Tag Archives: tutorial

Ruby BOM Month 4
11.2.2021
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


YoYo Makers
12.13.2016

Featured Tool: YoYo Makers by Clover, Item # 81857, 81858, 81837, 81838

What is this tool typically used for?

The YoYo Makers are for making cute, sewn (cinched) fabric embellishments.

What was your first impression of Clover’s YoYo Makers?

They look like Mickey-Mouse ears!

How did you use it?

You cut fabric to fit 1/4″ around the plastic yo-yo maker, place the fabric inside, and snap the lid on. Yo-yo makers are a guide for stitching around your fabric so that when you cinch or pull the thread to tighten your yo-yo, the stitches are even. It also provides you something to hold onto. You’ll end up with a very nice yo-yo.

How long did it take you to learn how to use it?

Just a minute or so!

What did you like best?

I love using these yo-yo makers, it’s pretty fast and you can really crank out some yoyos in no time at all. There are four different sizes available: extra small, extra large, small, and large.

What did you like the least?

Nothing negative stood out to me about this tool.

Why do you NEED it?

They are FUN to use and super easy.

Who would appreciate YoYo Makers most?

These are perfect for:

  • Beginner, intermediate, and expert quilters
  • Someone acquiring the basics

Chevron Techniques
9.4.2014

Chevrons seem to be everywhere in quilting, home décor, and clothing. They have a modern, graphic appeal with a sense of movement and vibrancy. Since my work revolves around quilting patterns and designing, I have come across several ways to construct chevrons. While there is often more than one way to do a design or technique in quilting, it is a bit unusual to find so many methods to accomplish the same design element. Please keep in mind, I am making up the names of the methods based on the method or basic unit involved.

So, just for fun, here is a run down of ways to make chevrons. The color and size of the chevrons can easily be changed depending on your project.

Rail Fence
The easiest way may be to strip piece two-rail Rail Fence blocks. For example, sew two 2-1/2″ strips, press to the darker fabric, and sub-cut every 4-1/2″. Placing the units at alternating 90º angles shows you the pattern but the units are pieced in diagonal rows before sewing the rows together. The edges are trimmed, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Ann-NewRailFence1

Ann-RF2

Half-Square Triangles
Half-square triangles (HSTs) are a very common way to make chevrons. If the HSTs have a lighter and darker side, they can be rotated consistently to form the chevron pattern as shown below.

Ann-HSTs

Strip Piecing with Diagonal Cuts
For this strip-piecing method, fabric strips are sewn together and then cut on a 60º angle. The same or different fabrics are joined and cut on a 60º angle going the opposite direction. The diagonal sub-cut sections are sewn together to form chevrons. Using slightly darker fabrics in the second strip set adds to the 3-D effect.

Below are two drawings to demonstrate the assembly method:

Ann-Dwg4

Ann-Dwg5

Stitch and Flip
The units making up the chevrons are made with the stitch and flip method. Squares, marked on the wrong side with one diagonal line, are added to each corner, sewn alongside the diagonal line on the side closer to the corner, trimmed leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance, and pressed. It is important to pay attention to the orientation of the diagonal line and the color placement. Half of the units have the diagonal lines going the opposite direction.

Ann-SnF4

Ann-SnF-1

Ann-SnF-3

Flying Geese
Rows of Flying Geese can create chevrons by alternating the spacing of each row. If the odd-numbered rows start with a Flying Geese unit, the even-numbered rows start and end with a HST as shown.

Ann-FG

Tri-Recs
The Tri-Recs ruler makes square units with a triangle in the center.

Two Tri-Recs units make a particularly deep chevron. Note that you need to reverse the color placement on half of the units.

Ann-Tri-Recs