spool-along: block 12

spool-along-block-12 We’ve finally made it all the way to block 12. Congrats to those of you who’ve been spooling around from the very start and welcome to those who have recently joined us! I hope that all of you have been having fun with these blocks.

It’s only fitting that for summertime we have an easy-peazy ice cold lemonade squeezy block. Like a beachy summer novel, nothing too complex or strenuous.

Take a look at the finished block on the right. Although there are snowball corners on the spool ends, there are no points to match up or sharp triangle tips to worry about chopping off!

Stay tuned and later on in the summer I’ll give you some tips for arranging your spool blocks. Don’t look for them on July 10, though. Between now and then I will regrettably be away from my trusty sewing machine and won’t have a chance to stitch up any Spool-Along quilt tops for your viewing pleasure.

Here’s a peek at one of the tops that I’ve started:

spool-along-top-preview

hexies Although I won’t be machine piecing, I will however, be spending some quality time with my EPP (English paper piecing) 1/2″ hexagons. And if I find a decent internet connection along the way, I promise you some Muse Monday inspiration and a travelling hexie update.

Anyways, enough about me. What about you? Are any of you as hooked on EPP hexies as I am? How long have you been spooling along? What’s your summer quilt project? Please share. :)

Without further ado, here’s your last Spool-Along block. Enjoy!

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spool-along block 12

Block size 5-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(5″ x 12″ finished)

Cut the following:

background fabric
(2) 1-1/2″ x 9″ pieces
(2) 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ pieces
(4) 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ piece

spool fabric
(2) 5-1/2″ x 1-3/4″ pieces

thread fabric (stripes)
(1) 3-1/2″ x 9″ piece
(make sure the strips are going across the short side of the rectangle as shown in the finished block)

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together)

spool-along-block-12-pic-1

1). Sew a 1-1/2” x 9” background piece to each 9” side of the 3-1/2” x 9” thread piece. Press toward the thread fabric.

2). Mark a 45 degree diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the 1-1/4” x 1-1/4” background squares.

3). Place the marked 1-1/4“ x 1-1/4” background squares on top of the 5-1/2” x 1-3/4”  spool fabric pieces as shown, then stitch on the diagonal lines.

4). Press all background squares toward the corners as shown. If desired, trim away excess fabric behind the top layer to reduce bulk, leaving a scant 1/4” allowance..

5). Sew the 5-1/2” x 1-1/2” background fabric piece to one of the spool-triangle units as shown so that the background piece is on the top and the triangles are on the bottom. Press toward the spool fabric.

spool-along-block-12-pic-2

6). Sew the thread-background unit to the remaining spool-triangle unit as shown so that the thread-background unit is on the top and the 5-1/2” side without triangles is on the bottom. Press open.

 7). Sew the two units together as shown to create the spool block with the background piece at the top and the spool at the bottom. Press open.

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{Shared at: Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social, Nini & the Sea’s Weekly Inspiration Linky Party}

spool-along: block 11

Spool-Along blog button Congrats to our Fat Quarter Shop winner, Cecilia Y!

Can you believe we’re already up to block 11? I hope you’ve been having as much fun as I have!

If you’d like to share the Spool-Along love on your blog, I have a button for you. The code is in the sidebar.

This month’s block is simple, quick, and easy. I’ve chosen some sunshiny spring colors for mine.

block11 spool-along block 11
Block size 5-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(5″ x 12″ finished)

Cut the following:

background fabric
(2) 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ pieces
(2) 2-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ pieces
(1) 5-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ piece

spool fabric
(1) 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ piece
(1) 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ square

thread fabric (stripes)
(1) 3-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ piece
(make sure the strips are going across the short side of the rectangle as shown on the right)

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together)

Spool-Along block 11 steps

1). Sew a 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ background fabric to each 7-1/2″ side of the thread fabric to make a 5-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ unit as shown above left.

2). Sew a 2-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ background fabric to the left and right sides of the 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ spool fabric to make a 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ unit as shown above left.

3). Press seam allowances on both units toward the center fabric.

4). Sew the 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ spool fabric to the bottom of the 5-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ background-thread unit to make a 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ bottom unit as shown above middle.

5). Sew the 5-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ background fabric to the top of the 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ background-spool unit to make a 5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ top unit as shown above middle.

6). Press seam allowances away from the pieced units.

 7). Sew the top unit to the bottom unit to complete the 5-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (5″ x 12″ finished) block as shown above right.

 8). Press the seam allowance open to reduce bulk or to either side as desired.

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How about you? Do you find yourself drawn to different color palettes as the seasons change?

spool-along: block 10 {+ a giveaway!}

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

Let’s sew a rainbow … spool of thread that is. Time to dig in your stash and find seven delightful colors to use in a rainbow spool of thread block. And just for good measure, since we’re already doing all that cutting and sewing, we might as well make it a double rainbow–one block for you and one for a good quilt-y friend. Fat Quarter Shop

In case you can’t find all the colors of the rainbow in your stash, Fat Quarter Shop is generously donating a $15 gift certificate to one lucky reader to help top up her (or his) stash. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out how to enter for your chances to win.

Although this block is all straight lines and half-square triangles, it does require a bit of extra attention to accuracy. If your 1/4″ seam is off by just 1/32″, you probably won’t notice much of a problem after one or two seams. It only takes eight seams however, each being off by 1/32″ to create a 1/4″ difference between a pieced unit and a single cut of fabric. So consider this block good 1/4″ accuracy practice. The C&T Publishing blog has some good tips for how to sew a perfect 1/4″ seam.

spool-along block 10
Spool-Along block 10 Makes 2 blocks
Block size 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(6″ x 12″ finished)

Cut the following:

background fabric
(1) 3-1/2″ x 14″ strip
(4) 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ strips
(1) 4″ x 4″ square

spool fabric
(4) 1-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles
(1) 4″ x 4″ square

thread fabric
(7) different 1-1/2″ x 10″ strips

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together)

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

1). On the reverse side of the background fabric square, mark a diagonal line from top left to bottom right corners and from bottom left to top right corners, making an X (gray lines, shown above). Layer the spool fabric square and the background fabric square right sides together. Sew 1/4″ from each side of both diagonal lines (green lines, shown above).

