Tag Archives: Connecting Threads

How to Sew a Sawtooth Star Block

The Sawtooth Star is a simple block with endless potential. A history that goes all the way back to 1884, when it was first published in Farm & Fireside Magazine, this humble block was designed to reference the teeth of a saw. Now, the Sawtooth Star can be anything you want it to be: bold and beautiful, traditional and subtle, every single component can be changed in a delightful way! Take a look at some of these lovely samples, sewn by our very own Connecting Threads staff:

From left to right: Solid White and striped Faux Tweed Tonals. Solid White and Freshly Picked Batiks. Solids in White, Black and Taupe, Faux Linen Tonals in Ochre and Bronze. Solid in Freesia and misc. fabrics from Web of Roses. Misc. fabrics from Icy Splendor. These were sewn by our employees Sydney, Madison and Darlene!

Our video about how to sew the Sawtooth Star is on YouTube and is a lengthy beginner-friendly tutorial for all our quilting newbies out there! Click this link to start watching and refer to the Description for time stamps if you want to skip ahead to specific section.

This blog post is a written description of all the steps you’ll see in our video. We know it can be helpful to have text to follow along, so feel free to open both up to get started!

First, let’s start with all the materials you’ll need:

A quick note before we start out directions: this written tutorial matches our video tutorial where we will be making a 12” x 12” block. That is the sewn-in size, meaning once the block in sewn into a quilt, it will measure 12” x 12”. The unfinished size should be 12 ½” x 12 ½”.

If you want to make a different size, we have a handy size chart at the bottom of this blog post. Scroll to the end and you can learn how to make the size of your choice!


1. Cut your pieces, sizes are listed above in the materials section. You should end up with 4 corner squares & 4 rectangles in your background fabric, and 1 center square & 8 star point squares in your star fabric.

2. Next, you’ll need to create 4 Flying Geese blocks that will be your star’s points. This is a very simple, 1-at-a-time method, but feel free to use whatever you like best!

  • Start by taking your 8 star point squares and turn them right side down. Take a marking tool and draw a line down one diagonal of each square. I like to mark all of my squares in one go to speed up the process! See the reference photo below on where to mark (line is drawn in red):
  • Take one star point square and place it right sides together with one yellow rectangle. It should line up with one 3 ½” side. Again, check the reference photo above to make sure your placement is correct.
  • Pin along the diagonal line and sew on your marked line. Take the pins out as you sew!
  • Trim a ¼” seam allowance from your sewn line. See the reference photo below (I used red thread to make it easier to see!) – you want to trim off the smaller corner, not the entire block:
  • Press your block open. If using the listed fabrics, you should now have a yellow rectangle with one green triangle in the corner!
  • Take another star point square and place it right sides together with your rectangle. Your square should align with the opposite 3 ½” side from the first square. See the reference photo below to check that you have the placement correct – the red line is the diagonal you drew in a previous step:
  • Pin along your diagonal line then sew along that same line, taking the pins out as you go.
  • Just like you did with the first point, trim a ¼” seam allowance from your sewn line.
  • Now you need to repeat this whole process for each Flying Geese block, ending up with 4! Take your time and don’t forget to drop those triangle cut offs in your scrap bin – they sew together into perfect little half-square triangles for another project!

3. Lay out your corner squares, your finished Flying Geese blocks and your center square. See the reference photo below to check placement:

Your top row will be: one corner square, one Flying Geese, one corner square.

Your middle row will be: one Flying Geese, one center square, one Flying Geese.

Your bottom row will be: one corner square, one Flying Geese, one corner square.

4. Now we sew each of these rows together. Take your left side blocks and flip them right sides together with your middle blocks. See the reference photo below:

Pin down all of the seams that will be facing your sewing machine – this will help ensure that they remain flat during the sewing process! Take a look below – you’ll see that I pinned the seam in the middle of the Flying Geese block (which is being sewn to your center square):

Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew each pair together. Iron your seams open and repeat this process with your right side blocks.

5. You should now have three rows, ready to be sewn together! Take your top row and flip it right sides together with your middle row. You’ll want to pin at each intersection, especially any seams that might be facing your sewing machine. See the reference photo below to see where I like to pin:

Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew your top row and middle row together, taking pins out as you go. Iron your new seam open.

Repeat this same process with your bottom row. Flip it up, right sides together, with your middle row (which is now attached to your top row). Pin at your intersections and seams, then sew using a ¼” seam allowance. Iron your new seam open.

6. You now have a finished Sawtooth Star block! Congratulations!

So you’ve made a Sawtooth Star and you love it, right? I know, me too – I’m absolutely obsessed and can’t stop making them! However, I’m guessing that you might want to make one that’s a different size. Not everyone want a 12″ x 12″ block!

Here is a Size Chart for different block sizes. The blocks are listed by sewn-in size, then each component is listed by the size you will need to cut.


