Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Blocker Cara with her Friendpatch Block

Hi everyone! I'm Cara from CaraQuilts and host of Talkin Tuesday, a twitter chat dedicated to sewing and quilting.

Many months ago the incredibly organized Mme Samm sent an email out asking for block tutorials for a Block Party on Sew We Quilt. 

Seeing as I love a party, I came up with Friendpatch!

Merging two blocks I'm really liking right now, Friendship Star and a Nine-Patch Four Patches (I'm sure there's actually a name to this one but not sure what it is)

I made the block as a 6" block but it is easily changed to 9 or 12. If you need help changing the size email or comment and I'll be glad to help!

(2) 1 ½”x 6” strip - light fabric
(2) 1 ½”x 6” strip - 1 each of the darker fabrics
(2) 1½” x 3” - 1 each of the darker fabrics
(2) 3” squares - 1 each of the darker fabrics
(2) 3” squares - light fabrics

Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

Mark a line diagonally, from corner to corner, on the wrong side of the lighter fabrics.
Layer right sides together with a darker fabric. Stitch 1/4" on either side of the drawn line. Press too sink in the stitches. Cut in half along the drawn line and press to the darker fabric.
Trim to 2 1/2". You should now have 4 HSTs, two of each of the darker fabrics.

Four Patches

Light/Dark Four patches
Stitch light  1 ½”x 6” strips to the dark  1 ½”x 6” strip right sides together. Press the stitches while still right sides together. This will help with any waving in your seam. Press open.
Cut across both fabrics into 1 ½”x 2 1/2" strips.

Lay the newly cut 11/2" x 2 1/2" strips together with light over dark, and one of each dark fabrics. Stitch together. Press. Yield 4.

Dark/Dark Four Patches
Stitch 1 ½”x 3” strips right sides together. Press open. Cut across both fabrics into 1 ½”x 2 1/2" strips. Lay the strips right sides together so opposing fabrics are meeting and the seam abutts. Stitch. Press open.

 Lay the block out and stitch into rows.

Rows 1 and 3's four patches have dark fabric in the corner closest to the middle.

Row one: four patch, HST (dark fabric down and right), four patch.
Row two: HST (dark fabric up and right) dark four patch, HST ( dark fabric down and left)
Row three: Four Patch, HST (dark fabric up and left) four patch.

Press rows in opposing directions. Stitch together and press well!

I hope you like the block!

Want to see what it would look like with multiple blocks?
Change the light to dark....

And if you reverse half the blocks, so the direction of the HSTs, you get this!

Neat, eh?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Blocker.....Jennie with a Pinwheel Toss ( Clover & Violet)

First, I'd like to thank Madame Samm for inviting me to share a tutorial for the November Block Party.  I'm Jennie and I blog over at Clover & Violet about all sorts of quilty and sewing things and the little pattern shop I have with my mom.  I'm excited to share a quilt block with all of you, I'm calling this one Pinwheel Toss because it's a combination of pinwheels {one of my favorites!} and a Disappearing Nine Patch.

This is a fun and easy block that measures 13" {finished} and has lots of options to mix and match prints and solids.  I made mine out of leftover charm squares, but the size could easily be adjusted by using different size squares.  You'll need:

I made my pinwheels first.  Pair one printed square with one white square, right sides together, and sew 1/4" from the edge all the way around the square {1}, cut the square diagonally into four half-square-triangles {2}, press the half-square-triangles open and trim to 3" square {3}, sew all four together to make a pinwheel and trim to 5" square {4}.  Repeat for a second pinwheel.

Arrange the two 5" pinwheels and the seven remaining printed squares into a nine patch with the pinwheels in opposite corners.

Sew the nine squares together {I sewed three rows of three, then sewed the rows together}.

Then, cut your large nine patch down the center both vertically and horizontally, into four equal squares.

Leave the pinwheel squares in place, but swap and rotate the remaining squares so that the small center square is pointing to the outside corner,

Then simply sew the four squares back together and your block is complete!

And, just in case you wanted to see a plain version, here is the outline for the block:

And a diagram of a 3 x 3 quilt:

Happy sewing and quilting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guest Blocker today is Pauline with look at this...

A big thank you to Mme Samm for inviting me to her block party.
Hi! I'm Pauline and I blog over at Quiltnqueen.
Today I'm going to show you how I make a wonky log cabin block.
I'm sure there are many ways to make this block....come along and see how I do it!!
I started quilting about 10 years ago, just before we moved from Canada to Tennessee.
The second quilt I made was for my DH 
It was easy and used the wonky log cabin block.  
I luv this quilt...and is still one of my favorites. 
 I used homespun fabrics for the blocks and
a cozy flannel on the back.

