Archive for the ‘tutorial’ Category

HSTLC tutorial photo

This is a brief tutorial I wrote up for my fellow members of the Love Circle of Do. Good Stitches to use to make this month’s blocks. I was playing around with this idea in a quilt I made recently, but modified it just a bit for a clearer result. These are the colors I used as inspiration for my blocks:

fabric colors for March

These instructions are for making two 12.5-inch blocks.


To make these blocks, you need four 7.5-inch squares, and four 7.5-inch log cabin blocks. To make just one 12.5-inch block, you would only need two each of the 7.5-inch squares and 7.5-inch log cabin blocks– but making 2 at once allows for mixing up the prints a bit.

I used 2 inch wide strips to make the log cabin blocks, which worked well for the size block I was going for. However, you can also vary the width of the “logs” in your log cabin for a more varied look! To start, I cut a number of 2 inch wide strips for making the log cabin blocks.


To make the log cabin blocks, start with a 2.5 inch square for the center (I just quartered a charm square for this step, but you can also use different fabrics for the centers). Then I added a 2.5 inch by 2 inch strip to both sides of the center square and pressed the seams. Next, I added the other 2 sides, and so on.



I added 2 rounds to each log cabin block, and ended up with blocks that look like this:


Once these were done, I trimmed them to 7.5 inch squares.

Next, I took my 7.5 inch blocks (the non-log cabin blocks) and drew a diagonal line down the BACK of the fabric from one point to the opposite. This is the first step in a commonly used technique for making 2 half-square triangles at once.


Place your log cabin block together with one of the non-log cabin blocks (right sides together). Your drawn line should be facing up.


Pin these together so they don’t shift while sewing.

Next, sew a quarter-inch seam on EACH side of the line. That means you’ll sew 2 lines down the diagonal of the squares, each a quarter-inch from the center line.

Once you’ve sewn those two lines, return to your cutting mat and cut along the original line you drew.



This leaves you with two half-square triangle/log cabin blocks! Press the seams open to reduce bulk, and repeat for the remaining blocks. Using a clear ruler and rotary cutter, trim each block to be 6.5 inches square.


Once you have all your HST/LC blocks made, arrange them in a pattern that is pleasing to your eye. I have been loving all of the crazy HST quilts out there, so I arranged mine somewhat randomly, and that’s what I’ll ask the members of my bee to do, too.


Sew the 2 pairs of blocks together using a SCANT quarter-inch seam. I find this matters quite a bit when trying to keep the blocks at 12.5 inches when you are done making them– a generous quarter-inch seam will make your blocks end up being a little short of the 12.5 inch mark. Press the seams open, then pin the sets and sew again to make a block that encompasses all of your HST/LC blocks.

There are so many possibilities for this block– you could match up 2 log cabins to make half-square triangles for a scrappier look. You also could use fewer log cabins interspersed in your blocks for a calmer look that still delivers some visual interest. If you look closely, in one of my blocks I used 3 half log cabins, and used a “regular” half square triangle to break things up. There are also a number of other ways that these blocks could be constructed, I simply found this to be the easiest way for me.


I can’t wait to see what my friends in my sewing circle make, and if you make anything using this tutorial I’d love to see it!

Read Full Post »

Wonky Pinwheel Tutorial

This month it’s my turn to design the quilt for the Love circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee. Each month, one of our members designs a quilt and all members make blocks from their own stash and send them to the quilter who puts the blocks together and finishes the quilt. Our finished quilts get sent to Wrap them in Love. I always look forward to designing the quilt, because there are so many quilts I’d like to make, and it’s awesome to have blocks made by so many friends roll in to see my design come to light!

Do Good Stitches September Colors

This month, I am asking my bee-mates to make scrappy, wonky pinwheel blocks using a range of fall colors. Did you catch all of that? They’re scrappy because I’m asking that the pinwheels are all made of different fabrics, instead of matching the 4 “pinwheel” sections. The pinwheels are a bit wonky, as the pinwheel sections are all pieced a bit free-form, and don’t all need to be a precise size. Finally, I thought that using a variety of neutral fabrics for the background (instead of just one color) would add to the warmth and patchwork-y feel of the quilt. So, how do I make this block? Glad you asked! Here’s what you do:


1. Cut 16 squares, each 3.5 inches, from neutral fabrics. (I raided my scrap bin for neutrals here, and came up with a few kona solids in different shades and a few essex linen/cotton blend fabrics, though any neutrals will work).


