Sew Lets QAL: Block 4 Thread Tales

Hi! Welcome to Block 4 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

You’ll find the details of the quilt along on the Sew Lets QAL tab above. Here’s the short version: we’re presenting the blocks for this quilt along in segments. To win a prize, make all the blocks from that segment, then upload a photo of them to our Facebook group, Instagram with the hashtag #sewletsqal, or to a special linky we’ll host at the end of that segment.

This is Block 4 of Segment 1. There will be five blocks in this segment, released every two weeks. The last block in Segment 1 will be released on May 7th; the Segment will end on May 20th, so to enter for the Segment Prize you’ll have to have all five blocks finished by then. The prize winner for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 4: Thread Tales

This week’s block is a set of thread spools. There are actually two blocks to choose from this week: Thread Tales, the block I made and will share tips for here, and Spinning Spools. The designer of both versions of Block 4 is Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting and you can download the pattern there.

Here’s my version of Bobbi’s Thread Tales block.

Thread Tales is the block I made

I had a lot of fun making this block, especially choosing my fabrics. I chose colors that I thought would go with Block 1: Sewing Machine because the project I have in mind will use both blocks.

Not only did I have fun choosing the thread colors, but I also had fun choosing the colors of the spools. For inspiration, I looked at my thread collection. As you can see, spools come in more colors than white and brown!

At Spring Market a few years ago, I picked up some Cotton and Steel threads because they were new and the spools were so cute! There they are, on the left in a pyramid. Look at all those cool thread colors and awesome spool colors! Looking at these, I decided to choose thread and spool colors I thought would go together. No plain white and brown for me!

As an Island Batik Ambassador I have a lot of Aurifil threads because they are one of the sponsors. I’ve been an Aurifil thread user for a long time though, so my collection is vast. Aurifil identifies its thread weights with its spool color (for example, 50 wt thread has an orange spool) so I decided to use orange, green, red and dark grey spools for the Aurifil threads in the block.

Here are my fabrics, arranged in the order I planned to use them in my block.

For the shelf, I chose a fun butterfly print that had all of my favorite colors. The result is a riot of color that makes me smile.

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Thread Tales block. The other block you can make is Spinning Spools and it’s shown below. Visit the other hosts (listed at the end of this post) for tips on making that block.

Spinning Spools is the other block you can make

This block has a lot of pieces, so my first tip is to mark them.

You’ll find a diagram on Page 2 of the pattern. Print it out because the checkboxes really help you organize your fabric cutting. In addition, I recommend labeling your pieces. I cllip my labels to my pieces using my Clover Mini Clips.

When a block has tiny pieces, it’s also a good idea to use a slightly shorter stitch length so your seams won’t pull apart.

Sew the Flip Corners carefully

This block uses a technique called Flip Corners to create the angles on the thread spools With a flip corner, you draw a diagonal line, place the square on the corner of a larger piece RST, sew on the line, then flip the top piece back towards the corner, creating a right angle.

To sew flip corners correctly, take the time to carefully mark the diagonal line on the back of the flip corner squares. I use a regular pencil, a small ruler, and my sandboard to do that. A sandboard really helps to prevent the square from slipping so you can mark the diagonally correctly.

Then, instead of sewing right on the line you've drawn sew just a bit to the right of it (closer to the corner) as you see here. Sewing the seam just a bit short of center makes a bit more room for the fold, so when you press the flip square back towards the corner it will fit perfectly.

Making Block Four 3.jpg

With flip corners, you typically trim the seam allowance after pressing the corner back.There are two schools of thought with this. If you don't trim, then you always have the bottom fabric (which is cut to size) to help you construct the block properly. If you do trim the seam allowance, you will have a lot less bulk in the seams.

I decided to trim my unit to size first, then trim the seam allowances.

Sewing the tall Cone Units

Bobbi has you mark and then cut the J rectangle at an angle to create the tall cones. I got lazy and decided to mark and not cut and it worked just fine. First I marked 1/2” from each edge.

Then I laid the background rectangle RST on the J rectangle, using the mark to angle the rectangle correctly. Then I simply sewed the seam.

After adding both background rectangles, I flipped the unit over and trimmed it to the size of the J rectangle. Then I sewed the rest of the thread spool as directed. You can trim the seam allowance if you want but it was so tiny I didn’t bother.

trim the thread spool units

This block uses a lot of small pieces, but don’t let that worry you. The block will go together easily if you trim each unit (each spool) before sewing them together into a block. Bobbi provides the sizes of each unit in the instructions, so this is easy to do.

Trim each row as well.

Then trim the block when you’ve sewn it all together.

Thanks for the Tips! Where do I get the pattern?

Drop by Bobbi’s blog to download your free spools block patterns. Hurry! The patterns are only available for free until September 21st.

Here are the hosts for Segment 1. Drop by their blogs for tips on making the block.

Abbie @ Sparkle On
April @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Sandy @ SandyStar Designs
Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs
Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter.

Now, unlike previous quilt alongs, this time you simply make the block. Then after the end of Segment 1, you need to post a photo of all blocks in that Segment to enter the giveaway. If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

When it’s time, you’ll post a single photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 to one of the following places to enter the Segment giveaway:

  • On Instagram, with the hashtag #sewletsqal

  • In our private Facebook group

  • To the linky on any of the host’s blogs

Remember, you don’t have to get the blocks done until it’s time to post a photo of all the blocks in Segment 1 and enter our Segment Prize giveaway. Personally though, I’d make the blocks when they come out so you don’t fall behind.

Here’s what you might win for making all the blocks in this Segment:

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released May 7th.

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