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. judy says:

    A great short cut for removing “un-sewn” threads(those threads you have had to rip out!) is to use a lint roller!

  2. Claudia says:

    At the time it may seem a waste of time, but making sure you cut the proper angles for triangles, and squares square and not off “a little” helps immeasurably. Squaring up as you go along instead of trying to figure out where you are “off” when you are finished leads to a lot less hair pulling and UFO’s in the closet. Even marking the 1/4″ intersections on odd shaped pieces isn’t time wasted if you sew thing correctly the first time and everything matches up and lies flat.

  3. Melba says:

    I like to fingerpress seams or use my wooden roller, I don’t really use my iron, until it’s already done

  4. Liz says:

    I use my clover needle threader cutter to cut apart my chained pieces. It works just like the ones they sell. It always amazes me on how my possibilities there are with the same blocks. Very cool!

  5. Tammy Hempel says:

    I like two and four designs. Thank you for the giveaway.

  6. Mary says:

    Chain piecing! and doing HST ala Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock! (Sewing around all 4 sides of your squares, and cutting on the diagonal twice. Perfect every time, and huge time saver!)

  7. Christine Jasper says:

    I have a few favorite tips, one is to use flower head pins to number rows, just write the number on with a sharpie pen, they can be used as usual when you don’t need them. Another is sewing strips together then cross cutting, and sewing squares around the four sides then cutting from corner to corner twice to get four half square triangles. The need for speed…..Love the book.

  8. Judy A says:

    I try to mimic fabric choices of a quilt I like the look of so that I can be sure I’ll like the way colors/design will turn out, rather than being disappointed after all the time and effort.

  9. Cheryl Korman says:

    I like Strip piecing and chain sewing. I love your block. Thanks for the giveaway

  10. mj says:

    wish i had tip but am just beginning…very nice ideas from others

  11. Mary Ann says:

    Chain-piecing is the best short cut and biggest time saver!

  12. Anne C. says:

    Use a flannel-covered piece of cardboard to organize pieced patches before combining them into blocks.

  13. Cindy says:

    I like to cut my pieces a little larger than the pattern requires. It allows me to trim the sewn units as I’m piecing the blocks so the blocks end up being all the same size. That saves frustration and helps avoid a wonky quilt when it’s time to sew all of the blocks together.

  14. Judy says:

    Short cut: Buy and sew a pre-cut kit.

  15. Debbie Rhodes says:

    over size cutting some pieces so I can just square up later… makes me more accurate

  16. lee says:

    I like to finger press seams! thank yoU!

  17. Keri Follmer says:

    I like to prepare a bunch of pieces that need to be chain pieced on my sewing table, and when I have 10 min free, I just sit and chain piece those little guys. It really helps get things finished and I am happy to have spent a few minutes at the machine, versus none at all. Thank you!

  18. Mary Flynn says:

    One thing I love is discovering new techniques. Some work for me as a shortcut or easier way and for others it can be complete opposite. I’ve been known to get a pattern I love and then adapt the techniques I like best and easiest. This is my shortcut I guess. I’ve been wanting one of these mugs with everyone else.

  19. Taking two squares face to face sewing diagnally across them gives you two triangle squares along with chain sewing it can be a fast way to make triangles.

  20. Diane says:

    Love the look of this block in batiks … and I just picked up some lights at Quilt Festival that would work well. My tip relates to washed fabric: Most of my stash is not washed, but when I do wash a piece, I tag it before putting it up by ironing a snippet of freezer paper on it. It’s a good use of those leftovers from freezer paper patterns and lifts off when you’re ready to use the fabric.

  21. Judy says:

    I did not think of quilt as you go until I saw Terry’s post.. I love that method. When you’re done… on to the next project… no layering, binding or quilting.

  22. Terry says:

    My favorite shortcut tip is to Quilt As You Go. Thanks for the sweet giveaway!

  23. Lesley says:

    Love your block and how you can transform a quilt design with a simple turn! My favorite shortcut is making HSTs using two strips of fabric and drawing a sewing grid on the wrong side. A few lines of stitching, some rotary cutting, and perfect HSTs!

  24. I like using the Easy Angle ruler to make HSTs as I don’t have to mark and if I’m very careful, I don’t even have to square them up!

  25. Rene Bolton says:

    Absolutely lovely!

  26. Tami Chaulk says:

    Chain piecing is probably my main shortcut. I love using Bonnie Hunter’s “Leaders and Enders” system! I’m working on 2 quilts at once using it. I also like her technique for cutting half square triangles using the Easy Angle ruler.

    As for your “Shortcut”, I like setting #3 with the blocks set 4×4. “Barn Raising” has always been a favorite of mine for log cabin quilts and yours is really pretty!

    I’d love to win a mug!

  27. Judy says:

    There are lots of great ideas on this post. I use some of them already. Chain stitching is one I would suggest. It saves alot of time clipping.

  28. Debbie H says:

    My fav shortcut is chain piecing. Thanks

  29. Kathy Lancaster says:

    Rotary cutting is my favorite shortcut.

  30. Carrie P. says:

    what a cool block and a really neat quilt it will make.
    One shortcut I do is to stack my fabrics when I am going to cut them.