  Block Size

  Corner Squares

  (Cut 4)

  Center Square

  (Cut 1)

 Star Point Squares

  (Cut 8)


  (Cut 4)

  4” Block

  1 ½” x 1 ½”

  2 ½” x 2 ½”

  1 ½” x 1 ½”

  1 ½” x 2 ½”

  6” Block

  2” x 2”

  3 ½” x 3 ½”

  2” x 2”

  2” x 3 ½”

  8” Block

  2 ½” x 2 ½”

  4 ½” x 4 ½”

  2 ½” x 2 ½”

  2 ½” x 4 ½”

  10” Block

  3” x 3”

  5 ½” x 5 ½”

  3” x 3”

  3” x 5 ½”

  12” Block

  3 ½” x 3 ½”

  6 ½” x 6 ½”

  3 ½” x 3 ½”

  3 ½” x 6 ½”

  16” Block

  4 ½” x 4 ½”

  8 ½” x 8 ½”

  4 ½” x 4 ½”

  4 ½” x 8 ½”

Happy sewing!

DIY Shoelaces

If you have leftover 2 1/2″ strips, sometimes it can be tough to figure out to fit them in with another big project. Maybe you only have 4 or 5 strips leftover, maybe none of them match, maybe they’re a color you don’t typically like in your quilts. Whatever the reason, we have a fabulous project to help use up those leftover 2 1/2″ strips: DIY shoelaces!

Aren’t these just adorable? Shoelaces are shockingly simple to make, easy to customize and extremely fun to make for loved ones! Let’s jump right in:

First, we need to gather up supplies. In this tutorial, we’ll be making shoelaces that are 3/8″ wide. Madison, our Connecting Threads Marketing Coordinator and sewing superstar, made multiple sizes and we’ll have more information about that at the end of this post. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be talking specifically about the 3/8″ inch wide shoelace.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 full length 2 1/2″ strips
    • It’s ok if they don’t match! Who says shoelaces have to match?!
  • Transparent Heat Shrink Tubing or Shoelace Aglets of your choice
    • In this tutorial, we’re using this set of pre-cut heat shrink plastic tubing, because they’re perfect for DIY shoelaces!
    • If you’re using heat shrink tubing, you’ll need a heat source to shrink the plastic. We suggest an iron with the ability to steam, a hair dryer or a heat gun.
    • Looking for a more polished finish? Try these DIY Metal Aglets, which don’t require a special tool to install!
  • Bias Tape Maker ¾” (optional)
    • You don’t need to use a bias tape maker, but it’s highly suggested for such small strips. Trust us, it’ll save your fingertips from getting burnt by your iron!
  • Basic sewing supplies
    • Thread
    • Rotary Cutter
    • Ruler
    • Cutting mat
    • Wonder clips or pins
    • Sewing Machine


These were made using a fabric from the Frost and Flourish collection, which is still available as 2 1/2″ strips!

Basic Instructions:

1. Grab your first leftover 2 1/2″ strip and put it on your cutting mat. We’ll be sizing this strip down to 1.5”. Keep it folded in half, to make cutting easier.

2. Line up a ruler, preferably one that’s at least 24” long, with the longest edge of your strip. You want to cut away the pinked edge along one side of your strip (shown in left image). Before you make your cut, line up the fold of your strip to the short edge of your ruler. This will ensure that your strip is straight and your cut line is perpendicular to your fold (shown in right image).

3. Flip over your strip and line up your newly cut straight edge with the 1.5” mark on your ruler. You should now have a 1.5” wide strip!

4. To prep your strip for the bias tape maker, I highly recommend you cut one edge of your strip at a 45 degree angle. This makes it easier to push the strip through the bias tape maker. It also helps to have a ruler with a 45 degree marked line, like you can see in the photos below. You line up the long edge of your strip with the 45 degree marker and slice off a corner.

5. Now we feed your strip into the bias tape maker. Take the pointed end that you just created, wrong side up, and start pushing it into the widest end of the bias tape maker. It can take a little finagling, so don’t worry if you have a tough time at first! One way to help coax the fabric into moving is to take a thin, sharp object (like this Clover Curved Awl) You’ll know you’re successful when you see that pointed tip peek out the end – once you do, give it light tug to start the process.

6. As you start to pull your strip through, you’ll see the bias tape maker doing its job. It will create two folds which you’ll want to iron down. I like to press my iron down onto the folded strip, pull the bias tape maker back to create more tape, then iron the next section. It’s best to go slow and steady here.

7. Once you’ve pulled your entire strip through the bias tape maker, you have one last ironing step: you’ll need to fold the entire strip it in half. You’re basically hiding those raw edges inside your new fold!

8. Now your shoelace is ready to be sewn. I suggest either pinning or using wonder clips to keep your bias tape folded as you sew. Once it’s secured, you’ll sew as close to the open edge as you can – for me, it was about 1/8”. Sew along the entire long edge of your shoelace.

I’m using Superior Threads’ Metallic Red Thread, just for a shiny and fun addition!

9. Trim one end of your shoelace. Grab your plastic tubing and trim it into two short pieces – mine were about 1”. Fold one end of your shoelace in half to help shimmy it into a piece of tubing. Leave just a tiny overhang of plastic tubing, seen below.

10. Grab your heat source and start it up – I’m using a heat gun. Point it directly at the plastic tubing and begin heating it up. You should see it start to shrink within just a few seconds! Rotate your tubing and make sure to heat all sides until it cinches around the fabric.

11. Optional: I found that, directly after you turn your heat source off, pinching the overhang of plastic helps create a tighter end to your shoelace. Then you can trim off the excess.

12. Before you repeat the plastic tubing process with your other shoelace end, this is a great time to check the length. If you know exactly how long you need it to be, you can measure it now. If you aren’t sure, I suggest lacing it up into your favorite shoes to see how long it’ll need to be. Once you’ve trimmed off the second end, repeat the plastic tubing process.

