New to Quilting?

If you are brand new to quilting and don't know where to begin, start with the posts in September 2011 (look in the blog archive). The first four posts cover basics such as choosing equipment, choosing colors, how to sew 1/4" seams, how to use a rotary cutter, and how to press (not iron) your block during construction.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Combination Star - Quilt Block Tutorial

"Combination Star" from Ladies Art Company, 1898
Fons and Porter also call this block "Night and Day"
Cut from background fabric (A)
(A1) two 5 1/2" squares*
(A2) eight 2 7/8" squares

Cut from medium fabric (B) 
These pieces may be 'fussy cut' so that the picture is in the center. The B2 pieces should be centered on point to look best in the finished block.
(B1) one 4 1/2" square
(B2) four 3 3/8" squares)

Cut from dark fabric (C)
two 5 1/2" squares*

*If you already made the Quarter-square triangles, then you don't need to cut A1 and C pieces.

If you haven't made the Quarter-square triangle pieces, please visit this post first and make your quarter-square triangles.

Cut all A2 pieces in half along the diagonal.

Finger press a crease through the center of each B2 piece.

Line up the point of an A2 piece with the crease on the B2 piece to center the triangle on the side of the square.

Sew an A2 piece onto opposite sides of each B1 piece. Press towards the triangle.
Again, fold each B1 piece in half and finger press to form a crease.

Sew an A2 piece onto each of the remaining sides. Trim each unit to 4 1/2".

Lay out each piece for your block.

Sew into rows (or columns) and press the top and bottom rows towards the outside, press the middle row towards the middle square.

Sew the rows together and press!
This is my 12th block for Amy's Christmas Sampler quilt. I haven't quite decided on the layout for the final quilt, but I've got some great ideas!

Stay tuned!

This should be done by Thanksgiving! Yay!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quarter-Square Triangle Tutorial

I'm going to use four Quarter-square triangle blocks in the next block.

Another good tutorial can be found at

To find the size to cut your squares, add 1 1/2" to the finished size of the block. I need a 4" finished (already sewn into the block) for the next block, so I cut my squares 5 1/2". Since I need four quarter-square triangles, I cut two light and two dark 5 1/2" squares.

Two light 5 1/2" squares right sides together on two dark 5 1/2" squares. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Pin in two places so the squares won't shift while you are sewing.

Sew a scant 1/4" seam along each side of the drawn line on both pairs. Cut along the diagonal line.

Press the seam towards the darker fabric. These are called 'half-square triangles' and we've learned two other ways to make them here and here.

Place two half-square triangle units together with the light and dark opposite sides opposite each other. Draw a line diagonally (perpendicular to the seam line). Pin. The bottom square in the photo shows the top unit pulled back so you can see how the two units match up.

Sew a scant 1/4" seam on each side of the drawn line.

Cut along the diagonal. The bottom right unit in the photo above shows the seam 'fanned' out to reduce the bulk. You don't have to open the seams this way if you don't want to, you can press the whole seam to one side instead.

You can use either a 6 1/2" square ruler (left side of photo) or a Quilt in a Day Triangle Square Up Ruler to square up your blocks. In either case, match the diagonal line on the ruler with the diagonal line on your block and the 4 1/2" marking on the ruler. Trim both sides. Turn the block around so the untrimmed edges are on the top, match up the ruler again, and trim the edges.

You can see the ruler better in this photo. The diagonal line in the center of the ruler is lined up with the vertical seam and the horizontal seam is lined up with the 4 1/2" ruler marking. This works on either type of ruler, but this ruler has fewer lines so it's easier to line up and trim the blocks.

All four blocks trimmed and ready to be put into the block.

My new machine isn't working right now. It's 17 and feeling its age. So I'm using my trusty Featherweight for my blocks! It's tiny and out of the way and so much fun to sew on!