Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL Week 1 – Woven & Snowball Block Tutorials

Whoa! I can hardly believe it’s here! I’ve been looking forward to the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL for so many weeks it kinda seems unreal. I really hope you like the first two blocks and for those beginners out there, I hope you find them fairly easy to construct.

SewHappyGeek
N.B. Seam Allowance in quilting is 1/4″. The better you are at maintaining a precise 1/4″ SA the better your blocks will turn out. Also, I use spray starch on all my pieces before I sew them because it makes precision MUCH easier. Try it!

First up is what I call the Woven Block. Like most of the blocks in this QAL, it’s made of four identical parts. Here are the cutting measurements:


4 background squares 3.5″ x 3.5″

From each of four fabrics: {1} 3.5″ x 3.5″ square and {1} 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle

Construction: Lay out your fabrics and decide on placement. Sew your 3.5″ x 3.5″ background squares to the 3.5″ x 3.5″ feature fabric square next to it.

 Then you’ll sew those pairs to the rectangles.

Then sew those rectangles together as above.

And sew those rectangles together. Done!

Here’s the back – I gently press my seams open.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR BEGINNERS: Let’s talk about what you do with your seams in quilting. When I say I GENTLY PRESS them open, I really mean gently press. You know how when you’re ironing your socks and underwear (isn’t that what people use irons for when they’re not quilting?) you use a back and forth, sweeping motion? You don’t do that when you’re piecing quilt blocks. The fabric is kinda flimsy and can easily stretch, which is what you really DON’T want! So if you are gentle and trust that the heat of your iron will do all the work, your patience will pay off. Now, many quilters will tell you that pressing your seams open is asking for disaster. The thinking is that if you press them to the side, there will be fabric underneath the seam. So if there’s any stress on the seam, the 2 layers of fabric under it will take most of the stress and the seam stays intact. What I don’t particularly like about pressing to the side is you always get this kind of fold thing. I’d rather everything lays flat, and it makes it easier for me to line seams up for blocks so they’re perfectly matched up.  So I guess it’s best to experiment to find what you prefer.

The next block is the Snowball Block.

You’ll need 4 fabrics.

From the snowball fabrics, cut {2} 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares of each as shown above.

From the two other fabrics, cut {4} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares of each (for a total of 8 squares).

Draw diagonal lines across your squares and pin them in place as shown.

Sew along the diagonal line of each of the smaller squares. Then trim the excess to 1/4″. Press those squares to the outside as shown.

Sew the little snowballs together to make a bigger block.

When you’re lining them up to sew the two large pieces together, check your middle seams to make sure they’re lined up perfectly. Because that’s the centre, that’s where the eye will be drawn so you want to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Ta-Da! Remember to pop a pic into the Flickr group!

You’ve finished them both! I think they’re really quick to put together – even with all the picture faffing I was done fairly quickly, but I’m interested to know how you get on with them. So if you get a chance, leave me a comment letting me know! That makes future QALs easier to plan, time-wise.

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© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
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18 Responses to Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL Week 1 – Woven & Snowball Block Tutorials

  1. Emily says:

    oooo I really want to get started but I need to go out for some white solid and it is POURING down cats and dogs! May have to wait until tomorrow :(

  2. My fabric hasn’t arrived yet, fingers crossed for tomorrow. Looks great!

  3. gorgeous blocks and great tips :)

  4. Can’t wait to get to work on these – hubby has a 24 hour shift on Friday so I see some sewing in my future that night. If I can’t spend time with him, I may as well spend some quality time with my machine :)

  5. Katy says:

    Okay, I’ve note the destructions, we’ll see how it goes this week – I do have the fabric pulled though :D

  6. lisa says:

    they look fab.im a beginner at the whole quilting blocks can i ask what size are these finished blocks ? ive joined a bee and need to make finished blocks 12.5.
    hugs
    xo

  7. Berta De Leon says:

    Oh.. I left a comment with my flickr photo too. But here it is again.

    Sew Happy, your tutorial is excellent! Easy, clear directions, great photos, goof tips and I love the print friendly option. You are doing a great job. Thanks for putting this together for us.

  8. Jenniffier says:

    Great post, very clear directions. One question though? What is the finished size.

  9. Deb says:

    Great QAL! I LOVE the woven block so much…I’m going to have to snag that one for sure!

  10. I can’t wait to start either. First, I need to find the rest of my fabrics and buy some, which will be the 10th. Then I can start. Yay!

  11. CeLynn says:

    Jenna,those look so cool! Can’t wait to try them out when I get back home.

  12. jennifer says:

    Jenna, only had time to get the woven done, but the directions are concise and totally clear – thanks so much, can’t wait to see how the rest of this goes!

  13. Kim says:

    I must make these TODAY!!!!! So cute!!!!!

  14. Celtic Thistle says:

    Back home, new (red) fabric in the washing machine so looking forward to getting these blocks done this weekend.

  15. Tara says:

    Okay, I’m done with those and I want more!! :)

  16. Sarah @ FairyFace Designs says:

    Ooh, lovely lovely blocks Jenna. I think that you *might* just have answered my prayers for next month in the Bee. LOVE that woven block, looks like it is layer cake friendly? I have been looking for a clean, striking not-too-fiddly block for a layer cake for a while now, think I have found it!

  17. Tiffany says:

    These are great! Might use the woven one for the next round of the 4 x 5 Flikr bee – thanks for the great instructions!

  18. These are great OAL, thanks

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