13. Voilà, you have a finished shoelace! Start back up at Step 1 and repeat this whole process for your second shoelace. Now that you’ve got a pair, lace up your favorite shoes and you’ll be delighted with how lovely they look!

These shoelaces are made from the Elemental Illusions collection, specifically the Modern Basket Weave fabric.

Plush Dog Beds with Cuddle Cuts

When I grabbed the sample Cuddle Cuts we received at the Connecting Threads offices, I was so excited to test them out. My mind was a little lost with ideas on how to use them, so I scooped them up and brought them back to my apartment. After opening up a few of the packages and laying out the cuts on the floor, I still was struggling to think of how to show them off: a cuddly quilt or a plush pillowcase? I decided to take a lunch break to clear my head, but upon my return, I got a furry surprise: my dog, Roxie had zonked out all over the cuddle cuts on my studio floor. Thus, the idea for her plush dog bed was born!

There are two simple ways of making this pillow-y dog bed: with or without a pre-made dog bed insert. Let me walk you through both ways.

To make your pup’s new bed, you’ll:

  • A dog bed (option #1)
    • I made two types, using some cheap dog beds from PetSmart. Since we’re covering them up with cuddle cuts, there’s no need for anything flashy! Roxie’s favorite beds are this one and this one.
  • Stuffing (option #2)
    • I used a combination of fabric scraps and polyfill
  • Cuddle Cut of your choice
  • Backing fabric
  • Closure of choice
    • I used two types of closures: a zipper and velcro strips. Totally up to you, but velcro is the easiest option, especially if you hate installing zippers (like I do!).

To make a bed with a pre-made insert:

  1. Measure your bed insert. Roxie’s pillow bed was 33″ x 46″, but yours may vary. With the pillow-style bed, I added 1/4″ seam allowance on three sides, then an extra 1″ on the side where I added velcro. My final measurement came to 34 1/4″ x 46 1/2″.
  2. Cut out your fabric to your desired measurements – one piece of cuddle cuts and one piece of backing fabric.
  3. Placing right sides together, sew along three sides, leaving a short side open.
  4. Along the short side, sew on your velcro. I chose to add it across one whole short side, making it super easy to open and close for cleaning purposes!
    • A tip for sewing on velcro: I had strip velcro, that I cut down into 5″ pieces. Then, I sewed those pieces along the open edge on the RIGHT SIDES of the fabric – that way, when you’ll fold over the right sides to connect the velcro, making for a cleaner closure. This is why we added the extra 1″ to one short side!
  5. Stuff your cover with the dog bed insert, velcro closed and voila! A super adorable, super soft, pillowy dog bed that your pup is going to adore!

To make a stuffed dog bed, the instructions are almost identical!

  1. Figure out the size of your bed. Both versions of Roxie’s bed were around 34″ x 46″ – she’s a medium to large dog and she likes her space, so it worked perfectly. You can choose any size or shape you like, from a basic rectangle to a cute little circle for smaller snugglers!
    • If you’re unsure about sizing (for instance, if you’re making this for a friend’s dog and don’t have a sample bed at the ready), trying looking up dog bed sizes on PetSmart or Petco! You can search by dog size, from small to extra-large, and borrow measurements from the size you choose.
  2. Cut out your fabric to your desired measurements – one piece of cuddle cuts and one piece of backing fabric.
  3. Placing right sides together, sew along three sides, leaving a short side open.
  4. If you’re sewing on a zipper, follow the instructions on the zipper packaging. Never sewn a zipper before? We’ve got some fantastic instructions that you can follow here!
  5. If you’re using velcro, sew it along your short side. This makes it super easy to open and close for cleaning purposes!
    • A tip for sewing on velcro: I had 1″ strip velcro, that I cut down into 5″ stripped pieces. Then, I sewed those pieces along the open edge on the RIGHT SIDES of the fabric – that way, when you’ll fold over the right sides to connect the velcro, making for a cleaner closure.
  6. Stuff your cover with the stuffing of your choice. I chose to use a big bag of fabric scraps along with polyfill stuffing – it’s a great way to use up those weirdly shaped scraps that can’t really be used in projects.
    • A tip on stuffing: a lot of dogs don’t like a bed that’s stiff, as it’s hard to curl up on. Unlike a pillow you’d place on your sofa, which most people like nice and stuffed, under-stuff this bed a bit – that way, your pup can settle in without having to perch atop a tall, stiff pillow!
  7. Velcro or zipper closed and voila! A super adorable, super soft, pillow-y dog bed that your pup is going to adore!

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram or Facebook with #togetherwequilt so we can see your adorable creations!

Simple Dog Bandanas

This pup is very excited to tell you all about the easiest 20-minute tutorial ever!

Made from one piece of fabric and the shortest supply list you’ll ever see, creating a bandana for your dog is so simple that it’ll feel like magic. Seen here on scream queen Piper, a medium sized rescue with a penchant for swimming and soccer balls, these pup accessories make any moment festive and extra adorable. (Also, if you’ve ever made a plain cloth napkin, this is the exact same sewing method!)

Grab your rotary cutter, load up some thread and let’s get sewing!

To create a doggie bandana, you’ll only need these supplies:

And that’s it: I told you, it’s the shortest supply list I’ve ever written out!

