My Quilt Lab

by Cynthia Concha

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Examining the Four-Patch Block.

I'll be exploring quilt blocks occasionally in this blog, and I thought I should start with something easy to flex my blogging and digital image creating skills. Without a doubt the Four Patch block is one of the easiest blocks in the quilt world. So let's discuss some quilt math, and then I'll attach a quick how-to for the Four Patch.

When looking at any block with the objective of breaking it down to its simplest components, it's important to find a grid of rows and columns. The Four Patch is an example of a 2 row by 2 column grid - thus making 4 equal patches or squares.

Next is when we use our math skills. Let's say you want to make a finished 12 inch block using the Four Patch Block pattern. We're going to divide the finished size by the 2.

12 ÷ 2 = 6

Each patch/square will be a finished 6 inch square. But before you cut, remember this is the FINISHED SIZE. We must add a seam allowance to each side which is usually a ¼ inch.

¼ + ¼ + 6 = 6½

Cut four 6½ inch squares to create a 12 inch finished Four Patch Block.

Here's the math for a few other popular sizes:

Now that we have the math finished, let's talk sewing! Take your four patches and lay them out in a pleasing layout. (see right)

This graphic is showing a two-color version, but you can make this as scrappy as you want and add up to 4 different colors/fabrics for each block.

Piece the two pieces of the top row together and stitch; and repeat with the bottom row so that you have the image to the left.

Just a note on pressing... everyone has an opinion, and mine is: press in a manner that works well for you and/or the project at hand. For this block I would either press in alternate directions so that the seam fold will butt up against each other in the next step OR I would press open so that I could really see the seams meeting when I pin for the next step.

Next, place the two sections right sides facing each other; pin so that the middle seam lines up; stitch and press. Again, press in a manner that pleases you. No quilt police here!

Here's a quick mock up of a Four Patch quilt. I'm using a Moda fabric called Love, Lily.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt math post. I gotta get back to the lab! Until next time!


p.s. Big thanks to for the free images. The top image was made by Gerd Altmann. Find out more here:

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  • cynthia concha

It's been a couple of weeks since QuiltCon Together and my brain is still compressing from the amount of information and inspiration crammed into it. In my last blog, I talked about the workshops I took, but did I mention I also had an all-lectures pass for the Con...? Time to talk about the speakers. Let's go!

I was glued to my computer for five days with that all-lecture pass. I may not have watched all of them, but I saw the majority of them. Each was about an hour long, some were pre-recorded, some were ask-the-expert QnA's. They ALL were gems! Here's my favorites!

Andrea Tsang Jackson

The lectures kicked off with Andrea Tsang Jackson, art quilter from Nova Scotia. I recognized her name immediately because of her book, Patchwork Lab: Gemology. I think I've borrowed it from the library at least three times now; guess I should get my own copy. The book is beautiful and it really showcases how quilts can be viewed as art. In fact, on her website, she identifies as an artist first. I think this is what stuck with me the most about her talk. After hearing how much self-discovery she's done around being an artist, the experience of being an artist-in-resident for a local museum really got me thinking about how I think about myself. I've never considered myself an artist - a quilter, yes of course - but now I wonder. Check out her website and book.

Sherri Lynn Woods

This name kept popping up for me all Con long. There are so many quilters, specifically improvisational quilters, who credit a lot of their know-how and inspiration to SLW. Her book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is talked about with such reverence that it went to the top of my quiltcon-must-have list. Let me just say that I am not an improv quilter by any means, but her words of encouragement and confidence really resonated with me. Like Andrea from above, she also spoke about quilts as art and the importance of quilters seeking out artist residencies in their area. SLW does a ton of classes and co-sponsored workshops so be sure to check out her website.

Sara Trail

Without a doubt, my absolute favorite Ask-The-Expert lectures was the interview and presentation with Sara Trail. WOW! Just WOW! This 26 year old has done more in her life so far than most of us will ever do in the quilt world. Listening to her presentation about her beginnings and efforts in the quilt/sewing world is so moving. Sara is a world-changer; and I don't say that lightly. Check out her short (and not nearly comprehensive) bio on the Social Justice Sewing Academy website. And while you're there, check out the amazing outreach programs this group is dedicated. Then sign up to be a volunteer! You don't have to live in Bay area to volunteer. I was so inspired by her passion and dedication that I signed up to volunteer mere minutes after her lecture was over.


