Sunday, March 15, 2020

Charmed, I'm Sure! Time To Sew!!

Hi, all!

Are you on "coronacation" where you are?  We are - the grandkids are out of school, hubby is working from home, and me?  Well, I'm still unpacking and working on getting my old house ready to go on the market, but I'm hoping to get some time to sew this week without as many outside distractions available! 

And that segues right into the name of this week's Charmed, I'm Sure charm quilt - Time To Sew!  I chose this name because the basic building block of this quilt is commonly called the hourglass block.  You may also have seen it called a quarter-square block.  

These blocks are super-simple to make using charm squares!  I started with a charm pack and yard of coordinating fabric I found while unpacking (isn't it amazing what we forget we have?) and added 42 Kona Snow 5" squares.

Using my trusty Hera marker and a ruler, I marked a line diagonally across each white square (you can do these two at a time with firm pressure and a good hard surface underneath).

I paired each one with a print square, and the chain piecing began!  I stitched a scant quarter inch from the center line down one side of all the squares, then turned the whole string around and stitched a scant quarter inch from the center line on the other side.

Isn't that a pretty pile of sewn pieces?

Cut those squares into two pieces right along the marked line between the two lines of stitching.  Press the seam toward the prints.

Now normally I would tell you to square up your HSTs, but in this case you want every bit of fabric you can get in those HSTs.  So let's wait to square up until a little later.

Next, choose two of your HSTs and lay them on top of each other, right sides together and seams nesting, with the print square to the right on the top and to the left on the bottom.  Use your ruler to mark a line across the diagonal, lining up the inch marking with the seam to ensure that you get your line perpendicular to it.  It is more important to have your mark perpendicular than point to point, as you can see in the picture above. Just get the straight as close to the points as you can, then make your mark.  

Pin both ends of the mark and the center seam to keep everything together, then sew a scant 1/4" on both sides of the mark.  

Fold back each side to see if your seams matched up properly.   If they did, cut on the mark between the new seams.  

Press the seams by spinning them.  Don't know how to spin a seam?  Here's a great tutorial!

And now it's time to square up that block!  I had enough extra in my block to comfortably square it to 4".  Yours may be a little more or less - so square it to what works for you!  As you can see in the picture above, I lined up the diagonal line on my ruler with the center seam on the block, and the 4" marks are on each corner.  Trim the right side and top, then turn the block 180 degrees and trim the other two sides by lining up the diagonal line with the seam and the 4" marks with the newly cut edges.

You'll find that these blocks work up pretty quickly, especially because you're making two at a time!  And it won't be long before you have a nice little collection on the design wall.  I chose to make my arrangement totally random, print wise, and I like the way it looks.

And before you know it, you'll have a quilt's worth of blocks!  My charm pack made 84 of these cute little blocks, but I chose to lay it out in a 9x9 grid, so I had three blocks left over. They may become part of the back, or they may just take up residence in my orphan blocks tub, to become part of another quilt someday.

Now, I had every intention of sewing this quilt together just as you see it above.

But then I sewed those two columns together, and realized that I didn't have the patience to match all those fiddly little seams.  Some of the seams went the wrong way, were hard to match because they wouldn't nest - - - it just took too long!  So I regrouped and looked at what fabrics I had in my stash.

Choosing some more Kona Snow and a gray/brown blender fabric that coordinated with the charm squares, I cut 1.5"x4" sashing strips and 1.5" blender squares to put between them.  Yes, I had to do a little ripping out of the pieces I sewed together initially, but all in all it saved me hours of matching and construction time!  

opted to add a 1" (finished size) stop border of Kona Snow around the hourglass section, with blender corners...

...and a 4" (finished size) outer border of the coordinating print.  I chose to put blender corners on this border, also, because it was a directional print and I didn't like the way the bunnies looked coming together in opposing directions against each other.  It also allowed me to cut each border piece out of one strip of fabric, eliminating the need to fussy cut the strips to line up the bunnies.  

This quilt finished up at 49.5" square, the perfect size for a new little addition to our family who has been waiting for his quilt for a while now.  I can't wait to finish it up and send it to its new home!


And that's a wrap for this year's charm square quilt series, Charmed, I'm Sure!  Thanks for quilting along with me - I hope you've found some inspiration for simple quilts that you can make as we get ready to start on....

Despite all impressions to the contrary, the Challenge is on for this year - its TENTH!  Signup week starts next Sunday, although if you've already signed up (you can do it through the Page just below my header) no worries, and no need to sign up again!  So sign up now, or sign up next week - but be sure to join in the fun....

So gather up your ideas and fabric and get ready to spread some comfort!




  1. Cute little quilt! Looks simple too. Happy stitching!

  2. Being able to adjust along the way is a great skill. The new quilt top is stunning!

  3. you should be able to get your sewing room organized with being home I Imagine. cute quilt

  4. Wonderful scrappy project. I have found that marking two lines with a quarter-inch ruler on those diagonal lines is a bit more accurate for me than trying to keep the stitching line 1/4 away from a center line. Then I can sew on a line, and it only takes a moment longer. Love the sashing idea with the cornerstones, breaks up a busy pattern well.

  5. I actually like the design much better with the sashing and cornerstones than just hourglass blocks butted together. It has more movement and more interest. Congrats on a successful fix!

  6. i love making the HST block ( or what ever they are called) this is a great setting!

  7. Sweet quilt and great tutorial, Sarah. Thank you!

  8. I would have sashed as well - to save my sanity. This is awesome!

  9. It's perfect! And now I know what to do with those red/cream/blue charm packs I have!!!

  10. Thanks for another great tutorial, Sarah!!

  11. Adding the sashing/cornerstones creates wonderful movement!

  12. It's as cute as can be! I love the tutorial on getting the lines of sewing perpendicular...rather than trying to go point to point! I'll remember that!!

  13. Great tutorial! I love hourglass blocks, and the addition of the sashing column is a really great way to deal with them spinning both directions :)

  14. Your sashing really makes this quilt pop. Hum, do you have a guess as to how much of the snow you used? More than a yard or just a yard? I think I have a charm pack somewhere and this would be a very cool way to use them. However, first the UFO I pulled yesterday!

  15. You've got much better eyes than I do. I can't see the line with my hera marker.

  16. I always have trouble with hourglass blocks, so I try to avoid them if possible. I just finished sewing a top together with blocks that didn't nest and it was time consuming. I was traveling, though, and didn't have fabric with me to make sashing and cornerstones.


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