Tag Archives: Connecting Threads

Open Skies BOM – Month 3
6.6.2022

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
5.2.2022

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!

DONE!

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!

Kristin


Ruby BOM – Month 9
4.5.2022

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…

Kristin


Open Skies Block of the Month – Month 1
4.3.2022

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!

 Kristin


National Quilting Week Questions
3.15.2022
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!
3.10.2022

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

Ruler

Paper and fabric scissors

Sewing machine

Thread

Pins and/or wonder clips

Safety pin or bodkin

Enough fabric to cover the template
 
🐰🐰🐰
 

Carrot Treat Bag
3.1.2022

Welcome Spring and Easter with this adorable treat bag in the shape of a carrot! 

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.

If you plan to use 10″ square precuts ensure you have two of each square for the template. 4 10″ squares will only be enough fabric for the bag but you will need additional fabric or ribbon for the drawstring. Another option is to shorten the drawstring to 18″ if that works better for your scraps!


What you need:

Rotary cutter

Ruler

Paper and fabric scissors

Sewing machine

Thread

Pins and/or wonder clips

Safety pin or bodkin

Enough fabric to cover the template

🥕🥕🥕

Download the pattern and template here: Carrot Treat Bag Pattern and Template

 

 


Ruby BOM – Month 7
2.7.2022

Hello friends!

This month we get to make another 4 unique blocks. Yay! And once again, some of them may look a little familiar. That’s because three of the four blocks for this month are ones we’ve sewn before. The only block this month that is brand spanking new is block #23. So I’ve decided to go a bit out of order for this blogpost and start with our new block for the month. Let’s dive in!

Block #23

This block begins with making some no-waste flying geese. By now, you know the drill on how to make these, but here are a few pictures to refresh your memories.

Once those are sewn and trimmed, I lay out everything for step 3 before I begin sewing the components together. I have a love/hate relationship with blocks that have the flying geese sewn outward to make a square in a square effect. I love using this block in designs, but sometimes when sewing it can be tricky to get those flying geese to match up in the corners and make a smooth-looking diamond shape in the block. So I really pay attention to how things are lining up as I’m pinning, and yes, I use LOTS of pins to keep everything in place for sewing.

Once you have the center section sewn together, it’s time to make even more flying geese.

 After those are done, I again lay everything out before I begin sewing. I always do this, and mostly it’s because way back when I first started quilting I would confuse myself and end up sewing things going the wrong way, so this helps me to see what I’m about to do before I start pinning. Because nothing is more aggravating than thinking you’ve finished sewing your block, only to realize that you did it wrong and have to rip it out. Ugh!

You can see in the picture below that I already sewed the F squares to the ends of the D/E flying geese. Sometimes I get ahead of myself!

Almost finished…

This block is also one that no matter which way you press the seams, you’ll end up with some bulk in spots. If this bothers you, feel free to press the seams open for steps 6 and 7. Personally, I just pressed the heck out of those seams according to my instructions. But if you want to adjust, by all means, feel free. Once your quilt is done, no one will see how you pressed anything anyway.

I really love how this block turned out. In fact, a loooong time ago, I even designed a whole quilt using this block as the base for my design.

Okay, now let’s go back to the beginning of the pattern and talk about the not-so-new blocks we’ll be making this month.

Block #2

This block is the same as block 15 from month 3, so you can refer back to that blog post HERE if you’d like a refresher. But it’s always good to see how this block comes together with the new fabrics, so I’m posting a few pics of how this month’s version comes together.

Here are the squares for the center 9-patch, ready for sewing.

After I made the 9-patch unit, I sewed the HSTs for the corners of the block.

Here are all the components of the block, ready to sew into rows.

Block #4

We originally sewed this block way back in month 1, and it was block #16, in case you want to refer back. The only slightly tricky thing about this block is making those quarter square triangle blocks, and making sure you’ve got everything in the right place as you sew and cut.

First, you’ll make your half-square triangles.

After those are done, you’ll pair up one of each kind and place them right sides together. They aren’t lined up in the photo below on purpose so that you can see how the Red Corsage II fabrics on the bottom and top units are to be on opposite sides. While I normally would trim my HSTs before sewing, when making Quarter Square triangle units, I always wait until I’ve finished them before trimming. That’s why you still see the tails in the photo.

If they are placed properly, you should be able to peel back the top unit and it should look like this:

I’ve skipped ahead a bit here, but this is what they should look like after you sew on either side of your marked lines and cut on the line. Now all you have to do is press them open and trim them to size.

Now you just have to lay the block out, sew the units into rows, like I’ve shown below, and then sew those rows together. Easy peasy!

I have always loved Ohio Star blocks. They are quick and easy, and just darling in quilts. The first quilt block I ever made in my whole life was an Ohio Star block, so maybe that’s why I adore them.

Block #11

Our last block for this month is another repeat from month 3 and was known as block #6 back then.

This block has lots of half-square triangles around the perimeter of the block, along with some more flying geese to make the center star points. The day I was working on this block I was listening to podcasts, as I tend to do while sewing, and got so engrossed in what I was listening to that I got a little carried away and kept forgetting to take pictures for all of you. Ack! So what you see below is what I have to show you. I’ll do better next month, I promise!

