April 26, 2015

Do You Want to Build A Snowball Block?

Hello, Friends!

Buds are blooming,
birds are singing,
but I'm in the mood for making
SNOWBALL blocks!

You know what I'm talking about, right?
When you take a quilt block
and round off the corners a bit,
by adding half-square-triangles,
it becomes a "Snowball" block.

It's a fun design element that is seen
all over quiltland.

These are some blocks I've made,

If you're short on sewing time,
like I am, you might enjoy some tips
for sewing snowball blocks.

I love to precut my precuts...
if you follow me...so that I've got a couple of blocks
ready for sewing.

{I've been able to stitch 2 of these Jump Ring blocks in less than 30 minutes.}

As you can see from the off-white pieces above,
as well as the tiny squares below,
I like to use an iron to "mark" the sewing lines.
I just press the pieces diagonally,
right sides out.
They are ready for stitching in no time.

When I begin my stitching,
I always use a fabric scrap at the beginning
and again at the end,
stopping with the needle down.
This eliminates loose threads that need trimming later!

{It also makes the stitching nice and even, start to finish.}

Another time-saver is chain-piecing.
Just keep the needle down between pieces,
and butt the next set up against the last one.

For snowball blocks,
it helps to alternate the direction of each block.
See the photo below.
I've started stitching the corners
from a different direction each time.
The pieces line up perfectly this way.

I like to snowball all four corners,
before trimming and pressing the finished block.

{Because I've already pressed the sewing line,
there's less distortion of the block.}

Have you ever made "bonus" half-square triangles...
a.k.a. HST's...
from your snowball blocks???

If your corner squares are at least 2 1/2" square,
this is a really cool tip to try!

BEFORE trimming away the layers
that are not needed for the finished block:

You can use a ruler to mark 
a SECOND line of stitching parallel to the first,
in the part of the square that will be cut away.
I make my second stitch line about 3/8" from the first,
to maximize the size of my bonus HST's.

Stitch this second line along all of the corners of the block.
I usually "eye-ball" the 3/8", to save even more time.
Just be sure the seam is parallel to the first stitchline.

NOW it's time to trim away the excess,
cutting in the space between the two stitchlines.

Take those formerly wasted edges to the ironing board,
and now you have a set of little bonus HST's!

Trim them to size,
and you've got a headstart on a new project.

I trimmed these to 1 3/4",
but you could make them into 1 1/2" HST's if you like.

I hope you'll stop by again soon
for more sewing tips and projects.
Wouldn't you like to see what I'm making
with all of those snowballs?

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March 28, 2015

Elementary Needle Book

If I could make whatever I wanted,
on any given day,
I would probably choose to create one of three things:
a pillow, a pincushion, or a needle book.

{My blog is mostly made up of those projects, if you notice.}

Here is my latest indulgence...the Elementary Needle Book,
made for my sweet niece who loves math and linguistics.

I started with this little mound of scraps and trims.
It was fun to organize them into something
so dainty and practical.

Once again, I turned to the fabulous free tutorial
I've made quite a few of these needle books,
and more are in my future, I'm sure.

From the first needle book I made,
I wondered why all of those patchwork squares
should be hidden away.
I featured mine on the front this time.

I love the bit of quilting detail.

Inside I decorated some of the pages with ricrac...



and even a tiny butterfly label.

The finished project was a cheery surprise
when it arrived in my niece's mailbox.

Handmade gifts are such a joy,
for all of us who make and receive them.

Have a great week, and enjoy something handmade!

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March 22, 2015

Little Grandbaby Granny Star Pincushion Has Arrived

I can only imagine how exciting it is,
waiting for new grandbabies to arrive!
Just this afternoon,
part 3 of my guest posts at Bear Creek Quilting Company.

Allow me to introduce the

Now, if this pinnie were a baby,
it would definitely weigh in at over 10 lbs.
The finished size is 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 1 1/2" or so.

I love bigger pincushions, myself.
They don't get lost as easily amid my sewing stuff.

There are lots of pieces to the granny star block,
and those star points are pretty tiny.

where you will find a method to create
near-perfect star points...so easily!

I hope you'll be inspired to try out one or more
of my Granny Star methods...

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March 19, 2015

New Open Wide Pouches from Noodlehead

Having a husband and two teenage sons,
I don't get a lot of chances to sew girly stuff.
This month, though,
I decided to make a few Open Wide Pouches
from Noodlehead.

I decided to make some cosmetic bags
for three lovely young ladies who visit us often.

{Well...they really come over to see the guys.}

First off, I wanted to make a glamorous version,
so I chose black-and-white fabrics
with a hot pink zipper and interior.

Oops...I gave it away before I could get great photos,
but you can get the idea here.
The damask was so pretty, paired with the polka dots on the bottom.
The pop of pink reminds me of Paris.

If you use the measurements for the medium-sized pouch,
fat quarters work perfectly, even with a directional print.

I finally untied a treasured f/q bundle
of The Cottage Garden,
by the Quilted Fish, for Riley Blake.
Spring is nearly here, so I picked these fresh colors,
accented with a grass-green zipper.

The Cottage Garden features a text print that is
filled with inspiration quotes...
just right for girls who are competing and achieving.

DREAM BIG...shows up every time she opens this pouch.

Here's the finished pouch,
with the zipper closed. I love the shape of this pouch.

A little flower fit perfectly for the zipper tab.

This tutorial's impeccable instructions allow for success every time.

I made another pouch,
this time using the teal and steel tones
of The Cottage Garden bundle.

Oh, I wanted to keep this one.

I calmed myself..
 there are lots of prints in this palette
plus some nice-sized scraps left of these fabrics!

These modern and floral prints play so well together...
it's a lovely fabric line!

The finished pouch is nice and stable,
even before it's filled.
I always line the outer pieces and the lining
with Pellon ShapeFlex SF101 interfacing.

More inspirational reading inside...

I hope YOU will be inspired to sew something sweet for spring, too!

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March 9, 2015

Guest Posting - Part 2 - A New Granny Star Pillow

Lucky me, to be invited again
to present another guest post over at
I've downsized the block a bit,
finishing it into another, smaller pillow.


I changed the color palette,
choosing the mustard yellow and gray prints
from the fabulous Color Theory bundle.

This time the block-building process is a bit different.
I assembled the block using only squares
this time, and no triangles.

{It produced a bit of waste, but nothing to be alarmed about.}

I think you'll find it very easy to make
a pillow of your own from this new tutorial.
The finished size is about 15" square...
just right for an accent pillow.

Stick with me, friends...
the little grandbaby project is coming soon!

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