  31. Kathleen B says:

    My favorite shortcut is using freezer paper for as a reusable guide for quilting. I just love using and reusing freezer paper! You can iron together multiple layers to beef-up your templates, too. It is so versatile!

  32. Judy says:

    I keep fabric cuts in clear shoe box for my current project, so they don’t get lost
    on my cutting table. Love your magazine- so much inspiration! Thanks!

  33. Dell says:

    As a fairly new quilter, the only short cut I know I have used is chain stitching and this definitely saves time.

  34. judi says:

    One of my favorite ‘shortcuts’ is to cut my leftover fabric into strips, 1″, 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 5″ and separate them into light and dark bins by size. Since scrappy quilts are my favorites, I am ready to make log cabins, strip quilts, 4 patches, almost anything that uses strata first to construct! I’ve been doing this since the 90′s and it works very well for me. Bonnie Hunter’s website (quiltville.com) is the perfect place to get ideas for these and more size strips.

  35. Ruth Hansen says:

    This probably isn’t a shortcut but while at our church quilting group, I save all the strips of fabric that ‘some’ of the other ladies would throw away. When I have enough, I make the quilt squares known as the ‘strip blocks’. It’s amazing how quickly those strips of fabrics accumulate to make a quilt top. Happy Thanksgiving.

  36. SewLindaAnn says:

    My fave quiltmaking shortcut is the half square triangle trick to make lots of them at one time by layering 2 pieces right sides together drawing 2 diagonal lines and sewing on both sides of each one and then cutting apart. I’m totally in on all the ideas for 2013 you listed. I think one of the great ways your magazine shows the alternate side of a particular style quilt is by picturing the other colorways along with alternate settings. I’m super excited about a focus on foundation piecing (paper). I’d love to see a special issue dedicated to it with some super intense patterns to tackle.

  37. Pamela Coughlin says:

    It is wonderful to be able to get all these wonderful blocks in these “100 Block” magazines. I think I have them all, except for the last one. Would so much enjoy having a mug to enjoy my tea in while working on these blocks and quilts!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  38. Judy says:

    To get going, (I don’t know if it’s a “short cut” or not, but I have to clean my work space for just the project at hand. Helps me focus….
    The shortcut block batiks are beautiful.
    Thank you for the chance to win.

  39. Gwen Burwell says:

    When cutting multiple strips from a single yardage, I fold the yardage bringing the 2 raw cut edges together. This allows me to cut 2 strips selvage to selvage at once (1 from each end of the yardage) instead of only 1 at a time.

  40. Diane says:

    I love to use “leaders and enders” as I chain piece. I have a bunch of scrap squares ready to sew together as I start or end my chaining. These all get sewn together into a scrap quilt later. Its like making 2 quilts at one time!

  41. thunder says:

    leaders and enders, chain piecing, strip piecing….I am always piecing two or three quilts at the same time !!

  42. Carol Barringer says:

    Pay attention! That’s my “shortcut” advice. I tend to stray from the directions and end up in a mess of my own making. Sometimes this spurs my creativity as I try to find a way out, but truly — if I would just pay attention, it would be better.

  43. Silvia Wright says:

    Oh my Goodness. The possibilities with the shortcut block are endless. I can see it now. Sewing machine here I come.

  44. Sherry Moran says:

    This saves me much frustration. I press all seams open
    with Best Press. My blocks go together better and fit better.
    Maybe not a shortcut, but works great!

  45. Carol H says:

    My quilting shortcut is to sew slower so I don’t have to unsew!

  46. Patty Moffitt says:

    When I paper piece I glue or tape a small bit of the fabric in each section and keep it handy for a reference. I love shortcuts and since doing this I rarely sew the wrong piece to the section.

  47. Gwendolyn Clark says:

    Leaders & Enders, and chain piecing.

  48. MoeWest says:

    I use leaders/enders and chain piecing to save time.

  49. Venessa says:

    My favorite shortcut is to park my iron and ironing board way across the room. That way I don’t have to waste valuable quilting time going to the gym!!! Also, it helps to prevent blowing the breaker when I have my lamp, sewing machine and computer all plugged in together!! Learned that from experience!!

  50. Sandy Olson says:

    My fav shortcut is to not make any major mistakes so I have to frog it.

  51. Chris P says:

    I love your block and your color choices. Fabulous. My only short cut tip, is layer your fabric r/s together to cut and they are ready to be sewn together. I do this with triangles I have cut with my GO! Thanks for the last chance.

  52. Sallie says:

    I prefer to wind 5 or 6 bobbins at a time so that I can keep sewing without having to stop to load a bobbin. Thanks for the giveaway!

  53. Susan Davies says:

    I am too new, but I agree with an earlier post, double check everything so you don’t make costly mistakes. The sticky tape on the ruler sounds like a good idea too.

  54. Eva says:

    Just goes to show you how a simple block can do so many things. I don’t have a tip, I sure appreciated some of the ones submitted.

