Simple quilt block tutorial round up.

One of the things that I love about quilting is that, even with a limited skill set, the possibilities are endless.  So far, I haven’t ventured beyond straight lines and right angles, but there are endless possibilities even for those who never want to attempt a curve or a triangle.  Here is a round up of some of my favourite, free, straight line, block tutorials.

Square in Square:

square in square

Here’s a basic one explained by Elizabeth Hartman over at her blog, Oh Fransson! (A blog well worth following, by the way)  A few small tweaks, such as varying the widths of the fabric or using ‘wonky’ cutting can totally change the look of this block.

Log Cabin Block

log cabin block

The log cabin block is one step up from the square in square, and although it is a traditional design, it is still a firm favourite. Use of modern fabrics instantly bring it up to date and if that’s not enough, creative piecing using negative space certainly gives it a kick.  Of course, varying fabric widths or using ‘wonky’ cutting can again result in different looks.  Google ‘modern log cabin quilt’ for some ideas.  (Man, I really need pinterest to expand on these things)  Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts (I love her use of shape and colour!) tells you how to get to grips with this one.

Flying Squares Block

flying squares block

Ann Marie at Gen X quilters developed this nifty little patch to showcase some prints she loved. Don’t be fooled by that saltire at the top of her page, she’s in America! I’ve just come across her blog (there are so many out there) and it’s looking set to become one of my favourites. This tutorial shows that it’s fun to play around and look for the effect you want.  Another great thing about quilting is that quilters are always looking for new twists in the ways they bring fabrics together.

Stained Glass Block

stained glass window

I couldn’t understand where the ‘stained glass’ name came from, until I remembered that churches in the states aren’t generally as old as they are here!  I live in a new town too, and the church DOES have stained glass windows just like this, but the church of my childhood was very different.  One day I might design a block based on it’s windows, all rich blues and reds with an arc at the top.

This block is featured as part of a sew along at Sew Mama Sew, and at the bottom of the post there is even a pdf download available.  (I love the internet!)  The blocks are designed by Alyssa Lichner, from Pile o’Fabric, who is guest blogging the series at Sew Mama Sew, which is jam packed with all manner of crafty good stuff, and, of course, you’ll be wanting to keep an eye out there for the rest of the blocks in the series! 🙂  Alyssa’s own blog is well worth checking out too, I especially love her bold fabric combinations and her weekly stash share, where she challenges readers to assemble a bundle of fabrics from a particular colour scheme.

Chunky Pinwheel

Chunky pinwheel

One favourite trick of modern quilters is to use off-square cuts.  (I can’t think of a better way to describe what I mean, even though I’m sure it’s not quite accurate!) Here’s a lovely, simple pinwheel block that I can’t wait to have a go at, put together by Connie at Freemotion by the River. In fact, it’s actually a whole quilt tutorial.  I think the white background and simple geometric design really shows off those fabrics.

Scrappy Cross

Scrappy cross

I’ve noticed a lot of quilts featuring crosses, and anything ‘scrappy’ is a great way to use up those tiny leftovers.  Fabric is such a precious commodity, and not just in monetary terms, that quilters are often loathe to part with even the smallest scraps.  I like that, it’s almost a homage to all the quilters of generations gone by, who used and reused fabric from other sources and still created something beautiful.  Quilting is, in my opinion, an art, but it has got it’s feet firmly on the ground.

This intuitive block is brought to you by Charlotte at Lawson and Lotti, and, as she says, it could easily be built up into something more complex, or scaled up to make a whole quilt.


All the above blogs have other tutorials posted, this is just a jumping off point.  Have a rummage, find something you like, have a go!

Perhaps you already have a favourite block?  Or maybe you have little tricks you use to personalise a block?  Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear!



Walking Foot Success!

The walking foot (cheap generic from ebay, about £11.00) was a roaring success, lovely even stitches with a minimum of fuss.  It was very easy to fit as well.  I have also developed a method for keeping the weight of the quilt from dragging on the machine, and corrupting my stitches.  It involves an ironing board and a lot of books.  (Big books, including the Harley Davidson encyclopedia, a Collins thesaurus and the Encyclopedia of Photography.) These are stacked round the sewing machine to form a platform, as I do not yet own a sewing machine table, and are working pretty well,  (Kindles are ace, but there are some things they just can’t do!)  spreading the weight of the quilt.


The sewing machine itself is on the dining room table, and I’ve got the ironing board set up level with it to my left.  It’s all a bit Heath Robinson, I know, but I have to work with what I’ve got at the moment, and, notwithstanding human error, I’m pretty pleased with the results.  I do need to find a way to get a sewing machine table and a machine with a bigger harp space (even one or two inches can make a massive difference) which are within my budget.

Here’s the commandeered Janome 150 of my mother with the walking foot attached:


From the front we can see the cause of some of my human error:

The needle is positioned nearer to the right hand side of the foot, as we are looking at it, than the left.  This doesn’t cause any problems in sewing, but it did cause me some confusion as to  why my lines of stitching were inconsistently spaced.  Once I worked it out, the results improved greatly!




Got Post!

I love online shopping, it’s great. You get all the excitement of buying something, without the hassle of going to the shops, and then you get to be all excited again when it arrives!

Today’s haul consisted of two packages.

The first contained my brand-new copy of Elizabeth Hartman 's Modern Patchwork. I’ve been following Elizabeth’s Blog, Oh, Fransson, for a while now, and I love her quilts, so when I was deciding what book to buy, one of hers seemed a good choice. I’ve only had the briefest flick through at the moment, but I’ll do a more in depth review once I’ve really explored it.

The second parcel, a small, unassuming jiffy bag, contained a walking foot. Quilting attempts without one on the red Scatter Squares quilt convinced me that this little piece of equipment is pretty much essential for even stitching whilst quilting on a domestic sewing machine. Although the limited instructions made me nervous, It attached itself to my mother’s commandeered Janome with a minimum of fuss, and early experimentation looks promising.

Tutti fruiti dinosaurs


I’m waiting on my walking foot arriving before I start quilting red scatter squares. I tried without, and untidiness ensued, so this morning I pieced together this top, built around Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie dinosaurs print (Robert Kaufman). I matched the colours to the dinosaurs as closely as possible, selecting, from the Kona solids range, red, kumquat, peapod, bahama blue and canary yellow. I’m pretty happy with how they matched.
Since I only used a small amount of the focus fabric on the top, I decided to go all out and use it for the back as well. I’m really enjoying the current trend of patterned or pieced backs. They add that little bit extra, just finishing the job nicely.

Red scatter squares


I’ve finished basting my red scatter squares quilt, (I use Sharon Schamber’s basting method, btw) but the tips of my fingers are still protesting at the treatment I have dished out to them! I really must try and find a suitable thimble. When I did embroidery, I found that a traditional thimble didn’t work for me, but now there are a lot of alternatives available, so I’ll hopefully be able to find something to suit. If not, I’ll just have to grow mighty callouses!

Entering the Blogosphere.

It’s a little bare around here just now, but since I don’t have any readers yet, that’s probably ok.   If you do happen to randomly find yourself here, this post explains a little about why I want to make quilts.  Please watch this space, I promise it’ll be worth it!