2). Cut sewn 4″ squares down the middle from top to bottom and from left to right to make four 2″ squares. Cut along the diagonal lines to make eight half-square triangle (HST) units. Note: The photos show the cut pieces separated from each other. This is for demonstration of the cuts you will need to make. If you are careful and do not move the fabric between cuts, it will take only four cuts to separate all eight HST units. 

3). Press the seam allowances toward the darker spool fabric. Then trim all the HST units down to 1-1/2″  x 1-1/2″ as shown above.

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

4). Sew a HST unit to each 1-1/2″ side of the four 1-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles as shown above. Take care to line them up facing the right direction to create the spool shape as shown. Note: It’s easier than you think to turn one the wrong way, so “check twice, sew once.” Press seam allowances towards the center spool fabric rectangle.

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

5). Arrange the thread fabric strips to your liking, then sew piece #1 to #2, #3 to #4, and #5 to #6. Press seam allowances open or to either side as desired. I like the look of pressed open seams for this part. Then sew unit #1-2 to unit #3-4, and unit #5-6 to piece #7. Press seam allowances open or as desired. Finally sew unit #1-2-3-4 to unit #5-6-7 and press seam allowances open or as desired.

6). Cut unit #1-2-3-4-5-6-7 into two 4-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ thread units as shown above.

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

 7). Sew a 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ background fabric strip to each 7-1/2″ side of the thread units. It is helpful to pin generously as the pieced unit tends to stretch differently than the single strip of fabric. Press seam allowances towards the background fabric.

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

 8). Sew a spool-background unit to the top and to the bottom of each of the thread-background units as shown. Nestle the opposing seams together and pin just before and after the seam intersection to hold those corners accurately in place. Note: Double check for correct placement before sewing these units together. Press seam allowances towards the thread-background unit or as desired.

Spool-Along block 10 tutorial

 9). Sew the top of the two spools to the 3-1/2″ x 13-1/2″ strip as shown above. Sew the first spool to the strip. Don’t take the fabric out from your machine, just leave a little space (1/4″ – 1/2″) in between, then line up and sew the next spool to the strip. Press the seam allowances open or as desired, then cut the two blocks apart, trimming them down to their final size of 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ each.

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Timeless Treasures' Rainbow Tonga Batiks from Fat Quarter Shop

These yummy Timeless Treasures’ Rainbow Tonga Batiks would make a delicious rainbow thread block. Available at Fat Quarter Shop in bundles and by the yard.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

One person will win a $15 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop.

Tell us your favorite type of fabric to sew a rainbow from and then follow the directions to enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. If you’re having trouble deciding on rainbow fabrics, visit Fat Quarter Shop’s website. They have some gorgeous colorful fabric to choose from!

Get bonus entries by making Spool-Along blocks and posting them online, subscribing to my blog, or following Fat Quarter Shop or myself on Facebook and Twitter. (If you’re on mobile and the widget doesn’t show up, click on the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link.) The last day to enter is Monday, April 21, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Giveaway has ended. Thanks to all who entered! Entry #50, Cecilia Y. is the winner.

Happy sewing!

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{Shared at: Richard and Tanya Quilts’ Link a Finish Friday}

spool-along: block 9

3block9

It happens to the best of quilters, we’re happily stitching along when all of a sudden… instead of sewing, the needle is punching holes in our fabric in vain. And another spool of thread gone forever.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Laugh because of all the quilts that were made. This month’s block celebrates all those empty spools we’ve known and loved.

 

1-block-9 spool-along block 9
Block size 4-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(4″ x 12″ finished)

Cut the following:

background fabric
(2) 1-3/4″ x 7-1/2″ rectangles
(1) 4-1/2″ x 4″ rectangle

spool fabric
(1) 2″ x 7-1/2″ rectangle
(2) 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ rectangles

thread fabric
(0) None. We’re outta thread in this block!*

*If you can’t bear to sew an empty spool block, replace the center 2-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ spool rectangle with a striped thread fabric like in the block above left, or scroll down for the foundation paper-pieced “almost out” block. Or why not make all 3 variations!

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together)

block9-steps 1). Sew a 1-3/4″ x 7-1/2″ background fabric rectangle to each side of the 2″ x 7-1/2″ spool fabric rectangle to make a unit 4-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ as shown. Press seam allowances toward the spool fabric.

2). Sew a 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool fabric rectangle to the bottom of the Step 1 unit and the remaining 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool fabric rectangle to the bottom of the 4-1/2″ x 4″ rectangle as shown. Press seam allowances toward the spool fabric.

3). Sew the two Step 2 units together as shown in the completed block. Press seam allowances toward the spool fabric.

 

2-block-9 foundation paper-pieced variation: almost out

To make the center 2″ x 7-1/2″ spool-with-a-little-thread unit you’ll need:

spool fabric
(1) 2-1/2″ x 9″ rectangle

thread fabric
(1) 2-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle striped fabric with the stripes going across the short side from left to right

paper-foundation pattern (PDF, click here to download)
Note: The PDF includes the original and a reversed pattern. The original is shown in the tutorial photos.

