How to Square up Quilt Blocks

When quilting, squaring up quilt blocks is important. Squaring up blocks helps to keep the entire quilt square. The finished quilt top will lie more flat. The entire quilt will be more even. But squaring up blocks is a pain. It takes time, and sometimes it seems like maybe shaving off all those slivers can’t be as important as getting the project done NOW. But it is. Squaring up is such an essential part of having your points line up.

Here, I’m going to show you how to square up Half Square Triangle, or HST block. Because HSTs are stitched on the bias (an angle across the fibers, instead of parallel with the fibers), it can make the blocks stretch out of whack when you press the block open. I’m trimming these HSTs to 3″. I could use a 3″ ruler, but instead I use a square ruler that is larger than 3″, and just keep an eye on my 3″ mark.

trim block

I also line up the angle of the block with the 45 degree line at an angle across the ruler. This will help all the points line up. I make sure that the block is inside the 3″ mark, then trim off the excess on the two sides, where the block hangs out past the ruler.

The block gets rotated 18o degrees, and then I line up the 45 degree line, as well as the 3″ line both horizontal and vertical. Trim off the excess on two sides, and the block has been squared up!

trim other side

Repeat – over and over and over again… until all your blocks are squared up!

trim half square triangle blocks

That scrappy pile on the right… that’s a whole scrappy pile towards accuracy.

Silhouette Quilting Stencil

Last month, I showed you the quilted hearts I made for the Fairfield booth at Quiltmarket. Making 17 identically quilted hearts was a challenge. I came up with a design for quilting the hearts, but wanted an easy way to transfer this design to each of the blocks.

Quilted hearts with feathers

I was able to make a super simple quilting stencil in my Silhouette software. I sketched in the double heart, and the spine of the feather. Each of the fingers of the feather was done free-hand, without an outline.

Silhouette quilting design

The stencil was incredibly easy to make… and made it so much easier to make copy after copy of the same quilted design!

If you want to grab this stencil, you can snag the Silhouette file here, and cut one for yourself.

 

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Pieced and Quilted Pillow

Want a fun way to use your scraps? Or maybe you have a friend who admired a quilt you made, that you don’t want to give up… but you’d be happy to make them a simple project using the scraps from the quilt. This quilted pillow is perfect. It doesn’t take too much time to whip up a scrappy quilted pillow. And if you use bigger scraps, it takes even less time!

I created this project as part of a whole week of fun Handmade Gift ideas that Niki from 365 Days of Crafts and I have put together, along with a bunch of our crafty friends. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to check out all the awesome handmade gift ideas!

scrappy quilted pillow

Start by gathering your scraps. mine are all in strips already. If yours aren’t, cut them into strips. They don’t have to be all the same size – in fact, it looks more scrappy if they aren’t.

You’ll also need a fat quarter for the backing, Fusible Fleece, and an 18″ pillow form.

fabric for pillow

 

I divided my strips into piles based on length. Long, medium, and short. Then stitched each of the piles together into wide rows.

stitch strips

Press the rows, then trim the edges.

trim sections

Stitch the sections together, then press.

press seams

Roughly trim – basically trimming off any long edges, you’ll do a final trimming after quilting – then press to fusible fleece.

add to fusible fleece

Quilt as desired! I chose a variety of loops, swirls, lines, and pebbles.

quilt pieced top

Once you’re all quilted, trim to 18.5″x18.5″.

quilted front

 

Cut the Fat Quarter to two pieces – each 18″ by 11-ish”. Hem one 18″ side of each, place right-sides down on top of the quilted front, with the hemmed pieces towards the center, pin in place, then stitch all the way around. If you need more detail, you can check out the Easiest Pillow Cover Ever Tutorial.

Flip the pillow right-side-out, pop in the pillow form, and you’re done!

pillow quilted

Winter Big Stitch Mini Quilt

I had to come up with a quilt to gift at our December Modern Quilt Guild meeting, and for once I didn’t wait until the last minute! I still need to add a little label to this mini quilt… but other than that, it is all done!