Once you’ve grabbed your supplies, the first thing to do is to figure out the correct size for your dog. Here’s how I sized mine:

  1. Measure you dog’s neck circumference. I measured Piper’s at 15″.
  2. Since this is just a giant square folded in half, the measurement you need to pay attention to is the diagonal of your square – this is what will wrap around the dog’s neck and tie in the back. You’ll want to pad that neck circumference with a few inches on each side for tying:
    • For smaller dogs, I added 3-4″ on each side (for example, a neck measuring 12″ came out to 18″).
    • For medium and large sized dogs, like Piper, I added 5-6″ on each side (for example, Piper’s neck measured at 15″, so the final measurement comes out to 27″).
    • Use your discretion here – if you want more tying length, add some extra inches! If you’ve got a pretty small pup, like a chihuahua, you may only need to add an extra 2-3″ total.
  3. Equipped with the diagonal measurement of your square, there are lots of ways to figure out the length of the sides. My favorite secret quilting tools are online geometry calculators, because all you do is input a few numbers and you’ve got your block size! Omni Calculator is my favorite and I love using the “Diagonal of a Square” calculator: I put in Piper’s final measurement at 27″ and the size come out to 19.09″. I’ll round that to 19″ to keep things easier on my brain!
  4. Pad that number with 1/2″ to cover your seam allowance and voila! You’ve got the final size of your square.

[If you hate this method, which is completely valid, I have a non-computerized way! Fold your fabric in half, measure 27″ along the fold and mark. Take a ruler with a 45 degree diagonal line like this Omnigrip Neon Ruler and use that diagonal line along the fold. Now you can either mark your edges or just start cutting, no side measurement needed!]

Now that you’ve got the size of your square, cut out your fabric. For Piper, I cut a 19.5″ x 19.5″ square.

Next, we’re going to fold over our seam and sew it down. Since this is a dog bandana, the seam doesn’t have to be perfect: if your dog is anything like mine, this bandana will be dirty in less than 20 minutes! I highly recommend a very simple, single fold hem with mitered corners. It sounds fancy – and looks nice! – but it’s easy as pie.

Here’s a very straightforward way of creating single fold hems with mitered corners:

  1. Fold over 1/4″ hem on one side and iron down.
  2. Fold over 1/4″ hem on a neighboring side and iron down.
  3. Unfold both hems.
  4. In the intersecting corner, fold over that corner. The spot where the two seams intersect should be right on the fold line. Iron down.
  5. Re-fold over one hem and iron it down.
  6. Re-fold the other hem and iron it down. Boom, you have a mitered corner!

This is a wildly simple way of creating a crisp corner, so sometimes you have to finagle that corner into place. Again, don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect!
The last thing to do is sew your hem down. Sew along the raw edges of your hem and drop your needle to turn at each corner.

Fold your bandana in half along the diagonal, iron down the fold and tie it on your pup! Here’s my dog Roxie with her bandana (I made Roxie and Piper a matching pair 😊):

You can use this tutorial with any type of fabric, they make fabulous gifts and they’re so easy to customize! If you’re making one as a gift, here’s a very general neck size guide for dogs:

  • Extra-Small Dogs: up to 20lbs, neck size typically 8″-11″
  • Small Dogs: 20-30lbs, neck size typically 10″-15″
  • Medium Dogs: 30-50lbs, neck size typically 14″-20″
  • Large Dogs: 50-90lbs, neck size typically 18″-26″
  • Extra-Large Dogs: 90lbs and up, neck size typically 20″-28″

These are broad measurements, so if you have the option to measure the dog’s neck, I highly recommend it. If you’re unsure, sizing up is always helpful: longer ties are always better than shorter ones!

Happy sewing and don’t forget to tag us on Facebook and Instagram with photos of your creations! 🐶

Open Skies BOM – Month 3

Hi everyone!

Before we begin with the month 3 blocks, let’s chat about a couple of things.

A few of you have asked questions about the scant ¼” seam allowance I suggest in the patterns, and it seems (no pun intended!) to be throwing some of you off. All of my patterns are written to be mathematically correct, so anyone who wants to use a straight ¼” seam allowance will be able to successfully make these blocks. I personally use a scant ¼” seam and then square up the units as I go. But if any of you prefer to use a standard ¼” seam when sewing, by all means, please do! Just make sure your seams are accurate and consistent, and measure as you go to make sure you’ll end up with the correct 12-1/2” square when each block is finished.

Also, in case you haven’t noticed by now, there are A LOT of half square triangles in this quilt. Everyone has their preferred method of making these, so please feel free to step outside the box. While I used the mathematically correct 7/8” measurements on the cutting for these, please know that there is enough fabric for you to round up the extra 1/8” if you like, and then trim to size when done.

I know some of you are also using the Eight at a Time method of making HSTs, which is great! There are a couple of great videos on YouTube you can look up if you are curious about this method. Like I said, do what works for you!

Okay, let’s talk about this month’s blocks!

Block # 14

This block has lots of pieces, but it’s pretty straightforward. We’ll begin by making a simple 4-patch.

In steps 2 and 3 we will make eight half square triangles – four of each kind.

I’ve cut all the squares and am ready to pair them up and mark them for sewing.

Once the HSTs are sewn and trimmed, I paired them up to get ready to sew them together. Just make sure to keep the Cabin Plaid on the right side of each unit as you sew.

