How to make a snowball block from a 5″ charm square

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I talked about the different precuts that are available to quilters and a little bit about how to use each of them. Today I’m using the Dreamweaver XE to sew some of my 5″ charm squares into snowball blocks.

The Dreamweaver XE

The first thing to do when working with precuts is to measure them to see how accurately they are cut. If you’re only sewing the precuts to each other then this step doesn’t matter that much, but when sewing them to other fabrics that you cut yourself, then you need to make sure that they are accurately sized. As you can see from the picture below, my charm squares are a smidge larger than 5″. I’ll trim the charm pack squares to exactly 5″ to ensure that my piecing is accurate.

Measure and trim.

After trimming, I’ll cut my 5″ charm square into four 2½” squares.

Cut into 2½” squares

Last month I made a diamond quilt with this gray fabric as the main color and had quite a few triangular pieces left over. I’d like to use it up, and cut 2½” and 6½” squares from these leftover pieces. Set the 2½” squares aside for now – these will be used on Friday.

If you want to use yardage for your snowball blocks instead of leftovers, just cut strips 6½” across the width of fabric and then sub-cut into 6½” squares.

Using up leftovers

Here are my piles of 6½” and 2½” squares.

6½” and 2½” squares of background fabric

Assembling the snowball block

The 2½” squares that were cut from the charm squares are placed on the corners of the 6½” square of gray background fabric.

Placement of the 2½” squares

Now we need to get the Dreamweaver XE set up for sewing. Select the ‘Sewing’ button on the opening screen.

Select ‘Sewing’

The sewing stitch selection screen shows up on the screen. We want to select 1-03 “Straight stitch – middle”. Once pressed, this button turns blue to show that it’s engaged.

Select “Straight stitch – middle”

Now, the “magic”!! Press the “Guideline Marker” key on the Dreamweaver XE to activate the laser pointer.

Press ‘Guideline Marker’ key

The screen on the Dreamweaver XE shows that the guideline marker is aligned with the stitching line of the selected stitch. The laser will show us exactly where the machine is going to stitch!

Guideline marker aligned with stitching line

Now we just have to line the laser up across the diagonal of each small square and sew!! No marking needed – isn’t that a great timesaver?

Sew along the diagonal

Now sew along the diagonal of the remaining three corner squares with the Dreamweaver XE.

Sew all four corners.

Usually, when you use this method to make a snowball block you just trim away the excess fabric and throw it away but I HATE wasting fabric, so tomorrow I’ll show you how to use the laser pointer on the Dreamweaver XE to make ‘no-waste’ snowball blocks. Sew up a few more blocks like we’ve done above and tomorrow we finish them off.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Taking the mystery out of precuts

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Peggy Pirillo August 22, 2018 - 5:02 pm
I have to say the laser on this machine, is a pretty darn cool idea!
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:34 pm
It IS Peggy! And lots of the different Brother machines have one. It's SO helpful.
Linda August 22, 2018 - 9:18 am
Great Snowball tutorial! Charm squares make this a breeze.
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:36 pm
Thanks Linda! Wait till you see the finished quilt next month!
Anna brown August 21, 2018 - 11:32 pm
Very cool tyty for the tutorial. ....great job...
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:39 pm
Thank you Anna!
Linda Cartwright August 21, 2018 - 11:09 pm
I need to find one of those lasers.
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:40 pm
Check out the Brother website - lots of their machines come with them now. I just LOVE it!
Rhona August 21, 2018 - 12:24 pm
Beautiful machine, and the laser I need that in my life!
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:41 pm
I think you need one too Rhona! The more I use it, the more I think of new ways to use it!
Karen Addleman August 21, 2018 - 8:25 am
Thanks for the great tutorial on the snowball block.
Christine Baker August 22, 2018 - 7:42 pm
Thanks Karen - I'm glad that you found the tutorial useful!
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