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

(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}


  1. A rainbow of batiks — that’s my first choice for sure!

  2. I love tone on tone fabrics. They give pizazz without detracting from the rainbow gradient.

  3. Kathy Houston says:

    A Rainbow of mediums shades of gingham prints!!

  4. What great blocks!

  5. Cheri Searles says:

    Red Hots Bali Pop
    Hoffman Fabrics

  6. So pretty! I am a sucker for rainbows! Love it!

  7. I love the batiks for a rainbow

  8. MargaretK in VA says:

    My favorite fabrics for a rainbow are batiks due to the beautiful saturated colors.

  9. Batiks, the saturated colors just can’t be beat for a rainbow!

  10. Jacklynn Grimm says:

    Batiks or some other blenders with bright colors would make a great rainbow.

  11. Grace Johnson says:

    I love tone on tone fabrics, they are always my first choice. I’m drawn to them!

  12. Gwen Denluck says:

    Any fabric I can find in my stash. I just love all the fabrics!

  13. Beth Nickel says:

    Batiks!! Always batiks for rainbows :)

  14. Genevieve Howell says:

    I would have to say tone on tones….Yummy! Or scrappy would be great too!!

  15. Batiks!!!

  16. If it’s a rainbow color way in my quilt, it’s usually made from little bits of everything. I always start with my scrap bins.

  17. I made my daughter a great rainbow scarf with several colors from Happy Tones by Michael Miller. :-)

  18. I like using batiks.

  19. Kimberlee says:

    Timeless treasure sketch is my favorite prints to use for rainbow. I’m actually waiting for orange & purple sketch from FQS to arrive in my mailbox!! :)

  20. Maddie Stocks says:

    I’d love to make a rainbow spool. Ith Jeni Bakers new collection Dreamin Vintage

  21. Maddie Stocks says:

    I’d love to make a rainbow spool with Jeni Bakers new collection Dreamin Vintage

  22. Janet P. says:


  23. Anything in my stash preferably. If I could buy new, I am loving the new shot cottons.

  24. Vicki Jenkins says:

    Rainbows from BATIKS blend easily!

  25. Judi Rutherford says:

    Batiks would be my choice for making a rainbow. They provide texture, interest and lots of color choices!

  26. If I could pick anything I would pick viney tone on tone fabrics; I love those! I usually just work from scraps I collect here and there — low budget, and all that — so it ends up delightfully scrappy and mish-mashy. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. Quilting Tangent says:

    Rainbow made from batiks.

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