1). Place the 2-1/2″ x 9″ spool fabric rectangle right side down and place the paper-pieced pattern on top with the 1/4″ dashed line aligned as shown in picture 1.

2). Fold the paper pattern on the dashed line between 1 and 2 and line up a ruler 1/4″ beyond the folded line and trim as shown in picture 2.

v-photo-01-02

3). Repeat Step 2 on the other 2-1/2″ end of the spool fabric, right side down. You will end up with a piece like the one shown in picture 3.

4). Place the 2-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ thread fabric piece right side up underneath the spool fabric, lining up one of its 2-1/2″ ends with one of the trimmed diagonal ends of the spool fabric as shown in picture 4.

v-photo-03-04

5). Place the folded paper pattern on top of the fabric stack as shown in picture 5, with Section 1 on the fabric, 1/4″ extending beyond the folded paper line. Section 1 should be centered between the edges of the fabric.

6). Carefully open up the paper pattern without shifting the fabric and pin Section 1 through both layers as shown in picture 6. The fabric should be right sides together, thread fabric on bottom. The short edges aligned 1/4″ beyond the line between Section 1 and 2, and Section 1 should be centered from side to side on the spool fabric. The thread fabric should be angled out from the pattern and spool fabric as shown.

Using a short stitch length to perforate the paper, sew on the line between Section 1 and 2.

v-photo-05-06

7). When you unfold the fabric after sewing, the spool fabric will be covering Section 1 and the thread fabric will be covering section 2 as shown in picture 7.

Turn the piece over so the paper is on bottom and the fabric is on top. Place a piece of scrap fabric underneath (Toner-based printing will transfer with heat, so you will want to protect your ironing surface if you printed the pattern with toner). With a dry iron, gently press the fabric open.

8). Trim the excess spool fabric even with the paper pattern as shown in picture 8. There will be 1/4″ or so of fabric on both long sides of the pattern. Leave that to be trimmed at the end.

9). Fold the pattern back over on the dashed line between Section 1 and 2. Trim off the excess thread fabric as shown in picture 9, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance over the folded line.

v-photo-07-09

Picture 10 and picture 11 show what the front and the back of the unit looks like so far. Notice the direction of the prints: the spool fabric grain aligns with the pattern rectangle and the thread fabric is on a diagonal. As you continue to sew more fabric to the pattern, the spool fabric will be in the odd-numbered sections and its grain should continue to be aligned straight up and down. The thread fabric in the even-numbered sections will follow the diagonal lines marked on the pattern.

vphoto-10-11

10). Place the paper pattern printed side down/fabric side up. Align the second angled edge of the spool fabric that you cut in Steps 2-3 right side down, along the trimmed edge of the thread fabric on the pattern as shown in picture 12Picture 13 shows the view with the paper side up. There will be 1/4″ of fabric over the dashed line between Section 2 and 3 on the Section 3 side.

Notice the intersection that the yellow arrow is pointing at. The corner of the spool fabric should be extending about 1/8″ (or less) past the paper pattern. Do not center the spool fabric over the paper pattern. If you look at the paper side in picture 13, the edge of the spool fabric is extending 1/8″ from the shortest side of of Section 3 and there is more fabric extending past the opposite side of Section 3.

11). Pin the fabric to the paper pattern as shown in picture 13 and sew on the dashed line between Sections 2 and 3 with a short stitch length.

v-photo-12-13

12). Open up the fabric and press with a dry iron. The back and front of the unit at this point is shown in picture 14 and picture 15. Fold back the paper pattern on the line between Section 2 and 3. Then trim the excess spool fabric 1/4″ away from the folded pattern as shown in picture 16.

v-photo-14-16

13). Line up the thread fabric right side down along the cut edge of the spool fabric on the paper pattern as shown in picture 17. Center the thread fabric with about equal excess fabric on either side of the paper pattern as shown in picture 17.

Pin the fabric to the paper pattern as shown in picture 18 and sew on the line between Sections 3 and 4 with a short stitch length.

v-photo-17-18

14). Open the fabric up and press with a dry iron as shown in picture 19. The reverse side is shown in picture 20.

v-photo-19-20

15). Fold the paper pattern on the line between Section 4 and 5, then trim the excess thread fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance as in Step 9.

Picture 21 shows the progress so far. Notice the spool fabric straight grain is still aligned with the pattern rectangle and the thread fabric grain is following the diagonal of the pattern lines.

vphoto-21-23

16). Place the cut diagonal edge of the spool fabric face down along the cut edge of the thread fabric as shown in picture 22 and picture 23. The fabric will be 1/4″ over the dashed line between Sections 4 and 5. Align the fabric’s corner 1/8″ away from the shortest side of Section 5 like you did with the spool fabric in Steps 10-11.

Sew on the dashed line between Sections 4 and 5 with a short stitch length. Press and trim excess fabric with a 1/4″ seam allowance as before.

v-photo-24-26

17). Continue sewing fabric to the paper pattern until all eleven pieces are filled, picture 24 and picture 25. Alternate thread fabric in the even sections and spool fabric in the odd sections. Center the thread fabric and align the spool fabric 1/8″ away from the short side of the sections.

18). Trim the excess fabric along the remaining 3 outer edges of the paper pattern, picture 26. Carefully tear off the paper pattern from the back of the unit. Follow Block 9′s Steps 1-3 to assemble the block, using this foundation paper-pieced unit in place of the 2″ x 7-1/2″ spool fabric rectangle.

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Do you cry for your empty spools or celebrate all the stitches you’ve sewn? Share your story.

