This week’s block is a simple star block based on the tried and true variable star. The dark corner squares and Square on Point (SOP) center make it unique. Those dark corner squares are there to help create that overall ‘on point’ illusion in the complete quilt.
I encourage you to read the blog posts this week as I am going to offer some helpful tips, especially for those just starting out on this quilting journey. These tips are inspired by quilters who discussed their challenges on the Facebook group.
The first tip is a result of reading about one quilter who was remaking their entire first block because they picked up the wrong size die so their first block was too large. Another quilter wrote about placing the wrong die in the pocket of the Qube set and cutting the wrong size shape. There are many ways to solve this and each quilter will find their own way. This is how I store my dies in an easy to reach and identifiable way.
My dies are placed on a shelf as if they are books. Each die is labeled with the Qube size as well as the Qube die #. (You have to memorize the shape for each # or put a chart on the wall.) The Qube size and die # label goes on all four sides of the die so that it is easy to put away on my “bookshelf” and it is easy to see which die I have in my hand as I work. A piece of Painter’s tape is on the foam on the die with the size for the precut as well as the # of shapes I will get from a width of fabric (WOF) precut. I used to write directly on the foam or on the back of the die, but that is so permanent that I find Painter’s tape is a better solution. A black Sharpie is used for all marking. Silver can be used, but it sometimes bleeds onto fabric even after it is dry.
Here are pictures of my die storage. I am getting to the point that I really need a full size bookshelf for these dies. It would be nice to have them on a bookshelf with dividers for each size Qube, but so far the boxes have lasted for as long as there have been Qubes.
There are two options for piecing the Connector Blocks with the Mix & Match Qube. You can use half square and quarter square triangles or you can use a technique combining two shapes, stitching and then trimming to make a trapezoid. It’s a little less accurate but has been and is still used as an accepted method by quilters.
It’s been a challenge for many of us to finish block 2. For me, the hardest part was matching the center Shape 4 Quarter Square Triangle points in the middle of the block. I had to take the seam out three times before I got it right. A few more advanced quilters just converted it to half square triangles (HSTs) for the whole block to avoid using the parallelograms. And some don’t have a Qube and are trying to make the blocks without a Qube. Here are some options if you only have half square triangle and quarter square triangle dies. It is always best to use as few units as possible, but there may be reasons to use alternate piecing layouts.
In one option the parallelogram is split so that the center row of the block is made with two light-medium Flying Geese units and two dark-medium Flying Geese units. That splits the parallelogram into HSTs.
In the second option, the corners are made with dark-mediumHSTs and there are four light-medium Flying Geese units in the block.
A third option would be to make the entire block with HSTs, but that would be a lot of matching points, and I’m not even going to show a diagram.
And here’s one from the group from Sheila N. who made her block using all HSTs. Remember there’s more than one way to cook an egg.
For those who want to make more than one block per week, I am going to go ahead and post the instructions for the Connector Blocks. The connector block instructions will be on the QAL page. There are two sets of instructions, one for those with the Mix & Match Qube and one for those with the Angles Companion Qube. You can make one connector block every time you make a pieced block and at the end you should have enough connector blocks for your quilt.
Block 2 is available now and it is a lot of fun. Please read the information below before clicking on the QAL page link at the top of this page. I can tell by the questions that are asked on the Facebook Group that some readers don’t read this page first. I try to provide helpful information in these blog posts and that is why I link to the post rather than only the downloadable block patterns.
One of the first tips for this week’s block is about using the Shape 7 parallelogram from your Qube set. It can be a little confusing the first time you sew a parallelogram. The key to getting it right is to really look at the shape and to identify the long sides of the shape and the short sides of the shape. You are going to stitch the long side of the shape to the long side of a Shape 5 half square triangle. The short side just won’t fit and you’ll be very frustrated if you try.
Another tip for the Shape 7 parallelogram is that it is a directional shape. For this block you need both right and left parallelograms. The way to cut those is to fanfold the fabric on the shape.
One reader asked that I show a diagram of the quilt with the individual blocks separated. This is a new quilter and she was having a hard time visualizing where the blocks fit in the quilt. Here is that diagram. Block 1 is the upper left and Block 2 is the center block. The half blocks in the first border are not outlined.
Tomorrow I am going to post the pattern for the Connector Blocks. Some quilters will want to go ahead and make the connector blocks as they are making the individual blocks.
Here’s the QAL link again for those who don’t see it on the top menu.
Block 1 is ready for you. Click the QAL on the menu at the top of the page to get to the QAL page.
