Tag Archives: sewing

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…


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

Carrot Treat Bag

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


Paper and fabric scissors

Sewing machine


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

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!


How To Make and Send Quilted Valentines
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

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!


Ruby BOM Month 4
Five red and white quilt blocks hang from twine, they feature a red pinwheel design at center and small red squares at the corners.

Can you guys believe it is already November?! I don’t know about you all but this year has flown by for me. And here we are, already working on month 4 for the Ruby BOM. Just think, after sewing these blocks, we will be 1/3 of the way done with this quilt!

This month may look a bit familiar to all of you, since it’s exactly the same as month 2. Surprise! For those with sharp memories, you may recall that we are making our 25 Irish Chain blocks in this quilt over the course of many months. This month we will be making another 5.

Since I previously did a blogpost with a tutorial for making the block, I won’t bore you again with the details. Please feel free to refer back to Ruby BOM month 2’s blogpost if you want a refresher.

This month I thought I would show you how I sew when I’m making multiples of the same block. Probably many of you already do this as well. It just makes things go so much faster!

Step One

Cutting and pinning.

I begin by cutting out everything for all 5 blocks and then get to work.

Whenever I’m piecing a quilt, I look at the entire pattern first. I try to see how much sewing I can do at the same time, even if that means skipping around a bit.

For these blocks, I know that I need to make the half-square triangles right off the bat, so I get those ready.

Squares of fabric are pinned in pairs, right sides facing, with a marked line corner to corner and pins on either side of the line.

But I also know by looking ahead in step 3 where it says “Take the two remaining D strips and sew a C square to each end”, that I’ll need two of those C/D/C units for each of the 5 blocks. So I get all ten of those prepped and pinned for sewing too.

And then looking even FURTHER ahead in step 4, I see that each block also has two units with a C square being sewn to each end of an E strip, so I get all ten of those pinned as well.

Step Two

Piecing Squares, Strips, and HSTs

Then I sit down at my sewing machine and get to work.

I always do chain piecing whenever possible. Below is a photo of my chain of half-square triangles after my first pass along one side. I don’t clip the strings, but just run the chain back through on the other side. I then clip everything when I’m done.

Squares of fabric with right sides facing have been sewn next to the marked lines into a strand and are resting on a cutting mat.

Once I have all that prep sewing done, I finish up my half-square triangles, square them up, and start making my pinwheel blocks.

Step Three

Piecing Pinwheels

This time I paid attention to the orientation of the pinwheels, and laid everything out from the start (to make sure I didn’t mess those up like last time)! If you want the nitty-gritty of putting these together, you can refer back to Ruby BOM Month 2.

I’ve included a photo of the pinwheels with one showing the back side so you can see how I pressed the center open. This allows the block to lay flat. If you carefully press the center open, it should naturally push one seam up and the other seam down. You should also end up with a tiny pinwheel in the center where you’ve pressed open!

Red fabrics are sewn into 5 squares with a pinwheel design and are resting on a cutting mat.

Step Four

Assemble Blocks

After the pinwheels are finished, there is more assembly line pinning and sewing to get all the D strips to the sides of the pinwheel.

Sew strips to pinwheels

Now that the sides are pressed open, I can put those C/D/C strips I previously made on the top and bottom. I like to pin at each seam, especially when there is a seam I can’t see on the back side. The pins serve as a reminder, so that I can make sure my seams aren’t flipping up as I sew.

I usually don’t press things until I have both sides sewn on, as you see below.

Press and trim

After pressing everything, I like to go ahead and square up the units. Make sure they are all 8-1/2” square. As you can see from the photo, there isn’t much to trim off. I like having the edges all cleaned up for the next step.

Attach final strips

All that is left is to sew on the final E strips, along with the C/E unit’s I’d previously made. Sometimes I like to pin both sides at once, so I can stay at my machine and sew like crazy!

By sewing the blocks this way, I was able to get all 5 done in a matter of hours. I love it when things come together quickly! By the time we are done with this quilt, we will be able to make these blocks in a flash, right?!

I hope you all have a wonderful November, and I’ll catch you all next month for Ruby BOM Month 5! – Kristin

Ruby BOM Month 3

Happy Fall everyone! I’m so happy to join you all again, and provide a little tutorial for this month’s blocks (#6, #7, #15, and #17). Let’s dive right in!

Block #6

This block may look fancy, but it is really just a Sawtooth Star with some extra half square triangles around the border.

