Wednesday, June 29, 2016

101 Patchwork Patterns - Block 4


Have you done any hopping on the Row by Row Experience yet? It started last week. I went into a local shop on Sunday... and forgot to ask for their row pattern! At least it was a local shop (Portsmouth Fabric Company) and it will be easy to stop in there again. I went in specifically for some light batiks during their sale and forgot the row pattern, and bobbins for my home machine. Forgot the darn bobbins too! I never seem to have enough bobbins. If you are a lover of Kaffe Fassett fabric they have their 2015 row "Kaffe Sets Sail" available on their website and in the shop.

Our block this week is called Shoo Fly. I found information saying the block is from the first half of the 1800s but quilts made from it were usually 1875 or later on It is also called Hole in the Barn Door and frequently associated with the Amish.

Download the pdf pattern for Shoo Fly here.

Make half square triangle units:
This is the same process we started with last week. I am going to add some basic reference pages in the near future. The first time we use a unit in a block we'll cover it in detail. Subsequent appearances will be shorter and refer to the general instructions pages.

1. Draw a line on the wrong side of the lighter fabric, corner to corner.

2. Sew 1/4" from the drawn line on both sides of the line.

3. Cut on the drawn line and press open, towards the darker fabric.
Press towards green.

Make your rows:

4. Lay out the squares and half squares as shown in the block picture. Sew the rows together.
Clip the points as you sew the seams between pieces (shown by the arrow).

5. Sew the rows together into the block.

We have now completed 4 blocks of our quilt. I have gone through all 101 patterns and chosen blocks for the rest of the quilt. It will not include all 101 blocks. It will include optional applique blocks that can be used in place of a pieced block. Some quilters prefer not to do applique so I haven't made it mandatory. I am going to supply the border instructions soon so that you can start working on it if you wish to. I don't often do pieced borders and there are a lot of blocks in this one!

Here is where we are at with the completion of today's block:

Thanks for visiting. Do contact me if you have any questions about the blocks.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

101 Patchwork Patterns - Block 3

Today we are making block 3 of the 101 Patchwork Patterns quilt. This block is called a Churn Dash. It is also known by the name Monkey Wrench, and you will see variations in size and coloring. I can't find my copy of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns but I checked at and the earliest examples seem to be from the last quarter of the 19th century (1876-1900) with quite a few from the thirties era.

Churn Dash 

This is essentially another 9 patch block. You will see the term "grid" sometimes and it refers to the units that makes up a block. So for the Double Nine Patch last week, and the Churn Dash this week, the grid is an equal 9 patch. You can have unequal grids where the rows are not all the same size as well.

Download Block 3 pattern here. Follow the cutting instructions given. Below is a step by step with photos of how to assemble the block. 

1. Make half square triangle units:
Place the 3-7/8" purple and beige squares right sides together. On the wrong side of the beige 3-7/8" squares, draw a line from corner to corner.
Sew 1/4 inch from the drawn line using your 1/4 inch presser foot. If you don't have one, you can draw additional lines 1/4 inch away from the diagonal in both directions.
Sew 1/4 from the drawn line on the other side.
Cut the 2 sets in half on the drawn line. Press open towards the dark fabric. This will give you 4 half square triangle blocks that should measure 3-1/2".

2. Make side center units:
Sew the right sides of the white and purple strips together. Cross-cut at 3-1/2" (cut piece shown).
Press open towards the purple fabric.

3. Make the block:
Lay out the 8 sewn units with the 3-1/2" center square. Sew the parts of the rows together.
Sew the rows together.
As you sew seams, clip off the points that extend beyond the 1/4" seam allowance. I always wait to clip the points until I've sewn over the point, like shown here. I was taught that you didn't have to secure a seam if it was crossed by another seam, and that's what I wait for to trim the points.
More points to trim.
And here's a shot of the back of this block. With the row seam allowances pressed to the purple fabric everything lays flat. The only slightly bulky area is at the top of the points. If my light fabric wasn't so light I would have pressed the row seams towards the center. And even though the seam allowance would show through, there may be spots where it does need to be pressed that way. No one will notice but you! I know I'm super picky about my blocks and that I see things wrong that no one else does. Think about when you look at someone's finished quilt. Does your eye go straight to the one spot where the seam allowances were pressed to the lighter fabric and they show through a little? You see the overall design of the quilt, and it's beautiful!