DH's Wonky Log Cabin

This block is jelly roll or fat quarter friendly as it uses 2.5" strips
It makes an awesome scrappy quilt too!!

OK.....let's get started.....

                   - use 1/4" seam allowance               
          - press away from the centre square          
 - always stitch with RST (right sides together)  
- always have the block on top and the strip you are adding
 next to your machine - this allows you to see the seams on top so you sew

  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 2.5" square (my center square is bright pink)
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 2.5" square and sew to the bottom of your center square
  • cut 2 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and sew the first one to the left of the 2 squares and the second one to the top
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 6.5" rectangle and sew it to the right side of the pieced block 
Wonky Log Cabin step 1 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 2Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 3 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 4
  •  place a 5.5" square ruler on the block making sure your corners are on the fabric block and trim to make a 5.5" square...

Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 5 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 6 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 7
It is now looking wonky!!

...from this point on
always add your next strip to the side of the block that has 2 seam allowances...

Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 8

 continue to add 4 more strips to the wonky 5.5" square always adding to the side with 2 SA's 
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 5.5"
  • cut 2 - 2.5" x 7.5"
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 9.5" 
  • using an 8.5" square ruler and positioning the ruler so all corners are on the fabric block, trim to make an 8.5" square....

Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 8 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 9 Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 10 Wonky Log Cabin Block - Step 10
  • continue to add 4 more strips in the same manner
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 8.5"
  • cut 2 - 2.5" x 10.5"
  • cut 1 - 2.5" x 12.5" 
  • I didn't have a 11" x 11" ruler (not sure they even make a ruler that size) so I made a paper template 11" x 11" making sure it was all on the fabric block.  I then placed my 12.5" square ruler on top of the paper template and trimmed.  It just seemed I was trimming too much off the block.  Making anything wonky there seems to be some waste.
Wonky Log Cabin Block - step 12  Wonky Log Cabin Block - finishes at 11" square

With this 11" x 11" block I made a pillow.
To make the pillow front.....I framed the wonky log cabin block
with 2.5" strips of Kona Snow
cut 2 - 2.5" x 11" and
 2 - 2.5" x 15"
I sewed the 2.5" x 11" strips to the top and bottom first, pressed
then added the 2.5" x 15" strips to the sides...

for the back of the pillow
cut 2 - 15" x 10" pieces from fabric coordinating with the wonky log cabin block
Hem the 15" side of each of the back pieces by turning under 1/2" and
then turning another 1/2" to make a hem.  Top stitch.

 With RST lay one pillow back on top of the pillow front,
keeping raw edges together, pin in place
Take the second pillow back and layer it at the opposite end of the pillow front
keeping raw edges together
and overlapping the first pillow back in the center.
Pin in place and stitch a generous 1/4" from the raw edges around the pillow.
Turn the pillow right sides out and insert a 14" x 14" pillow form.

and VOILA!! we have a pillow!!
Wonky Log Cabin Pillow

There are lots of possibilities with this block....

I used a jelly roll of Sherbet Pips by Aneela Hoey
with a red fabric for my center and
 12 wonky log cabin blocks...3 across and 4 down
 alternating every other block with Kona white
 as the final set of logs.....this matches the outer border
I cut the red inner border at 1.5" wide
and the outer border at 3.5" from Kona white.
The binding will likely be scrappy...I'll see what it looks like after it is quilted

The quilt measures approximately 40" x 50".

Please accept my apologies for this picture....the border is really white.
I confess.....I took this picture...
my DH is in England at the moment and he usually takes the pictures
.....can't believe I can mess up 'picture taking' soo bad!!

...he took the next picture before he left on Saturday....
....any little girl would luv this quilt....(o:
Sherbet Pips Wonky Log Cabin

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial....if you have any questions please let me know
...and now for making it to the end of this posting I invite you to visit my blog
I have a giveaway...
....see you over at Quiltnqueen!!
Thank you Mme Samm for inviting me to your block party is always a fun time...sharing and inspiring each other with our quilting projects.
hugs and happy stitching

comments for Pauline here and up there too...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Blocker Sharon ---Playing With Whirly Gigs

Thank you Madame Samm for inviting me back to Sew We Quilt for the November Block Party . I am Sharon of VroomansQuilts and excited to be here to share how to turn the basic Whirlygig block into something special.


Cut one of each background fabric and focus fabric strips - 2" x 15"

With right sides together (RST), sew a 1/4" seam down one long side.

Press open toward the focus fabric. You now have a 3.5" x 15" strip.

Sub cut four 3.5" units - you have a little bit left - wiggle room.

Lay out your four units. Sew your top units together and then your bottom units together.

Press seams to the long focus fabric strip.