  55. Anda says:

    I consider measuring twice a shortcut, saves aggravation in the long run….awolk at rogers dot com

  56. Nancy says:

    It may not seem like a short cut, but pressing in between piecing so that I can nest the seams together without having to pin saves me time. I get perfectly matching seams and points, and no pinning!

  57. For me, I make my triangle blocks by sewing two squares together and making quarter marks, then sewing those and cutting down the middle, two blocks in one.


  58. Wilma says:

    After finishing cutting for a project I make 2″, 2 1/2″, 3″, etc. squares out of the leftover scraps, whatever size fits. I keep plastic bags marked with the sizes to collect the squares for future scrap quilts.

  59. Donna Chambers says:

    When I put together a quilt, I lay out quilt blocks to my satisfaction and I pin a piece of paper with the number each block including position and what row. Then I collect up the blocks and cut them down to the right size. Then I put together each “Quilt as I go” block – the front, batting which includes 1 inch extra around, and the backing, another an extra 1 inch extra around from the batting. Each block has a different backing fabric so the reverse the side of the quilt becomes another stand alone quilt – two quilts in one! Yay! After filling in a few bobbins, I quilt the blocks and I use chain stitching as much as I can. I would love the win your book and mug – thank you for the chance. :-)

  60. MarciaW says:

    My favorite shortcut is to cut 6 inch solids and prints that sort of go together, layout on the floor so looks like some type of pattern, then sew together. Quilting is minimal, outline grid of the squares. Binding (hopefully) is from another quilt, and backing is one or maybe two large pieces. If the color blocking is done well enough, here’s a fast pretty charity quilt. When working with a simpler patchwork design, sewing straight and matching seams does count.
    I also save bonus pieces and strips together in baggies for each quilt I’ve made. I use Bonnie Hunter’s leaders/enders to sew these together as a column of color stacked coins. When working on my main project, I can sew, press, and trim these along with the main project. At some point I have enough columns ready to assemble into a stacked coins quilt.

  61. JoAnn says:

    I learned to do chain piecing when I sewed clothes years ago, and I like it even more as I work on quilt blocks. I also like the efficiency of using leaders and enders instead of scraps of fabric as I used to do. Then I just threw those away when they were full of thread, but now I am working on pieces for a bonus quilt at the beginning and ending of my stitching. Thank you to Bonnie Hunter for this technique.

  62. Cecilia says:

    My shortcut is to do as much chain piecing as possible. I love the purple and teal batiks.

  63. E. Engman says:

    I guess my shortcut would be to preview colors and settings in EQ and then use the paper piecing option for the blocks.

  64. Kay Jump says:

    I really don’t have a short cut as I am just learning, but I do love your block.

  65. Esther says:

    Chain piecing is my favourite! Love your block! Thanks for the chance!

  66. Rhonda Desgranges says:

    My favorite shortcuts are: 1) reading all instrutions through before starting
    2) chain piecing whenever possible. Thank you so much for the chance to win!!



    Pre-cuts work great to save time, especially if they are someone elses cast offs, in otherward snips and scraps that get chained stitched to make scrapy quilts. I love reusing.

  68. Bonnie Booy says:

    This may not seem like a shortcut, but I press after every seam. Things fit together much better and I spend less time ripping out, which saves mucho time.

  69. Linda says:


  70. Sharon L. says:

    I love pattern where I can sew strips together and cross cut instead of cutting a bunch of small square and then sewing them together. Also chain sew when ever possible. I like you block and the colors.

  71. Christie R says:

    I have 2 favorite quiltmaking techniques, one of course, is Leaders and Enders. The other technique is a shortcut for making 4 HSTs using 2 five inch squares. This was a scrapbuster for me, so I wasn’t making these HSTs for a specifically sized block pattern. Place the squares with right sides together and sew a quarter inch seam allowance around all 4 sides. Then cut the block on the diagonal twice, yielding 4 half square triangles!

  72. jmniffer says:

    Chain stitching would be my shortcut tip of the moment.

  73. Narelle says:

    Chain piecing would have to be at the top of my list. I have lots of 2″ squares for leaders and enders … sew much better than trimming all those threads. The 2″ squares eventually become 10×10 blocks for a ‘one day’ scrappy quilt.

  74. Carol Hupp says:

    I love the short cutblock. I has so much potential for many applications. I can also see it used as a border. the color variations are unlimited. I hope I win the book and cup. I have all the other block books and I need it to complete my collection. I love making different blocks and then putting them in a sampler quilt. I gives me a chance to play with new material and different style blocks. If I really like a particular I will make a whole quilt with changing the fabric with each block such as using 1930′s feed sack prints or Cival War fabrics ect.

  75. barbara says:

    wish i had one but i am learning

  76. Bev Gunn says:

    My favorite shortcut is to make rag quilts because they are ALL DONE when you sew the last stitch!!! Oh, how I would love to have the magazine and the mug-they are so neat. Found volume 1 hiding in my stack of old magazines and have enjoyed re-visiting those blocks!

  77. SusanM says:

    My two favorite shortcuts are 1. Put those little sandpaper-like gripping circles on all my rulers (and squares and triangles and hexes…), and 2. Measure twice, cut once! I even find myself using my finger to point in each square and count it out loud.

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