Thanks for following along and making another block in the quilt. 

I have created a Flikr Group for sharing photos of our blocks. You can view blocks at If you want to add your blocks to the group album you need to have a Flikr account (it's free).


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Row by Row Experience starts today!

This year's Row by Row Experience runs from today, June 21st through September 6. I'm looking forward to going out shop hopping this summer and collecting row patterns. Of course, I have a project box that contain kits and patterns from last summer that I haven't finished. I plan to only collect patterns this year. I'm sure I won't be able to resist a few kits but I'm really going to try not to give in. I wrote the patterns for Seacoast Sewing and Quilting in Portsmouth, NH and Biddeford, ME.

Since my husband passed away in April I've been trying to sort through things and start to downsize. I don't need this big house all to myself, and I won't be able to afford it indefinitely. The biggest problem is we're the third generation to live in the house and no one ever threw anything out. I mean it. Newspapers from 1916 are in the drawer of the secretary. There is a built in cupboard in the dining room with glass doors, and on top of Mark's grandparent's wedding china are obituaries clipped from the newspaper going back 100 years. His grandparents were married on June 28, 1916 and lived here for the rest of their days. Mark's mother never lived anywhere else. And we were married on June 28, 2000, so that tells you how important family history was to Mark. Does that give you an idea of what I am sorting through?

I have fabric and kits left over from Little Lamb Quilt Shop in Barrington, NH, that I owned from 2004 - 2011. I'm going to be listing things on eBay and I'll share links when I do. We ran a Thimbleberries Club from 2005-2011 so I have a lot of Thimbleberries fabric. In the last few years I've begun to collect batiks and the modern prints and colors available now. I remember fabric reps showing modern fabric lines to me the last couple years before we closed and I didn't like them at the time. Now I love them! Oh well, tastes change, and mine has. And some people are going to get good deals.

I'll be back tomorrow with the next block in our 101 Patchwork Patterns quilt. I still haven't found my thirties fat quarter collection so I'm continuing to make the blocks with batiks.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

101 Patchwork Patterns - Block 2

Today I am sharing block 2 of the 101 Patchwork Patterns quilt we are making. I was late starting so I may do a couple blocks a week for a bit since they start out fairly easy. Today we are making a double 9 patch block. This block can be made in difference ways.
This is what I think of when I hear the name Double Nine Patch, where each colored patch of the block is replaced with a nine patch. Ruby's version is a bit simpler.

This is a quick and easy block to make. I probably should have started with this rather than Burgoyne Quilt block last week. It wasn't hard, as much as it was large and involved. Oh well, on to this one.

1. Make small center Nine Patch Unit:
I always lay out my pieces before I sew. If you look close you can see I chain pieced these and the connecting threads have been cut. I sew the left and center squares together for each row. Then remove the piece from the machine and starting at the top, add the right square to each row. Cut the threads connecting the rows, and sew the rows together. 

2. Make block:
Repeat the process used to make the small nine patch and construct the block.

Here is where we are at on the quilt.  Please contact me if you have any questions. I'd love feedback on whether the photos are helpful or if you just follow the written pattern? 

I'm going to write the border instructions soon so that you can be working on it. I've drawn it using one color but it would look great done in scraps from each of the blocks as we go along. The border contains 80 zigzag blocks and 4 corner blocks.

