September 2017 Block Lotto

This month’s block is a scrappy pieced strip block from a tutorial by Mama Love Quilts on the Spoonflower blog: Free piecing quilt block tutorial – Spoonflower Blog – Design & Sell your own Fabric, Wallpaper, and Gift Wrap

It’s a simple and fun way to use scrap strips. The Guild provided:

One piece of Kona Snow 8” x 22”

Participants supply:

Print or solid scraps from their stash, approx 8-12 pieces in strips of varying widths up to 3” wide.

My photos show the process in brief, but the tutorial (linked above) is very thorough.

The block will be squared up to 12.5” x 12.5” and will finish at 12” square.

1.) I started by cutting strips of Snow, in varied widths, about 8” long, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. (The tutorial starts with cutting the scraps. You can do it either way.)

Bear in mind that you will lose 1/2” seam allowance in between strips, and you will need to end with al least 12.5” of width, ideally 13” so that you can trim down. A greater number of wide strips will help insure that won’t lose too much width. Try not to cut all your strips super skinny, or you will run out of fabric!

2.) Then I cut each strip in two without measuring, creating uneven pairs. Then I laid them out so that the two far ends of each strip lay about 14” apart, leaving a blank gap in the middle. (bottom left image)

3.) Next I chose scraps from my stash, and cut them to fit into the gaps. My picks were mostly modern prints in somewhat coordinating colors, and a couple of solids.

4.) Then I pieced the strips, pressing seams either open or toward the scrap. Each strip should be at least 13” long. Now you can rearrange to the strips to your liking.

5.) Connect the strips. I staggered the strips a little bit in order to get a nice flow across the scraps, so my edges were very uneven. I was careful to keep at least 13” of length across all strips.

6.) Square up to 12.5”

With all of our varied scraps, and the consistency of the white throughout, the finished quilt should be stunning! Blocks can be arranged in any manner the winner chooses. Vertical strips resemble books on a shelf, while horizontal strips call to mind a stack of coins. And of course they can be alternated or randomly placed as well.

block lotto


Block Lotto for June/July 2017

EPP Modern Tumbling Blocks

There has been a request to have a Block Lotto using the English Paper Piecing technique.

A common shape for EPP is the ever-present hexagon. EPP is a great way to hand-piece hexagons and other shapes that present challenges to machine piecing, either because of the small size of the units, or because of the difficult Y-seams. Next month we will try a block using machine-stitched Y-seams, but this month let’s try hand-stitched EPP.

Instead of connecting multiple hexagons together into a traditional flower pattern, we are going to create a small hexagon block out of three 60-degree diamond units. By using three different colors (a light, a medium, and a dark) the hexagon will have the appearance of a 3D cube.

When multiple cube-hexes are pieced together, the overall pattern creates the optical illusion of never-ending stair steps. Whether the cubes are right-side-up or up-side-down, whether the steps are ascending or descending, depends only on the viewer’s perception, and can switch in an eye-blink, thus giving this pattern its name: Tumbling Blocks.

We will create a three-inch hexagon out of three 1.75” diamond units.

For each block purchased, the Guild will provide:

  • 3 diamond paper templates
  • a scrap of White Kona
  • a scrap of black Kona

Participants will supply:

  • 1 mid-tone print scrap from their stash


In order for the 3D illusion to persist throughout the quilt, each participant must arrange the light, dark, and mid-tone diamonds in the same placement!

When the hex is oriented as shown above (point up),




Three tumbling blocks together give the illusion of three right-side-up cubes.


1 To find out if your print is a suitable middle tone, lie it out in between the black and white scraps and squint your eyes. If the print blends in or is hard to distinguish from either the black or the white pieces, then it may be too light or too dark. In the sample above, the bird print is nearly too dark, and the geometric print is almost too light. However, as we can see, the 3D effect is still working. These prints pass the test, but any lighter or darker, and the illusion would be spoiled.

2. After auditioning a LOT of scraps from my stash, I discovered that the prints that coordinate best with black and white, are prints that contain black and/or white within them. In order for the end result to be a well-coordinated quilt, try to choose modern graphic prints with at least a little black or white in them. This is just a suggestion! The most important thing is to have fun and choose something you like!


There are as many ways to do English Paper Piecing as there are quilters. Having never tried it before, I used a combination of web tutorials and books to teach me. I share my method here, but please experiment and chose what works for you.


