How The Flowers Grew – or how I sew Ribbon Flower Blocks

I was at least halfway through making the blocks for the Garden Gone Wild top before I finally realized just how much fun I could have with these blocks as they’re not only all curved piecing, but almost all continuous … Continue reading

Piecing a Patchwork of the Crosses Block – Lots of Photos

When I start a Patchwork of the Crosses block, particularly if I’ve done some fussy cutting/printing and the orientation of the shapes is important, I like to lay the pieces out on a page of my stitching book. That way … Continue reading

Stitching a Castle Wall Block

All we’ve heard for the past few days is that there’s a big snowstorm headed right for us so I decided yesterday I needed to make a block that really felt like summer. So pinks and greens were my choice … Continue reading

Piecing the Swallows of Inklingo Block – lots of photos

The block that has 112 pieces is finished. Baxter was inspecting it. It’s a variation of the Flying Swallows block, measures 10.86″ finished and was made using shapes from the Inklingo Free Diamond Square Triangle Collection. If you have the … Continue reading

Stitching A Flying Swallows Block – Lots of Photos

A bright summery block of flying swallows seemed right for this little tutorial. Mr. Q.O. calls them bats, but …

There are a number of pieces in the block, but it really is an eight-point star made up of pieced 90-degree diamonds. Each of the pieced 90-degree diamonds is made up of 3 diamonds and 4 triangles. First piece the 3 diamonds together.

Then take advantage of the continuous stitching opportunity offered when adding the 4 triangles to the diamond unit as shown in this photo. Following the arrows, it’s possible to stitch all the triangles to the diamonds without breaking the thread.

Make sure the top and bottom triangles are placed the right way so that you end up with a larger 90-degree diamond.


While I usually wait until a block is completed to press it, this block is an exception. Pressing the pieced diamonds before joining them to one another makes the final pressing easier.

Join the 90-degree diamonds to create the eight-point star, making sure all the swallows are flying in the same direction.

Add the setting squares and triangles and the block is done. This block finishes at about 15″ and is destined to be part of a stitching book cover. I made it using the 6″ LeMoyne Star Inklingo collection, which has all the shapes to make the block other than the outer setting triangle.

Smudge found this whole process so calming that he fell asleep with some soft stuffed toys to keep him company!

~~~~~~~~~~

It seems that our ISP is bouncing some e-mails from friends. If you have e-mailed me in the past day or two and haven’t heard back, please let me know in a comment.

Stitching a Yin Yang Block Tutorial — Lots of Photos

It was inevitable.  I had to try out a Yin Yang block in my favourite of fabrics, shabby chic. As I have been asked some questions about how I put these together, I decided to do this little tutorial. The block is composed of four pieces of one identical shape. All the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This shows the back of one piece and, if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the matching points. They are what make this block go together like magic. I tried doing them before the Inklingo collection came out, and no matter how fine a line I drew or the matching points I put on, it just wasn’t fine or precise enough. With Inklingo printed matching points and crosshairs, there’s no worries at all — it all just fits together like a dream. I clip between the matching points on each concave curve to a few threads above the stitching line.

There are other ways to stitch these. My method is to start at the large curved end of the piece. I use two #12 sharps and pin at the crosshair and then at the first matching point.

I start by making my quilter’s knot and inserting the needle a stitch length over from the crosshair. I’ve found this works well when joining other pieces as the knot is not right at the crosshair. Then I take the needle to the back, back through to the front at the crosshair, make a quick back-stitch and carry on down to the first pin/needle. There are a lot of matching points and they are the secret to making the curve as smooth as can be.

As each matching point is reached, I take a little back-stitch and keep stitching. With a curve like this, I try to use the smallest stitches I can.

This photo shows the clips into the seam allowance done on the concave seam allowance of one of the pieces.

Once the first two pieces are stitched together, this is what they look like. As I’m hand piecing, I leave the pressing until the end.

Having stitched a few of these blocks, I’ve found that stitching them together into pairs and then joining those pairs works best for me.

The next step is joining the two pairs together. Once again, I start at the large, curved end and pin with two #12 sharps — one at the crosshair and one at the first matching point.

After stitching the third seam, the block now looks like this.

I line up the fourth and final seam and pin through the crosshair and first matching point.

Start with the thread slightly over from the crosshair and take the needle to the back.

As this is the last of the seams to stitch, I circle the intersection by inserting the needle through the first pair of fabrics at the crosshair and drawing it through. Circling the intersection ensures that there’s not a little hole at the intersection of all four shapes.

Then the needle is drawn through the next pair at the crosshairs.

The needle is drawn through the final pair at the crosshairs, a quick back-stitch is made and all that’s left to stitch is the final seam.

Daphne, who hasn’t been seen often since her flapper adventure on the roof garden a few years ago, showed up to see the block when the stitching was finished. At this point, the block hasn’t yet been pressed.

The block presses like a dream and the magic happens again. The block lies perfectly flat. No bump in the centre, no distortion.

The back of the block after pressing. Don’t you think it would be fun to stitch one of these? Be warned, though. They’re addictive as can be to stitch. You can’t stitch just one. I’ll be back with another post this afternoon with a giveaway that’s related to this tutorial.

Smudge wasn’t all that interested and decided to have a nap on my desk chair.

Piecing a Drunkard’s Path Unit – Lots of Photos

There were a couple of inquiries about how I piece the little 2-piece units that are used in Drunkard’s Path blocks, so I thought I’d put together a short tutorial on my method.  Smudge is wide awake and watching.

I’ve always loved making Drunkard’s Path blocks and before Inklingo would trace them and then add the quarter-inch seam allowance.  Since the Inklingo Drunkard’s Path collection came out, it’s so much more enjoyable.  No tracing, no adding the quarter-inch seam allowance.  Just print, cut and stitch.  Now I never want to stop making these.  They’re quick and, thanks to the perfect matching points and stitching lines, very simple to stitch.

The first thing step is clipping slightly into the seam allowance of the piece with the concave curve.  You can see one clip in this picture.  I clip between every matching point that’s printed on my fabric.  In the above picture you can see the stitching line and the matching points that have printed on to the back of my fabric.

Then I line up the pieces and, using #12 sharps as pins, pin the first and second matching points.  I pin the first to hold it in place when I insert the threaded needle a bit over from the beginning of the seam.

Then I bring the threaded needle back up through the matching point at the beginning of the seam, effectively taking a back stitch.

Then, taking the smallest stitches I can, I load the needle with stitches up to the next matching point.

Before I pull the needle through, I move the sharp from that first matching point along the seam to the next.

Pull the needle through, make a small back stitch and proceed by loading the needle with more stitches up to the next matching point.  Then it’s simply a matter of repeating the last 2 steps until the end of the seam.

I’ve reached the end of the seam. At that point I make a back stitch, turn the piece over and make a small knot, once again away from the end of the seam so that the knot won’t interfere when adding other pieces.

The little Drunkard’s Path unit is finished.

The back:

They really only take a few minutes to stitch.  For fun, I decided to see just how long it takes me to stitch one.  It’s just over 5 minutes from start to finish.

Lester hopes you found this relaxing.