Lee Chappell Monroe

I'm a big believer in taking notes, and the person who kept my pencil moving the most was without a doubt Lee Chappell Monroe and her tips talk! Have a pressing plan. Use a pin to point the direction you want to press. Spray starch on the back of the fabric so it doesn't end up on the iron. Chain piece with a post-it note for indicating the sampler or numbered blocks. Make a color theory pie chart to hang in your space to help you better understand how color relates. And so many more! I should've gone back and listened to this lecture again because I know I missed a few gems while writing notes. I'll be watching for Lee for more in the future too. Check out her website:

There are so many other lectures that I loved: Chawne Kimber, Latifa Saafir, Jacquie Gering, Sara Bond... I also attended the lectures of the workshop instructors as well: Steph Skardal, Daisy Aschehoug, and Julie Schoening - but you can read more about them, and the workshops in my previous blog. All of these quilters, artists, women are worth your time to check out. Look at their Instagram pages, their websites, and find a class to take from them. You won't regret it.

QuiltCon Together was such an amazing experience. My list of things I want to explore grew exponentially and I can't wait to do this again next year!

Did you attend QuiltCon Together? Who was your favorite lecturer or instructor? Let me know!

Until next time - off to the lab!


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  • cynthia concha

Oh my goodness... it's been a while and I have SO much to tell... Let's do the big stuff first. I attended my first QuiltCon - which is the Modern Quilt Guild's national conference. And because of the pandemic, it was virtual this year. You might think since there's no in-person aspect of the quilt show that it was a subdued event. You would be wrong! I have NEVER been more excited to be a quilter and more inspired by this art! Let's hit the high lights!

When the pandemic hit, the Modern Quilt Guild had to switch their in-person from Atlanta to a virtual setting. I think everyone, including the MQG board was worried how the new virtual setting would be received. As far as I can tell - it was absolutely amazing! Last summer I signed up for four workshops from the dozens of tempting offerings. I choose an Electric Quilt 8 class covering how to make modern quilts by Cheryl Brickey (@meadowmistdesigns); there was a how to photography your quilt class by Julie Shoening (@builtaquilt). And because conquering curves is a personal goal, I signed up for two different circle techniques from two of my favorite Instagram quilters: Steph Skardal (@stephskardal) and Daisy Aschehoug (@warmfolk). (Don't worry, I'll list all their info below.)

I don't want to give spoilers for these classes because, seriously, if you can take a class from any of these people you should do it. It's worth it! But here's some of the results and completed assignments from the week.

I've been using EQ8 for a couple years now - I even taught my first class in EQ Basics (more on that in the future). It's a very versatile tool and I love it. Cheryl Brickey offered four different classes on advanced EQ8 techniques; and I honestly wish I'd taken all of them because the Modern Quilt Designing was very thoughtful and thorough. Here are just a few of the mini assignments from the class. I will definitely be making use of this class!

Confession time: I own a DSLR; that's a digital single-lens reflex camera: you know, something a bit more professional than a point-and-shoot camera or a smart phone. My Nikon D40 is sadly sitting in the back of closet collecting dust. I can hear it calling to me for use, and that's probably why I signed up for the quilt photography class by Julie Schoening. And while I didn't breakout D40 for this class, it did give me the confidence and knowledge to create better quilt photography. I really appreciated this class because it was tailored for any camera, whether it's a DSLR, point-and-shoot or even a smart phone. She gave lots of practical tips and encouragement. Here's a couple photos from the two assignments: a quilt components photo and a completed quilt. Thanks, Julie - I already feel like a better photographer.

Curves - my latest obsession... I tooked Giant Nested Curves from Daisy Aschehoug and Foundation Paper Pieced Curves from Steph Skardal. Both techniques while very different were a lot of fun to learn. I can see myself using both techniques. GNC may become my new go-to for scrappy quilts; and the utter precision of FPP Curves calls to my soul - already have ideas of how to expand on this technique. Here's my finished blocks:

And that's just the workshops! Wait til next time and I'll let you about the mind-blowing lectures and my NEW obsession and inspiration!

But I gotta get back to my quilt lab! See you next time!


Here's how to find the instructors listed above.

Cheryl Brickey

Julie Schoening

Steph Skardal

Daisy Aschehoug

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