Random Sampler QAL – Arrow

August 6, 2013 § 5 Comments


This was supposed to be the July block but July slipped by so fast that before I knew what was happening it was already August.  I was inspired by the many arrow quilts that I’ve run across on Pinterest. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a quilt entirely of arrows?  I particularly like this scrappy one, this red one, and this contemporary one.

The size of this block is 6 1/2″ including seam allowances.


1. Choose two fabrics, a light and a dark.


2.  From the light fabric cut:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ rectangles
  • 2 – 3 1/2″ squares

From the dark fabric cut:

  • 1 – 3 1/2″ x 4″ rectangle
  • 1 – 3″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle


3.  Place the 3 1/2″ square light fabric on top of the 3″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle dark fabric with right sides together.  Match up the corners on one side.  Draw a diagonal pencil mark from the corner of the dark rectangle to the opposite corner of the light square.  Stitch along the pencil line.


4.  Trim away the corner leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.


5. Press the seam open and trim off the excess from the 3 /2″ light square making the rectangle unit measure 3″ x 6 1/2″.


6.  Repeat steps 3-5 to the other corner of the 3″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle unit.


7.  Sew a 2″ x 4″ light rectangle fabric to each side of the 3 1/2″ x 4″ dark rectangle fabric, matching the 4″ sides of each rectangle.  Sew this unit to the arrow point unit to complete the block.


Voila!  Have fun and I’ll be back later with the last block of the Random Sampler.  Won’t it be fun to finish this one?  A non-quilting friend of mine came over recently and saw all of my blocks hanging on my design wall and she asked me, “Are all of those blocks supposed to go together?” I had to laugh…   I guess my challenge now is to try and find a way to make them all feel a little more cohesive.

Random Sampler QAL – Update

August 2, 2013 § 3 Comments


First of all, I want to thank everyone that left comments, suggestions, and opinions about my photo that has been hijacked by others.  I truly appreciated ALL of them.  It gave me many things to think about.  One for sure, I need to start watermarking every image that I post anywhere on the Internet no matter how insignificant it may be.  Another thing I need to think about is how & where to store my images.  I see Flickr becoming something different than what it was when I started using it or even what it was 6 months ago. I think it is time to slowly move my images away from there. How to do that and where to move them is an whole other matter.  I’m not sure what the answer is.  And Pinterest is another beast in itself.  Boy, does technology make my life more complicated!

On another note!  I totally missed the July block for the Random Sampler Quilt-Along.  So I’m going to try to wrap everything up this month… if I can!

We have 2 more blocks to finish off the year.  And you can see by the spoiler above, I’ve decided that the last two blocks will be an arrow and the year we will finish this quilt.  So look forward to those two posts this month.

I also want to make a list of other block tutorials around the Internet that you might find helpful to fill in the blank spaces of your quilt.

And finally, I’ll show you how I am going to finish my quilt.  You all are free to finish yours any way you wish.  But for those that want some of the math figured out for you, I will provide the info for my quilt.

Have a great weekend!

Random Sampler QAL – Spools

June 27, 2013 § 7 Comments

I’ve been thinking about spool blocks for awhile.  So when I went to my BlockBase program and searched for spools, I was surprised to see this one by Nancy Cabot from 1936. Actually, it was named Spool & Bobbin.  I’ve also seen it called Flying Shuttles on the Internet.


Nancy Cabot was a quilt designer who published a quilting column in the Chicago Tribune newspaper in the 1930’s. She was quite pivotal in reviving the art of quilt making in the early 20th Century.

And BTW, BlockBase is the computer version of Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  It’s a stand alone product from Electric Quilt. EQ7 is NOT needed to use BlockBase, but it can be linked to EQ7 so that all the blocks can be used in designing quilts. It’s quite a handy little piece of software!


When you hear “spool block” you may think of this one… the traditional 4-patch version.


Or you may think of this one…  a single spool.  Here’s an easy tutorial for a spool block over at Bee In My Bonnet.


But did you know that this one that has been recently called the “x and+” block is also called a spool block from the 1970’s that has been attributed to Nancy Cabot from 1938.  Here’s a tutorial for the “x and +” block over at Badskirt Amy that many people have been using.

So… let’s get started.  The original block measures 12 1/2″ including seam allowances.


1.  Choose 3 fabrics, a light a medium and a dark value.


2. From the light value fabric cut:

  • 4 – 3 7/8″ squares, cut in half diagonally once to yield 8 half-square triangles.

From the medium value fabric cut:

  • 8 – 2 3/8″ squares, cut in half diagonally once to yield 16 half-square triangles.
  • 4 – 3 7/8″ squares, cut in half diagonally once to yield 8 half-square triangles.

From the dark value fabric cut:

  • 8 – 2″ squares.
  • 4 – 3 7/8″ squares, cut in half diagonally once to yield 8 half-square triangles.


3. Sew a 2 3/8″ medium value triangle to one side of a 2″ square.  Press towards the triangle.  Sew a second 2 3/8″ medium value triangle to the adjacent side of a 2″ square and press towards the triangle. Repeat and make 8 for the entire spool block.


4. Sew a 3 7/8″ dark value triangle to the half-square triangle units in Step 3 above. Repeat to make 8 half-square triangles for the entire spool block.


5. Sew a 3 7/8″ light value triangle to a 3 7/8″ medium value triangle and press the seams towards the light fabric. Repeat and make 8 half-square triangles for the entire block.


6.  Lay out 2 light/medium half-square triangles and 2 medium/dark half-square triangles as shown above, alternating their placement in each row.  Sew the 2 half-square triangles together in each row and then sew the rows together to complete 1 section of the entire block.  Repeat to make 4 sections to complete the entire block.