Have a great week,

Thursday, June 9, 2016

101 Patchwork Patterns - Block 1

Welcome to block 1 of the Ruby Short McKim’s 101 Patchwork Patterns quilt. We will not be doing all 101 blocks. The quilt will feature 70 blocks and we are starting in the middle. There is a very nice example of a quilt at the Michigan State University Museum. They also host the Quilt Index that is a fabulous resource for anyone interested in quilts. There are over 75,000 quilts in the database and it is searchable in various ways. State Quilt Documentation Projects, Museums, private collections and other quilts have been added with photos and documentation. Take a look around and you’ll be amazed at this resource.

The block we are making this week is an easy one to start with. The pieces are all squares and rectangles. The pattern is available as a pdf for you to download. The following brief tutorial shows some of the steps to assemble the block. While this is a beginning level block I have not written basics such as rotary cutting and strip piecing. There are lots of websites with this kind of information available. Several that I find helpful:

and of course there is YouTube. If you are better seeing a demonstration than following written instructions there are hundreds of beginner quilting videos to choose from.

Now, for the block Burgoyne’s Quilt or Burgoyne Surrounded Tutorial.

NOTE: If you are working with fat quarters you will need to cut enough strips to measure the length indicated in the cutting instructions. Fabric yardage is approximately 40” to 44” wide and fat quarters measure 18” x 20 to 22”. I’ve given the total length of strips needed. 

1. Make 4, 4-Patch units:
To begin, take a 1-1/2” x 6-1/2” background strip and a 1-1/2” x 6-1/2” yellow strip and sew them together using a 1/4" seam allowance. Make 2.
Press the strips to set the seam.
Press the strip set open with the seam allowance towards the darker fabric.
Place the strip sets right sides together with the colors reversed (shown above offset to show colors).

With the strip sets even, trim a straight edge while lining up the ruler marking with the sewn line.
Turn the strip set half way around so that the trimmed edge is on the left. Cross cut at 1-1/2” increments. I add up the total needed and start there. For this specific situation we need to cross cut 4 sets 1-1/2” wide. So I place the ruler with the 6” mark on the left had trimmed edge, cross cut, slide the ruler to 4-1/2”, cross cut, slide to 3”, cross cut and you’re done.
I use Elmer’s school glue to glue baste my pieces, rather than using pins or nothing.
(tip shown came in a package of 2 from
I put a very little bit of glue in the seam allowance, place pieces together and press for 15 seconds.
The iron sets the glue but you can pull it apart if needed. I open and check the center alignment.
Next, sew the pairs together along the glue basted edge. No pins to pull and nothing shifts.
From the wrong side, give the center intersection a little tug. 
The spot where the seams come together will form a pinwheel. Press flat. No more lumps in the middle!

2. Make 4, 9-Patch units:
Sew 2 strip sets as shown. Strips are Yellow/White/Blue 12-1/2” long and White/Blue/White 6-1/2” long.
Cross cut 8 Yellow/White/Blue pieces at 1-1/2”.
Cross cut 8 Yellow/White/Blue pieces at 1-1/2”.
Cross cut 4 White/Blue/White pieces at 1-1/2”.
Sew units into 9 patch blocks as shown.

3. Make 4, Center Edge Units:
Sew 1-1/2” x 27” blue and white strips together.
(sorry, forgot photos)
Cross cut strip set at 2-1/2” to yield 8 units.
Cross cut remaining strip set at 1-1/2” to yield 4 units.
Assemble as shown to create 4 center edge units.

4. Make Units:
Make 4 corner units:
Add a 2-1/2” x 3-1/2” background rectangle to the 4 patch made in Step 1.
Add a 2-1/2 x 3-1/2” background rectangle to the 9 patch made in Step 2.
Make 4 side units:
Using the center edge units made in step 3, add a 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” background rectangle to the pieced unit.
Using 4, 2-1/2” yellow squares (E) and 2, 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” background pieces (C) and a 1-1/2” x 5-1/2” background piece (F), make the center unit for the block.

5. Make Block

Using the 9 units created in the previous steps, layout your block and sew it together. Be sure you have the units rotated the right way – I did not on the first try!


Thank you for visiting and I hope you will make this block. Please contact me if you have any questions.