Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mari's Star - Tutorial for Hands to Help

Mari was feeling overwhelmed. 
I was only too happy to lend a helping hand. After all, this tutorial is for Hands to Help :-)

If you have a layer cake in your stash, that hasn't found a perfect quilt, this is for you. Usually Layer Cakes have 20 fabrics, two squares of each fabric for a total of 40 squares. Of course you don't need a layer cake to make this block. 

This tutorial is in two parts. In Part 1, we will make the four identical units. In Part 2, we will look at ways to make blocks from those units.

PART 1 - Making the units

Focus fabric 
One square 9.5"
One rectangle 5" by 10"
(Or you could use two identical squares from a layer cake, as shown in the pictures below.)

One rectangle 5" by 10"

10" square of focus fabric (if using a layer cake square)

1. Cut the 10" square of focus fabric (if using a layer cake) into half for two rectangles 5" by 10". Set one aside.

Cut into half, two rectangles 5" by 10"

2. Pair the other rectangle with a 5" by 10" rectangle of background fabric and sew along the length. Press seams open.

Focus Fabric Rectangle paired with Background Rectangle

Stitched and Pressed

3. Cut this unit into half as shown below. Turn around one half and stitch together to make a 4-patch block. Press seams open and square to 9.5".

Cut in half

Turned around

4-patch block, 9.5" square

4. Take the 9.5" square of focus fabric and place right sides together with the 4-patch block. Stitch along all four sides. Cut on both diagonals to get four units.

Trim to 9.5" square (if using a layer cake square)

Place right sides together with the 4-patch block

Stitched on all four sides

Cut on the diagonal, twice

5. The next step shows how to trim these units. 
  • Align the diagonal seams of the block with the 45 degree lines on the cutting mat. See picture below. Your block should lie fully within a 7" square on the mat.

    Align the seams with the diagonal lines on the mat

  • Trim the two sides first, making sure that you trim exactly half inch inside from the edge of the 7" square. 
Trim sides first
  • Then trim exactly 6" from the background edge of the unit. See picture below.
Trim 6" away from the background edge
  • Do not trim the edge with the background fabric. This is very important, if you wish to maintain your points. 
Similarly trim all four units. 

PART 2 - Assembling the units
There are two basic ways to assemble these four units. We could arrange them in a 4-patch or in a 9-patch. See options below.

4-patch options (11" finished block)


In my opinion, this Swirl Block looks dense in the center. If you agree, you can snowball the inside corners, as shown in the following two pictures.  

Swirl with Snowballed Inside Corners

Swirl with Bowtie Center

Other options with four units continue.


Peaks and Valleys

Arrange them as shown and sew like a 4-patch. Square to 11.5". 

9-patch option (15.5" finished block)

Using the four units and four background squares (6") plus one square of contrasting fabric (6"), arrange as shown.

Star Block

Pin at the seams and sew like a 9-patch block.


Square at 16"

Points safely away from the edge

If you followed the cutting instructions, you will notice that the star points are more than a 1/4" away from the edge, ensuring that they will not be cut off even when you sew a full 1/4" seam.

This is my favorite block to make from this method. Do you have a favorite? 

Please note that since the blocks are on a bias, there will be some wonkiness. It is okay to be imperfect. 

  • Nine blocks (arranged 3 by 3) will make a baby quilt. 
  • 20 blocks (4 by 5) will make a Lap/Throw/Mercyful Quilt.

Questions? Ask away and I will answer here so that all can see. 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Island Batik Triangle Tricks Challenge

I am not sure how/why the name came to me.  I guess it takes three to make a band (two is just a pair/duo), just like you need three sides to make a triangle. The colors are definitely boyish. It fits and so it sticks.  

Meet Boy Band.

Boy Band

The Island Batik challenge for May is simple - get out of your comfort zone (working with squares and rectangles) and work with triangles.

I could have used HSTs or even HRTs because there is no dearth of ideas. But staying true to the challenge, I pieced triangles. 

Design wall is a must

Piecing rows

I used blue, green, aqua and purple fabrics from stash builders.  I used Aurifil thread for piecing (50 wt) and quilting (40 wt). Schmetz Needles are my favorite - always. I used Microtex 80/12 for piecing and 90/14 for quilting.