  1. Lay your paper templates on the wrong side of the fabric scraps. Trim the fabric to about ⅜” around the paper. It’s not important for the seam allowance to be perfect. You may choose to use a glue stick or paper clips to hold paper onto the fabric. The paper will be removed later, so if you use glue stick, please use just a dab.
  2. Fold one side of fabric around the paper template and finger press to a crisp line.
  3. Do the same on an adjacent side, tucking the corner.
  4. With a hand needle and thread (knotted at the tail), take a stitch in the seam allowance, biting through all layers of fabric at the corner. These stitches do not need to be pretty or even.
  5. Stitch once more through the same layers, at the same spot. This is a tacking stitch. Fold the next side around the paper, finger press, and tack stitch the next corner.
  6. Continue until all corners have been secured. Take a last tack stitch where you started, feed the thread through to the back of the seam allowance, and cut the thread, leaving a short tail.
  7. Baste all remaining units. It is not necessary to trim the little flags on the corners.


10. Make sure your diamond units are in the correct positions! White on Top, Black on the Right.

11. Hold two units with right sides together, with their edges aligning a closely as possible.

12. With a hand needle and thread (knotted at the tail), whip stitch along one edge of the two units, biting just enough fabric to grab. There is not much fabric excess beyond the edge of the paper template inside, so you can only stitch into a couple threads worth of fabric, which is perfect. Make your stitches about 1/16” apart. Do not sew through the paper! Take special care to secure the corners with an extra stitch, and stitch a knot when you come to the corner. Feed thread through to the back of the seam allowance, and cut the thread, leaving a short tail.

13. Open the two pieces like a book, and insert the third diamond unit into place.

14. Hold the last diamond with its right side flat against the right side of an adjacent unit.

15. Stitch along the edge as before.

16. Open like a book, and align the last two unsewn edges.

17. You may have to pinch or gently bend the paper to get the last two pieces to lie with right sides together.

18. Sew along the last edge, and your block is complete. Give it a quick press with the iron to set the folds and make the edges nice and crisp. Use caution if you have used glue for basting! Make sure it can be ironed without discoloring the fabric!

Here is a helpful tutorial.




May 2017 Block Lotto

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Here are detailed instructions on how to complete this month’s Block Lotto! Thank you Lucinda for coordinating this for the guild. The MQG charity quilt challenge theme is “Modern Traditionalism.” With that idea as our inspiration, this month’s lotto block is a traditional Ohio Star block, shaken up a bit. We’re going to piece it in the traditional way, but instead of placing the colors in the positions that highlight the star shape, we are going to toss them in randomly. We get to practice our HSTs, and some precision piecing, but we’re getting experimental with the color placement.

 There are dozens of Ohio Star tutorials online. This is the one I used. Here’s another good one.

The Ohio Star is a nine patch, made with five solids and four Quarter Square Triangles or hourglass squares.​

To make the block, you will need a total of:
Five 4 1/2” squares, which remain intact.
Four 5 1/4” squares, which form the QTSs.

The block will square up to 12 1/2”. The guild provides a piece of Kona Snow, large enough to make six of the squares, if cut as shown in the photo.

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Participants supply the remaining material from their stash (you will need to come up with at least two 5 1/4” squares and one 4 1/2” square). Get scrappy! Use modern prints or solids, as few or as many colors as you wish.


For our remix of this traditional block, we are keeping the star pattern in our piecing, but changing the placement of colors so that the star is still present, but is “invisible”.

Take some care in planning your QSTs. If you pair white triangles with colored triangles, you will end up with the traditional QST hourglass square by default. Try pairing colored triangles with prints, or pairing white with white.

One of the tenets of Modern Quilting is an abundance of negative space.

Those who purchase two blocks will have more white to mix and match with. If you make two blocks, feel free to have more white pieces on one block, and fewer on another. Or add more Kona Snow from your stash if you want even more negative space.

When these blocks are combined, it will be a modern scrappy quilt with a traditional framework.

My process: I made the mistake of pairing my white squares with my prints to make my HSTs, which left fewer options for non-traditional color placement in the QSTs. Four HSTs combine to form four QSTs. Two of my QSTs have traditional color placement, and two are a little different.

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Combine four QSTs with five 4 1/4″ squares. I used four white and one with the same low-volume print that I used in the QSTs.

Arrange the squares so that the seams form the “skeleton” of the Ohio Star, but the colors do not appear as a star shape. Choose a pleasing arrangement, and piece them together row by row. Square up to 12 1/2 inches.

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April 2017 Block Lotto

April Block Lotto

Here are detailed instructions on how to complete this month’s Block Lotto! Thank you Lucinda for coordinating this for the guild.

