Are you enjoying Sew Let’s Quilt Along? I sure am! It’s so much fun to see what everyone is making. If you’ve missed any of the blocks, you can find all of the links on my quilt along page.
It’s time for block 4, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share my designs! The theme for this block is thread. Where would we be without thread? I love the amazing variety that is available now, and I wanted to showcase that in my design. Rather than just using a traditional spool, I looked at four types of thread I use regularly - Aurifil, Masterpiece, King Tut, and OMNI.
I started by designing Thread Tales, which has everything lined up neatly on shelves. Then my friend wondered what would happen if I did something more scattered, and Spinning Spools was born. In the end, I couldn’t choose just one, so I’m sharing both patterns this week! Even though there are two patterns, you only need to make one of them to be eligible for prizes. Just choose the version that suits your taste.
A Word of Encouragement
It was amazing to see everyone’s tenacity in tackling the ruler block last week! The perseverance and encouragement of our group made me so happy to be hosting this quilt along. And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed after that block, I want you to know that this one will be easier. While this block has a lot of pieces, and some of them are very small, it doesn’t require the same level of precision as the ruler. And I have a slew of tips in this post to help you succeed.
Download Your Pattern
All block patterns for Sew Let’s Quilt Along are guaranteed to be free until the quilt along ends on September 24, 2019. Click the button below the block you would like to make in order to download the pattern.
Tips for This Block
It’s a huge help to label your pieces as you cut. I like to use these stickers. I also keep my pieces organized on a baking sheet. It makes it easy to move around my sewing room without losing anything. Here you can see that I grouped the pieces by which type of spool or cone they were part of.
As I got closer to the end, my design boards really came in handy. They’re foam core covered with batting so that fabric sticks to them. I used them to lay out my pieces so I could be sure I kept them in order. If you would like to make some design boards of your own, check out my tips here.
Any time a block has different sized pieces coming together, it’s essential to test your seam allowance. It’s the only way you can be sure everything will fit together nicely and your block will come out at just the right size.
To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press as desired, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.
Chain piecing really speeds things up. If you’re not feeling confident, try making one of each item, then chain piece the rest.
Stitch and Flip Corners
My favorite tool for drawing the diagonal lines is a Sewline ceramic pencil. They come in several colors, but I just bought one pencil and change out the lead as needed.
The secret to making a successful stitch and flip corner is to stitch just outside of the drawn line. The line you drew isn't the stitching line - it's actually where the fabric needs to fold! By stitching just outside of the line, you give yourself the extra fabric you need to reach all the way to the corner when you flip it over. Just to be safe, I always test to make sure my corner is covered before I cut away the excess fabric from the back.
A lot of the seams in these blocks are pretty short, so I skipped the pins. But it’s a really good idea to use them when you get to the long seams. It’s so easy for the fabric to shift on those longer seams, so the pins make a big difference in the final block.
Working with Small Pieces
It’s easy things to get wonky, especially when you’re working with small pieces. To help prevent that, I starched my fabrics with Best Press before cutting. It adds a little bit of stiffness to the fabric to help keep it from stretching. You still need to be gentle, but the Best Press makes a big difference.
Accurate piecing is about so much more than the seam allowance - the way you cut really matters! Take the time to line up your ruler the same way on every piece of fabric. I prefer to have the line of the ruler completely on my fabric. It’s a lot easier than trying the eyeball the middle of the line, and it often provides the few extra threads that are needed for our pieces to come out right when using a 1/4” foot.
What really matters is that you’re consistent. Line up the ruler the same way every time, and only use one brand of ruler. The lines are a little different on every ruler, and that makes a bit of difference in the size you’re cutting.
Some of the pieces in this block are only 3/4" square. To keep those short seams from pulling apart, I recommend using a pretty short stitch length. I set the stitch length on my Viking to 2.0, which is about 16 stitches per inch.
Tall Cone Tutorial
I thought it would be helpful to include a photo tutorial for making the tall cones (the ones with the angled sides). You’ll have to check the pattern for the measurements, but this will show you how they should look as they’re coming together.
First, make a mark a little bit in from each corner (the exact measurement is in the pattern). I used my Sewline Ceramic Pencil for this.
Next, cut from the bottom corners to the marks you just made.
Line up the background pieces with the cut center thread piece. You want the background to extend past each end fairly evenly (you can eyeball this).
Lay the background right sides together along the angled sides of the thread and sew.
Press towards the thread.
Important - Make sure the thread is centered before you trim. Be extra careful that you leave a 1/4” seam allowance for both bottom corners.
The top corners of the thread should be at 3/4” and 2 3/4”. The bottom corners of the thread should be at 1/4” and 3 1/4”.
Trim two sides, then rotate and trim the other sides. The size you should trim to is in the pattern.
This is what the unit will look like after trimming.
And here’s a finished cone with the spindle added!
Our Lovely Hosts
We have nine hosts for segment one, and we all made our very own thread blocks. Be sure to visit all of the lovely ladies below for more tips and inspiration. If you like what you see, leave a comment! We all love a bit of encouragement from our fellow quilters.
Abbie Danahy @ Sparkle On!
April Adams @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca Fenstermaker @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman @ Snowy Days Quilting <— That’s me!
Jennifer Fulton @ Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Kathleen McCormick @ Kathleen McMusing
Sandra Healy @ Sandra Healy Designs
Sandy Maxfield @ SandyStar Designs
Sherry Shish @ Powered by Quilting
We will have a prize package at the end of every segment, as well as a grand prize at the end of the quilt along. The prizes are open to all participants that are at least 18 years old. If you don’t remember what I mean by segment, check out the intro post for a refresher on how this quilt along is structured.
How to Enter
To be eligible to win a segment prize, you need to make all of the blocks from that segment. Share a photo or photos of your blocks (in a single post) to be entered.
For segment 1, entries will be open from 12:00 am May 7 to 11:59 pm May 20, 2019 (Eastern time). There are three places you can share your blocks to be entered in the drawing:
Facebook - share in the Partners in Design Facebook Group
Instagram - share with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL
Blog Linky - the hosts will include a link-up on their segment 1 wrap-up post on May 7, 2019
Segment 1 Prize Package
We have a wonderful array of prizes for each segment! Here’s the prize package for segment 1:
Large Folding Cutting Kit from Omnigrid® (a Prym Company) - includes an 18 x 24" folding cutting mat, a 45 mm rotary cutter, and a 3” x 18” Omnigrip ruler
Timeless Treasures Tonga Treat Strip Jr. "Orchid" -20 pc 2 1/2" strip pack
Two Shabby Fabrics Vintage Blessings printed table runner patterns and a packet of Sunflower laser-cut appliqués (small.)
To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to make all 13 blocks from the whole quilt along and turn them into a quilt or other project(s). Quilt tops don’t need to be quilted, but projects do need to be finished. Share a single post that shows all of the blocks in a quilt or project. It doesn’t matter how many projects or what projects you make, or how many blocks you use in each project as long as you show that you’ve used all 13 blocks in a finished project or projects.
To keep the contest portion of the quilt-along fair and fun for everyone, only quilters that use all of the designers' blocks [in a quilt or project(s)] will be eligible for the grand prize. Likewise, our segment prizes will only be open to those that make all of the designers’ blocks for that segment.
We are really lucky to have some amazing sponsors on board for this quilt along! Please check them out as thanks for supporting us. Bluprint, Dear Stella, Everything Mary, Island Batik, Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, Prym, Shabby Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Warm Company Additionally, many of the block designers are donating their quilt patterns.
Are You Ready?
I hope you’re excited about this week’s block! Which one do you think you’re going to make? I can’t wait to see it!