me. My favorite shortcut – when cutting a lot of fabric in the same dimensions, mark the back of your ruler with some sort of tape – whether it be painters tape, or strips you can buy that are made for doing this. When you start getting tired (whether you know it or not) it will save you from cutting fabric in the wrong dimensions.

  95. Susan C says:

    After I have made one sample block, I like to construct all my units and then put my blocks together. Chain stitching saves me time.

  96. Karyn says:

    I have learned to double check “my eye” by taking a picture with my phone/digital camera. For some reason, things look totally different. I check my fabric selections this way (many times, things get swapped out and this process repeats a few times), I also check my layout this way (anyone ever have a block that was flipped the wrong way? grrrr). Thanks for a fun block! It’s always refreshing to see something “easy” that doesn’t look it when it’s put together.

  97. Jamie says:

    Your block is beautiful and so simple. I love how it can make so many different looking quilts. My best tip is an oldie but goodie – measure twice, cut once.

  98. Tamsyn says:

    My favorite shortcut is taking the time to read instructions all the way through. To the end. It takes a few minutes, but can save hours of unsewing. I love the teal and purple combination; it’s one of my favorites.

  99. Judy1522 says:

    I really don’t have any shortcut tips as I am in the process of learning and haven’t been quilting that long. Your block is beautiful I love the colors in the batiks.

  100. Lizzie says:

    I’m too new to have any shortcuts! But I love yours, and I have a ruler tip: to keep your rulers from sliding when you cut, place small snips (1/8″) of anti-skid tape, the sort used on stairways that is sandpapery, on the back of your ruler. Works very well!

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