Quilt Alongs

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 #fallintoaqal

  • 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.

you might also like

Tell me…Are you planning on making a quilt or a series of projects with your blocks from the quilt along?

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

Sew Lets QAL: Block 3 Ruler

Hi! Welcome to Block 3 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

Details of the quilt along are located on the Sew Lets QAL tab above, but 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 all at the end of the segment.

This is Block 3 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. To enter for the Segment 1 Prize, you’ll have to have all five blocks finished by then. The prize for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 3: Ruler

This week’s block is a quilter’s ruler. The designer of Block 3 is Sherry @ Powered by Quilting and you can download the pattern there.

I’m not making all the blocks, but I am hosting and providing tips. Here’s my version of Sherry’s block from Electric Quilt.

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Ruler block.

Cut and sew carefully

This block has a lot of pieces, so to make it go together easily, I recommend taking care when cutting and sewing.

First, you’ll make strip sets. With strip sets, you sew long strips of fabric together then subcut the strip set into smaller units that you’ll later sew into the block.

To succeed with strip sets, you should starch your fabrics well before cutting them. I like to use Best Press for starch, and my new wool pressing mat for precise pressing. (I spray Best Press on my fabrics off the wool mat in order to keep it clean.)

Best Press Wool Pressing Mat.jpg

Sherry has you make the strip sets wider than you’ll need to sub cut your units so you’ll be able to clean up the edge (just like you do with yardage) and subcut your units precisely.

After starching your fabrics and cutting them using the Cutting Instructions on Page 1, sew them into the strip sets as instructed. For example, sew the 3-1/2” x 2-1/2” Black rectangle to the 3-1/2” x 2” rectangle and then to the 3-1/2” x 9” Black rectangle to create the Main Grid strip set.

Press well, and measure that the strip set is 12-1/2” long. Resew it if needed.

Turn the strip set vertically, and cut your first unit a little over 1” wide. Turn this unit around and cut the other side to make the unit exactly 1” wide. You now have a clean edge on the strip set. Sub cut the other two units at exactly 1”.

Repeat this process to make all the strip sets.

When assembling the block, be sure to pin the intersections when sewing the units together. Press well, then measure and trim your block to 12-1/2” square.

Add the applique

To finish your block you’ll add applique numbers. I have a step by step photo tutorial on how to do raw edge fusible applique.

Here are a few quick tips on raw edge fusible applique:

  • To keep the raw edges from fraying, coat the back of your fabric with Fabric Mod Podge. Fabric Mod Podge makes the back of your fabrics kinda sticky, so you can probably skip the step where you press fusible to the back of your fabrics. You’ll still need to edge-stitch the pieces though to hold them in place.

  • You can go ahead and fuse your fabrics anyway after using Fabric Modge Podge. That may allow you to skip the edge-stitching step, which give the tiny size of the numbers, might be a good thing in this case. Frankly though I always edge stitch because then I can wash my quilts without worrying that something might fall off. (Keep in mind that fugal me is currently using some old fusible that may not be as reliable as newer stuff. <grin>)

  • If you want, you can simply copy the numbers onto the fabric using a fabric pen such as a Pigma pen. Be sure to use a sandboard to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t shift during the copy process.

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

Drop by Sherry’s blog to download your free Mug block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is 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 #fallintoaqal

  • 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 Segment 1:

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released April 23rd.

you might also like

Tell me…how are you planning on adding text to your block?

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

Sew Lets QAL: Block 2 Mug

Hi! Welcome to Block 2 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

Details of the quilt along are located on the Sew Lets QAL tab above, but 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 all at the end of the segment.

This is Block 2 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. To enter for the Segment 1 Prize, you’ll have to have all five blocks finished by then. The prize for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 2: Mug

This week’s block is a Mug. The designer of Block 2 is April @ JANDA Bend Quilts and you can download the pattern there.

I’m not making all the blocks, but I am hosting and providing tips. Here’s my version of April’s block from Electric Quilt.

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Sewing Machine block.

Sew the Flip Corners carefully

This block uses a technique called Flip Corners to create the angles on the mug. 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 10 2.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. And you can always trim the finished unit to size (which I highly recommend if you do trim the seam allowance).

Add the text

This block includes a cute text message. You can add the text to fabric in a couple of ways:

  • You can embroider the text onto fabric, cut the fabric to size, and piece it into the block.

  • You can copy the text onto fabric using fabric pens, cut the fabric to size and piece it into the block.

  • You can print the text onto fabric, cut the fabric to size, and piece it into the block.

Regardless of which method you choose for adding text to your mug, you’ll need to start by printing out Page 6 of the instructions. Make sure you select to print at 100%.

After printing, measure the test block (the 1” square) to make sure you’ve printed the page correctly.

