Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Block Testing

During the past year, I've had the opportunity to be a quilt block tester for Quiltmaker magazine. I responded to a call for testers on their Facebook page, and then received an invitation to test blocks for volume 9 of their 100 Blocks magazine. I enjoyed the experience and agreed to continue for volume 10. Volume 10 was released just this week. Here is a photo of the cover. Since Quiltmaker is featuring a blog tour to celebrate the release of volume 10, I thought I would use the opportunity to showcase the fun blocks that I tested.
 Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks
Being a block tester means that you commit to testing about 12 blocks that will be included in the upcoming issue of 100 Blocks. You receive a new block pattern to sew and evaluate about every 1 to 2 weeks over about a 3-month period. You don't get to pick and choose what style of block you will receive, and you have to be willing to accept whatever pattern you receive. As someone who is particularly partial to traditional pieced blocks, I had to think about whether this was really something that I wanted to do or not. I also need to admit that upon receiving some of the patterns that I was to test, I wasn't certain if I would be able to complete them or not. Some of them required me to step out of my comfort zone and learn some new skills and techniques.

For each block, I will also link to the designer's webpage so that you can see some of her other designs.
I will start with the scrappy, pieced blocks. These include Starwash by Peg Spradlin, Chevron Squares by Amanda Murphy, and Butterfly by Jennifer Ball.

These next two blocks feature foundation paper piecing. If you look closely, you can see the small pieces that were included in each one. Both of these blocks are by international designers. The blocks are Coneflower Playground by Regina Grewe from Germany and Little Cottage by Kristy Lea from Australia.

I also received a couple of whimsical appliqué blocks to test. These included Lazy Days by Janet Maurer and Believe by Ann Weber

I enjoyed the light and dark contrast in these next four blocks. These are Throw the Bones by Diane Harris, Sewing Triangles by Cheryl Brickey, …and so on… by Kelli Fannin, and Windmill by Heather Jones


The final two blocks feature batiks. The first, Five and Diamond by Eileen Fowler is foundation paper pieced. The second, Half Moon Rising is by Kelly Eisinger. Both Diane and Kelly work for Quiltmaker magazine.

As a block tester, I have come to enjoy the anticipation of receiving new patterns and the challenge of expanding my skill set. As believers, we likewise can wait in eager anticipation of God's work in our lives as He continues to shape and develop us. This time of year, I particularly find myself reflecting back over the past 12 months and the many wonderful ways I have been amazed by God's goodness and blessings. I am also reminded of God's sustaining faithfulness and endless mercies. In this season of Thanksgiving, I wish you all a very blessed holiday.
The LORD's loving kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23