Take two of those completed pairs and sew them to the sides of the four patch. Sew the H squares to the ends of the remaining two units, and then sew those to the top and bottom to complete the center block. If you’ve followed the pressing arrows, all the seams should nest together.

Now all we have to do is assemble and sew on our usual HST borders, and the block is finished!

Block # 18

The center portion of this block is block is oh so easy! It’s just a large pinwheel with a border, and it comes together in a snap!

Start by making your four HSTs, and sew them together like the photo below. Make sure your pinwheel block measures 6-1/2” when done. This is when I like to use those scant ¼” seam allowances, so that I have wiggle room for trimming to size.

Then sew the F and G strips on as directed. One tip is to cut your strips a bit longer than necessary, and then trim them to line up with the pinwheel as you go. This is especially helpful with the top and bottom strips. This should measure 8-1/2” square when it’s done.

And of course, to finish things off, we will add those borders we are getting so good at.

Block # 20

This block is an easy version of the Lemoyne Star. The traditional way to make these is to sew with Y seams and other fun stuff that I don’t personally want to attempt, so we’ll be making this the cheater way.

This block starts the same as the last one, by making a pinwheel unit from half square triangles. It’s important  that you have your pinwheel oriented correctly in order for this block to turn out. So please double check as you sew and make sure your D and F triangles are in their proper place, exactly like the diagram in the pattern.

Next comes the flying geese units, and we’ll be using the stitch and flip method. Again, placement is key. You want to start with your Cream G squares on the left side first, followed by the Dark Blue E squares on the right for each unit.

Once you get those flying geese done, you can lay out the block and see that the Dark blues and Creams line up perfectly to make the star. How fun is that?!

With this is all sewn it measures 8-1/2” square, and now you can add your borders to complete the block.

And of course, there are always a few more sashing strips to make as well. I had someone ask if it matters that the A strips are cut crosswise on the fabric instead of lengthwise. I usually cut lengthwise whenever I can for sashing strips, but it’s not imperative. It’s true that cutting as suggested means less give for easing things in, but usually that’s not a problem if the blocks are measuring correctly. If this bothers you, you can cut three out using the FQ and cutting lengthwise, and save your fourth one for the months when you have the extra fabric for making eight, and just cut nine instead those months. It’s totally up to you!

Well, that’s it for this month. Please holler if you have any questions, either on here, or on the facebook group, and I’ll try my best to get to them. Thanks for stopping by!

 Happy Quilting! – Kristin

Open Skies BOM – Month 2

Hey friends!

It’s been so fun to see everyone’s first blocks on the facebook group. Keep up the good work!

This month we will be doing just two blocks, and 8 sashing strips.

Our two new blocks have one thing in common – Square in a square units. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with these little guys. I love how they look, but getting them the right size can be tricky. In fact, as I was sewing up these blocks I was seriously questioning my design choices, and wondering what on earth possessed me to do this to all of you. But it’s skill building, right?!

 If I have one piece of advice for making these it’s this: Accuracy in cutting the center square is crucial, but the outer triangles that you’ll attach can be cut bigger than needed, and then trimmed to size after they are all sewn on.

Another tip – STARCH! Any time I’m sewing pieces that have been cut on the bias, using extra starch just helps to keep them from stretching or getting wonky.

Ok, let’s get started!

Block #2

We’ll begin by making a pinwheel unit from four Half-Square triangles. Again, feel free to cut your D and E squares a bit bigger if you like, so that you can trim these down to size. And I know that 3-3/8” HSTs is a weird size! Trust me, it works out.

Make sure your completed pinwheel measures at 6-1/4” square.  This is key.

Next, you’ll sew on those well starched triangles. If you are having trouble figuring out where to line up your triangles, use the pinwheel as a guide. The point of the triangle should line up with the seam of the pinwheel, like you see in the photo below:

Do this for all four triangles as you sew them on, one at a time. Acutally, I usually pin mine on two at a time and sew accordingly, even though the directions say otherwise.

Once all the triangles are sewn on, then trim the unit to 8-1/2” square. If it’s done correctly, you should have the proper ¼” seam allowance to make sure you don’t sew off any of your pinwheel points.

Now all we have to do is sew the same border pieces as we did last month, and then attach them to the pinwheel unit to complete the block. If you need a refresher for how this is done, please take a gander back at the month 1 blog post. I also found it helpful to pin the border pieces on the under side so that I could see where the pinwheel intersects on the edges. I always find this helpful so that I can avoid sewing off my points.

In fact, if you look closely at the photo above, you can see that I had to rip out my first stitches and re-do them, because I had, in fact, cut off the point on this side. Ugh!

And here is the finished block!

Block #12

This block is just a sawtooth star that has a diamond (square in a square) unit in the center. Since there are so many triangles coming together in this block, things can get a bit bulky at the seams. If you don’t like all the bulk, feel free to press all your seams open. Personally, I’m kind of obsessed with nesting seams, so I ironed according to my directions, which created a bit of bulk around the center diamond square. I just starched and pressed the heck out of it, and mined turned out pretty flat. But it’s whatever you prefer. Remember, it’s YOUR quilt, and there are no rules, only suggestions!

First we will make that square in a square unit as I mentioned earlier, making especially sure that your center D square is cut accurately. You could cut your E squares at 3” and then trim the unit after sewing all the triangles on, if you prefer.

