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Quilting: No fooling, spooling around is easy!

by Nancy Devine

No fooling, spooling around is easy! Yesterday, we prepared the patchwork pieces to make spool blocks for my “Only Spooling Around” table runner to accessorize the clever Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from HA Kidd.

To put them together you will need:

sewing machine, fitted with 1/4-inch patchwork foot
chalk marker
small quilting ruler
scissors
curved micro tweezer snippers
seam pressing tool
Gutermann sew all thread in cream

Start the blocks by piecing the middle of the spool.

Start the blocks by piecing the middle of the spool.

 

First, change your machine needle. I use Patchwork and Quilting needles for almost all my work. They’re very sharp and leave a very small hole in the fabric when piecing. They’re durable enough to handle the quilting phase of the project. Use a new one for each new project.

The spool block begins with the center block. Attach two neutral sides to each side of the colored square.

To create corner blocks, place one light square and one dark square right sides together. Pin. Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the other.

To create corner blocks, place one light square and one dark square right sides together. Pin. Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the other.

 

With right sides together, place one beige square and one brown square together. Pin. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other, using the chalk marker.

Sew along the marked line. That small corner can easily get caught up in the feed dogs of your machine. I use a scrap of fabric to start sewing just ahead of the unit I’m about to sew. Like magic, the little corners do not get caught.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, trim away one diagonal side of the square. Use the seam pressing tool to press the seam toward the dark fabric. Take care to press, not pull, the tool along the seam. This is essentially a seam on the bias, so it will stretch if you aren’t careful.

Use an iron to press the seam fully, but don’t use steam — it will also ease out the bias.

Repeat this corner step three more times.

Strategic pinning will help the corner blocks align properly to the top and bottom of the spool block.

Strategic pinning will help the corner blocks align properly to the top and bottom of the spool block.

 

Make the spool top and bottom by attaching the corner pieces to the brown strips. (see photo for placement)

Pinning is really important when doing this step. I’ve found that putting a pin just before and just after where the “thread” seams meet the corner seams really helps keep everything neat and even.

Again, the quilting rules dictate that everything lines up if the block elements have been carefully cut and pieced. Give yourself permission to do the best job you can. If you are just a bit off, that’s okay. I’ve found the more I do a block, the better I get at piecing it together.

If you don’t like one, just set it aside. You can turn it into a greeting card or something.

Try again, practice makes perfect. And, if you find some of your blocks are a bit wonky, strategic placing of sashing and borders help fool the eye into thinking everything is perfect. Shhh. That will be our little secret.

Here are the elements for each spool block.

Here are the elements for each spool block.

 

When you’ve pieced the top and bottom of the spool, press all the seam allowances toward the center of the block.

Attach the sashing strips to the top and bottom of the spool block. Each block should measure 7 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches long.

Come back tomorrow, when we put all the spools together into a pretty and pleasing topper for the Studio Collection Home Hobby and Design Table from H.A. Kidd. See? Quilting: No fooling, spooling around is easy!

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