Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hands2Help - Featuring Guest Blogger Linda!

Hi, all!

Can you believe that it's almost time for the end of this year's Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge?  The time sure has flown!  But before the final linky party, we've got one more guest blogger - Linda is here to share a really cool block technique that she likes to use for charity quilts.  So please join me in welcoming her for her first guest blogger post!

Make an Explosion for Comfort Quilts!

Today Sarah has given me permission to share some ideas with you. I love color. I love creating things. I love lots of variations and possibilities. As an artist, I am always trying to rearrange what is to make something else in a new way. I quilt and paint, but I don’t paint fabric. I will leave that for some other artist. Why quilts? They are physical and tangible artwork made from lots of disparate pieces carefully stitched with threads, melded with batting and backing, that bring comfort, warmth, and a hug to its owner. Even wall quilts beg to be touched.

I am always searching for patterns and ideas to use the fabric I have, most of it scraps donated by others, to create beauty for those whose hearts and bodies need it. I started making comfort quilts with a group that was trying to establish a new offshoot north of the city. While this offshoot folded, I continued on my own making comfort quilts for cancer/chemo patients. The quilts are lap size, usually 48 x 60 or so, given in a carry tote bag with a handmade card and the book, When God and Cancer Meet by Lynn Eib. When someone gives me a referral, I give the quilt package. I average about one per month. I have enlisted my mom, a non quilter, to just sew straight seams on strips and around squares that I prep for her and I make the blocks and quilts.

One of my favorite patterns I found on the Quilting Board shown by Gerbie. When I wrote to her, she told me it was based on a block by Karin Hallaby. You can watch her tutorial at Recently, the Missouri Star Quilt Company made a tutorial on this block using charm packs. However, I use the scrappy method because that the fabric I have. Whatever size squares you cut, divide them into light and dark piles to get a great result. I have tried many sizes and will give them to you so you can just start.

All of the Comfort Quilts shown above start with two 6" Squares, then a 7 3/4" square and are about 48" x 60"
6" center blocks, 7 3/4" next

5" center blocks, 2 more rounds

Now I am making some starting with 4” so I can add extra rounds. Here are some sizes I have tried:

If starting with two:

-3”, then one 3 ½”, then one 4 ¼”, one 5 ¼”

-3 ½”, then one 4 ¼, one 5”, one 6 ¼” gives an 8” block

-4”, then one 5”, one 6” (makes 7 1/2" block), and can add one 8 ¼”
-4 ½”, then one 5 ½”, one 7 (about 9" block)

-5”, then one 6 3/8”, one 8 3/8” for about an 11” block unfinished
-6”, then one 7 ¾” for about an 8 ¼” block

Whatever size your first two blocks are, you can always measure your ironed one for the next size.

Here's how you make this block: Sew the first two identical size squares (I make one dark, one light) all around all 4 sides, ¼” seam. Pivot in the corners, don't do a curved seam. Draw an X from corners to corners on the side you want to look like triangles.

For my quilts, I choose half the dark blocks for the center, and half the lights for the center.
Pinch the center of the X, top fabric only, and make a small cut. With your scissors, cut to each corner on the line. Press the block flat (DRY iron) to set the seams, then roll the triangle cuts to the front and press flat. Cut evenly and press evenly so the bias does not get wonky on you.


Add the next size square (alternate light or dark based on which the new triangles are, i.e. dark triangles, light new square), sew all around 4 sides, mark the X on the new square size. Pinch the center, clip, cut to corners, press to set, roll back triangles, press. You can add another size square, alternating darks and lights, and keep going as much as you want.

This is totally customizable by you. Remember that the square’s corners on the front are nipped by the sewing. It doesn’t bother me. Since there is a bias, I find I can ease the blocks together as long as they are not real distorted by ironing or cutting. I usually add a skinny and wider border. I do machine quilt these. I always make 2 extra blocks and sew one of the blocks on the outside of the tote bag, one on the inside.

Since I demonstrated this technique at my quilt guild, many people have taken off and put their own spin on the blocks. You can really go crazy. Here are two ideas for using leader/ender scraps.

Using 4 patches made as leader/enders from 2 1/2" squares, I started with one 4 1/2" 4 Patch and one 4 1/2" square sewn together.
A block made from a 4 Patch of 2" Squares, see post it note in photo for size

All my sewing is done on vintage Singer sewing machines. You are welcome to check out my blog, Art In Search.   Thank you for reading this today and I hope it encourages you to make a comfort quilt for someone who needs what you have to give.


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Linda!  This looks like a great technique that I will definitely be trying out!!

And for all the rest of you H2Hers, remember that next Sunday begins the final linky party for the challenge!  Sometime between Sunday, June 1st, and Saturday, June 7th at about 5 pm, link up your Hands2Help quilts to be eligible for the giveaway drawings. You can link up to a new blog post or an old one, or if you don't have a blog, you can upload your picture to Flickr  and link to that.  If you are technologically challenged, feel free to send me pictures of your quilt(s) and I will upload them to Flickr for you and link you up for the giveaways!

Let me know, too, if you've run into a little "life" during the challenge and won't be able to finish your quilts - I'll be glad to help you as much as possible!



PS - Remember to stop by here on Wednesday for Tennessee's stop on the AMB Blog Hop - there will be a giveaway!


  1. looking forward to seeing the link ups - quilts of compassion got my quilts yesterday, so glad they can use them

  2. That is an amazing tip!! I've can't wait to try this technique. Thanks!

  3. Super tutorial. Will definitely give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  4. That is a very neat technique! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Love that technique! The quilts shown are wonderful, too. Thanks, Sarah, for inviting Linda! ...and thank you, Linda, for sharing your fun find.


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