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!

Sunday, 3 July 2011


The trip away was cut short as I hurt my back (forgot to  "bend zee knees") after I had been for a swim and I was drying off my feet!!!  Never mind, I'm on the mend now (had a bit of physio!) and decided to catch up with my Civil War Blocks.

It's been a while since I have done a   "THINGS I LEARNT MAKING THIS BLOCK" and I think this one.... Block # 25  CALICO PUZZLE  warrants a few hints and tips.  Although just about everyone in the group has probably made their block ages ago!!


This is the first one I made.  I followed the instructions given for cutting, piecing and trimming but I wasn't happy with the method.  Once this block is put together, you have to trim all the edges to get it back to 8-1/2" which results in the centre block being larger than the outer blocks once they are sewn into a quilt top.  It's only a small difference, but I was also intrigued why the block needed to be made so much larger and then trimmed back.  This block looks fine...  I used my 8-1/2" square ruler to line up all of the diagonals and trimmed around each side which results in a lovely 8-1/2" block, but like I said - the centre block will always be slightly larger than the rest.   Also, if you did not own the 8-1/2" square ruler, trimming each side might have been difficult.

So, I guess you know me by now.....  I had to work it out!!!  I looked back in my CW folder and found that we had a similar block in # 6  Richmond.  In making that block, I used 3-3/16" instead of 3-3/8" and the block went together perfectly, so I made another Calico Puzzle.....
Block # 25 - CALICO PUZZLE  - second version!

I am much happier.  Firstly, this block pieced up to a perfect 8-1/2" with no trimming required.  Plus, all of the segments will be the same size once pieced into a quilt top.

I used a scant 1/4" seam allowance for all piecing.  I pieced the top row first, just to double check that I would end up with the 8-1/2" and I also pressed the seams so that I could see the intersection of the HST's.  To do this, I pressed all of the seams on the top row in towards the blue centre block and the next row, the seams were pressed outwards from the centre block and so on..... This way you can sew your seam with the intersections looking up at you and you know if you have caught the point correctly.
I then pressed all of the remaining seams open, to reduce bulk.  Hope you follow...

Now onto the next block... # 26  BARBARA FRIETCHIE  STAR...

Happy Sewing!!


  1. Naughty lifter!! Hope you are back to 'normal' again!
    I will be re-reading all your hints and tips when I start my Farmer's Wife blocks shortly - thank you.

    My word verification is 'noshit'!!!

  2. Glad to have your belated instructions on this block. I hated that it had to be made and then trimmed back, too.

    Hope you're feeling better.