I always find it helpful to fold the center square in half and finger press a seam down the middle, so that I can have a guide to line up the point of the triangle before pinning.

You can’t see it in the photo above, but I promise there is a folded line down the center of the square that I’ve used as a guide to place the triangle before pinning. You want the point of the triangle to be on that line.

Next we will make four HST’s. Apparently I neglected to take a photo of these, but I think you all know how to make them.

Last, but not least, we will make some flying geese. Usually my patterns have directions for no-waste flying geese, since they are my FAVORITE! But after getting a lot of feedback from customers, I decided to just use the simpler stitch and flip method with this pattern, especially since we don’t make that many in the quilt. And to be honest, I felt a little out of practice!

For those wanting to do the no-waste method, you’ll need to cut one 5-1/4” square from the Droplet, Lt. Denim fabric, and four 2-7/8” squares from the Soaring Leaves, Prussian Blue fabric. For anyone unfamiliar with this method for making flying geese, just look up No Waste Flying Geese on the internet, and you’ll find multiple tutorials.

A little tip for the stitch and flip method: I find it helpful to sew just BARELY outside (the side closest to the corner) of the line, so that I don’t end up with my corners coming up short. And by barely, I mean a thread or two. But again, it’s a suggestion, so you do you!

This photo isn’t the greatest, but I’ve got everything marked and pinned.
The second set of squares are ready to be sewn and trimmed.

Now it’s time to assemble the block. I always lay everything out and double check that I haven’t flipped something the wrong way before I pin and sew.

As I was sewing and pressing, I continued to spray starch on this block, so that I could have better accuracy with getting my points to line up. I’m not sure I was entirely successful, but I decided it was good enough for me. I used to be really uptight about getting all my points to be PERFECT, and would rip and re-sew things multiple times sometimes, just to get everything to line up. In the past few years I stopped doing that so much, and now just enjoy!

This is also where you might choose to press the seams open, since there is quite a bit of bulk where the flying geese and the center diamond meet up. I pressed mine to the sides like a mad woman, lol!

Hopefully if all went well, this center unit should measure 8-1/2” square, and is ready to sew on our border pieces. We are going to get SO good at making these quilt block borders!


And, of course, we have an additional eight sashing strips to make…

If you want to be sneaky, you could even use your extra fabric to make a few extra, since you know that you’ll be making more anyway. I promise I won’t tell!

Well, that’s all for this month. Yay, we did it! Thanks for stopping by, and please either comment below, or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Happy Quilting everyone!


Ruby BOM – Month 9

It’s me again! This month we will get to make another four unique blocks, and this time three are repeats, and one brand spanking new. Since by now, we should all be pretty familiar with the techniques used in these blocks, I decided to skip over the lengthy tutorials that I’ve covered in months past. But it’s always good to see what these blocks look like sewn up in their new fabrics, so let’s dive right in!

Block #1

Now that it’s month 9, we FINALLY get to make the first block in the quilt. It’s about time! Technically, we made this same block WAY back in month 1, and it was block #14 then. And why didn’t I switch those and sew block #1 in month one and block #14 now, you ask? The short answer is FABRIC. When I’m planning block of the Month patterns, I need to pay attention to which fabrics will be shipped with which blocks, so blocks with like fabrics get grouped together. So now you know why things sometimes seem out of order. It all works out in the end though!

Speaking of being out of order, when sewing up this block, I began by making all of my flying geese and half-square triangles at the same time for this block. As you can see below, they are finished and ready for trimming, using my Bloc-Loc ruler to trim the flying geese units. Since you’ve all made these a million times by now, like I said earlier, I won’t bore you with the details.

Once those were all finished and trimmed, I was able to get busy assembling the block. Here is the center portion of the unit, which I’ve laid out to begin sewing.

Next, we’ll take the remaining flying geese as well as some Half Square Triangles, then sew those together as shown in step 7. Make sure you press the seam inward toward the flying geese unit on each side so that your seams will nest.

Now, all we have to do is sew those units to the sides, add our G squares to the remaining two units, and then get those sewn to the top and bottom, and the block is finished!

Block #5

This block is our only new one for the month. And this also means, that since it is new, we will be making it again in month 11, so be prepared.

Right off the bat, we are making even MORE no-waste flying geese – in two colorways no less. Once you have both sets completed, you’ll sew them together like it says in step 5. Here is what that looks like in real life:

Next, you’ll make some more Half Square triangles – big ones this time. Always remember that you are free to cut out your pieces just a smidge bigger so that you have wiggle room to trim as needed.

And now we can sew all the units together 9-patch style. Follow the directions and make sure that all your flying geese are pointing inward toward the center square. This was one of those blocks where the seams can get a little bulky, so if you aren’t comfortable with that, remember that you can always choose to press any seams open to reduce that bulk. Otherwise, follow the pressing arrows and you should be just fine.

Block #12

This block is another repeat from month 1 and was known as block #21.

We start by making a simple 9-patch unit for the center like so:

Next, it’s some more of those flying geese we know and love so well. Two of the completed flying geese units will have an F square sewn to each side, and the other two will have the longer G rectangles sewn to the ends.

Now, all that’s left is to sew those to the center unit like you see above. Easy Peasy!

