Welcome to Block 1 of the I Wish You a Merry QAL

I can’t believe it’s finally here! Welcome to week one of our mystery Christmas quilt along!

For my quilt, I’m going to be using the Shiny Objects in Holiday Twinkle collection by flaurie & finch for RJR Fabrics.

The first block in our quilt along was designed by Vanda @ Quilt in Piece and it’s a snowflake! Here’s my version. From the Holiday Twinkle collection, I chose #3022-05 (Red Violet) for the background of my block and #2792-12 (Snow) for the snowflake.

This block utilizes fusible applique, although you can use hand applique if you want (just add seam allowances to the template when you cut your pieces out.) If you’ve never attempted applique before, don’t worry. As a quilt along host, I’m here to help! Here are my tips for making the block:

  • If you're a person who likes to measure your templates after printing to make sure they are the right size, I thought I'd share that for me, Template E measured 4” from tip to tail.
  • Cut your background square 13” as instructed. I’ve found that applique often distorts your block just a bit, so working with a background that's large enough so you can square it up after you get the block appliqued is a good idea.
  • I cut a 6-1/2" x 13-1/2" rectangle for my white snowflake points. I was cutting a 13-1/2" square to put aside as a background for a future block so it was easy to cut that size rectangle. No need to cram everything together--they will all fit nicely on this size rectangle.
  • Don't forget to cut the C template from the red and not the white. I almost cut everything from white until I looked at the picture again! Use a 2-1/4" square for the red circle.
  • Iron your fusible to the back of your white and red scraps following manufacturer's directions. I use Heat n Bond Lite, so I press with a Medium dry iron (no steam). While you're waiting for everything to cool, trace your shapes in pencil onto the release paper.
  • Cut out your shapes right on the line. With fusible applique, you don't leave a seam allowance. Position your shapes and fuse them in place following the manufacturer's directions. I use a Teflon pressing sheet to protect my ironing board from stray fusibles, and a pressing cloth (between the shapes and my iron) to protect my iron.

 

  • If you get fusible on your iron, just rub it off while the iron is still a bit hot, using an old dryer sheet.

 

  • I folded my background square into quarters, then folded it again like this—I found that the creases really helped me position the snowflake center and the points.
  • I use a Teflon pressing sheet whenever I do fusible applique, Here I used it to fuse together the two circles that make up the center first, before fusing the center unit to the background. Don't have a pressing sheet? Try using the release paper on the back of your fusible web. The idea is that you're fusing the pieces together, without fusing them to your ironing board.
  • Don’t fuse the center down until you’ve placed the smaller snowflake points because you need to slip the ends of the smaller points just under the center circle. I measured the smaller points so I could control exactly how much of those small tips I tucked under the center circle. For me, the small tips measured 2-1/4" when tucked under. You could probably just eyeball everything--I'm just a measurer so this was my approach.
  • I measured the larger tips as well when placing them, putting the tip about 1/2" from the white ring.
  • I need to mention that the pattern gives you two options--you can place the small points on the compass points (N, S, E, W) or place the larger points there. I found that since you need to place the smaller point first, it was easier to place them on the compass points (where I'd pressed in the folds -- at North, South, East, West, NE, NW, SE, and SW). There's no right or wrong here and you could go your own way and place your points a bit more willy nilly if want. After all, it's a snowflake and no two are alike! So relax and have fun.
  • I use the Crafted Applique method for fusible applique, which involves using Fabric Modge Podge to prevent the cut edges of your applique pieces from fraying. In theory you shouldn't need to stitch your applique pieces down if you use this method, but I always do because I like the look of stitching and I also want to make sure everything will stay in place through many washings if needed.

If you don’t use the Crafted Applique method, then you’ll need to stitch around the edges of the applique pieces after you fuse them in place to keep the edges from fraying. Here are my tips that doing that:

  • First, I would stitch around the edges of your applique pieces now, rather than waiting until the quilt is assembled because it is so much easier to guide a single block under the needle than an entire quilt.
  • I typically use a straight stitch, although you could use a small zig-zag, blanket stitch, or satin stitch. Use a thread that matches the snowflake points and the red center.
  • When I use a satin stitch, I fuse a wash-away stabilizer to the back of the block before stitching in order to prevent puckering.
  • I used Sulky 40 wt #1169 Bayberry Red on the red center, and Sulky Metallic #7001Silver on the snowflake points to add just a touch of glimmer.
  • After appliqueing the snowflake in place, I lightly pressed my block and then trimmed it to 12 1/2” square.

If you have any questions while making this block, feel free to post them here in the comments. Just be sure to enter an email address when prompted so I can get back to you quickly.

Well, that’s about it! Drop by Vanda’s blog to get your free snowflake block pattern. Don’t forget to visit the other hosts if you want to see other versions of this block. Here are the hosts:

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece

To enter the Snowflake block giveaway, you must make the Snowflake block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

You have until Monday, August 14th AT 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—one Sugar Plum Christmas Aurifil thread box by Anne Sutton and one PDF pattern of your choice from Vanda @ Quilt in Piece.

On Tuesday, August 15th, be sure to come back here for the next block in our quilt along! You can follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter if you’d like a reminder when the next block is posted. You’ll find all the ways to follow me at the top of my sidebar. If you have any general questions about the quilt along or would like to see the complete schedule, click the I Wish You a Merry QAL tab above.

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I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!