Block 1 is a simple block, but color placement is the secret. You can use the dark-medium-light scheme in the instructions or you can mix it up. Any color wheel scheme will work. My suggestion is that your light not be too light and your dark not too dark. Since this block is made up of half square triangles, try turning the colors so they are the opposite and see how that looks. Play around with it.
Tips: Press seams open and use pins to match seams before sewing. I use a pin straight into both seams at the quarter inch mark to align the seams and then holding the aligned seams carefully, pin at an angle across and then remove the alignment pin. That works well for me and keeps me from sewing across pins and possibly hitting one with my needle.
Several people have asked about fabric selections and whether to use prints or perhaps add another dark to the selection. I think it is completely up to the quilter. The connector block from the M&M Qube is shown below and perhaps that will be helpful to those who want to add another color. There are also some color combinations that may be helpful but as you know your color combinations are always more beautiful than the computer.
NOTE: The yardage chart is for three colors. If you use more colors you will need to adjust the yardage amounts yourself.
What a way to start our QAL on the first Monday of January 2022. Yesterday we had a big storm – first there was much thunder, lightning, and flooding rain with a 25 degree temperature drop and then big flakes of snow for four hours. In the late afternoon we had beautiful sunshine. Our electricity went off around 5 am and it didn’t come back on until 6 pm so we had a long, cold, dark day. Very obviously, not much stitching was done nor did we have internet connectivity.
Our QAL will start today on a Tuesday. I have created a new page where I will post all of the information. Please check the menu at the top of the blog for a page with links to each step in the QAL. Weather permitting, each new block will be posted on Mondays.
A special Christmas project with the AccuQuilt GO! Gingerbread Cookie and decorations dies and the Reiko Kato Small Houses die.
Finally I can show you the fun project that Sherry Gray and I have been working on all summer. We are so excited about it. With the beautiful AccuQuilt Gingerbread cookies and cookie decorations, we thought it would be fun to build a Gingerbread village – and so we did. Using the die for Reiko Kato’s small houses, I digitized a set of Gingerbread houses to use in this quilt. Here are those adorable houses.
And then we made a quilt using the houses and the cookies. The houses are set on point on a gray background and the Gingerbread Cookies are on a full size 6″ square. The connector blocks are made with the 4″ Mix & Match Qube as a 9 patch for a finished 6″ block and the border is made of the same units in the connector blocks but with the 6″ Mix & Match Qube.
The quilt is for sale in the web shop or you can purchase the houses or the gingerbread cookies separately.
Here are some closeups of the embroidery and the border.
Some of the grandchildren are older now (middle school) and decided they really didn’t want Superhero napkins for their lunch boxes. So the request was made for new napkins. It only took me 3 weeks to get them made and shipped. It takes less than 15 minutes to make one of these from start to finish – cutting to final press. I made these 13″ x 13″ just because I could get three out of a width of fabric. 14″ square would probably be a little better, but economy won. And in the end, there were 11 of them. I think these colors work fine for boys. UPS will deliver them today – I’m sure they will call. Last night they called because they won 2nd and 3rd place in Cross Country at their school which just goes to show how overall athleticism in soccer and tennis translates to another sport as this was their first Cross Country endeavor.
And I found a new place to buy fabric. It was just by chance. I googled a fabric that I needed to match something that was in progress because I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough and wanted some insurance. Have you ever done that? I found the fabric at Old Country Store Fabrics and of course they started sending me email. They are located in Pennsylvania and have wonderful fabrics at reasonable prices. They carry a lot of Moda fabrics which I like and haven’t found anywhere else except in limited selections at small quilt shops that are in Raleigh which can be a 40 minutes plus drive depending on traffic.
I needed a few pieces – some grays and a good medium blue and some Christmas pieces to add to what I already have for a Christmas crazy quilt and thus placed another order. This is what I got. They are all just beautiful and have such a wonderful hand.
It’s Wednesday – hope you have a wonderful day! The sun is shining here and the morning air is crisp.
In the last post I showed some blocks I’ve been working on that use up scraps from the Sampler QAL. And the one I made last summer for the Qube Workout QAL was a scrappy one using the 8″ Qube. Of course there were some extra HST’s left from that too. So my granddaughter (the one with four older brothers) is getting a quilt for her baby doll with some of the extra HST’s. She plays and dresses like a real girlie girl but becomes a rough and tough girl when it comes to her brothers. This is her baby doll quilt that was quilted yesterday. I laid a strip of the binding fabric on one edge so you can see how it will be bound. It’s definitely bright.
And here’s a picture of that cute little one. I think the scrappy quilt will match her sunglasses perfectly.