2. On the BACK of each neutral square, draw 2 lines emanating from one corner, and ending about halfway between the opposite sides of the square. We’ll be sewing along these lines to create our pinwheel sections, so be sure to vary how wide these sections are.


3. Next, grab a scrap of fabric and lay it down right side up. Lay down your neutral square right side DOWN (remember, we drew the line on the back of this fabric) and line it up such that you leave approximately a quarter inch of your scrap fabric above the line for your seam allowance. ** It’s important to note that you want to be sure your scrap is large enough to fully cover the corner of your neutral square once it’s sewn. You can test this by holding it in place and flipping it up over the corner, though I found that after a few squares of trial and error it’s easy to eyeball this. And if in doubt, grab a slightly larger scrap to start! **


4. Sew directly over the line you marked on the neutral square, taking care to make sure you keep your scrap lined up so you have a quarter inch seam allowance.


5. Flip your square over and press your scrap fabric up over the square. This is where you want to be sure the corner of your neutral square is covered!


6. Repeat steps 3-5 and add a second scrap to the square using your other line as a guide.


7. Press the second scrap, and lay your square face down on your cutting mat to trim. Using the neutral square as a guide, trim off the excess scrap fabric.


8. Using scissors, trim the extra scrap fabric off the back of the square, creating the usual quarter inch seam on the back of the blocks (this reduces bulk overall).


9. Flip your block over, and you have one small piece of your wonky pinwheel complete!

DGS 10

As I completed blocks, I laid them out following this grid to be sure I placed the blocks correctly. It’s pretty easy to see the pattern emerge once you have a few blocks done, but with the first few I was a little disoriented, so having this visual helped!

DGS 13

Once all blocks are complete, lay them out in the pinwheel pattern. You should have 4 pinwheels in the middle of the block, and a number of half pinwheels around the edges. When I join up all the blocks, these pinwheels will be complete! This was another reason that this block is a good scrappy choice, as this will help the pattern look continuous when the blocks are joined.

I sewed my blocks into 4 rows, and then joined the rows together. Be careful to use a *scant* quarter inch seam so that your block comes out to be 12.5 inches unfinished.

One small issue to address: On one block I veered off from my line slightly.

DGS 11

When I flipped the block, I could see the line through the neutral fabric. Yikes!

DGS 12

In this case, I simply went back to the sewing machine and re-sewed this line and it was fine. It would also be a good idea to mark your lines with a water-soluble or heat sensitive pen, as these lines will disappear completely when using steam to press your seams.

Wonky Pinwheels

And there you have it! A scrappy, wonky pinwheel block!

Wonky Pinwheel Block for September

Read Full Post »

Blogger bundle

A few weeks back I mentioned that I was working on a project with my blogger bundle from Pink Castle Fabric. Sadly it looks like Brenda has sold out of this particular bundle, but she’s got plenty others in her shop!

framed patchwork quilt top

I was drawn to the fabrics for my bundle because of the color. I find color drives a lot of the fabric choices I make! I also like to pay attention to value, and I like when there’s a good blend or light and dark fabrics. With that in mind, I wanted a project that would make these fabrics shine together, so I came up with the framed patchwork quilt.

In order to make this easy, I thought I’d provide instruction on how to quickly cut up 12 fat quarters for this project. The piecing is pretty straightforward, so I won’t go over that here– but if you have any questions just leave a comment and I can help.

cutting instructions

I would stack up 4 fat quarters at a time and would cut them as follows:
1. Trim off selvedge edge
2. Trim along 22 inch edge (for a straight cut)
3. Cut 3 strips that are 22″ by 4.5″, and one strip that is 22″ by 3.5″ (the 3.5″ strips are for the outer border)
4. Cut the 4.5 inch strips into 4.5″ squares (make 4 cuts so that you end up with 12 squares)

In addition, you’ll need 3.5 inch wide strips of a solid for your inner border. For this quilt I used an essex linen/cotton blend. Sew together your squares to make a 12 x 12 patchwork block. Next, add the 3.5 inch wide border strips. Finally, piece together the longer border strips, and add those to the outside of the quilt. You’ll end up with a lovely throw sized quilt top– roughly 60 inches square. And very little left over scraps from your fat quarters– I used mine in the back of the quilt, which I’ll share as soon as I have time to take a good picture!

patchwork detail

Read Full Post »