P.S. If you’re making blocks for a swap or exchange, you can use the assembly line technique shown in the Spool-Along block 1 tutorial to make 4 identical block 9s, but cut the strips as follows: the first spool (thread) strip at 2″ x 32″, the pair of spool strips for the top and bottom at 1-1/4″ x 20″ each, the pair of side background strips at 1-3/4″ x 32″, and the top background strip at 4″ x 20″.

Happy sewing!

spool-along: block 8

block8 Ready for something a little different? We’re going to take a break from stripes and show a little spool block love to the other fabric in our stash. I’m feeling a vintage vibe so I chose a charming 30s repro from Quilt Gate as the inspiration for this spool’s color palette.

Remember, no stripes this time. Non-directional designs are best for this block, but they don’t have to be vintage: polka dots, small-scale tossed prints, solids, blenders, batiks will all work just fine.

One of the blocks will have half-square triangle pieced corners where the background and spool fabric meet. Small-scale and low-contrast prints hide this extra piecing quite well as you can see in the block at right. Large, multi-color prints make the pieced corners more noticeable.

You’ll need two different thread fabrics: one lighter and one darker. The red roses in my light green thread fabric echo the red in the spool and suggest a spool that’s running out of thread.

Like the traditional half-square triangle technique where you draw a diagonal line, sew 1/4″ down both sides and cut on the line, this will give you two blocks in one. One to keep and one to share! If you’re swapping blocks and need more than two, just cut, sew, repeat!

spool-along block 8
Makes 2 blocks
Block size 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(6″ x 12″ finished)

Cut the following:

background fabric
(1) 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ square
(2) 2-1/8″ x 7-1/2″ rectangles*
(2) 2-1/8″ x 4-1/4″ rectangles*

spool fabric
(2) 2-1/8″ x 7-1/2″ rectangles*
(2) 2-1/8″ x 4-1/4″ rectangles*

thread fabric
(2) different 4-1/4″ x 4-1/4″ squares

* note: If you’re confident in your piecing skills and would like to skip the squaring up step at the end, cut the background and spool rectangles at  2″ x 7-1/4″ and  2″ x 4-1/4″. I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate the test blocks came out without any squaring up.

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together.)

1). Sew the 4-1/4″ spool fabric rectangles to the lighter thread fabric square, one on each side as shown below left.  Press seam allowances toward the spool fabric.

Sew the 4-1/4″ background fabric rectangles to the darker thread fabric square, one on each side as shown below left. Press seam allowances toward the darker thread fabric.

block8step1

2). Sew the remaining spool fabric rectangles to the spool-lighter thread unit, one on each remaining side as shown above right.  Press seam allowances toward the spool fabric.

Sew the remaining background fabric rectangles to the background-darker thread unit, one on each remaining side as shown above right. Press seam allowances toward the darker thread fabric.

3). Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of one of the square units as shown below, top left. The line should go from corner to corner and through the seam intersections as shown. Place the two square units right sides together with the seams nestled together. All of the seams should be pressed in opposite directions. The opposing seams will hold the two blocks together in place as you sew. Having so many locking seams prevents shifting very well. I found that pinning did not make any difference in accuracy for me, but if it makes you happy, place a pin on some of the seams.

Sew 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line as shown below, top right. Slow down when you come to the intersections where the fabric is thicker and hold the blocks in place so your stitches stay 1/4″ away from the line. The thick seam intersections tend to push you off course if you’re not careful. (Always be cautious to keep your fingers out of the way of the needle.)

block8step2

4). Cut the two units apart on the drawn line as shown above, bottom left. Press seam allowances toward the background-darker thread side on both units. You’ll end up with two units like the one shown above, bottom right.

5). Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of one of the units as shown below, top left. The line should go from corner to corner and through the seam intersections like you did for the line in step 3. Place the two units right sides together with the seams nestled together. When lined up correctly, the rabbit ears sticking out will cross each other as shown below, top left. All of the seams should be pressed in opposite directions and nestled together as in step 3.

Sew 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line as shown below, top right. Like in step 3, slow down when you come to the intersections where the fabric is thicker and hold the blocks in place so your stitches stay 1/4″ away from the line, being cautious to keep your fingers out of the way of the needle.

block8step3

6). Cut the two units apart on the drawn line as shown above, bottom left. Press seam allowances in either direction or open as desired. You’ll end up with two units like the one shown above, bottom right.

7). Square up the units and trim them down to 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″. The background and spool strips should measure 1-3/4″ wide. Line up the 45° diagonal line on your ruler with the diagonal seams in your block when trimming for the most accurate cuts.

block8step4

8). Sew a 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ background fabric square to the top of each trimmed spool unit. Press seam allowances in either direction or open as desired.

block8step5

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Happy Quilting! I can’t wait to see your blocks and what fabrics you choose! Leave a comment and share a link to a pic of your block.

spool-along: block 7

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

We’re up to block seven, I can’t believe it! Are you up for a new technique? We’ve been there and done that with snowball corners so let’s try something a little different.

Something biased.

But just a little bit biased, so don’t run away screaming just yet. I promise, it will be fun.

The tutorial is for a single block, assembled like a 9-patch and there’s a nifty little trick to make all four half-square triangles at once. So for those of you making more than one block, they’ll sew up really quickly.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva I’m feeling patriotic today so I’m going to make my blocks in red, white, and blue.

spool-along block 7
Block size 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
(6″ x 12″ finished).

Cut the following:

background fabric
(1) 5-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangle
(2) 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ rectangles
(1) 2-3/4″ x 2-3/4″ square

spool fabric
(2) 4-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ rectangles
(1) 2-3/4″ x 2-3/4″ square

thread fabric
(1) 4-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle
Note: If using striped fabric, make sure the stripes are going left to right as shown on this block (not up and down). —–>

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together.)