Making a mini quilt is a fun project, and a great gift. You don’t have to commit to a large project (or commit all the  money to a large project). It also doesn’t take the kind of time commitment a big project does, either. Which is a big deal for me. I have so many projects going that I can’t commit to another big one!

modern mini holiday quilt

I was doing some traveling last month, so I decided to quilt this one using big stitch quilting. I was able to hang out on the back patio at my mom’s house, watching the kids play in the backyard and keep her company doing yard work… and get this mini quilted up! And I think that the big stitch really adds a lot of character.

Making this mini is simple. You need:

7 charm squares (5″ squares)
3/4 yard solid fabric
Batting
Perle Cotton
Big Stitch quilting needle.

I started by cutting the charm squares in half, and lining them up to decide their order.

rectangles for mini quilt

I added a small strip of blue to one side, and a large strip to the other. I basted the top, batting, and backing, sketched on a basic snowflake design, and started stitching!

add big stitch

then trim it…

trim up mini quilt

… and bind it!

bind mini quilt

This is part of a series I’m doing with Niki from 365 Days of Crafts… sharing a new gift idea each day… and we’re having some of our blogging friends share handmade gift ideas as well! By the end of the week, we’ll have over 99 gift ideas! Check them out:

 

Holiday Table Runner

After making my Christmas Tree Quilt, I had leftover quilt squares. There are so many fun things to make with Half Square Triangles… I decided to whip these into a fun table runner. A simple quilt-as-you-go runner.

Quilt as you go table runner

I started with HSTs and strips of fabric. Batting, and backing fabric.

supplies for table runner

I stitched the HSTs into strips.

line up strips

Then used the HST strips and fabric strips to make a quilt-as-you-go runner. Trimmed it up…

trim and square up

Bound it…

stitch on bindingstitch binding to back

Quilt as you go means it is quilted and pieced at the same time!

back of table runner

easy, peasy… done!

completed table runner

Quilt Market 2014

I thought I’d share a little of Quilt Market 2014, at least the parts you may not have caught on Instagram…

Day one was Schoolhouse … I went to as many as I could, and I got to hear from some of the big names in quilting. Angela Walters talked about her latest book…

Angela Walters at Quiltmarket

Elizabeth Hartman has a book of sampler blocks. I love that these blocks are three different sizes, yet come together seamlessly!

Elizabeth Hartman at Quiltmarket

And this curved ruler demo. I ended up buying myself one of these curved rulers, and have a fun idea for a quilt…

curve ruler demo

I also presented a schoolhouse – for Thermoweb.

Thermoweb Schoolhouse at Quiltmarket

I thought I’d experience Sample Spree, since I’ve heard so much about it. There were wall-to-wall bodies, and I didn’t go anywhere near the Moda table… really, it was like a boy band concert with a lot more grey hair. And more sensible shoes.

 

Sample Spree at Quiltmarket

I didn’t take a ton of pictures at the show, but I did make sure to take one of my new buddy, the Dutch Quilter. She does amazing applique edged with ribbon.

The Dutch Quilter - Quilt Market 2014

I loved this applique quilt… cut with a Silhouette… I can’t wait to do more applique with my Silhouette!

silhouette cut applique

I also took a couple photos of work I did for the Fairfield booth. I made all the pink projects here.

soften booth samples And I quilted all the hearts on these blocks of batting.

Batting samples at Quiltmarket

This was such a fun project – 18 quilted hearts, each on a different type of batting. I learned a lot about my own personal batting preferences – I like lower loft battings, and though I’ve stuck to cottons in the past, Fairfield has some really amazing blends. The recycled batting really surprised me – I loved it!

 

Quilted hearts with feathers

I also took some fun selfies… with Eleanor Burns…

selfie with Eleanor Burns

And with my Quiltmarket Roomie – Jenny from Craft Test Dummies – in front of the Cotton + Steel Booth.

roomie selfie at quiltmarket

I got to meet Tula Pink – which was awesome! She is amazing times 1000. Probably the sweetest badass on the planet.

meeting Tula Pink

And I took a class, on Big Stitch, from Carolyn Forster. I’ve wanted to learn more about big stitch, and this was the perfect opportunity. Carolyn was so fun to learn from!

Big Stitch class at Quiltmarket

That was quiltmarket… amazing! I’m looking forward to going again next year!