Using your middle seams, match you top and bottom sections right sides together, pin and sew. Press this seam open due to seam bulk. Easy Peasy - these are your basic steps.


Again we need our two beginning strips - one focus fabric and one background fabric - 2" x 15" AND cut four 2" squares of background fabric. Draw a line from corner to corner on your squares.

TIP - to be sure you have all your 'triangles' going the same correct way, fold your square and pin to each unit. Then open and pin in place. Tip - to prevent your machine 'eating' your units, start on the long side and sew to the point - and chain piece them through your machine. Trim to 1/4" and press to background (will help with seam bulk when putting entire block together).

Again, layout your sub units. Sew your sections together, then the top and then your bottom - just like your basic Whirlygig. Pressing the same.

This is your new Whirlygig variation.

Now if you stitched your squares on the opposite sides, you get this block. Also known as a Whirlygig variation, frienship star variation, and spinning star variation.


Again we need our two basic strips. And we are adding the four 2" squares of background with four 2" squares of contrasting fabric.

Remember that TIP of folding your squares (line drawn from corner to corner) and placing on your units to be sure they are all going the correct direction. Yes, these are flying geese units. Stitch all your background first (start on that long side), trim to 1'4" and press out. Then stitch your contrasting squares (starting on that long side), trim to 1.4" and press. They should be 2" x 3.5" if you need to trim up. Don't let geese units scare you - breath and take your time.

Just like our other blocks, lay out your units, stitch your sub units and then your top, then your bottom. Then the two together - pressing as in previous steps.

Your finished block - called a Double Whirlygig, a Pinwheel Whirlygig, a Folded Star, and a Folded Flower block. Confused? Did I scare you with the triangles and geese? OK breath because.....


Ok, all of those still breathing in a paper bag - relax. I am going to show you how to make that last block using just squares. You will need 4 background and 4 focus fabric - 3.5" squares (charms would work nicely with this and the largest I would go).

Take your focus fabric squares and press in one corner to opposite corner - you now have a triangle. Working from the FOLDED side, take the lower corner and match to open triangle corner - press and pin. Place these new units on your background squares as shown in the photo and pin in place.

Just like in your prior blocks, lay out your units. DO NOT BASTE - it only adds more bulk in your seams - just pin.

TIP - after sewing your sub units together, open up the seam and trim the inner most bulk out. Then stitch your top and bottom units together,

Your finished 3-D Folded Whirlygig, Folded Star, Folded Flower - what ever name. TIP - fabrics with multi-color, bold prints, or Batiks work best with this block so the 3-D really stands out.

Here's a display of all the Whirlygig blocks. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Don't be afraid to try a 'step-up' with a simple change in a block. Most importantly - have fun.

Sewingly Yours,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Blocker with Deonn and her Stack, Slash, Switch & Stitch~Craziness!

Good Morning!! It's time for another Block Party!!  Thanks to Madame Samm for the invitation to share a favorite block with you!  I've really enjoyed these daily tutorials, learning new techniques and blocks to try, and I've been dreaming about quilting possibilities, as usual!  Here we go...

I ♥ Crazy Quilts!   
During the Victorian era, Crazy Quilts were traditionally made with bits and pieces of fancy fabrics; velvet, satin, silk, lace, with lots of lavish embroidery along the seamlines of each section.   You can read more about Crazy Quilt history by Betty Pillsbury HERE and HERE

And... what does a Crazy Quilt have to do with today's block? 
  • Have you ever tried to make a block but didn't have quite enough fabric in your stash?
  • Do you like the look of a pieced background for applique'?   I've especially been inspired by Connie and Cheryl 's block parties earlier this month, with their fun pieced backgrounds...
I thought I'd share my favorite simplified crazy quilt technique to "MAKE" some background fabric in preparation for applique'.

Start with this little math formula: 
FS + 1-1/2" = SIZE 
Size of blocks to cut is equal to the desired finished size (FS),
plus one and a half inches.
I want to make a 12" block, but the pieces in my stash range from 7-1/2" to 9" pieces.  OK, this works.   Using the formula, I'll need four squares with a finished size (FS) of 6", plus 1-1/2 inches for a few cuts and seams, so the minimum size squares to cut is 7-1/2".

And here's our next little formula:
(are your eyes glazing over yet?  This will be fun, I promise!)
C4pQB = 4(S)2
Crazy Four-Patch Quilt Block is equal to four
Stacked, Slashed, Switched & Stitched blocks, squared.
(I am making this up as I go... heehee)

*Remember - a crazy quilt has NOTHING to do with one's mental state...*

OK, let's have some
  • WARNING: I tend to give a somewhat rudimentary instructions (I teach a lot of 4-H kids and beginning quilters, and even post a monthly quilting basics column HERE), so if you're an experienced quilter, just scan through the pictures!

