Archive | August, 2020

Back to School Time at Quilt Block Mania

4 Aug 'Rithmetic 12" block by Patti Carey
Quilt Block Mania August blocks

Quilt Block Mania August blocks

We are officially half-way through Summer here in the northern hemisphere.  When I was a kid, August meant that Back-to-School flyers from the area department stores would soon be inserted in the local newspaper.  I would eagerly peruse each one, slowly and methodically going over each page to admire the offerings of fresh new notebooks, pencils, binders and the like.  I would carefully compare prices and make a list of required items to purchase from each store.  Then I would get on my bicycle and ride to each shop to acquire my coveted new school supplies for a new year of learning.  Yup, I was one of those kids that loved school – every subject, especially science and math.

Many quilters, particularly ones with school-age kids, also look forward to Back-to-School.  It is an opportunity learn a new quilting skill or start a new project.  My colleague Carolina Moore of Always Expect Moore has organized a Back-to-School-themed event for the August edition of Quilt Block Mania.  She invited fellow quilt designers to create a unique 12″ finished quilt block with a Back-to-School theme and roughly 40 of us jumped at the chance to have fun with this.  Each designer is sharing their block pattern for FREE on their blog or website today – you can find the links here.

Crayons by Slice of Pi Quilts
Lockers by Powered by Quilting
Math Problem by Pretty Piney
Chalk Board by Inquiring Quilter
Stack of Books by Carolina Moore
Pointy Pencil Block by Sew Brainy
Geometry by Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Pencils by Quilting Room with Mel
School Bus by Orange Blossom Quilt
Book with Animal by Seams to be Sew
Stack of Textbooks by Quilted Diary
Shades of the Sun by Charisma Horton
Basketball by Devoted Quilter
Apples by Perkins Dry Goods
Box of Crayons by ScrapDash
Apple with leaf by Blockofthemodotcom
Crayons by Off the Wall Quilt
School Time Schoolhouse by Quilt Moments
School House by Utah Quilt Appraiser
Pencil by True Blue Quilts
Owl by The Whimsical Workshop
Calculator by Quilt Fabrication
Crayons by Linda B Creative
Applique Computer by DooHikey Designs
Modern Apple by Cotton Street Commons
Glue by Quilting Mod
School Girl’s Puzzle by Sew on the Go
Snack by Quiltfox Design
Backpack by Oh Kaye Quilting
Math Signs by Patti’s Patchwork
Bookworm by Appliques Quilts and More
Backpack by Tacy Gray
Schoolhouse by From my Carolina Home
Girl’s Favorite by Blue Bear Quilts
Origami Paper Plane by Amarar Creacions
Show up and Shine! by SewJoy Creations
School House with Children by Aunte Ms Quilts


There is everything from schoolhouses to a school bus, lots of pencils and crayons, books, calculators and backpacks.  There is even some math!

Here is my ‘Rithmetic block.  Using the assigned color palette I selected 5 shades from Northcott’s fabulous Toscana texture and created a block that includes the 4 basic math symbols: plus, minus, multiply and divide.

'Rithmetic 12

‘Rithmetic 12″ block

The block is fairly straight-forward and I had my sample completed in 30 minutes or so. I want to share 4 tips on making the “multiply” unit.  This block is constructed from a half-square triangle of background and 2 strips of color.IMG_3083
Tip #1: I centered a triangle on the shorter colored strip and sewed it in place.  When I sewed the opposite triangle in place I first finger-pressed it in half, then I aligned my first unit on my cutting mat so the strip of color was on a horizontal line and the tip of the triangle was on a vertical line.

Align triangle mid-point/tips along vertical line

Align triangle mid-point/tips along vertical line

Then I placed my creased triangle on the strip edge, aligning it with the same vertical line, pinned it in place and stitched.
Tip #2:  To cut the above unit in half, I positioned it on my cutting mat so that the 2 triangle tips were on a vertical line.IMG_3085
Tip #3:  When I added the 2nd half of the cut unit to the longer colored strip, I checked that the shorter colored strips were aligned for perfect placement.

The 2 colored strips are stacked so that they are aligned.

The 2 colored strips are stacked so that they are aligned.

Tip #4:  When I trimmed the “x” unit down to 4″, I positioned the 2″ line of my ruler on the 2 “v’s” created by the crossed colored strips.  The “x” is now perfectly centered in the unit.

Align ruler with both v's for perfect placement

Align ruler with both v’s for perfect placement

The “+” units were super-easy, and the “-” and “÷” signs were included in the sashing within the block.  Just like that my block was done 🙂

My text block using Northcott's Shimmer

My test block using Northcott’s Shimmer

I used some Northcott Shimmer from my stash for the colored parts and a lovely cream Stonehenge for the background.
I even mocked up a quick image of a 51″ x 64″ lap-size version in Electric Quilt – perfect for a math whiz!

20 blocks with 1

20 blocks with 1″ sashing make a 51″ x 64″ lap quilt

Some unfinished business from my July 15th post for the Christmas in July blog hop:  E-Z Miter/Lone Star tools and complimentary patterns are going out to Susan Nixon, Judy Kowalski and Karen from Sunburnt Quilts.  Congrats!
This week is also the August edition of the Designers Tips & Techniques over on Facebook.  From roughly noon until 8pm EST today through Thursday a quilt designer will be going live on Facebook for 15 minutes at the top of the hour to share a neat tip or technique.  My time slot is Thursday August 6 at 3pm.  Here is the schedule – enjoy!

Tuesday August 4th
1:00pm Teresa Weaver
2:00pm Becca Fenstermaker
3:00pm Debbie Wendt
4:00pm Sue Griffiths
5:00pm Marlene Oddie

Wednesday August 5th
1:00pm Nancy Scott
2:00pm Bunnie Cleland
3:00pm Terri Vanden Bosch
4:00pm Marija Vujcic
5:00pm Heidi Pridemore
6:00pm Reed Johnson

Thursday August 6th
12:00pm Jen Belnap
1:00pm  Kate Colleran
2:00pm Monique Kleinhans
3:00pm Patti Carey
4:00pm Melissa Marginet
6:00pm Swan Sheridan
7:00pm Lynn Kane
8:00pm Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio

Also happening tomorrow is the weekly edition of Sew What Zoomcast, hosted by my colleague Linda Hahn and her partner-in-crime Deb Stanley at 3pm EST.  This week’s special guest is appraiser Mary Kerr. The hour-long “show” can be accessed through Zoom Meeting No. 708 847 7971 Password 541374.

I welcome you to share this post with your quilty friends, and you can also subscribe by following the link up on the sidebar – thanks 🙂

Have a great week!