6 Tips for a Successful Elena Quilt

If you’re a We Quilt This City subscriber then you know that the Winter 2022 large quilting project was Kitchen Table Quilting’s Elena Quilt

Elena Quilt
Elena Quilt

We primarily chose this pattern because Erica Jackman – the pattern designer – did a wonderful job with the Elena. Not only is it a great looking quilt (that goes perfectly with our wintry fabric selections!), but it’s a well-designed pattern with directions that are easy to follow and sew from.

However, this being said, I did encounter a few hurdles throughout the quilting process. So, I’ve written a little tip sheet that (in conjunction with Erica’s instructions and our Elena Quilt Kit) will help you breeze through this awesome quilting project.

1. Double-check the right side.

This may seem obvious, but experience recently taught me that it’s easy to get the front and back reversed in the white-on-white fabric we’ve chosen for the background in our Elena Kit. Double-check before you sew!

RK Damask QC in White on White
The Damask QC in White on White – pretty but a little hard to see!

2. Cutting your fat quarters.

Our kit is for a Lap sized Elena quilt (56″ x 70″) and it includes 14 fat quarters. To get what you need from each fat quarter, look at the diagram below and follow these cutting instructions:

  • Cut each fat quarter length-wise to make (3) 3.5” x 22” strips and (1) 4.25” x 22” strip. There will be an 3.25” x 22″ strip leftover.
  • Cut (3) 4.25” squares from the 4.25” strip *(These squares are for the 3.5” half-square triangles (HSTs). See the note below). There will be a 4.25″ x ≈9.25″ piece leftover.
  • Cut (2) of the 3.5” strips into (3) 6.5” x 3.5” rectangles each. (There will be a ≈2.5″ piece leftover from each strip.)
  • Cut the remaining 3.5” strip into (6) 3.5” squares. There should be about an inch of fabric leftover. However, if you end up a bit short you can use the leftover 4.5” x 8.5″ piece to cut the final square. 

*Note: I used the Tucker Trimmer to cut my HSTs, and this method requires that your squares be slightly oversized so that you have enough to trim down. Though Erica’s cutting instructions direct you to cut (3) 4″ squares, if you’re using the Tucker Trimmer method you’ll want to cut (3) 4.25″ squares. I cover how to use the Tucker Trimmer below.

3. Cutting the background fabric.

The background fabric is used in three ways – for the center of each block, for half of every HST unit, and for the sashing that goes between each block.

Erica has good cutting instructions for the background fabric. However, (once again) if you’re using the Tucker Trimmer to make your HSTs, you’ll  want (5) of your WOF strips to be 4.25″ rather than 4″ so that you have extra room to trim.

4. Cutting HSTs using the Tucker Trimmer.

I’ll start by saying, if you’re not a Tucker Trimmer user, no worries! Steps 1-6 in the Elena instructions show you how to make half-square triangles using a different method. However, the Tucker Trimmer ruler produces very accurate HSTs and if you’re an avid quilter is absolutely worth the investment.

Here’s how you use it!

Pair each 4.25” white square with a 4.25″ colorful square. Position the two squares in each pair right sides together. Then, using a Quilter’s Magic Wand, mark two stitching lines ¼” on either side of the center diagonal line. Stitch along these drawn lines. Cut between your stitched lines to create two HSTs. Press both HSTs open toward the darker fabric.

Next, position the Tucker Trimmer over the pressed unit, carefully aligning the solid diagonal line with the stitched seam. Trim the first two sides. Rotate the unit and line up the Tucker Trimmer again. This time, be sure to position the diagonal line and the outline of the square to 3.5″ inch markings. Trim the two remaining sides to create a unit that is precisely 3.5” square.

5. Making the blocks

Once again, Erica’s instructions are great when it comes to making the blocks. The only thing I’d add is – always press your seams towards the darker fabric, or, more specifically, away from the white fabric. Otherwise the seam might show through on the other side of the quilt.

6. Laying out your quilt.

This quilt is laid out on-point meaning that the blocks are oriented diagonally. So you need triangles at the ends of each row to make the quilt rectangular (called setting triangles).

An example of the on-point layout of the Elena Quilt. Owned by Kitchen Table Quilting.

Erica gives good easy directions for cutting eight of your blocks in half (four in one direction and four in the other) and one of your blocks in quarters. I have previously seen complicated formulas for creating setting triangles, so I really appreciated this! In fact, I think I’ll do it her way from now on.

Four of the blocks are cut top to bottom. Four are cut left to right, and one is cut into quarters.

Finally, pay careful attention to the diagrams in the pattern as you lay out your blocks. Notice that the direction of the “dominant” bock edge alternates up or down. It’s pretty easy to get a block flipped around as you are arranging them. Additionally, try for a good distribution of color. I found that the teal fabrics stood out and needed to be evenly distributed throughout the quilt.

Now it's your turn!

I hope you agree that this quilt pattern is great for a winter project. You can find the Elena Quilt Kit, Tucker Trimmer, and Quilter’s Magic Wand on our website! Be sure to share your finished quilt in our Facebook Community, and on Instagram! We’d love to see it.

You can also subscribe to our We Quilt This City swatch experience. Subscribers get 10% off our large project quilt kits and featured fabrics!

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