Block #24

For our last block of the month – our ONLY block in our month 9 installment that doesn’t have ANY flying geese! How did that happen?! We made this block previously in month 5 as block #9 in case you want to refer back.

Begin by making some Half Square Triangles as directed.

Now you’ll use those HSTs to make a simple 4-patch unit like so:

After sewing the E and B strips together, you’ll have everything you need to assemble the block.

Here is my block, laid out and ready to sew together.

How easy was that? Another four blocks in the books!

Do you all realize that we only have one more month of Irish Chain blocks, and one last month of four unique blocks, then we are ready to finish our quilt?! We are SOOOO close to the finish line!

I hope you all have a wonderful, happy, and quilt-filled month!

Until next time…


Open Skies Block of the Month – Month 1

Welcome, everyone! I’m thrilled that so many of you have decided to join me in sewing up my latest Block of the Month quilt! Some of you may have already sewn some of my previous BOMs, but I suspect many of you might be new.

Each month I’ll be posting a little tutorial blog here, with tricks and tips to help you create the best quilt possible. And with this BOM we will also be adding some extra content over the coming months as promised, so be on the lookout for that too. It’s going to be so fun!

As we go along, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to help you out. My email address is also on the pattern, so you are welcome to reach out to me that way as well.

Now let’s get to business! Here are the three blocks we will make this month, photographed in no particular order:

Before we talk about these blocks one by one, I have a few general tips:

  1. I always make my cutting measurements mathematically correct in my patterns. Over the years I’ve tried many different methods of cutting and trimming in my instructions, and long story short, I came back to doing it this way.

This means that technically speaking, if you cut your Half Square Triangle pieces at 2-7/8” square, and follow the directions, using a correct seam allowance, you should end up with 2-1/2” HST squares in the end. However, I also allow for enough fabric in case you want to make your pieces a smidge bigger. In fact, if I’m being honest, no matter what quilt I’m sewing, I always cut my pieces just a hair larger, and then sew my seams just a hair under a 1/4”, and always come up with enough wiggle room to trim things up perfectly. My point is, that you do what works best for you, and know that you are free to cut your pieces a bit larger and trim them down later if that’s your preference.

  1. I also NEVER pre-wash my fabric. Again, this is a personal preference. And just FYI – Out of curiosity, I actually did a bleed test on the Droplet Navy for this quilt since it is so dark, and it didn’t bleed AT ALL. Hooray for great Connecting Threads fabric!
  2. I love to pre-starch all my fabric. I always starch and iron everything before I ever take a rotary cutter to a single piece. My preferred starch is MaryEllen’s Best Press – Caribbean Beach scent. And that’s just because I always want to be in the Caribbean, haha!

By now some of you have likely received your first installment of Open Skies. If you look at the pattern, you’ll notice that each block has the same half-square triangle border. We are going to get SO good at making these by the end of this quilt!

Knowing that each of the three blocks this month needed a total of 12 identical HSTs, I cheated a little bit and made all 36 at the same time before sewing up each of the blocks individually. So if you want to do the same, you’ll need to cut a total of 18 of both the B and C squares, then sew them up according to the directions.

A small side note, The Droplet Navy fabric is directional, but personally, I didn’t pay much attention to the direction of the print because I don’t think it is very noticeable in the final quilt. If it bothers you, then you are most welcome to figure that in with regards to how you sew these together. Since the Half Square triangles end up facing every which way in the blocks anyway, I decided to just get sewing and let the print be in whichever direction it ends up.

Here is my stack of 36 HSTs – ready for trimming

I like to look for shortcuts whenever I’m making a quilt – even with my own patterns! So I decided to assemble all the components for the outer borders before I began making the center portions of each block. But if jumping ahead with these messes you up, please ignore what I just said and follow my directions by sewing the blocks one by one.

In the photo below I have a stack of 12 of the A/B/C units. This step is #3 in block #1.

Now on to the individual blocks we’ll be making this month!

Block #1

The first block we will be making has a very simple 9-patch unit in the center. This center uses another directional print with the Droplet Lt. Denim fabric. Again, it probably doesn’t matter too much, but you may choose to pay attention to the placement of those F squares in order to have the print all going in the same direction. It all depends on how picky you want to be.

Another tip for this block as well as all the others: Make sure you are following the pressing instructions in order to ensure that your seams will nest together properly in the end. This is especially important because of all those half-square triangles on the border. But if you mess up, don’t fret. You can always choose to press your seams open if you prefer.

Once the center is sewn, you can take your completed border sections and attach them as shown below. Before you begin sewing, it’s a good idea to double-check that all your HSTs are facing the correct direction around the perimeter. This is why I always lay things out first.

Block #11

This block involves making even more HSTs, but the ones for the center are much larger. As I mentioned above, this is where it’s handy to cut your pieces just a smidge bigger, and then use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, so that you can trim to perfection, or at least close enough!

Make sure you’ve got these in the correct orientation before you begin sewing like you see below.

And here is this block, ready for sewing the HST border around the outside.

There isn’t too much that is tricky with this block either, but I have one additional tip: When sewing the outer A/B/C units onto the center portion, you may want to pin and sew so that the central unit is on the top, and the A/B/C units are underneath. This will enable you to see where you are sewing through those D/E points on the sides of the center block, helping you to get them just right. The picture below will help illustrate what I mean:

Maybe not the greatest photo, but if you look close, you can see where the stitched line goes right through the intersection of where the HSTs are joined.

