Big Block Quilts


Today I'm going to show some examples of a trend that is going around the Modern Quilting community that has become of interest to me and hopefully will be to you as well. That trend is Big Block Quilts. What I mean by Big Block Quilts is a quilt that is actually just a super enlarged version of one block. I love these quilts because they are usually super quick to make and most of the time make a great statement by highlighting the design and simplicity of a single block.

Here are a few examples I pulled from my Pinterest board:

Example 1 from Fabric Shack

Example 2 from drury girl

quilt 'O' big block

Example 3 from Fancy Tiger Crafts

Example 4 from pile of fabric

Example 5 from Taffy Talk

I think these are great ways to turn a classic block into a modern quilt that makes a bold statement. I think I will be trying more of these in the future! Do any of you have any favorite Big Block Quilts?

Saturday Series: Show us your space!

Welcome to the new Saturday Series, show us your space! I'll start things off by showing my sewing space. 

It's in the corner of our basement. It's nothing fancy - an old dining room table, a regular ironing board, plus a filing cabinet and a couple of plastic boxes for storage. I added a desk lamp from Ikea for more light - the overhead can lights are not nearly bright enough.

My sewing machine is in for a tune-up, which is why the table looks so empty (and the space looks so clean!). I took a (forced) break from sewing this weekend to clean up my workspace. It's not usually this neat. Under ordinary circumstances, there are piles of works-in-progress, spools of thread and patterns cluttering up the table. I'm hoping I can maintain this system (for a while, at least) after I get my machine back next week!

MMQG Mystery Quilt-along month #7

Hi again! It is Kristin from a little crispy and today is month #7 of the MMQG Mystery Quilt-along! If you are just joining us, check out the previous posts here.

As we go along, save your scraps and bits and pieces of fabric together. They might come in handy later in the mystery.

This month doesn't have very much to do, so I thought I would sneak in something a tiny bit harder... If this month's blocks are just too overwhelming, you can instead do four 6.5" (unfinished) pinwheel blocks, or any other similarly symmetric block.

So this month we are going to make four 6" finished "Whirligig" blocks. There are two different ways of making them--using templates or paper piecing them. Since nothing really has to line up, the template method is probably a little easier, faster, and less wasteful, but if you want to try or prefer paper piecing, I also created paper piecing foundations. If you are a beginner, please don't freak out. Both of these are pretty easy, I promise!

Below I only describe how to use templates. If you want to paper piece them, the other Kristin wrote a blog post about paper piecing last year that is a great start if you don't already know how.


If you want the pattern of the block to stand out, make sure that your Accent fabric contrasts well with your background fabric. Also, these are perfectly fine to make scrappy--make the whirligig blades different fabrics if you want.

First, print out the Templates PDF (1 copy). Make sure that your printer isn't scaling by confirming that the one inch block is in fact still one inch square. I printed mine on cardstock, but that is optional.

If you printed on plain copy paper, you can to reinforce your templates (not 100% necessary for making just 4 blocks, but makes cutting a little easier). Glue the piece of paper to a piece of cardboard (like a cereal or cracker box), or trace the template onto a piece of template plastic (available at Jo-Ann's in the Quilting area).

Cut out your templates carefully on the dashed lines.

You will need four pieces of fabric for each template per block, so 16 pieces per template total. I would suggest that you cut strips from your fabrics first, as follows:

Background: Cut one 3.5" x WOF strips for template piece A, and one 3" x WOF strip for template piece B.

Accent: Cut one 3" x WOF strip for template piece C.

On your cutting mat, stack no more than two layers of fabric at a time (both layers right sides up), place the template on the appropriate fabric right side up and cut around each side, including the odd little angles at the some of the corners. Make extra sure that your templates are right side up for every cut. You can rotate (don't flip!) the template back and forth, matching up the angle so you don't waste much fabric. You need to make sure everything is right side up or you will cut mirror images of some pieces, which won't work!

Assembly (make 16):

Take one B piece and one C piece and place them right sides together as shown below. On the templates the two edges that need to be lined up each have one dot.

Note carefully in the second shot how the seam is lined up. It is easiest to see how these pieces should line up using the templates. Note how the weird point on the top piece is lined up with the straight edge of the bottom piece. Sew along the matched edge. You can press this seam open or to the darker side. 

