I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 62, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 24. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. I've recently started collecting Miniature Sewing Machines, three Essex and one Singer 20 and a Vulcan Countess. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Monday, 31 January 2011



I actually enjoyed piecing this block.  I have never worked with such little squares!   To make the HST'S I used my Wonder Cut Ruler.  Two strips are cut to the size you need using the lines on the ruler (I cut my strips on the 1 1/2" line)... you then sew the two strips together (in this case, one light, one dark) right sides together with a 1/4" seam down both sides of the strips.  Then you take the other end of the ruler and cut out the triangles, once again using the 1 1/2" lines on the ruler.  Open up the triangles to reveal a perfectly formed HST which is just a smidge over the 1 1/2" required which allows you to trim up the ears and double check your 45 degree angle.  All of my HST's came out just right.  I used my normal ruler to cut the remaining squares.  If you don't follow, just click on the link above!


Working with such small pieces of fabric, I think it is essential that your rotary cutter is super sharp - so I would recommend a new blade for this project.  If the blade is slightly dull, it will drag on the little piece of fabric when you are trying to cut it in half for the small triangles.

I have clear grip on the underside of all of my rulers - this stops the ruler slipping when you are cutting... this is very useful for such small pieces of fabric.

Spray starch has become my best friend!

I press all seams OPEN.

I found that only one pin was needed when piecing the HST sets together.  More than one seemed to distort the block.  I use very fine bridal pins with glass heads.

To join each side together (after I had pieced each set of two 4 1/2" squares together) I stabbed a pin vertically through the centre match point of each pinwheel set, keeping it standing upright.  I then pinned each side of that pin whilst aligning my seams.  Without removing the upright pin, I sewed the seam, only removing the pins as I came to them.  This involved holding the upright pin in place, but it made sure that the pinwheel came together correctly.   This ensured that my triangles met in the middle quite well (I'm not saying for one minute that mine a perfect, but I'm happy with how they came out!)  I picked up this "trick" from one of my books.....RODALE'S PERFECT PIECING, Page 52

I do not use any steam in my iron until the block is ready to set.  I have a piece of freezer paper marked with the 8 1/2" square which I iron onto my board, then pin the block into place (with glass headed pins) onto the freezer paper.  I then spray starch the block then dry iron/press it.  I like to leave the block sit for as long as possible, then remove the pins and remove the freezer paper from the ironing board and THEN give the block a nice steam press (no rubbing, just pressing).

Some of the Civil War blocks have been quite challenging.  If you are looking for information on how to  piece a block, go over to Lillian's blog.....http://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/category/quilting/civil-war-quilt/       Lillian gives clear instructions (with pictures).  Thanks Lillian!  I would never have worked out Texas Tears without you!!

Tomorrow my Craft Group starts up for another year.   I'm looking forward to getting back into routine.  We meet every second Tuesday.  I wonder what crafty items we will be making this year?!

Happy Sewing!!


  1. Thanks for some gReAt tips. You did really well with the block... too small for me to tackle! but congrats to you are in order I think!

  2. Good grief that looks complicated. You have a lot more patience than me! But golly it looks beautiful.

    You sound like you're enjoying those blocks too!

  3. The wonder cut ruler looks really interesting. The points in your block are crisp...so it must work! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Your Kansas Troubles block turned out so well! You also offered some good tips and reminders for ALL piecing. Sometimes we get into little habits that start to affect the final outcome of a block.
    Wonder what Barbara will present to us next??? Hope not too many of those appliqued points!

  5. That is an awesome block and so grateful for your tips...thanks!

  6. Helen - I am trying to help a friend who I think had a problem with comments similar to the one you posted on the bolgger Help forum. She accidentally checked the "email follow -up comments to this email address" box and now her email is being flooded with emails.

    Did you ever get that question answered - do you know how to stop the process?

    By the way - you do have a beautiful blog and your quilting is amazing. My Mother was a fabric lover - as you are - and your designs bring back a flood of sweet memories.

    Hope you can help us~~


  7. I have replied to Vicki via email, but in case anyone else has this problem.... open up the email you receive, scroll to the bottom and a line should appear UNSUBSCRIBE to follow up emails ... click on UNSUBSCRIBE, you will be taken to a page which lists all of the blogs you have subscribed to follow up emails. choose which ones you no longer wish to receive and say YES. That's it!

  8. What a beautiful block - and the points are perfect. Great job.

    Also, great tips. I'm going to look into the Wonder Cut ruler.

  9. Back again for a quick comment...just heard by way of Quiltsalott that Queensland has a huge cyclone system headed their way...will keep everyone in our prayers...how devastating on top of all the flooding.

    Be safe and well.

  10. Beautiful block, Helen. Thank you for the tips, I will refer back to you when I get to doing this block!!

  11. That's a great block Helen, and thanks for the recommendations and advice you gave us.

  12. I took your advice and bought the Wonder Cut ruler. I tried it out on a block that had 16 half-triangles and it worked great.