To make the Sawtooth Star center, we’ll begin in steps 1 and 2 by making some no-waste flying geese.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Place two B squares on the C square, with the marked lines matching up like you see above. After stitching a ¼” away from each side of the marked line, cut on the marked line and press the B – now triangles- downward.

Place an additional B square on each unit as you see here (down the center of C) and repeat the same process of stitching a ¼” away from each side of the marked line, then cutting on the line afterward. Press, trim, and you end up with 4 flying geese.

Step 3:

Now all you have to do is sew two of these to the center block, add the D squares to two more flying geese, then sew everything together. Check to make sure this measures 8-1/2” square, and trim if necessary.

Step 4:

Next we’ll make 12 half square triangles by pairing up those E and F squares, and again stitching ¼” away from each side of the marked lines, then cutting on the line for each unit. Press toward the Solid Ivory (F). I know it’s customary to press toward the dark side, but trust me, doing the opposite this time will enable you to nest your seams together later.

A note about no-waste half square triangles: I give my half-square triangle cutting measurements to be mathematically correct, but please feel free to cut the squares slightly bigger if you want so you can trim them as needed. There’s nothing wrong with cutting your E and F squares at 3” square, and then after you are finished and they are pressed, you can trim them to be 2-1/2” square. My point is, you do what works for you. You won’t run out of fabric. Based on feedback from previous BOMs I’ve done, I was quite generous with the yardage you’ll be getting for this quilt.

Step 5:

In step 5 you’ll sew an E/F square to each side of a G strip like so: Make sure the red E triangles are facing inward.

Now it’s time to put all the components together. Before I sew my block together, I like to lay everything out just to make sure I have everything going the right direction. I want to make sure I have all those half square triangles oriented correctly.

Follow the directions in step 6, and pay attention to the pressing arrows so that all your seams will fit together nicely.

Step 6:

Sew the center portion by taking two of those units you just made in step 5 and sewing them to each side of the Sawtooth star block, pressing the seams away from the center block.

Take the remaining units from step 5 and sew another E/F half-square triangle to each end, then sew those to the top and bottom to finish the block.

Now the block is finished!

Block #7

This is another Sawtooth star, but with a twist. I actually love this block, and while making it I kept thinking of all the fabrics in my stash I could use to make a scrappy quilt with just this block. But that will have to wait for another day!

Step 1:

This block starts with a simple 4-patch unit. Please note that the Germanium Red fabric is DIRECTIONAL. While it really doesn’t matter if you have your fabrics oriented the same or not, I chose to have both of my B squares with the pattern in the fabric going up and down.

Step 2:

Next, I sewed on those D squares by placing them in the corners and sewing on the marked lines. Whenever I am doing this technique, I always flip up my squares and check them before trimming off the excess. They should match up with the existing corners of the 4-patch block. If the corners come up short, then I know I need to rip things out and re-stitch. To avoid this, I usually sew just a scooch outside the marked line, next to the side that is closest to the corner. Does that make sense?

It’s hard to tell here, but if you look closely, you can see that I’ve sewn just outside the yellow marked lines.
Before trimming off the excess, I finger press the corners and make sure they line up.
Now this unit trimmed and pressed.

In steps 3 and 4 we’ll make some more of those fabulous no-waste flying geese, only bigger than the ones we made in block 6. I won’t bore you with more detailed instructions.

This block is assembled the same way as the center portion of block 6. The only tricky part is making sure that those 4-patch seams line up with the points on the flying geese units. I usually start pinning from there, and then work my way out. Have I mentioned that I’m a prolific pinner? I admire those that can just sew without pinning. I think I’m just to particular to leave things un-pinned. Or maybe I just don’t sew well enough yet??? Haha! Maybe in another 30 years of sewing I’ll master the no-pinning thing.

Again, I lay everything out first before I begin pinning and sewing, because nothing is worse than thinking you’ve finished a block only to realize that you messed up and have to rip and re-sew.

Next I’ll just sew the block into the three sections, and then sew everything together.

Block #15

This little 9-patch Churn Dash block is a cinch to make, and goes pretty fast. Begin by sewing up a 9-patch unit for the center, and make sure it measures 6-1/2” square when done. Also make sure that you’ve ironed all your seams toward the darker A fabrics while sewing, so that everything nests together.

The rows are sewn together with all the seams pressed toward the Corsage II Red fabric.

