DEAR JANE® is in the Seventeenth
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Making Your Own "Baby Jane" 

Tips from the Blocks & Methods Survey on the Dear Jane Mailing List

These tips are suggestions to help you get started with your Baby Jane blocks. If you find errors, have ideas for alternate methods, or ideas to improve these suggestions, please let us know.

Paper Piecing refers to the foundation method of piecing on paper or fabric.  Measurements are finished size unless noted otherwise. Save your templates and scraps, you may need them for a similar block.

Clicking the symbol in this document will bring you back to the top of this page.
 
A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 A-5 A-6 A-7 A-8 A-9 A-10 A-11 A-12 A-13
B-1 B-2 B-3 B-4 B-5 B-6 B-7 B-8 B-9 B-10 B-11 B-12 B-13
C-1 C-2 C-3 C-4 C-5 C-6 C-7 C-8 C-9 C-10 C-11 C-12 C-13
D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 D-5 D-6 D-7 D-8 D-9 D-10 D-11 D-12 D-13
E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 E-6 E-7 E-8 E-9 E-10 E-11 E-12 E-13
F-1 F-2 F-3 F-4 F-5 F-6 F-7 F-8 F-9 F-10 F-11 F-12 F-13
G-1 G-2 G-3 G-4 G-5 G-6 G-7 G-8 G-9 G-10 G-11 G-12 G-13

 

Revised Center of G-6   Papa's Star

 

A-1, Pinwheel Gone Awry, Page 17

Several ways to piece this block:
The first uses quarter square triangles in the center. You can also  paper piece this block. When machine piecing: Carefully mark the 1/4" seam allowance on the seams that lead to the center - it is especially important to make a dot at the intersection of these seams where they will come together at the center. Sew the squares into 4 quarters, the quarters into halves, and the halves together. On the wrong side of the block, twirl the center intersection so that it twirls around the center and press. For 4 QST: cut (2) 3" squares background and (2) 3" squares focus fabric. Make 4 blocks with quarter square triangle technique. I paper pieced the four corner units.

Or, try this way:
First I made 8 half triangle squares. I made them
larger because that's easier for me and then cut them down. (8 of 16). Four of the squares are just background (12 of 16). The last 4: I took 4 background squares and snowballed a 1-1/8" focus fabric square on to it. (16 of 16).

Put them together - done!

A-2, One–Two Buckle My Shoe, Page 17

Small unit size is 3/4".

Foundation/Paper Piecing:
As you look at it, you can see a center square with an X in it, made of 4 equal quarter-square triangles. Also, there are 6 flying geese units and 4 half square triangle units, along with solid background pieces. Make the center square-with-an-X. (Begin with  3" squares and trim down to 2" when finished.) Then draw a paper piecing  pattern in 5 horizontal rows. The middle row you will have to make in 2 units, and then sew them to the center square.

A-3, Hunter’s Moon

A-3, Hunter's Moon, page 18

Center circle is 2-7/8".

Appliqué and/or Reverse appliqué: Several ways to approach this challenging block are included here.

1) Take one whole piece of fabric, and sew four melon seeds on it. You can make the melon seeds with Templar and spray starch, or any other technique you desire and appliqué them on. If you fold the fabric in half corner to corner and lightly press, and do the same in the other direction, you will be able to place the seeds accurately.

2) Take a 6" square of print fabric and a 6" square of background fabric. Cut a circle of the print fabric, larger than necessary. With freezer paper on the print fabric, cut out the center. Cut the center from the background
fabric with a scant seam allowance around the "melons". Layer the print circle on the bottom with the melon background on top of that, and the print foreground on top. Reverse appliqué the center print to the background fabric. Appliqué the melon shapes to the back print circle. Trim as needed.

3) I am not piecing that block as it looks from the photograph. I'm using reverse appliqué in a layered fashion. I cut out the center of the fabric and layered my background fabric under it, and under that I layered another piece of the print that I'm using. I will reverse appliqué the circle to the background fabric and then appliqué the background fabric to the print behind it.

A-4, Courtney's Stethoscope, page 18

Center square is 1-3/4" finished.

Paper Piecing: Look at A-4 as 3 diagonal strips: #1 is a cross (which can be paper pieced in 3 parts) and two end pieces. #2 and #3 are pentagons with 2 little triangles on either side. Join those three strips then sew the border on. Start with 2 opposite plain strips and make 2 strips with the corner block attached. Note: You just have to be very careful on the paper piecing in the center. I cut the square in half diagonally and it was tricky to match up the cross sections. Mine is maybe 1/32" off.

A-5, Cathie's Campfire, page 19

Nine 1-1/2" units.

Paper Piecing: Do this in 3 horizontal sections. For the top and the bottom rows paper piece the flying geese units first, then add the corner squares. For the center row, begin with the center square and paper piece the flying geese to it. Sew all 3 rows together.


