Making it less boring

When I left you yesterday, I had made a bunch of Square-in-a-Square blocks and was bemoaning the fact that they were fairly boring when set side by side!!

However, I did like this arrangement better……

AND, since I had already cut a bunch more of the inside squares, the fillers HAD to include them!!

After thinking a bit, I decided to simply add strips around each side of the blocks, starting with one side…..

….pressing them out to the strips…..

….and then adding the opposite strips…..

I purposely made these strips a bit wider than needed so that I could trim the block down to the EXACT size!!

To help with lining them up, I used a water-soluble marker to modify my 6.5-inch ruler…..

I placed the ruler on the block, being sure to line up the diagonal lines to each of the corners of the inside square…..

Since my ruler was the exact size of the needed block, I simply cut around all four sides…..

….and my block was ready to use…..

I matched the two designs into pairs…..

…always pressing AWAY from the point.

Before I knew it, the quilt top was finished…..

I love the movement that comes from the on-point squares and the straight squares!!

It reminds me of some of the “jewel matching” games on my iPhone…..

Maybe I need to make one with LOTS of different jewels on it!!

BUT….now I am thinking about other ways that I can modify the alternating blocks….the wheels are definitely spinning!!!


This July 4th, Michael and I have teamed together again to present both quilt and words that honor our defenders of freedom……

We often think of the 4th of July in terms of freedom, and rightly so – our Country’s freedom from oppression, from control by a distant, foreign power intent on exploitation. What we don’t as often remind ourselves of is the cost in lost freedom, lost health, lost lives of men and women who served our country from the 18th Century until now. This quilt of valor reflects the sacrifices from love – represented by the staggered heart blocks – by our service men and women who chose to lose their freedom and go where needed to protect each of us, and their Country. This quilt reminds us of those who returned and those who did not. We wish for no more conflicts, but know that until that Day when peace reigns, there will continue to be those special individuals who place others above themselves by moving into, not out of, danger.

Michael Arnold
Photo by Clément M. on Unsplash

Super Fast Charity Quilt

During the middle of the pandemic last year, I made my way to the Guild’s Charity storage and grabbed a few things to work on. One of those had languished in my studio until my weekend quilting spree a couple of weeks ago.

I was presented with a stack of strips and other fabrics…..

….an 18 inch block started in a Courthouse Steps arrangement……

….and these instructions…..

It proved to be a great project for when I was tired and just wanted to sew!!

I enjoyed using the given fabrics and adding some more from my stash.

When it got to the width that I wanted, I started adding strips to the top and bottom and, very soon it was done….

The finished size was 36 x 44.

I think that it would be fun to do this in kid’s fabric or bright colors and would be a great use of all of those 2.5 inch strips that I have cut and organized!!!

Scrap Heaven….

I have continued to work thru the stack of 200 six-inch squares that I received from my guild charity bee, making two quilt tops so far.

Now I was down to some rather dull and uninteresting browns and reds!!

I started by cutting them in half on the diagonal…..

Then I sewed a 1.5 inch strip of light brown fabric to one edge…..

It was pressed to the strip and then another triangle was added to the other side of the strip…..

Now it was time to trim the blocks down to a usable size. I used a trick that I had learned when making the pinwheel quilt a few weeks ago….

First, I used a water-soluble marker to draw a line 1/2 inch on each side of the ruler diagonal…..

Now it was easy work to line the drawn lines up to the actual block…..

…and they were all quickly trimmed.

Next I did the same thing with the lighter fabrics, this time using a dark strip down the middle.

As I laid out the first few blocks, I KNEW what I was going to do with them…..

I pulled more squares, adding some green into the mix as well, and also added a few fabrics from my personal scrap square box.

After I had all of them made, I wanted to ensure that I laid out the blocks in a fairly random pattern so put them into plastic tubs that I would pull out of without looking…..

After I got it on the design wall, I made a few tweaks to the placement and started sewing.

As I sewed the blocks, I did notice two holes in one of the squares……

….so I had to do a bit of rip and replace!!

Before long, the quilt top was finished……

I love the depth that comes from the mixture of darks and lights and am super happy with this “Hugs and Kisses”….”Naughts and Crosses”……”Tic, Tac, Toe”…..quilt!!

For the record, I have used 142 of the 6-inch squares and this is what I am left with……

Hmmmm….wonder what will come next!!!

Pinwheels…. continued

Yesterday, I talked about the confusing nature of pinwheel blocks. Today I want to continue a bit further down the road of this journey.

Now I was ready to sew my first 4 pinwheel blocks together.

At QuiltCon I had listened to a lecture by May Chappell called “Tips of the Trade – Perfecting Piecing”. It was RAPID fire tips for the first 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A.

One of the tips that she shared was “pre-sewing” certain areas of the blocks where the matching of seams was important but tricky…. ie….the center of the pinwheel…..

So, following her suggestion, I lined up the blocks and sewed about 1/2-inch on each side of the seam….

I opened the block up and discovered that I had MISSED the point…..

So I unpicked that small amount of stitching (rather than the entire seam) and re-sewed. The results were infinitely better…..

Now I could sew the entire seam from top to bottom and be sure that my points would match….as long as I stayed on the original stitching line. I did match the seams opposite to my stitching line just for better alignment at the end of the seam…….

The result was two nicely pieced blocks…..

Next I started working on two blue pinwheels and two pink/orange pinwheels……

One other tip that I had learned was, when you are drawing the line down a block, first hold the pencil in the exact corner and then butt the ruler up against it. I am not sure if it helped but it probably did……

So, at the end of the session, I had 6 pinwheel blocks finished…..

In the next session I will make more and start thinking about how to lay them out!!

Come back for the next installment!!