To embroider the text, use an outline or stem stitch. First, lay the printout on your table and place your fabric on top and trace the text with a marking tool. I use my sandboard to keep the fabric in place while I trace the text.

To keep the fabric from puckering too much from your embroidery, fuse a light weight fusible to the back. Then use the outline or stem stitch and three to six strands of floss to embroider the text.

If you want, you can simply copy the text onto the fabric using a fabric pen such as a Pigma pen. Again, use a sandboard to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t shift during the copy process.

To print the text onto fabric instead, you’ll need printer-prepared fabric and an ink jet printer. For step by step instructions on how to print on fabric, click here.

After printing, be sure to trim your fabric to 5-1/2” x 6-1/2” and piece it into the block.

After you’ve sewn your block together, trim it to 12-1/2”.

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

Drop by April’s blog to download your free Mug block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is 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 #fallintoaqal

  • 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 Segment 1:

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released April 9th.

you might also like

Tell me…how are you planning on adding text to your block?

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

Sew Lets QAL: Block 1 Sewing Machine

Hi! Welcome to Opening Day 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 1 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 for Segment 1 will be announced on May 21st.

Block 1: Sewing Machine

This week’s block is a Sewing Machine. The designer of Block 1 is Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs and you can download the pattern there.

Here’s my version of Sandra’s block.

I picked my fabric choices for this block from my quilt along fabric pull. My thought was that I wanted something pretty for the sewing machine, but not so busy that you couldn’t tell what it was. So I choose a pretty tone on tone print. Next, I chose a coordinating “bee fabric” to act as the table. I chose a light grey for the panel and two coordinating solids for the large knob in the front.

I spent a lot of time choosing the spool fabrics. In the end I picked three fabrics whose colors are my favorites—teal, purple, and fuchsia. I didn’t want solid fabrics, but something that kind of looked “thready.”

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Sewing Machine block.

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

You’ll find a diagram on Page 5 of the pattern. Print it out because it’ll help you organize. Me, I like to clip my labels to my pieces using my Clover Mini Clips.

Sew the Flip Corners carefully

This block uses a technique called Flip Corners to create the angles on the sewing machine. 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 10 2.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. And you can always trim the finished unit to size (which I highly recommend if you do trim the seam allowance).

For this block, there are lots of tiny (1-1/4” and 1-3/4”) flip corners. With flip corners that tiny, I don’t bother trimming because I’d rather keep that under fabric that’s already cut to the right size so my units are correctly sized. So my tip is: don’t trim!

Don’t forget to add the embroidery!

This block includes a lot of cute embroidered details. Without them, your sewing machine block just won’t be as cute. Don’t let the fact that you don’t normally embroider stop you from adding these personal touches!

First things first. Before adding the embroidery, fuse some light-weight interfacing on the back of your block, in the areas where the embroidery is going to be. This will stabilize the block and prevent it from distorting out of shape as you make your stitches.

The first embroidery you need to add is the spool ends for the thread spools. To do that, you simply take one stitch at either end of the thread spool, using 10 strands of brown embroidery floss. To secure the thread, you can make a quilter’s knot. Click here to learn how.

Next, you need to create the thread guide at the top of the sewing machine. To do that, take six single stitches close together in a parallel row.

To create the needle, you use an outline or stem stitch. Click here to learn how.

To create the thread that runs through the thread guides on top of the machine and also through the needle at the bottom of the machine, you can again use an outline or stem stitch, or you can mark the line with a marking tool, and stitching the line using your sewing machine. Me, I stitched it with my machine of course! <grin> My tip here is to use a thicker thread, such as 40 wt or 20 wt if you can. I ended up using Aurifil 50 wt. #2530 Blossom Pink because it matched my spool fabric perfectly! I think it turned out pretty good.

Adding the applique

To add the applique, start by printing out the templates on page 4. Use the 1” square to ensure they are the correct size. Print at 100% and DO NOT scale the pattern to fit.

Next, trace the shapes on the back of your fusible web, fuse the web onto the back of your fabrics, cut them out, then fuse them in place. Edge stitch around the shapes to hold them in place and to finish the edge.

If you’ve never machine appliqued before, click here for a step by step photo tutorial.

I edge-stitched my block with Mettler Metrosene 100 wt. #0554 Jade and Sulky 40 wt #1033 Dark Orchid

Add the buttons after quilting

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to add the buttons for the sewing machine until after the block is sewn into a project or quilt and you’ve finished it.

I’m not yet sure which buttons I’m going to use or how many. I do know however that I love to play with buttons and I have a big collection of them. <grin>

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

Drop by Sandra’s blog to download your free Sewing Machine block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is 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 #fallintoaqal

  • 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 March 26th.

you might also like

Tell me…Are you planning on making a quilt or a series of projects with your blocks from the quilt along?

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