40 wt Aurifil Thread for Quilting

Boy Band finished at 37" by 46", perfect for a baby boy.  I used Hobbs 80/20 Cotton-Polyester bleached batting. Walking Foot quilting and scrappy pieced binding. 

Thank you, Paul!

Blue & Greens

Hello handsome!

Yummy Fabrics

This completes the May challenge :-)
I can close this door and move on to the next.
But I cannot shut the door on those who are facing new challenges and fighting old battles anew.
Framed Triangles

Last year, a record 26 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were enacted into law across ten states. In 2022, at least 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are already pending in state legislatures. Lawmakers in statehouses nationwide are seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in sports; criminalize medically necessary, life-saving healthcare for transgender youth; and ban discussion of LGBTQ+ youth and families in classrooms. 
Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.

Adding background

These laws may have no direct impacts on you and me. But they do affect our communities, our workplaces and our country. That is exactly why more than 200 major companies have joined together to sign on to the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation. Together, these companies are united in opposing the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, much of which specifically harms transgender youth, in states across the country. 

With Harmony (Triangles on Parade), I am adding my voice to the fight that continues.  

Using Island Batik solid white, I cut random triangles, framing them in rainbow colors (Island Batik Solids - Amethyst, Cobalt Blue, Turquoise, Green, Lime Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink and Fuchsia). 

Harmony - Triangles on Parade

I used the Island Batik light gray solid as a background. Each triangle is different and yet they are in complete harmony with each other. Only if we humans could do the same.

It was a challenge to make the irregular shapes fit but so worth the effort. I have named them Harmony. Harmony  finished at 12" by 34" and I am very happy with the result.

Me: See my triangles on parade.
Paul: Are they proud?
Me: They ARE all colors, so I'd say yes!

I used Aurifil thread for piecing (50 wt) and quilting (40 wt) and Schmetz Needles - Microtex 80/12 for piecing and 90/14 for quilting.  I used Hobbs 80/20 Cotton-Polyester bleached batting. Walking Foot quilting and solid light gray binding. 

A few more pictures.

Cool ones

Walking Foot Quilting

Warm Ones

Pop of Colors!

And one last look.

Small Quilt - Mighty Message!

Harmony is rainbow-colored and Harmony is made from scraps. Not strictly a Rainbow Scrap challenge quilt, I will be sharing Harmony with Angela's RSC Linky. I hope Harmony will be allowed to the party.

I will be with mom in India, from May 2 - May 14, as she undergoes surgery. Please keep her in your prayers. 

The tutorial for Hands to Help will be published on May 8, 2022.  Mari has kindly agreed to share that post with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.  

Love & Hugs to you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Thank you!

The Synergy Quilt Pattern Release Blog Hop comes to an end. 
I am tickled pink and oh so grateful to my pattern testers. Each one of them exceeded my expectations and came up with a version of Synergy unique to themselves.

Sharing all versions of Synergy here. Enjoy the parade!

Mari goes bold with hot pink

Alycia stays true to QOV

Wendy goes minimalist with Blue Skies

Bonnie's Bright and Beautiful Version

Roseanne and Sue's Soothing Collaboration

You can read their original posts here

1. Mari of Academic Quilter - Thursday, April 21, 2022
2. Alycia of Alycia Quilts - Friday, April 22, 2022
3. Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts - Saturday, April 23, 2022
4. Bonnie of Institches with Bonnie - Sunday, April 24, 2022
5. Roseanne of Home Sewn By Us - Monday, April 25, 2022

As Mari, Alycia, Wendy, Bonnie and Roseanne choose the winners of the giveaway, I will reach out to them with their prize - a copy of the Synergy PDF pattern.

Today is the last day to get your copy of Synergy Quilt Pattern at a discount of 25%.

Synergy in EQ8 using Island Batik Woodcut Collection

Synergy in EQ8 using Island Batik Lace and Grace collection

Synergy in EQ8 using Island Batik Playful Purples

The 13-page pattern includes detailed instructions with colorful graphics for every step of the block construction and layout. Tips for scraps and precuts are also provided. And a Coloring Page is included the end so that you can make your own color/fabric choices. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

Thank you once again to Mari, Alycia, Wendy, Bonnie, Roseanne and Sue. 
Love you so much. Your good deeds will not go unpunished. I will be bugging you next time I write a pattern :-D

Sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.