1). Place the 2-3/4″ background and spool squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all four edges as shown below.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

2). Cut diagonally right through the seam intersections in both directions as shown below to make four half-square triangle (HST) units.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

3). Open the HST units and press with the seam allowances toward the spool fabric as shown below. You have probably noticed that the bias is now on the outside edges. Oh, oh! Press carefully, lifting the iron up and down, not side to side and every random direction, and you’ll be just fine when it comes to sewing your block together. It’s only a little bit of bias. (And you get four at once with no marking!) If the thought of any amount of exposed bias still makes you nervous, that’s OK, you can use a little starch to help it behave. Trim off the excess fabric and the rabbit ears to make them 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ squares.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

4). Sew a HST unit to each 1-1/2″ side of both of the 4-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ spool rectangles as shown below. Be careful to sew the HST units turned in the correct direction as shown below to make the spool shape. It’s easy to make all kinds of wrong shapes at this point if you’re not paying attention. Ask me how I know. ;-)

5). Sew a 5-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ background rectangle to each of the 5-1/2″ sides of the 4-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ thread rectangle as shown below.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

6). Press the seam allowances on the spool rows toward the HST units and press the seam allowances on the thread row toward the thread fabric.

7). Sew one of the spool rows to the bottom of the thread row and the other spool row to the bottom of the 5-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ background rectangle. Double check that the spool row is facing the correct direction before you sew. Press the rows’ seam allowances in either direction as desired.

8). Sew the thread-spool unit to the bottom of the background-spool unit as shown in the finished block. Press seam allowances in either direction as desired.

Spool-Along with Adventures of a Quilting Diva

Tip: To make sure you have perfect corner intersections, nestle the seam allowances together carefully and then pin just before and after the intersection. Sew a few long stitches between the pins and open the block up to check. If you’re satisfied with how the corner turned out, set your machine stitch length back to normal and sew the entire length of the seam. If the corner isn’t as perfect as you’d like, pick out the long stitches and try again.

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So how was it? Not too bad I hope. :) Happy Quilting!

spool-along block 6

Spool-Along block 6 banner

Spool-Along block 6 Are we having fun yet? We’re going to shake things up a bit this month and make a block with not one, but two mini spools. So dig into your fabric stash for some fabulous scraps and let’s get started!

Tip: Have any unfinished projects you can incorporate into your spool blocks? This little applique flower may have started out as a class demo but makes a marvelous appliqued embellishment on one of my mini spools.

Tip: Have any unfinished projects you can incorporate into your spool blocks? This little applique flower may have started out as a class demo but makes a marvelous appliqued embellishment on one of my mini spools.

Of course stripes are always a fine choice for Spool-Along blocks, but you could also try throwing in a few favorite prints of other types. If you have enough stripes, the others will still read as thread just fine. See below. One of my favorite spools is that clamshell print on the left.

Spool-Along block 6

Let’s get started. If you’ve been spooling along you know the drill. Below is the tutorial for one block. Scroll a little further for the four-block tutorial if you’re swapping Spool-Along blocks or just want to make a bunch of them.

Block size is 5-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (5″ x 12″ finished).

To make one block:

Cut the following:

  • (2) 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ fabric for “thread” – 2 different fabrics
  • (4) 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ fabric for “spools” – 2 each of 2 different fabrics
  • (1) 5-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ background fabric
  • (4) 1″ x 3-1/2″ background fabric
  • (2) 1-1/2″ x 5″ background fabric

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together.)

1). Sew a 1″ x 3-1/2″ background fabric piece to the left and right sides of each of the 3-1/2″ thread fabric squares. Press toward the thread fabric. (below left)

2). Sew a 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool fabric piece to the top and the bottom of each of the thread-background units. Press toward the spool fabric. (below right)

Spool-Along block 6

3). Sew a 1-1/2″ x 5″ background fabric piece to each of the thread-background-spool units. Sew one on the left and one on the right. Press toward the spool fabric. (pic below, top left)

Note: If your thread fabric has a definite top and bottom, make sure to place the background fabric piece on the side that you desire. In the pic below, top right, I wanted the clamshells to be upright and the flower to be in the upper part of the square so I had to make sure that I was sewing the background piece on the side I needed it to be on.

block6-2a

4). Sew the two units one on top of the other. Either block can be on top. Press in either direction as desired. (pic above, bottom left)

5). Sew the 5-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ background fabric piece to the top of the spool stack. Press in either direction as desired. (pic above, bottom right)

 

To make four blocks:

Cut the following:

  • (8) 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ fabric for “thread” – 8 different fabrics
  • (16) 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ fabric for “spools” – 2 each of 8 different fabrics
  • (1) 3-1/2″ x 25″ strip – background fabric
  • (2) 1″ x 29″ strips – background fabric
  • (2) 1-1/2″ x 21″ strips background fabric (If your fabric is 41″ wide you can fit them all on one width-of-fabric strip.)

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″, sew right sides together.)

1). Sew the eight 3-1/2″ thread fabric squares to one of the 1″ x 29″ background fabric strips.  Stripes should be perpendicular to the strip. Place the strip right side up and line up the first square right side down along the edge and sew. When you come to the end of one square, stop sewing and place the next square with about 1/2″ between it and the first square. (below left) Repeat until you have sewn all eight squares to the strip.