As a compliment to last month’s “Blue Moon” block, this month’s “Comet” block is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Last month’s solid was white, and it used a pattern, and curves. with an online tutorial. This block uses black, no pattern, and only straight lines, with no tutorial. These instructions are a guide, but there will be some improvisational decisions to make, and some monkeying around to fit the block together. Some may find this bit of freedom fun and easy, while some may find it more challenging.

The Guild provided one 11.5″ square of Kona Black. Participants provide scraps from their stash in three or more shades of a single color. It’s okay to use prints that read as solid. Stitch your gradation of scraps to form a rough strip approximately 3” x 12”. Seams do not need to be straight or parallel to each other.

Cut a long triangle wedge out of the strip. You choose the angles and direction. No need to measure. This is your “Comet”.

block lotto april 1

Cut the black square in two. You choose the placement and the angle of the cut.
block lotto april 2

Insert the Comet between the two black portions.

Take care to ensure that the result will yield at least a 10.5” square.

In order to accommodate the Comet piece, you may need to remove a wedge of black, adjust your angles, or flip one of your black portions over.
block lotto april 3

Sew the two black portions onto either side of your Comet. Don’t panic if the result is not square.

Square up the block, and trim to 10.5″

block lotto april 4

​It’s okay if the point does not meet the edge of the block.

Black backgrounds always seem to make colors glow.

We should end up with a fun collection of 10.5” Comet blocks which can be assembled in any the winner desires.

Have fun with the colors, and don’t sweat the details.

March 2017 Block Lotto

Traditional Meets Modern – “Blue Moon”

This is a block made up of four Drunkard’s Path units, joined to make a circle.

We are using the free tutorial from Stitched by Crystal

Traditional Drunkard's Path Patter
Pieced by Lucinda Walker

STITCHED by Crystal: Tutorial: Quilting curves – The Drunkard’s Path

The tutorial instructions are thorough, with clear pictures of each step, and the measurements are generous to allow for trimming down and squaring up.

For each block, the guild will provide two 5” squares of WHITE, and participants will use two BLUE (prints or solids) 5” squares from their stash (a total of four 5” squares are needed to complete the block.). Prints with outer space or sky motifs are especially cute and reinforce the Moon theme, but there is no need to purchase new fabric. Any solid shade of blue will also work. Your two blue squares do not have to match. Mix it up!

You will need an 8″ circle to use as a template. Paper templates were distributed at the meeting, but if you did not get one, you can use any means to create a circle with an 8” diameter.

When making my samples, I encountered two points that were not discussed in the tutorial, which might be helpful for first-time curve piecers.

1. One of the steps is to “find the center of each piece and pin them together.” The easiest way to find the center of a curve is to simply fold it in half and make a little finger-pressed crease. Match up the center creases of the convex and concave pieces, keeping right sides of the fabric together. Pin the center first, then pin the corners, and then fill in with as many pins as you find helpful.

2. I found that I was able to get the bias of the curve to stretch more easily when I fed the fabric through my machine with the convex piece on top. The tutorial pictures show the concave piece on top. Try one each way to see which works best for you.

Individual Drunkard’s Path units will be squared up to measure 4.25” each.

Four units will piece together to make a moon block measuring 8” square.

In order to create the Half Moon look, join the units so that they form a white semi-circle.

No one expects perfection! This is a way to build our skills with curves and try something new. Let’s make it fun!



February 2017 Block Lotto

Thank you Sandy for organizing this month’s Block Lotto and doing a demo of the pattern—it’s a paper-pieced coffee mug! Those who signed up received a piece of fabric in Kona Silver and RightPatterns (R)’s Coffee Cup pattern (available on Pull any fabrics from your stash to complete the coffee mug. Paper piecing the “steam” is optional, you can top the mug with a solid block if you wish. Sandy enlarged the block to a 10” block. The pattern when enlarged doesn’t include the 1/4” seam around the outside so be sure to include the 1/4” seam around the block.

January 2017 Block Lotto

February’s Block is inspired by Linda Miller’s “Scrappy Lines.” We are changing Miller’s proportions, and using solids instead of prints. Each block is a different shade of off-white, with a single pieced stripe. We are supplying Kona Snow and Moda Eggshell, one piece is 5” x 8.5” and one piece is 2.5” x 8.5”. You will add your own solid-color pieced stripe to the middle of the pieces that were supplied. The strip you will add is 2.5” x 8.5” so the finished square is 8.5” x 8.5”. FYI the pieces we are giving are generously cut. Tip: the pieced strip is the width of a jelly roll strip. Feel free to use pre-cut solids if you have them. Use solids for your middle strip, you can use neutrals or do a pop of color, but adhere to the modern quilting aesthetic.

Inspired by Linda Miller's “Scrappy Lines.”
Pieced by Lucinda Walker