Here is the center star at about step 3, almost finished.

The top and bottom rows of the block are just about finished as you can see here:

And now the block is almost done!

This one is another personal favorite of mine, even though it’s a lot more work than the Ohio Star block. I really do need to make an entire quilt with this block. I know I would love it!  Perhaps I’ll make an FQ sampler…in my spare time haha! For now, I’d better just focus on getting this quilt finished, along with about 5 others that are partially done in my UFO pile. So many projects, and so little time!

Here’s one last look at all the completed blocks. I love them, and I hope you do too!

I hope you enjoyed putting this month’s blocks together, and I’ll catch you all next time!

Happy Quilting!

 Kristin


How To Make and Send Quilted Valentines
1.26.2022
Quilted Valentines (or postcards) are so easy to make! 

Use your scraps or a block pattern you’ve always wanted to try and let’s send something handmade to our loved ones. 


What you will need: 
~5″x7″ finished pieced block to trim down to 4″x6″
~5″x7″ batting 
~5″x7″ backing fabric to trim down to 4″x6″ 
Quilting thread
Quilting ruler 
Rotary cutter
Cardstock or Bolt Boards 
Sewing machine or hand sewing needles
 

Step one: 
Create your pieced mini quilt. Pick a block you’ve always wanted to try, use scraps and foundation piece to finish around 4×6″.


We made a couple using Cluck Cluck Sew’s heart Pattern, as well as foundation piecing on scrap batting. We used Connecting Threads fabric from, Quartz Metallic TonalsChambray TonalsGeneral Store Volume 2, and our Color Wheel Solids. This is a perfect project to use pre-cuts as well, we used a 10″ Square precut for the ombre stripes. 
 

Step Two: 
Sandwich your batting between the block and backing fabric.  Spray baste to keep everything in place during quilting, or hand baste if you feel it needs it.
 


Step Three: 
Trim the block down to size. 4×6″ Is the standard postcard size but if you plan to hand-deliver it there is no limit! 


 


Step Four:
Time to attach your fabric to the cardstock or Bolt Boards. You want to make sure the card stock is sturdy enough to hold up during shipping, admiring, and reading! We spray-basted the paper to the back of the quilt and made sure all was lined up and fitting properly. Then, all you do is zig-zag stitch around the border. That’s it! It’s amazing how easy it is to attach and MAKE a homemade valentine! 
 
 
Step 5: 
Write your valentine note!
 
 
Step 6: 
Time to mail or hand deliver your postcard!
Postcards can be mailed as long as they are regulation size (4″ x 6″), no more than 1/8″ thick, and have the word ‘NON-MACHINABLE’ on it. Postage is currently $0.88 (as of January 2022). Or, speak with your mail person and make sure your postcard is in regulation. You could also put your card in an envelope and mail that as you normally would to prevent any damage during mailing. 

 
 
Let us know in the comments if you’re making a valentine this year!

Ruby BOM – Month 6
1.6.2022

Hi everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and got some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Christmas time is my absolute favorite!

As for my family, we tried something completely different this year, and spent Christmas with our extended family on a Caribbean cruise, courtesy of my very wonderful and generous father. We had planned it way back in March, thinking we would be post-pandemic by now. We were a bit nervous to still go, but it all worked out well, and we had a blast! It was warm, sunny, and very relaxing. However, I must admit, it didn’t feel very “Christmas-y”. (Is that even a word?) We all agreed that as fun as it was, next year will be back to Christmas at home, complete with chilly evenings, lots of baking, and too many Hallmark movies.

Here’s a little snapshot of me and some of my family taken on Dec. 23rd.  You’d never guess looking at this photo that it was two days before Christmas, haha! Shorts, tank tops, and sunglasses don’t exactly evoke that cozy holiday feeling, do they? In case any of you are wondering, this was taken at the Chacchoben Ruins in Mexico. It was fascinating!

Ok, enough about me. Let’s get on with talking about this Ruby quilt.

This month we will be making ANOTHER five Irish Chain blocks. I know, not very exciting, especially since we’ve done this before. And we will do it again! Since I’ve already written not one, but two blog posts about sewing up this block, I don’t think any of you need me to do it a third time. Feel free to refer back to blogposts for Month 2 and Month 4 if you want a refresher.

After getting these 5 additional blocks made this month, you should have a total of 15 finished. This means, if you’re counting, we have 10 more to go before we’re done with them.

Here are my finished stacks to date: The left stack is just the Irish Chain blocks, and the stack on the right has all the unique blocks we’ve made thus far.

Since my design wall is currently occupied by another project, I decided to lay out everything we’ve done up to this point on my living room floor. As you can see, we still have some holes to fill in, even when I move some blocks around, as you’ll notice I did in the bottom photo. BUT, it is actually starting to look like a real quilt now, which is exciting.

And I must say, that the colors of this quilt do look quite festive, especially next to my Christmas tree. (Yes, I STILL decorated, even though I knew I would be gone. Did I mention I LOVE Christmas?)

So I guess finishing up this quilt over the coming months will help me feel like it’s Christmas all the time!

Until next time…Happy Quilting!

Kristin