Piecing shoo fly quilt blocks with Gütermann thread [a great notion]

Yesterday, with the help of a HOBBY Cutting Mat/45mm Rotary Cutter Starter Kit – 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61cm), a SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 12″ x 612″ (30.5 x 16.5cm) and a SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 24″ x 612″ (61 x 16.5cm) I was able to make four of the blocks need for this week’s crib quilt – the nine-patch quilt block.

Today’s block is called the shoo fly block and will be a little bit more difficult than yesterday’s nine-patch quilt block, but I’ll make it easy. This crib quilt requires four shoo fly quilt blocks.

Nine patch with half-square-tringles in corners = shoo fly quilt block

Before explaining how to make the shoo fly block, I want to talk about some key questions about thread.

What color should be used? You can’t go wrong with a selection of neutral colors. My two favorite neutral colors are light gray and cream. When I start a project, the fabric colors tell me which color to choose.

What weight should be used? The weight (thread size) is important. The standard sewing machine weight for a thread is 50wt. Heavier threads are typically used for embroidery, quilting, adding a decorative stitch or used for hand work. There are also lighter threads which are often used in bobbins or hand applique to mention a couple of examples.

Cotton or polyester threads? Some will only use cotton threads and there are some, like me, who will use polyester and cotton threads. The reason I use either one is that the manufacturing of threads has so much improved over the years that some of the old stories about polyester thread from 50, 75, and 100 years ago are no longer valid.

It’s important to use a quality thread, for this reason, this week I’m using cream-colored thread from the GÜTERMANN 12 pc Sew-All 100m Thread Set – Neutral Colours pack. This is a great beginner pack to have as it has so many shades of neutral colors.

Gütermann 12 piece sew-all 100m thread set in neutral colours

To create the shoo fly quilt block, I’ll need the following:

  • 16 – 3½” x 3½” yellow squares
  • 4 – 3½” x 3½” orange squares
  • 16 – 3½” x 3½” yellow and orange half-square-triangles (HST) squares

Using the unused portion of yesterday’s orange strip cut four 3½” x 3½” squares.

In addition to the remaining piece of yesterday’s yellow strip, another 3½” x width of fabric (WOF) will be needed to get 16 – 3½” x 3½” yellow squares.

Yesterday, I briefly explained to add ½” to both sides of an unfinished square to get the desired size once sewn. For example: a 3½” x 3½” square once sewn will measure 3” x 3”.

To make an HST, add ⅞” to the desired finish block. Example: a 3⅞” x 3⅞” square will make a 3” x 3” HST. With this said I use a 4” x 4” square and trim once the HSTs are done.

To make the HSTs cut one 3⅞” x WOF strip of both the orange and yellow fabrics. On the back of one of the strips make vertical lines at every 3⅞” (if using 4” strips make vertical lines at every 4”). Then draw diagonal line between each vertical lines as shown in the next photo. Then pair both strips together with right sides facing each other and pin.

Note: We only need 16 HSTs for today’s blocks but with two strip sets a total of 20 HSTs can be created. I ‘ll make all 20 in all as more HSTs will be used on day four of this week.

Mark vertical lines at every 3⅞” then mark diagonal lines going from corner to corner.

After all lines are drawn, it’s time to sew a seam ¼” on both sides of each diagonal line.

Sew on each side of the diagonal lines.

Once seams are cut along each vertical and diagonal line

Cut along each vertical and diagonal line.

Press toward the darker fabric.

Press HSTs.

If 4” strips were used, trim HSTs to 3½” x 3½”. I used 4” strips.

If required, trim HST to 3½” x 3½” square.

Sew eight 3½” x 3½” yellow squares to an HST. Also, sew four yellow 3½” x 3½” squares to four 3½” x 3½” orange squares.

Pair yellow squares HST and orange squares.

Sew the remaining eight HSTs to the yellow/HST pairs then the four yellow 3½” x 3½” squares to four orange/yellow pairs. This will complete the required rows for all the blocks.

Make rows of three squares and HSTs.

Sew rows together to complete today’s four shoo fly quilt blocks.

Four completed shoo fly quilt blocks

This easy HST sewing method is done. For me, this is the easiest method when using strips. There are other methods to make HSTs that I’ll cover in another quilt project.

As I mentioned earlier, today I used a neutral cream-colored thread from the GÜTERMANN 12 pc Sew-All 100m Thread Set – Neutral Colours. One cannot go wrong with this set of threads. If colorful threads are necessary consider getting the GÜTERMANN 12 pc Sew-All 100m Thread Set – Primary Colours as it has all the basic color shades.

Gütermann 12 piece sew-all 100m thread set with primary colours

Today was all about half square triangles. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll show you my method for making quarter square triangle quilt blocks. It won’t be much more complicated than today!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Essential sewing tools for beginners | Making a crib quilt

Go to part 3: In quilting, a quarter-square-triangle only sounds scarier than it is

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