Christmas Tree Half-Square Triangle Quilt

I was sent a fat quarter bundle of Robert Kaufman’s Holiday Flourish fabric for a fun challenge with the other Fairfield designers. When it came in the mail, I was excited, and full of ideas. But then deadlines came, and the bundle was pushed aside, and so were the ideas.

But, projects have a magical way of becoming important again when their deadline is due… and that’s what happened with this project! I went to Quiltmarket, and when I came back, I had to get started making something with these fat quarters. I picked up a fun half-square triangle ruler at market, and was excited to use it… so I thought I’d make a fun wall hanging that looked fun and scrappy with half-square triangles.

half square triangle christmas tree quilt

finished size: 30.5 x 30.5″

 

This bundle was perfect for making the wall hanging! And at 2.5′ square, this wall hanging is the perfect size for anywhere in the house.

 

To make the wall hanging, you’ll need:
4 black fat quarters
7 gold fat quarters
1 yard backing fabric
1/4 yard for binding

From the Fat quarters, make your half-square triangles. They’re all 2″ finished triangles. Use whatever method you like to make them. I used a ruler that makes 24 at a time – you can use triangle paper, or the old method of cutting squares, drawing a line diagonally down the center, then stitching on each side. If you do this method, your cut squares will be 2 7/8″ to make the 2″ finished HSTs.

For the quarter square triangle, cut 3 4″ squares – two gold ones and one black one.
67 black-on-black HSTs
22 black-on-gold HSTs
135 gold-on-gold HSTs
1 quarter-square triangle

quilt supplies

Once you have all the HSTs made, it is time to stitch them together to make the tree shape. You can lay them out on a design wall, or the floor, and stitch them one set at a time to make your rows. Or, you can cheat like I did!

Fairfield has a new line of interfacings that will be available in stores starting January. I pulled out the lightweight fusible interfacing, and drew a 2.5″ grid on the back. Then I fused the squares onto the grid to keep them in place. Once all the squares are fused in place, I was able to stitch down a whole row at once!

stitch down rows

Once the top was pieced, I quilted the top using Fairfield Superior 80/20 Blend batting. I used a walking foot for some simple straight-line quilting. The fabric was already so busy, I decided it didn’t need busy free-motion quilting.

Then I bound it, and the quilt was done!

christmas tree quilt from half square triangles

Umbrella Applique Wall Hanging

I was working on a freelance project, and needed some applique samples. I don’t keep a lot of samples hanging around, so I whipped up a couple fun applique projects – including this umbrella applique wall hanging. If you have the umbrella applique die for the Accuquilt GO!, this is a super simple project to make.

Umbrella applique wall hangning

 

Grab some fabric and the die. I used scrap fabrics I had on hand – these are all Art Gallery Fabrics.

supplies for applique wall hanging

 

Add fusible web to the back of the applique fabrics, then cut on the Accuquilt GO!. Iron on to your center block.

iron down applique umbrella

I ironed it on first, then cut it down. That made it easier for me to center. This is 10″ wide by 11″ tall. But you can go with whatever size works for you.

center block

Cut fabric for the borders and binding.

strips for borders and binding

Stitch on borders.

sew on borders

Before stitching down the applique, I put fusible fleece on the back, and then spray basted on backing fabric. I then used a buttonhole stitch around the applique. This appliqued down the umbrella and quilted the quilt at the same time.

applique down umbrella

Once it was quilted, I trimmed it down. Before finishing the binding, I tucked a triangle into each top corner. Just a square folded on the diagonal, and stitched to the top corners. These can be used in place of a hanging sleeve – just tuck in a dowel, and hang up the quilt!

hanging corners on wall hanging

 

Fast and simple – and fun to make!

wall hanging umbrella

 

Quilt as you Go Basics

Have you tried Quilt as You go yet? I have to admit that it is one of my favorite time-saving techniques. Quilt-as-you-go allows you to piece your quilt and quilt it at the same time!

Quilt as you go basics

I’m using Fairfield’s awesome Fusi-boo Bamboo batting for today’s quilt as you go demonstration – though you could use other batting, this batting is uniquely suited to the quilt as you go technique. Check out all the details in the video!