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Sewing the Snowball Block – Part 2

Welcome back to the What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy quilt challenge. Yesterday, my plan was to sew the snowball block together, but I just had to share a few other features with you about the Pfaff Creative 4.5. As well as, make templates to create the block in a slightly different method than usual. So, today, we’re sewing the snowball block – part 2!

All 36 five-inch squares have been cut using the boxboard template and the background squares have been cut diagonally once to give us triangles. There’re 144 of them to be exact.

Yesterday, I didn’t mention which thread I’m going to use to piece the blocks and quilt. I’ve decided on beige thread as it’s neutral and will blend with all the fabrics. It’s a 50 weight Egyptian cotton thread called Konfetti from Wonderfil.

Konfetti thread for piecing
Konfetti thread for piecing


Sewing the pieces together

Centering the triangles

The triangles are sewn to the long diagonal side of the snowball piece cut from the feature fabric. When placing the triangle on the snowball piece, it will hang over a ¼″ on each end. This is to ensure it’s centered properly.

Because I’m sewing the pieces on the bias, I’ve made sure that the IDT system is engaged in the back of the quarter-inch foot to ensure there’s a smooth feed of fabric and no stretching of the bias edges.

Triangles centered in corners
Triangles centered in corners


Another way to center blocks that is very accurate goes like this:

Fold the triangle in half with right sides facing each other. Give it a finger press down the fold to create a crease.

Fold the snowball piece in half along the diagonal edge being used with wrong sides of fabric together. Give the fold a finger a press to create a crease marking the center.

Two pieces with center creases
Two pieces with center creases


Line up the two creases.

Creases marked with chalk and in line with each other
Creases marked with chalk and in line with each other


The creases will nest together when the triangle is placed on top of the other piece of fabric.

Creases nested together
Creases nested together


Sew a ¼″ seam allowance and press the triangle to the corner. The chalk lines I placed for a visual of where the creases fall, line up perfectly with this method. Doing this is a bit more time consuming, but it does ensure all the triangles are centered perfectly.

Chalk lines match up perfectly
Chalk lines match up perfectly


Chain sewing

Chain sewing is one of the fastest ways to sew many pieces together in a timely fashion. There’s no cutting of threads between pieces and the pieces being sewn together just keep being fed under the foot until the pile comes to an end. There’s a big long chain flowing out from under the presser foot at the back of the machine when you’re done.

Two key features to make chain sewing even more efficient and effective are the needle down position and foot hover. The needle down position is found on the front of the machine and is the last button in the horizontal row of buttons. When engaged, the green light is on.

Needle down position engaged
Needle down position engaged


Hover position

The hover position is awesome; one of my favorite features on the Creative 4.5.

What is hover? 

It’s when the foot hovers a fraction of an inch above the fabric when the machine has stopped sewing. The needle must be in needle down position in order for the hover feature to be engaged. Once the needle down position is turned off, the foot won’t hover, but will stay down on top of the fabric.

Foot in hover position
Foot in hover position


The advantage of the hover position is a new piece can be fed under the foot, when chain sewing, without having to lift up the presser foot manually. It also allows for easy pivoting of fabric under the foot with the needle in place.

No hover position, but you have a knee rest? Then, the hover position can be mimicked by gently raising the presser foot with the knee lift when adding pieces to the chain. The knee lift is a tool that fits into a hole on the front of the machine and is operated by your knee to lift the presser foot up and down.

Knee lift attached to machine
Knee lift attached to machine


The chain piecing made easy and fast work of sewing the triangle corners onto the snowball blocks. When done sewing, I press the seams towards the corner on each triangle to make a square. The square measures 5-inches.

Arranging the snowball blocks

The snowball blocks are now all created and it’s time to arrange them on my portable design wall. I make sure to arrange them so the light and dark snowballs are alternating, as well as, alternating the background pieces.

Once happy with the placement of the fabrics and seeing it all flow together, I can start sewing four snowball blocks together to create a 9½″ square.

Background pieces

I cut the background fabric into 5-inch squares. I add them into the mix with the snowball blocks to create corners for the quilt.

Some are sewn into pairs, some are matched up with a snowball block, while others, are sewn into a 4-patch block. I’m hoping by alternating the two background fabrics, the background will have more texture.

Snowball and background blocks on design wall
Snowball and background blocks on design wall


I’m not going to sew these blocks together just yet, as one never knows if I might change my mind on the configuration of these blocks along the way. I don’t want to have to do any “reverse sewing”!

Sewing the snowball block – Part 2 has made me feel there’s progress being made on the What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy challenge quilt. I’m done for this month, but I promise to be back next month to continue the progress on this quilt challenge, as well as, to show you more features of the Pfaff Creative 4.5.

Happy Quilting

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!


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