Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 11


January 15th already; Spring will be here before we know it (Thank goodness!) Trina finished quilting our prototype for Pattern #6 last week (Coming Early 2014) and it is stunning! I’m going to be finishing the binding tonight. I may show you some sneak peeks here next week.

But today it’s time for your next quilt-along block:

Spool Block nancy Cabot Building Foundations Quilt Along

Block #11, the Spool Block, is very similar to the currently popular x & + block. The middle bar is the only difference.  The original design is by Nancy Cabot, first published in the Chicago Tribune on April 1, 1938. It’s reappearance at a recent Japanese Quilt Festival in this quilt by Setsuko Inagawa brought about the contemporary interest in it.


From background, cut 8 – 2 5/8″ squares.

From accent fabric #1 (X-piece, dark green in my block above) cut 4 – 4 1/4″ squares.

From accent fabric #2, cut 5 – 2 1/4″ squares.

From accent fabric #3, cut 4 – 2 1/4″ squares.



1. On the wrong side of each 2 5/8″ background square, draw a line diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner. 

2. Place a background square atop one of your 4 1/4″ squares, right sides together (RST).


3. Stitch on the diagonal line you drew in Step 1. Trim the excess from the corner, press seam open.

4. Repeat Steps 2 & 3 on opposite corner to finish the corner unit. Make 4 corner units.


5. Lay out 4 Corner Units and 9 – 2 1/4″ squares as shown below. NOTE: Take care to sew a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. If your seam allowance is too large or inconsistent, your block will not come out to 9.5″ unfinished.


6. Join into rows, join rows to complete Spool Block.


And here are out finished blocks again, side-by-side:

Nancy Cabot Spool Block x & + block QAL

Notice Trina (her block is on the left) used her background fabric as her accent fabric #3, too; which yields a slightly different, cleaner look. It makes her other two fabrics really pop!

Remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy Sewing,

Doris & Trina

Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 10


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Just finished putting away all of the Christmas decorations and dusting and vacuuming today. It’s nice to have the house so clean, but it does look bare without the glitz and shine of Christmas decorations! Also managed to sneak in enough sewing time to sew up Block 10 (I swear I’ll work ahead one of these days…) 😉

Block #10, the Economy Patch, by Ladies Art Company, 1897. The Ladies Art Company, established in 1889 in St. Louis, MO, offered quilt patterns for sale through their catalogs until the 1930s. Interestingly enough, they also sold finished blocks!


For center square, cut 1 – 5″ square (Trina’s background piece – in Kona Pond)

Accent fabric 1, cut 1 – 5 3/4″ square; cut in half diagonally in both directions to make 4 quarter-square triangles (QSTs).

Accent fabric 2, cut 2 – 5 3/8″ squares; cut in half diagonally to make 4 half-square triangles (HSTs). (Doris’s background pieces – in Cotton Couture White)

Block 10 Foundations Sampler QAL Economy Patch Quilt Block


1. Lay out center square, QSTs and HSTs as shown:

Economy Patch Quilt Block Step 1

2. Join a QST to opposite sides of center square, press. Trim points even with center square:

Economy Patch Quilt Block Step 2

3. Join remaining two QSTs to center unit, press:

Block 10 Foundations Sampler QAL Economy Patch Quilt Block

4. Repeat step 2 & 3 with HSTs. Press, square up to 9.5″.

Our finished blocks, once again:

Block 10 Foundations QAL Economy Patch Quilt Block

Remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Wishing you a Wonderful 2014,

Doris & Trina

Jolly Holidays and a free gift!

Have you finished any handmade holiday gifts this year? Are you in need of a quick & easy last-minute gift? Well, we’ve got your back!

Today we are offering you a free table runner pattern (originally posted on Doris’s blog in 2008). Version 1 has HOLLY applique in opposing corners (original made with Hoffman Batiks):

Jolly Holly Runner Free Pattern Christmas Quilt

Jolly Holly Christmas Table Runner Free Pattern

Jolly Holly Christmas Holiday Free Quilt Pattern Table Runner Pattern

Jolly Holly Christmas Table Runner Free Pattern

And Version 2 features SNOWFLAKE applique:

Jolly Holly Snowflake Table Runner

Jolly Holly Snowflake Tablerunner

Instructions are for fusible, raw-edge applique, just as our applique critter patterns are; which is a fast and easy way to get sharp, detailed applique designs!

Download the Jolly Holly Table Runner PDF pattern and whip up a gift for a hostess, or maybe for yourself!  If you are new here, we’d love to have you become a follower! Either sign up in the right side bar, or leave your email in a comment below to receive newsletter updates on newly published patterns!  There is a beauty coming your way in early 2014!

Enjoy!………and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

We’ll be back on January 1 with our next Block Tutorial for the Building Foundations Quilt-along.

Happy Quilting,

Doris & Trina

Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 9


We’re back on schedule with the quilt-along this week with Block #9:

Block #9, the Squares Within Squares block, by Nancy Cabot, published in the Chicago Tribune on August 1, 1936.

Block 9 Squares Within Squares Block


Background fabric, cut 6 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 1 (lightest – yellow/green in diagram), cut 3 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 2 (medium – dark green in diagram), cut 3 – 2 3/4″ squares.