Block #13

Our last block is probably the most challenging of the month. Each of the four D squares in this block will have three E squares sewn and trimmed to make an almost square in a square unit. Here you can see the first E squares pinned and ready to go.

Anytime I use the method of sewing on a line and then trimming to a 1/4 “ seam allowance, I always sew just a hair outside the line. This helps me to make sure when I trim and press, that I don’t end up with those triangle corners coming up short.

Before you trim, I suggest you flip up each E square and see if the corners match up. I always check this on every single one, and if it comes up short, then I know I need to rip out my stitching and try again. I know it’s tedious, but you’ll thank yourself later.

I’ve checked to make sure my corners line up, so now I can trim off the excess.

If you look at the directions, you will notice that the first E triangle is pressed TOWARD the D square, while the remaining two are pressed AWAY from the D square. This is especially important because this will once again allow for those seams to nest when you sew the units together.

The first E square is pressed TOWARD the D square like you see here.

Once you’ve finished with the first E squares, the remaining ones are pressed outward.

The placement doesn’t matter when you sew the four units together, so If you don’t like how I’ve arranged them, by all means, move them around to your liking.

This block would also benefit from having those outer A/B/C units on the underside as you sew in order to make sure you see where you are sewing and get those point intersections nice and crisp.

Sashing strips:

Last but not least, we will be making a few sashing strips. Since there are so many in this quilt, I thought it would be a good idea to knock some of these out every month. Again we are using that directional navy print, and again, I didn’t pay attention to the direction. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?

As I mentioned above, it’s helpful to sew just a hair outside the line with these, and flip up the corners before you trim to make sure they match up.

Firs two squares are pinned on.

Below are the last two squares pinned and ready to sew. In addition to getting good at sewing Half-Square Triangles, we are also going to get really good at these sashing strips over the coming months!

Well, there you have it! The first three blocks and a few sashing strips are done! Next month we will make a couple more blocks, and even more sashing strips.

I look forward to sewing and chatting with all of you over the coming months. Until next time….

Happy Quilting!


National Quilting Week Questions
National Quilting Week has inspired us to explore our co-worker’s quilting journeys. 

Darlene is our Fabric Assistant and overall maven in the sewing room, and everywhere else for that matter. We asked her some questions about her quilting journey and here are her answers: 


How did you start quilting?

I have been sewing clothes and purses since I was in high school in the mid-’70s.  Quilting seemed so laborious at the time since all the instructions were to cut your templates from cereal boxes, trace onto your fabric and cut with scissors. I attempted it but soon lost interest.  Speed forward to the ’80s, I started working at Patagonia in Ventura Ca, and happened on a large quilt show.  I was amazed at the vendors selling rotary cutters and rulers with mats.  I just had to have a set! Although my first patchwork quilt with these new tools was a cover for my down comforter (which I made from a Frostline kit) it was made from 6” squares from fabric I had leftover from my garment making, fabrics from a sportswear company I worked for in Seattle and new fabrics from the quilt show.  I spent time arranging the scraps in a gradation from light to dark, much like the “watercolor” quilts designed years later.  After that, I started challenging myself with snails trails and log cabins blocks.  Then I discovered foundation miniature quilts… which was my next adventure in quilt making.

What is your favorite quilt-related project to date?

My favorite quilt would have to be the Wyoming Whirligig quilt I made in the early 2000s.  I made it as a replica of one we had when I was a kid.  Apparently, it got destroyed so I made another one.  It still needs to be quilted but I love the way it looks.

What does quilting mean to you?

Quilting is a colorful creative outlet for me besides the clothing I make.  Sewing and quilting construction comes very naturally to me, and I like to challenge myself to new patterns or blocks.  I love to put on my favorite music or podcast and sew for as long as I can. Watching all the fabric I cut into small pieces, come back to life in a new big, or small, quilt top.  The feel of the fabrics, the colors, the seams.  Hand stitching around the binding knowing that is the last step and when I make that last knot and bury the thread….I can crawl under it and take a nap.

What do you wish you knew when you started quilting?

I wish I had not bought so much fabric and learned to be more selective…once I buy fabric, it is hard for me to get rid of it thinking I might need it, just that perfect piece or color for a future quilt. 

What is your next project?

I have so many next projects…..I love traditional piecing, modern piecing, and fabric collage quilts.  I have a couple of each already started…so I have to finish one of those before I can start a brand new quilt.

What is your dream project?

The project I dream most about is one that has piecing, and applique, and might tell a story. I want it to be a medallion quilt with a center vocal point, then blocks and applique around it in borders.

Bunny Bag!

Hop into Spring with this adorable treat bag in the shape of a bunny! Perfect for stashing your candy and decorating. The pattern comes with a template and full instructions on how to make your very own bunny.  

This project can be completed in a day and can be made using 10″ precuts, a couple of FQs, or other larger scraps you may have. *You may need additional fabric for the drawcord.*

This pattern uses boxed corners so that your bag can be free-standing. If you have never made something with boxed corners, have no fear, the pdf has detailed instructions.

The Bunny Bag also uses a small opening in the liner to turn everything right side and keep the seams super neat.

What you need:

Rotary cutter


Paper and fabric scissors

Sewing machine


Pins and/or wonder clips

Safety pin or bodkin

Enough fabric to cover the template