2). Sew the other side of the eight 3-1/2″ thread fabric squares to the remaining 1″ x 29″ background fabric strip as shown below right. Place the strip right side up and line up the squares right side down along the edge and sew as in step one

Spool-Along block 6

3). Cut the strips in between the eight 3-1/2″ thread fabric squares (below left), press towards the thread fabric, and trim strips even with the thread fabric (below right).

block 6

4). Sew a pair of 4-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool fabric pieces to each of the eight thread-background units, one on the top and one on the bottom as shown in the pic below. Press toward the spool fabric.

block6-3b

5). Sew the thread-background-spool units to the 1-1/2″ background strip(s), using the same technique as in step one. spool fabric pieces to each of the eight thread-background units, one on the top and one on the bottom. (pic below, top)

On four of the blocks, sew the strip to the left side and on the other four, sew the strip to the right side.

Note: If you sew the thread-background-spool unit to the strip top first as in pic below, top, the strip will be on the left and the block will be on the right. See pic below, bottom. If you sew the unit bottom first, the strip will be on the right and the block will be on the left.

Cut the strip in between the units, press toward either side as desired, and trim each strip even with the top and bottom of the unit. (pic below, bottom)

block6-4b

6). Sew a left spool unit and a right spool unit to each other, one on top of the other. Either one can be on top. Repeat with the three remaining pairs of left and right spool units. Press in either direction as desired. (below left)

7). Sew the top of the four two-spool units to the 3-1/2″ background fabric strip using the same technique as in step one. Cut apart, trim, and then press in either direction as desired. (below right)

block6-5b

And that’s all she wrote. Until next time, that is…

spool-along block 5

Congratulations to Mary F. and Brenda G., the lucky winners of the Aurifil thread drawings! I hope you’re just as inspired by the beautiful Aurifil thread as I am!

FBspoolalonggroupcover photo-web Our shelf of thread is getting full and this month’s spool is tipping over! This block has a foundation paper-pieced center that is quick and easy, a great introduction to foundation paper-piecing. Or if you prefer, cut the thread fabric from a single rectangle of striped fabric.

Click here to download the full-size foundation paper-piecing pattern. The pattern fit 3 times on one page. If you’re making more than 3 blocks for a block exchange, you’ll have to print more copies.

Block size:
8-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (8″ x 12″ finished).

You’ll need…

Thread fabric:
(1) 3-3/4″ x 6″ rectangle A*
(1) 3-3/4″ x 6″ rectangle B*
*Alternately, you could use a 3-3/8″ x 6-1/8″ rectangle of striped fabric in place of the foundation paper-pieced unit.

Spool fabric:
(1) 5″ square

Background fabric:
(1) 7″ square
(2) 3″ squares
(1) 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangle

Note: Use a short stitch length when sewing on the paper to perforate the paper for easy removal.

photo01

2) Cutting and marking the half square triangles.

1) Print pattern at 100% and cut on the solid outer line. Note: The solid outer lines should measure 3-3/8″ x 6-1/8″ with 1/4″ seam allowances shown by the inner dashed lines. Fold and unfold on all the dashed diagonal lines to make creases.

2) Cut the 7″ and 5″ squares on a 45° diagonal from corner to corner to make two half square triangles (HST) from each. Note: You may want to starch these squares before cutting into triangles to help tame the bias edges. Draw a 45° diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the 3″ background squares.

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3) 1/4″ seam allowance over the diagonal line between 1A and 2B.

3) Place rectangles A and B right sides together (RST) and pin them to section 1A on the printed side of the paper pattern, with their 3-3/4″ side centered along the diagonal line between 1A and 2B, and with 1/4″ seam allowance extending over the line. Note: It doesn’t matter which fabric you use as A and which as B. The pattern is symmetrical and you can turn it either way, depending which fabric you want to be at the top of the spool and which fabric you want to be on the bottom. 

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3) Pin, then sew on the diagonal line between 1A and 2B.

Sew on the line between 1A and 2B. Press open and trim excess fabric. First along the 3-3/4″ edges and then along the left/right edges. Add a 1/4″ seam allowance when trimming along the diagonal lines.

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3) Trim excess fabric: Fabric A shown on left, Fabric B on right.

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3) This is how it should look at the end of step 3.

4) Place the cut diagonal edge of the remaining fabric A centered along the diagonal edge of fabric B on your pattern, RST. Pin fabric to section 2B and sew along the dashed diagonal line between 2B and 3A. Press and trim as before, first along the diagonal line with a 1/4″ seam allowance and then along the outer edges.

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4) Line up fabric with 1/4″ seam allowance, pin, and sew on the line.

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5) Check placement before sewing the last piece of fabric B to make sure it will cover the space completely.

5) Repeat step 4, alternating fabrics A and B until the entire pattern is filled. Note: When trimming section 4B, trimming from the side first rather than along the diagonal line will give you a larger piece to use for section 6B.

6) Finger press a small crease in the center of the long side of one of the 7″ background HSTs. Align the triangle’s center crease mark with the gray center mark of one of the long sides of the paper-pieced thread unit, RST. Pin and sew along the long gray dashed line. Repeat on the other long side of the paper-pieced thread unit with the remaining 7″ background HST. Press seam allowances toward the background triangles. Trim excess background fabric even with the edges of the thread unit.

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6) Sew background triangles to thread unit, press, and trim.

7) Place one of the 5″ spool HSTs and one of the 3″ background squares RST as shown. Sew along the drawn diagonal line. Repeat with the remaining spool HST and background square. Press as shown. Trim excess fabric to reduce bulk if desired.

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7) Sew on drawn diagonal line. Flip, press, and trim.

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8) Center, pin, and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

8) Finger press a small crease in the center of the long spool fabric side of one of the spool-background triangle units. Align center crease with the gray tick mark on one of the short sides of the thread-background rectangle unit, RST.

Pin and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat on the other short side of the thread-background rectangle unit with the remaining spool-background triangle. Press toward triangle units.

Note: If desired, you may trim off the rabbit ears before pinning and sewing.

