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.

Comments

  1. Betty Rhoads says:

    I have been following all of the spool blocks and I really like them. Nice work.

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