Thursday Tutorial–basic and almost traditional!

I’d almost bet one of the first blocks you made when you were learning about quilting was a four patch. Easy to learn and easy to do in an improv way. And since I’m also about quick, I love to work in a stack and slash manner.

I like to make these blocks with each part being a different color so I usually start with four square-ish fabrics, stacked right sides up. As with other improv blocks, these can be any size.

With your rotary cutter and a ruler, make a cut across the stack, somewhere near the center, but off center. Make a second cut across the first cut, so that you have four stacks of pieces. Now you need to re-arrange the stacks by moving one piece from the first stack to the bottom of that stack, two pieces from the next stack to the bottom of that stack, 3 pieces from the top of the next stack to the bottom of that stack and you can leave stack number 4 as is.

Cat throw1

Cat throw2

Sew the layers together, not trying to match edges! My system for keeping things straight as I chain piece these is simple. I lay half of each block on each side of the needle.

Cat throw4

Then I sew the top pieces (top half of the block) followed immediately by the bottom pieces from the same block. As they come off the machine each block is kept together and ready to sew the next seam, with no confusion as to which half goes with which block. You only cut the chain piecing threads between blocks and the pieces of each block stay together.

Cat throw5

When you are trying for wonky, you are happy when your seams don’t match. But sewing them together can be a problem if you are used to precision piecing. Place them so that they overlap enough to make a seam and sew along the straight edge. You may certainly trim to make an even edge but I don’t usually bother.

Cat throw6 Cat throw7

When you are trying for wonky, you really don’t want to match those seams. But sometimes, just by accident, you match more perfectly than when you are trying to!

Cat throw8

Cat throw9

So, that’s how you do it. Trim up your blocks to size, lay them out and bam! you have a quick quilt! I have often used them as a border, too. It adds another level of interest that you don’t get with a single fabric border.



Finishing up

I debated for quite a while about what to use to finish up my seascape. The center, which I wanted to be the focus, was quite bare. I added some lines of stitching with regular thread, yarn and metallic thread.

Nothing else seemed to fit so I listened to the piece and called it done. I even came up with a title, finally! Since it’s all from my imagination, it seemed to be Near the Coral Sea…………and it’s faced and finished!

Near the Coral Sea 34 x 38

The string flower definitely called for a funky edge finish! I love working with this organdy because it’s kinda stiff and doesn’t fray easily. I cut 2″ strips and sewed them evenly along the edge on the back and pressed it towards the front.

I treated it mostly like regular binding in the corners but I did try to get a little extra fullness.

I pressed it once again over to the top and stitched it down. I went over it one more time with couched yarn. That 2″ width ended up being a bit too wide, but I planned for possibly trimming it down, rather than crying about something that was too small!!!

I actually got the sleeve sewn on this one, but no label yet. Close enough to call it finished now, too, though.

Funky Flower

Happy, happy day……….both of these pieces finished way quicker than I thought possible. Of course, that means it’s time to think up something new, but that’s always fun and exciting. I am ready for the challenge!!!



Thursday Tutorial-wonky nine-patch

Wonky nine-patches are definitely my favorite scrappy block to make. I’ll show you a finished quilt first and then tell you how to get there.

Build a Scrappy City

These are potato-chip blocks—you can’t eat….make just one! I like to use just two square-ish pieces at a time. Any size you wish, remembering that the finished block will most likely be an inch smaller than your starting size.

Stack right sides up.

Make two cuts from top to bottom, at a bit of an angle.

Switch the center strips and sew each layer together.

Re-stack the blocks and make two cuts again, across the length.

Switch the center strips again and sew each layer together. BOOM! You’re done!

I’ve shown this several times over the years……………….

And I add variation by inserting pieces into some of the larger blocks, too.

And if you go back to the very first picture, you can see that you can make these ANY size and even incorporate different sizes into the same piece. Mainly, remember to have fun!!!

Almost there

I couldn’t sleep the other night so I got up and did some quilting! I finished my black and white flower and promptly went right back to bed and back to sleep. Niiiiiiice!

Better than sitting around playing games on the computer, for sure. And when I did face the day, the lawn mowing was done and I decided not to weed or plant anything. The weather was delightful and I spent most of it sitting on the deck and stitching.

I’ve trimmed up that black and white flower now and need to decide what kind of finish it needs.

My first thought was facing. Then I had the crazy idea that a funky edge of organdy might be fun.

So now I’ll sit around for a day or so having a mental debate with myself over that!

Must mean another day for sitting on the deck, stitching away. Hooray!

Thursday Tutorial-triangles

Grab a stack of fabrics from the scrap pile. Cut a square-ish chunk from the stack, any size with which you wish to play!


Stack and cut triangles–right up my alley. Make a cut right through at an angle on one side. Your second cut should start down a little from the top on the other side. That gives you room to trim without cutting off your point after the block is sewn together.


Switch the center triangle by moving the top one to the bottom of the stack and sew each side…and I hit a “Duh!” moment. I sewed the full cut side (right side in the picture) first and then sewed the shorter cut side.


It will work, but take a closer look at the top.


It’s supposed to have the full cut side covering that shorter cut side! I did sew the rest of  them the correct way.


Make quite a few and get a feel for the best size in which to  trim them. You can always add a strip to a small one, if you need it.

Don’t forget that these can be more like rectangles than squares when you make them this way. And they don’t even all have to be the same size. I only made the height on each of mine the same for ease of assembly.

You can certainly make these with only a couple of fabrics at a time. There will be a bit more variation of the angles that way. I had such a huge stack of fabric that I kept cutting and sewing until I had enough for an entire quilt!

I also thought about mixing these with solid color blocks or with other pieced blocks, but those are variations for another quilt, another time!

Next time we’ll look at my favorite quick block…wonky nine-patch.

Un-sewing it, too!

Just a quick note to continue a bit of my process explanation. When I have my design line machine stitched into a piece, I don’t always follow it exactly. Mostly that machine line does get covered up, but when it doesn’t….

that’s when I have to go back in and pick out that stitching. It’s really not something that can be overlooked!

And now I’m going back to the first section and filling in the big, blank areas. I originally thought I would be doing that with the machine, but it simply wouldn’t look right to me.

This a big project and it will take biiiiig time. I’ll not show this much more until there is significant progress…could be a while!

Instant gratification

I was craving some sewing machine action today and I wasn’t at all picky about what I was going to do. However, I have such a huge stash, I can always find something pretty with which to play.

This panel was in a freebie pile at an art group meeting several years ago and I really love it. I snatched it up but then left it sit on the shelf…sigh.

It was a no brainer to get a section ready for quilting and get to stitching.

It may be nice at some point to make a tote out of the other sections, but quilting is what I was after today. And I got it done!

A happy little wall hanging, about 28 x 31, and a day of relaxation for me. Win-win!

I was reprimanded by my black and white strings that I got out a couple of weeks ago. They had some teal yarns sitting by them and were getting impatient to be used.

In an attempt to create a flower in a bit of a different manner, I spread out the strings onto fusible and made this…

which is really not at all what I had in my imagination! But it’s what I have on my table and I’ll work with it. I put it onto a piece of turquoise organdy, of which I have tons.

I’m not sure of my next step, other than a bit of thread sketching to start. I want to have layers so the organdy may get cut up a bit, too. Now that those fabrics are being used and not sitting there giving me dirty looks, I’m ready to plunge into a little thoughtful creativity.

And for my sitting in front of the TV hand work, I’m still playing with making coral.

Between the stitching and the lawn mowing and flower planting, I don’t know how I had time to be UN-quarantined! It’s good to be home and to have time to play.