 

photo12

9) Carefully remove paper pieces from pieced unit.

9) Carefully remove paper pattern and trim off the rabbit ears that are sticking out. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to sew the 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ background rectangle to the top side of the spool block. Note: You get to choose which side is the top! Press towards the background rectangle.

Block size 8-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (8″ x 12″ finished).

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9) Tilt the spool left or right, with either fabric on top.

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9) The finished block!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are you doing with your Spool-Along blocks? Share a link to your blog or other places you post pictures of your quilts online. I’m sure other readers would love to see them too.

spool-along block 4 {+ a giveaway!}

spool-along-4blocks photoblock4 Hope you’re having fun and keeping up with your Spool-Along blocks. I’m loving trying out all the different stripes in my stash and shopping for more! Now that we’re up to four blocks, you can start to see how all the different spool blocks will work together. I can’t wait to show you the entire quilt!

block-4 I have a special treat for you this month. (No tricks!) Two lucky readers will win a giant 3300 yard cone of Aurifil’s yummy new variegated thread. A great big thanks to Aurifil for sponsoring October’s spool block! Scroll down to the bottom of the post to find out all the ways to enter to win.

October’s spool block uses a big piece of striped fabric for the “thread,” perfect for fun large-scale prints. It’s easier to make than it looks. (no triangles!) Just be sure to sew the larger 1-3/4″ background snowball squares to the thread fabric rectangle and the smaller 1-1/2″ background snowball squares to the spool fabric strip, not the other way around!

tip

Tip: At tricky intersections, line up the pieces (pin if desired) and sew a few long stitches over each seam intersection. Check to make sure the points line up to your satisfaction. If they don’t, it’s easy to remove the stitches, adjust, and try again. When you get it right, set your machine back to regular length stitches and sew the entire seam.

There’s a tutorial below for making a single block and a tutorial for quick-piecing four blocks, perfect for swaps or sharing with your favorite quilty friends.

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To make one block:

Materials:

  • Light, neutral background fabric: two 1-1/2″ x 9″ rectangles, two 1-1/2″ squares, one 8″ x 1-3/4″ rectangle, two 1-3/4″ squares, and two 2-3/4″ x 1-1/4″ rectangles
  • Striped “thread” fabric: one 6″ x 9″ rectangle with the stripes going across the 6″ side
  • Contrasting “spool” fabric: one 8″ x 2″ rectangle and one 3-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ rectangle

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″ unless noted otherwise)

  1. Draw a 45° diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the 1-3/4″ and 1-1/2″ background squares.
  2. Stitch on the diagonal lines to sew the 1-3/4″ background squares to the thread fabric as shown in A, thread fabric right side up and background square right side down. One square on the top left and the other on the top right side. This will make the thread unit.
  3. Stitch on the diagonal lines to sew the 1-1/2″ background squares to the 8″ x 2″ spool fabric as shown in A, spool fabric right side up and background square right side down. One square on the top left and the other on the top right side. This will make the bottom unit.  block-4-construction-ABC
  4. Press all background squares toward the corners as shown in B. If desired, trim away the excess fabric behind the top layer to reduce bulk, leaving a 1/4″ allowance.
  5. Sew a 1-1/2″ x 9″ background rectangle to each 9″ side of the thread unit to make an 8″ x 9″ middle unit as shown in C. Press seams toward the thread fabric.
  6. Sew a 2-3/4″ x 1-1/4″ background rectangle to each side of the 3-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool rectangle to make an 8″ x 1-1/4″ spool-background unit as shown in C. Press seams toward the spool fabric.
  7. block-4-construction-DE Sew the 8″ x 1-3/4″ background rectangle to the top of the 8″ x 1-1/4″ spool-background unit to make an 8″ x 2-1/2″ top unit as shown in D. Press seams toward the side with the spool fabric.
  8. Sew the middle unit to the bottom unit as shown in D. Press seams toward the middle unit.
  9. Sew the top unit to the middle-bottom unit as shown in E. Press toward the seams middle unit. Block size: 8″ x 12-1/2″ unfinished (7-1/2″ x 12″ finished)

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To quick-piece four blocks:

Materials:

•  Light, neutral background fabric: 1/3 yard
1) Cut two 1-1/2″ x width-of-fabric strips, one 1-3/4″ x width-of-fabric strip, and two 2-3/4 x 5-1/2″ rectangles
2) From the remainder of the fabric, cut eight 1-3/4″ squares and eight 1-1/2″ squares

•  Striped “thread” fabric: four 6″ x 9″ rectangles with the stripes going across the 6″ sides (can be the same or different fabric)

•  Contrasting “spool” fabric: one 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle and one 2″ x width-of-fabric strip, subcut into four 8″ x 2″ rectangles

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″ unless noted otherwise)