Take your A piece and place it right sides together with the BC piece as shown below, lining up the weird points as in the previous step. On the templates these edges have two dots. Sew along the matched edge. You can also press this seam open or to the darker side.

Continue by sewing four segments together to make a whirligig shape. Be careful that all the blades are facing the correct direction!

Don't forget, there are a few different ways you can share:

Instagram: use #mplsmqgmysteryquiltalong and then share to Flickr--

Flickr: upload to the group pool

Embed: your photo in each month's post! Here's how:

Your photo first has to be uploaded onto the internet somewhere--that could be your blog, or somewhere other than Instagram or Flickr. Then, in the comments section of the block post, type [img]http://your_photo_url.jpg[img]

Can't wait to see what you all do! See you again next month.

Saturday Series: Zipper Pouches

Hi! I'm Vanessa from Punkin Patterns.  I'm here to do another Saturday Series (techniques).  I'm going to talk a little about zipper pouches!

simple pouch, lottie da 4

From my experience, most quilters either love it OR are afraid of it, simply because they've never made one.  They are so simple and so easy.  I guarantee once you make one, you'll fall in love with them and make them to hold everything!

So there are two main differeneces in zipper pouches.
You can have fabric tabs on the ends of the zipper.

simple pouch, lottie da 3

simple pouch, lottie da 2

Or no tabs (just a zipper on top).

zipper detail on a pouch

First Aid Zip Pouch

Here is a link to two of my zipper pouches.  The one with the tabs (Simple Zippered Pouch) and the one without tabs (First Aid Zip Pouch).  The Simple Zippered Pouch tutorial also shows you how to make a boxed bottom.  Both pouch tutorials have lining inside the pouch.

zippered pouch button

Both are simple.  Once you master the two zipper approaches the options are endless. You can start making your own designs for the front and back and make them any size you want.  You can use solid pieces of fabric or use up small leftover quilt blocks and make them into a pouch.

If you're new to zipper pouches, give it a try!  I know you'll love making them!

(If you like those tutorials, stop by and take a look at some of my other tutorials.)

MarketPlace India quilt

Fabric for the MarketPlace India quilt was distributed at last week's guild meeting. Volunteers voted for a flying geese quilt, inspired by a Purl Bee quilt. 

Guidelines for blocks: 

  • Most blocks should contain a red or blue fabric. We have a lot of blue and red fabric, a fair amount of tan and purple, and small amounts of brown, black and green. 
  • Each volunteer needs to make 16 flying geese blocks. Finished blocks will be sewn together in sets:
    • (1) set of 2 geese
    • (2) sets of 4 geese
    • (1) set of 6 geese
    • Most geese in a set should be made of the same or similar fabric. For example: (1) set of 2 red geese with tan background, (1) set of 4 tan geese with blue background, (1) set of 4 black geese with blue background, (1) set of 6 blue geese, 5 with red backgrounds and 1 with tan background. 
  • Any extra fabric is yours to keep.
Here are my finished blocks:

To make the blocks:

  • Each block requires one 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and two matching 4 1/2" squares 
  • Cutting instructions:
    • For the set of 2 geese, cut:
      • (2) matching 8 x 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles
      • (4) matching 4 1/2" squares
    • For EACH set of 4 geese, cut:
      • (4) matching 8 x 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles
      • (8) matching 4 1/2" squares
    • For the set of 6 geese, cut: 
      • (6) matching 8 x 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles
      • (12) matching 4 1/2" squares
  • Sew the geese using the Purl Bee tutorial
  • Trim finished geese to 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" 
  • Sew your geese together into 4 sets:
    • (1) set of 2 geese
    • (2) sets of 4 geese
    • (1) set of 6 geese
  • Post pictures of your finished blocks online at our Flickr group or on Instagram, tagged with #mplsmqg

  • June 19 - fabric distributed at guild meeting
  • August 14 - finished blocks are due at guild meeting
  • September 18 - pieced top and back are due at guild meeting
  • October 16 - quilted top is due at guild meeting
  • October 31 - binding is finsihed, quilt is photographed and mailed to Marketplace India
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