If you are consistently pressing the seams in opposite directions, your seams should be nesting nicely and not be too bulky.


This is the back side of one section.


And… this is the front side of one section.  At this point it should measure 6 1/2″ including seam allowances.

7.  From here you can decide if you want to leave the 4 sections as separate blocks and NOT sew them together.  Or… you can sew all 4 sections together and make a 12 1/2″ block. It’s up to you.  I’m leaning towards leaving them as 4 separate blocks. But then I’m wondering if it really is a spool block or not?  Maybe it is… and it is like that first image of a traditional spools block in that there are 4 of them in 1 block.  Either way…  I hope you enjoy this one.

And…  I’m thinking of making some of those other spool blocks I’ve mentioned above as well.  If you missed my last post… here’s a pic of my blocks so far.

Thoughts on my random blocks

June 26, 2013 § 4 Comments

~ While I was sorting through my scraps I found some leftover flying geese blocks.  I hope to add them to my Random Sampler blocks.

~ I think I might take out the liberated star block and work it into my liberated baskets UFO.

~ My leftover snowflake block might make a good center, no?

~ Which means I guess I’ve decided to arrange my blocks in a medallion sort of layout.

~ I’m sort of behind on this month’s block.

~ Which means I’d better get it made & posted by the end of this week!

~ How are you doing?

Random Sampler QAL – Heart

May 23, 2013 § 7 Comments

We are now on the downward slope of the Random Sampler QAL.  After this month’s block there are only 3 more blocks!  Woohoo!  So, I’ve been thinking about how to wrap this up.  A couple of thoughts have been floating around in the back of my head.


I think it would be great to add some numbers and/or letters to the quilt.  At the very least, the year that it was made.


Twelve blocks certainly aren’t enough blocks for an entire quilt. Even if you’ve made multiple of each block.  Though it certainly could be, depending on what size you are intending to make.  So, I’m thinking of adding a post of tutorials I’ve found around on the internet that would be fun blocks to add to this quilt.

But for now, let’s get May’s block underway.  I saw something similar to this on the Internet and thought it would be a fun block to add to our quilt.

The Basic Block

The finished block size is 6 inches, 6 1/2 inches including seam allowances.


1. Choose two fabrics – a dark for the heart (mine is red) and a light for the background (mine is white). If you are making the easy version, choose a novelty fabric, or a text fabric, or sew a bunch of scraps together for the 3rd fabric (mine is the alphabet fabric).

From the dark (red) fabric cut:

  • 1 – 3 7/8″ square, cut in half diagonally once to yield 2 triangles
  • 2 – 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles

From the light (white) fabric cut:

  • 1 – 3 7/8″ square, cut in half diagonally once to yield 2 triangles
  • 4 – 1 1/2″ squares

From the novelty fabric cut:

  • 1 – 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle


2. With right sides together, sew together a 3 7/8″ light background triangle to a 3 7/8″ dark (red) triangle.  Press the seam open. Make two and sew them together to form the bottom section of the heart. Press the seam open.


3.  With a pencil, mark the diagonal on the wrong side of the four 1 1/2″ light background squares.  Place a 1 1/2″ light background square in each corner of the 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ dark (red) rectangle.  Sew along the marked diagonal and trim away the corner leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press the seams open.  Make two and sew them together to form the top section of the heart. Press the seam open


4. If you are making the simple version, sew the top heart section to the top of the 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ novelty section pressing the seam towards the center.  Then sew the bottom heart section to the novelty fabric pressing the seam towards the center.  Make as many as you wish!

Or… Be Adventurous!

If you want to venture out and play with your block a bit, then continue reading…


The center section is basically 3 – 2-inch finished blocks. (2 1/2″ including seam allowances)  You may insert what ever you would like as long as it adds up to a 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle before sewing it into the block.  You could add stars or baby hearts or even just scraps.  I decided that I wanted to try some mini flying geese.  I arranged them so that they were all pointing in the same direction. But you could even toss them up a bit if you like.


1.  For the flying geese version choose a medium fabric (mine is orange) for the geese and a light fabric (mine is white) for the sky.

From the medium (orange) fabric cut:

  • 6 – 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles

From the light (white) fabric cut:

  • 12 – 1 1/2″ squares


2. With a pencil, mark the diagonal on the wrong side of the 1 1/2″ light sky squares.

With right sides together, place a 1 1/2″ light sky square in the corner of a 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ geese rectangle.  Sew on the diagonal pencil mark.  Trim away the corner leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam open.

Repeat in other corner of the geese rectangle to form a flying geese block. Make six and sew them together to form the center unit of the heart block.  Press all the seams going in one direction.


3. This time, the center seam of the heart top & heart bottom should be pressed in the opposite direction as the flying geese seams.  Sew the heart top & heart bottom units to the flying geese unit. Press the seams away from the flying geese.


And… the back side… so that you can see the pressing direction of the seams.

I can’t wait to see what you all do to personalize this block!

– – – – –

Note:  If you click on the photos above, you will be taken to a larger version.  In tutorial posts, the process photos are hosted here on my blog and only the first one takes you to Flickr.  But, in normal blog posts all photos lead back to my Flickr account and you can see larger photos there.  For those who don’t have a Flickr account, MAJOR changes were made this week to Flickr and it now may be confusing to find the larger photos. If you right click on the photo  (I don’t know the Mac equivalent) you will have options to view the photos larger.  We are all getting used to this new Flickr format. I am just as lost as you are!

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