  1. Draw a 45° diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the 1-3/4″ and 1-1/2″ background squares.
  2. block-4-construction-FG Stitch on the diagonal lines to sew the 1-3/4″ background squares to each of the four thread fabric pieces as shown in F, thread fabric right side up and background squares right side down. One square on the top left and the other on the top right side. This will make the thread units.
  3. Stitch on the diagonal lines to sew the 1-1/2″ background squares to each of the four 8″ x 2″ spool fabric pieces as shown in F, spool fabric right side up and background squares right side down. One square on the top left and the other on the top right side. This will make the bottom units.
  4. Press all background squares toward the corners as shown in G. If desired, trim away the excess fabric behind the top layers to reduce bulk, leaving a 1/4″ allowance.
  5. block-4-construction-HI Sew the four thread units to one of the 1-1/2″ fabric strips, right sides together as shown in H. Place the first thread unit right side up and line up the strip right side down along one of its 9″ sides. Sew all the way to the end of the thread unit, stop, line up the next thread unit under the strip with about 1/2″ in between the two thread units and sew. Repeat until all four thread units are sewn to the strip.
  6. Sew the remaining 1-1/2″ strip to the other 9″ side of the four thread units in the same way as step #5.
  7. Cut the pieces apart from each other. Press seams toward the thread fabric and then trim to 8″ x 9″ to make the middle units as shown in I.
  8. block-4-construction-JK Sew a 2-3/4″ x 5-1/2″ background rectangle to each side of the 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ spool rectangle along the 5-1/2″ sides to make a unit 8″ x 5-1/2″ as shown in J. Press seams toward the spool fabric and then subcut into four 8″ x 1-1/4″ spool-background units as shown in K.
  9. Sew the four 8″ x 1-1/4″ spool-background units to the 1-3/4″ strip along one of their 8″ sides, right sides together with approximately 1/2″ in between, same technique as in step #5.
  10. Cut the spool-background units apart from each other and press seams toward the side with the spool fabric. Trim to 8″ x 2-1/2″. These are the top units.
  11. Sew the top, middle, and bottom units to each other as shown in the finished block. Press seams toward the middle unit. Block size: 8″ x 12-1/2″ unfinished (7-1/2″ x 12″ finished)

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aurifilspools

Aurifil colors #5506, left and 5509, right.

Here are the gorgeous cones of Aurifil thread that inspired the orange and green spool blocks I made.

Two people will win a cone of variegated Aurifil thread. To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. (If you’re on mobile and the widget doesn’t show up, click on the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link.) Get bonus entries by making Spool-Along blocks and posting them online, subscribing to my blog, or following Aurifil or myself on Facebook and Twitter. Valid for U.S. and Canada residents only. Giveaway closes on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Shared at: My Quilt Infatuation’s Needle and Thread Thursday, Richard and Tanya Quilts’ Link a Finish Friday}

spool-along block 3

block3 Spool-Along block #3 is a quick and easy Courthouse Steps style spool block. This is a well-loved spool of thread. If you look closely, you’ll see this spool is starting to run out of thread. It might be time to go buy some more. ;)

Make a single block or scroll down for a tutorial on making a strip-pieced set of four blocks for swap groups.

To make one block:

Materials:

  • Light, neutral background fabric: (1) 6-1/2″ x 5″ rectangle and (2) 1″ x 6-1/2″ rectangles
  • Striped “thread” fabric: (1) 5-1/2″ square
  • Contrasting “spool” fabric: (2) 6-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ and (2) 5-1/2″ x 1″ rectangles

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″)

1). Sew a 5-1/2″ x 1″ spool fabric rectangle to the top and bottom of the 5-1/2″ square thread fabric. Make sure the stripes are going the correct direction as shown in pic #1. Press toward the thread fabric.

2). Sew a 1″ x 6-1/2″ background fabric rectangle to each side of the unit as shown in the block. Press toward the spool/thread fabric.

3). Sew a 6-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ spool fabric rectangle to the top and the bottom of the unit. Press toward the spool fabric strips you just sewed on.

4). Sew the 6-1/2″ x 5″ background rectangle to the top of the spool block unit and press toward the spool fabric. The block should be 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (6″ x 12″ finished).

block3-steps

To make four blocks:
fourblock3 (identical or with different “thread” centers. I’m making doubles so I can share the duplicates with a friend. :) )

Materials:

  • Light, neutral background fabric: (1) 5″ x 28″ and (2) 1″ x 28″ strips
  • Striped “thread” fabric: (4) 5-1/2″ squares
  • Contrasting “spool” fabric: (2) 1-1/4″ x 28″ and (2) 1″ x 24″ strips

Instructions:
(all seams are 1/4″)

photo1-2 1). Sew the four 5-1/2″ thread fabric squares to one of the 1″ x 24″ spool fabric strips, right sides together (RST).  Stripes should be parallel to the strip. Place the strip right side up and line up the first square right side down along the edge and sew. When you come to the end of one square, stop sewing and place the next square with 1/4 to 1/2″ between it and the first square. Repeat until you have sewn all four squares to the strip.

2). Sew the remaining 1″ x 24″ spool fabric strip to the opposite side of the 5-1/2″ thread fabric squares the same way as in step #1, RST with 1/4″ to 1/2″ of space between squares.

3). Press seam allowances toward the thread fabric squares and trim excess strip fabric off to make four 5-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ thread-spool units.

4). Sew the four 5-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ thread-spool units to one of the 1″ x 28″ background fabric strips, RST, sewing along one of the 6-1/2″ sides and leaving 1/4″ to 1/2″ between units. Stripes are now perpendicular to the strip.

photo3-4

5). Sew the remaining 1″ x 28″ background fabric strip to the opposite 6-1/2″ side of the four thread-spool units as in step #4, RST, with 1/4″ to 1/2″ between units.

photo6-9 6). Press seam allowances toward the thread-spool units and trim excess strip fabric off to make four 6-1/2″ square thread-spool-background units.

7). Sew one of the 1-1/4″ x 28″ spool fabric strips to the 5″ x 28″ background fabric strip, RST. Press toward the spool fabric.

8). Sew the four 6-1/2″ thread-spool-background units to the spool side of the spool-background strip, RST, leaving 1/4″ to 1/2″ between units. This is the top of the spool block. Stripes are once again parallel to the strip.

9). Sew the remaining 1-1/4″ x 28″ spool fabric strip to the bottom of the four units, RST with 1/4″ to 1/2″ space between units.

10). Press seam allowances toward the spool strips and then trim excess strip fabric off to make four 6-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ blocks (finishes at 6″ x 12″).

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