1)  STACK 
Layer all four of your blocks together in a stack.
Try for a little contrast in value, tone, texture or pattern.
I'm going for all neutrals for my background.


CUT your stack of squares into fourths
using a rotary cutter and ruler.
Cuts should be a bit off-set.
Modern translation:  Cut in a wonky X

Rotate fabrics in each pile/section
so that no two fabrics will be in the same block.

To avoid mixing up the pieces,
PIN in place, right side over left, one block at a time.

Note:  try to match center seams at the 1/4" line,
 but don't worry about the outer edges yet,
they'll get trimmed later.

 Make a STACK from the bottom up so you can...

CHAIN PIECE (Saves time, thread, and sanity...
stitch one block, take a few stitches [chain],
slide the next unit under the foot and continue.)
Use a 1/4" seam allowance.

PRESS seams open; remember, we're piecing a background block.
CLIP between pairs to keep blocks together.

STITCH last seam together.
This time, DO NOT match center seam!!
The more off-set, the better it looks!  CRAZY, huh?

p.s. Isn't that ↑ a pretty new "Baby"?!? I ♥ her!

PRESS seams open to reduce bulk.  It's also helpful
if you were to add EMBROIDERY to the seamlines :)
(My new "BabyLock" has 189 built-in stitch patterns...) 
TRIM each completed block to 6-1/2" square.

YIELD:  4 units

PIECE together.  This time DO MATCH center seam
(I know, crazy!); PRESS seams open.

All ready to add some wonderful applique:

And... voila!

This method works great for any size squares, layer cakes, even charm squares (mug rug?)!  OR you could make a bunch of these blocks for a small quilt: (though, I think I made crazy 6-patches instead) 12 @ 12" blocks, 10" finished size, using 2 stacks of 6 each  ~ just cut them in a wonky H
(Or maybe it was a crazy 9-patch - cut in a wonky #)   
Add a border or two and look at the smiles!

OK, if you actually made it to the bottom of this tutorial, here's PART II of the story...

Has this ever happened to you?  Someone learns that you are a quilter/seamstress etc. and BRINGS you FABRIC from a relative, or something?  A friend of a friend learned that I had a sewing room, and began bringing me upholstery/tapestry samples that the interior design store where she worked had held on to for 20 years or so, and they were cleaning them out.  Would I like them??  (Oh, sure, I can figure out something to do with these...)  Well, she brought me about 40 giant black garbage bags full of these little bits and pieces of fancy fabrics, most of which are NOT cotton, and NOT much bigger than 10" to 15", and not really usable in quilts because of odd fabric content.  There were even a bunch of leather samples, which I had my local fabric store cut out in flower shapes with their AccuQuilt industrial cutter. 

And now, after hours and hours (and days and weeks and nearly 5 years) sorting, petting, cutting, designing, stitching, making bags, making kits, selling, sharing, teaching, upcycling (I have a personal relationship with each and every one of these pieces of fabric...), I am down to one bin of samples, a handful of ugly kits, all the colorful stuff is gone and I'm left with only 8 bags of BEIGEs.  So I've sorted through those neutrals, and I have thought of a couple more projects I want to make.  1) I'll put together enough crazy 4-patch blocks to create a large piece of fabric for a jacket, and 2) A crazy 4-patch Throw using as many 100% cotton samples as I can find, then I'll add some pretty embroidery stitches along the seams.

Those have gone from a WHIMM (Work Hidden In My Mind) to a PIG (Project In a Garbage bag).  Haven't started them yet, so they're not UFOs (UnFinished Objects, or UnFulfilled Opportunities?).  Today's tutorial has gotten me fired up again.  And maybe after Christmas, I'll get serious about it :).  Then I'll probably "throw" the rest away to make room for the other car in the garage, haha!  Unless, of course, YOU drop by for a visit!

So, for your entertainment, and to see how this block can be used, here's a little "Carpetbag" slideshow, just for you!  (8 @ 10" squares, 8-1/2" finished size, 2 stacks of 4 - use a generous 1/4" seam allowance, press seams open.  Add a couple of 4" to 5" side panels, box the bottom, add handles, line it, add a snap, topstitch, embellish, then throw in a quilt (up to queen size).  Perfect for all your sewing stuff... Just look at those happy quilters!

Slide not working?  See Flikr slideshow → HERE

Hope you found something useful today!   Thanks for reading along, for putting up with my run-on sentences (and afterthought parentheses), and you're always welcome to stop by for a visit, online or otherwise, at Quiltscapes.

Happy Sewing!