Saturday, July 16, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas in July - and Quilt-along, Day 3!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the third day of the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop!!  I hope you're enjoying yourself so far - I know I am!  And I'm really loving all the Christmas quilt WIPs I'm seeing on Instagram - you can see them yourself or post your own using the hashtag #12daysofxmasinjulyQAL. Today's bloggers are really sharing a wide variety of Christmas themes - I can't wait for you to see them!

Our first blogger is Marsha Hodgkins, who blogs at Quilter in Motion.  Marsha lives in Florida, so she's got a little different take on Christmas to share with us.

And our second blogger is Leanne Parsons, who blogs at Devoted Quilter.  Leanne lives just about as far from Florida as you can get, in Newfoundland, Canada and has had a very different influence on her Christmas project!

Jump over and check out their projects, then come back here for day 3 of the quilt-along!


Today we'll be doing some prep for the half-square triangles (HSTs) and a little bit of sewing.  Ready? Let's go!

Take the remaining sixty-four 5" background squares, and draw a line on the wrong side diagonally from one corner to the other.  Set forty-eight of them aside for Day 4.

TIP:  Use a mechanical pencil for this.  It will show up on most fabrics, gives a nice fine line, washes out, and won't disappear in humid weather like water-soluble markers.  I discovered this particular fact about water-soluble markers when I marked an entire  quilt for straight line quilting in the evening, then left it until morning to do the quilting.  In the morning, all my markings had disappeared due to the high humidity in the air!

Now take the sixteen 5" squares you cut for the inner star (green on the EQ7 diagram).  Pair each one, right sides together, with one of the background squares you just marked.  Sew 1/4" from one side of the center line you drew, chain piecing all 16 pairs.  Cut the thread after sewing the last one, turn the chain around, and stitch down the other side of the center lines.

Cut the chain piecing apart.

Lay one of your squares on the cutting mat, background side up, and lay a ruler on that pencil line you drew.  Take your rotary cutter and slice away (carefully!)  Repeat for all the HSTs.  You will now have 32 triangles.

TIP:  You can do this step with scissors, and frequently I'll do that when I am watching TV in the evening.  It takes longer but doesn't require you to be where you can use a rotary cutter, so you can take it to the kids' ball game or wherever.

Now it's time to move to the ironing station.  Place sixteen triangles in a stack, with the seam at the top and the dark side up.  Pull the first triangle from the stack and press it open, pressing the dark side away from you.  Leave it there, and lay the next triangle on top of it, with the seam edge below the seam of the first triangle.  Press the dark side away from you.  Repeat with two more.  Set them to one side and repeat the process.  Pressing in this way gives all the HSTs a little extra press and makes them nice and flat. 

CAUTION:  If your fabric isn't 100% cotton, you probably shouldn't press in this way.  Too much heat can be really detrimental to poly-blend fabrics.  If in doubt, don't!

Take the remaining 16 triangles and place them in a stack, with the seam at the top and the LIGHT side up.  Pull the first triangle from the stack and press it open, pressing the light side away from you.  Press these sixteen as you did the last set.

Now it's time to square them up.  This step may seem unnecessary, but I've found that even though it adds some time to the process, it makes your quilt go together so much easier in the end, with lovely flat seams and corners that match up well.

Lay an HST on your cutting mat.  You will be squaring up your blocks to 4.5", so take your template, place the 1" markings in the upper corner and line up the diagonal line on the template with your seam.  Shift the template as needed so that the 4.5" square marking is completely within your block and the diagonal is still lined up.  Trim the right and top sides of your block.

Now lift off the template and turn your block around.  Lay the template back on the block, this time lining up the 4.5" square markings with the bottom left corner of your block. Trim off the top and right sides once again.  And your HST is now complete and ready to put into your quilt top!  Repeat until all 32 HSTs are trimmed.  Set aside for later assembly.

TIP:  If you have trouble seeing the 4.5" marking on your template or get distracted easily, you can take painter's or washi tape and mark the edge of the lines to make it easier to see. This can help keep you from making a mistake and cutting too small!

Now you're done for the day!  I hope you're enjoying the quilt-along - that the steps aren't taking too long each day.  Can you sense that beautiful quilt that is in your immediate future?

Hugs and see you tomorrow!


Check out all the stops on the Twelve Days of Christmas in July blog hop...

July 14th:     Sharon Vrooman @ Vrooman’s Quilts
                    Carole Carter @ From My Caroline Home

July 15th:    Yanicka Hachez @ Finding Myself As An Artist
                   Chris Dodsley @ Made by ChrissieD

July 16th:     Marsha Hodgkins @ Quilter in Motion
                    Leanne Parsons  @ Devoted Quilter

July 17th:     Tonia Conner @ All Thingz Sewn
                    Selina @ Selina Quilts

July 18th:     Lara Buccella @ Buzzin Bumble
                    Soma Acharya @ Whims and Fancies

July 19th:     Joanne Harris@ Quilts by Joanne
                    Suzy Webster @ Adventurous Applique and Quilting

July 20th:     Vicki in MN @ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
                    Jennifer Fulton @ The Inquiring Quilter

July 21st:     Michele Kuhns @ Crayon Box Quilt Studio
                    Jan Ochterbeck @ The Colorful Fabriholic

July 22nd:     Alla Blanca @ Rainbows. Bunnies. Cupcakes.
                     Zenia Rene Lewis @ A Quilted Passion

July 23rd:     Joanne Hubbard @ Everyone Deserves a Quilt
                    Paige Alexander @ Quilted Blooms

July 24th:     Carolyn Jones @ …by CJ
                    Tisha Nagel @ Quilty Therapy

July 25th:     Susan Arnold @ Quilt Fabrication
                    Beth Sellers @ Cooking Up Quilts
                    Linda Pearl @ One Quilting Circle


  1. Hmm - was that 'in red' tip for someone in particular? And I know better. Excellent tutorial today. Off to visit today's host bloggers.

  2. Great directions! It's always nice when you have the chance to square up HSTs. I love your stacking and ironing tip Sarah.


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