Next you’ll make 4 half-square triangles, and trim them to be 3-1/2” square. Again, you can cut these B and F squares a smidge bigger if you like, in order to end up with the proper size when done. Somehow I got busy sewing and forgot to take pictures of the finished half-square triangles, so all I have is what you see below. I have a bad habit of doing that. Sorry!

Now you just need to sew each D strip to an E strip like I’ve shown here. The directions have you pressing your seam towards the E strip, but in this case, it doesn’t matter either way, since there isn’t anything to line it up with.

The block is ready to be sewn together now. Below you can see that I’ve sewn the three rows together and am almost done. I love that this block doesn’t have any tricky piecing or points to match up. So fun and easy!

Block #17

This block is perhaps the most challenging one of the month, not because any of the individual techniques are hard, but because it can be tricky to get everything to match up in the end. But have no fear, you CAN do it, and I will walk you through it!

Before cutting out all my pieces with this block, I used a liberal amount of starch on my fabric. This is especially helpful to use on the D and G pieces BEFORE you cut them diagonally into triangles. It will help them to keep their shape and not get distorted while sewing, which happens easily when sewing on a bias.

Another tip with this block is to REALLY make sure you’re measurements are exact as we go along, and that you’re pressing everything according to the instructions.

Step 1:

We begin with the same old steps of making our no-waste flying geese. Again, I won’t bore you with the details.


After you’re finished with these, sew an F strip to the top of each one. And YES, even though it is counter-intuitive, press DOWN toward the flying geese unit. Trust me, it’s going to work out in the end. Make sure this unit is 4-1/2” square when done.

Here is the back so you can see that the seam is pressed toward the flying geese unit.

In step 3 we’ll make some fancy pieced triangle units. This is where that spray starch comes in handy.

Step 3:

I began by sewing the first D triangle to the right side of the B square. Make sure both units line up at the top, which will leave you a little triangle tail hanging down at the bottom.

This is how you want your pieces to line up before you flip and and pin them.

The picture below shows the first set of triangles pinned and ready for sewing.

After sewing the first set of triangles to the right side, trim those tails off before sewing on the next D square to the bottom. Again, you want to make sure that the B and D pieces line up, this time along the left side, which will leave a triangle tail on the right.

These are pinned and ready to sew along the bottom edge.

Step 4:

Once you’ve pressed these open you will want to trim off the last tail.

If you find that your triangle units aren’t straight along the D triangles, it’s okay to even them up just a tiny, tiny bit. Don’t trim too much though, or you’ll end up with a block that is too small, which will make worse.

Now you will sew these units to the G triangles, and if all has gone well, you should end up with four 4-1/2” squares. I like to starch these again at this point, just to keep them from stretching or warping.

Ready for the sewing machine!
All squared up.

Step 5:

Here comes the fun/tricky part. First, you will take two of the units you made in step 3, and sew them to each side of the center A square, with the Ivory, Solid pieces on the outsides.

Step 6:

Take the blocks you made in step 4 and sew them to each side the remaining two units from step 3. If you’ve followed the pressing directions, the Potpourri Ivory B square and the Germanium Red E triangles should nest together perfectly. Pin that seam intersection first, and then work your way out to the ends of squares, easing things in as needed to make sure the tops and bottoms of the squares also match up.

Once you have the three units of the block sewn, you can pin and sew them together to finish the block.  You want to continue to pin the seams together first, to make sure they will nest together and line up, and then pin the rest before sewing. The key here is to make sure the flying geese units match up where they meet up in the corners around the center square. I usually pin there first and peek to make sure it all lines up.

If you look carefully at the picture below, you’ll notice that my units on the top row don’t line up perfectly on the bottom. The difference is less than 1/8″, but it looks worse in the photo. Since the difference was very minimal (if it wasn’t I WOULD rip out and start again to protect the integrity of the piecing), rather than rip out and start over (ugh!), here’s what I did: When sewing the top row together, I made sure that the seams lined up where they should with the center unit, and that the tops also where aligned. I still wanted make sure I’d have the 1/4″ seam allowance at the triangle point on top. Then I stitched it to the middle unit as usual. When the block is completed, nobody knows but me….and everyone who reads this lol! Since the difference was minimal, it doesn’t affect the integrity of the block. Even “professionals” don’t sew perfectly. And I’m happy to show my mistakes and the tips I use to compensate. Because we ALL make them!

Phew! You did it! I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge and are happy with the results.

Have a Happy October, and I’ll catch you all next month!