Accent fabric 3 (darkest – bright green in diagram), cut 4 – 2 3/4″ squares.

squares within squaresSquares Within Squares Block Diagram


1. Lay out 2 background squares and 2 Accent Fabric #1 squares for first row; Lay out 1 background square, 2 Accent Fabric #2 squares and 1 Accent Fabric #1 square for second row; Lay out 2 Accent Fabric #3 squares, 1 Accent Fabric #2 square and 1 background square for third row; Lay out 2 Accent Fabric #3 squares and 2 background squares for fourth row.

2. Join into rows; Press seam allowance to right on first row, then press to left on second row, etc. TIP: Pressing rows in alternating directions will allow your seams nest together snugly.

3. Join rows to make Squares Within Squares block.

Our finished blocks, side by side:

Block #9 - Squares Within Squares Nancy Cabot Quilt Block

Remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!  Come back Friday for a fun holiday table runner pattern; perfect to whip up as a last minute hostess gift!

Happy quilting,

Doris & Trina

Building Foundations Sampler QAL – Block 6


It’s November already–the air has gotten cooler and the days shorter. We just had warm comfort food; meatloaf, baked potatoes and pumpkin pie… and now we’re ready for a nap! But first, Block #6, the Cross Block:

cross quilt block row house creations building foundations sampler

Cross Block Diagram

Block 6 Cross Block, Farm and Home, Feb 15, 1915

From Jinny Beyer’s Book: “Eight pieces of the dark and 17 of the light goods, compose this block, and when a number of them are put together a very pretty effect of five-square and eight-square crosses is brought out. The order of the colors may be reversed. These blocks should be sewn together without strips of cloth between to produce the intended design.” Farm and Home, Feb 15, 1915


Background fabric, cut 17 – 2 5/16″ squares.

Accent fabric, cut 8 – 2 5/16″ squares.


1. Lay out background and accent squares as shown in Cross Block Diagram.

2. Join into rows, join rows to complete block.

TIP: Press seam allowances one direction in rows 1, 3 and 5, and the opposite direction in rows 2 and 4. This will make your seams nest together snugly for better matching corners.

Building Foundations QAL Block 6 Cross Quilt Block

We hope your blocks are coming along, and you like how they look; remember to share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy quilting,

Trina & Doris

Building Foundations Sampler QAL — Block 4

Building Foundations Sampler QAL button

Block #4 is Broken Dishes, by Ruby McKim, 1931. (Jinny Beyer’s book).

broken dishes

Broken Dishes Block Diagram

One of our favorite traditional blocks; there are so many different looks you can get from this one simple block! (You can see two of our favorites, here and here.)


Background fabric, cut 2 – 5 3/8″ squares.

Accent fabric, cut 2 – 5 3/8″ squares.

ASSEMBLY: Making Your HSTs:

1. Draw a diagonal line on all background squares.


2. Sew a scant ¼” on either side of the drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line and press to the darker fabric.  



TIP: Square-up/trim your HSTs to 5″ square before moving onto step #2.

2. Lay out 4 HSTs as shown in the block diagram above.  Join into pairs, join pairs to complete one block.  TIP: Pressing to the dark fabric allows you to easily “nest” your seams (as shown at left in photo below) to achieve perfectly matched points:PicMonkey Collage

And here are our finished blocks:

Building Foundations Sampler Quilt A Long Broken Dishes

How are you doing with your blocks? As you finish them, share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

Happy quilting,

Trina & Doris

AQS Show: Mums for Melissa

It’s here! AQS Week in Des Moines, this will be the American Quilter’s Society’s largest (to date) quilt show–and Des Moines, and the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild have the honor of playing host!


We are excited–because our new pattern, Mums for Melissa is being featured in a demo in Booths 1003-1005 by Denise of the Iowa Falls Sewing Machine Co.–you can visit their booth to purchase our pattern.


Denise paid us the best compliment, she called to order more patterns and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me how awesome this pattern is?” Seriously, does it get any better than that?! She told us she thought it was a snowflake quilt waiting to happen (We Know!) and/or a sunflower quilt waiting to happen (Great idea, Denise!) — so many ideas, so little time.  So stop by and see Denise at booth 1003-1005! Tell her Trina & Doris said hello!

Chrysanthemum Mums for Melissa Modern Quilt

Living History Farms, a living history museum complex in Urbandale (a Des Moines suburb) will be hosting a vintage quilt show, also October 2-6.  It’s always worth a visit!

Also, on Wednesday, a new exhibit opens at the State Historical CenterThe Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st Century America. It will hang until January 31st. This exhibit is traveling from China, but consists of contemporary American Quilts.  Des Moines is the only U.S. city that will host the full exhibit.  I’ll be finding time next week to pay a visit to that one, I think…

Des Moines is a great City in which to be a quilter!  We also happen to be home to Meredith Corporation, publishers of American Patchwork & Quilting, and all of the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications.  Just outside of Des Moines, in Winterset is the home of the Fons & Porter Love of Quilting publications.  We are also home base for a major publisher of quilting books, Landauer Publishing.  We have more than one active & thriving quilt guild, a Modern Quilt Guild chapter, numerous quilt retreat opportunities, a handful of great local quilt, fabric & yarn shops, and really friendly people! Like we said, Des Moines is a great place to be a quilter.

Are you planning to be in Des Moines this week?


Happy Quilting,

Trina & Doris