A-6, Uncle Homer, page 19

One for beginners!

Hand/Machine Piecing: Measure, rotary cut, sew together. The center square should be cut at 23/4", the side sections cut at 15/8" X 3/4" and the corner squares cut at 15/8". Measure carefully, rotary cut the pieces, and sew with a scant ¼" seam allowance. Press well and trim to 5".


A-7, Dad’s Plaids, page 20

Take a peek at blocks E-1 and E-10. 

Hand or Machine piece the 4 squares together. Appliqué each melon on its square. Press well and trim to 5".


A-8. Florence Nightingale, page 20

The cross on this block made Brenda's students think of the Red Cross, so they named the block for its famous nurse. This is a great block for a signature or "album" quilt. Plenty of room in the center patch for a signature or saying.

 Paper Piecing: Piece in two sections: Begin with a background "square" then add the 3 triangles onto 3 sides, then the diagonal rectangle with its two end triangles. The second section is the other background "square" and its three adjacent triangles. From focus fabric cut: 2 (2-1/2") squares for the corners, cut on diagonal once; Cut a 4" square and cut on diagonal twice for side triangles. From background fabric cut 2 (2-1/2") squares, and 1 piece 2-1/2" x 5-1/2" for center signature rectangle.

Hand/Machine Piecing: Rotary cut and machine or hand piece. From background, cut 2 pieces 2-1/4" x 1.875". Cut one piece 5.125" x 2.25". From focus fabric cut: 2 squares 2-1/4" and cut on the diagonal once. These are the four corners. Cut one 3" square and cut on the diagonal twice. These are the four larger triangles in the center of each side. You are "cutting them big and wacking them off." Press carefully when completed, and center your Dear Jane square on it and trim evenly to 5"


A-9, Cabin Fever, page 22

Paper Piecing: Start in the center and work out. When you reach the last narrow rectangle of the center leave the end of each strip open and sew it down when the next one is attached. Or, easier, change the strips to 2 short ones on opposite sides and 2 longer ones overlapping the short ones. Then add a triangle to each side. The outer row can be easily paper pieced. Do the short sides opposite each other and finally the longer sides with 7 pieces each.


A-10, Which Points West?, page 22

1) Start with your background square and appliqué the focus fabric square in the center and the 4 FF triangles. Then reverse appliqué the center melon.

2) Start with the center focus fabric square, add on the background strips and miter the corners. Then appliqué the focus fabric triangles and the center melon.


A-11, Pebble’s Protest, page 23

Paper Piecing: Look at the block as a nine patch. Redraw the lines to make the 9-patch. Each corner block becomes a small 4-patch. Paper piece the points of the stars. Cut out the center block and sew the 9 pieces together.


A-12, Framed Fancy, page 23

Paper Piecing: Envision the large center unit as a 9-patch on point. Rotary cut the center unit at 1-1/2". There are 4 identical 3 piece units and 4 that appear as double flying geese blocks. Paper piece these 8 sections. Then rotary cut two 4" squares, then cut on the diagonal twice to form the 4 outside triangles.


A-13:, Starlight - Starbright, page 24

Handpiecing: Compare the drawing to the photo and note that a line is missing on the drawing--the line which creates the 4 small triangles, one in the center of each side in the print fabric. Do the center as a 9-patch, then set in the corners of the outside pieces. Finish off with sewing the corner seams.


B-1, Batchelor Buttons, page 24

Batchelor Button is an old-fashioned annual in a very pretty shade of blue. Maybe Jane Stickle had some in her Vermont garden!

Appliqué: Trace the circle on Templar (a plastic template material that withstands iron temperatures) or index cards four times and cut them out. Nail-file the edges to be very smooth, which is important when cutting a circle. Cut the fabric 1/2" larger than the template. Run a gathering stitch around the edge, using lots of very small stitches for the most even gathering and smoothest circle. Place the template on the wrong side of the fabric circle and pull up gathering thread and knot the thread. To keep the edges crisp when sewing the circle to the background, spritz it with some spray starch, wait a moment to dry, and press. This will keep the edges quite crisp while appliquéing. Cut the background square oversized at 5-1/2" . Fold the block diagonally and press a crease in it. Fold opposite corners diagonally and press another crease in it. Align the circles using these pressed marks as guides and hand appliqué. When finished, spritz your block with water and press out the diagonal creases.

 Reverse Appliqué: B1 also looks MUCH better reverse appliquéd, based on quite a few of these blocks I have seen. You reverse appliqué to keep the dark fabric from shadowing through and to get the seam allowance going the other way underneath. > A 5th circle would fit in the center of the 4 in the block with the edges just touching. I used one of my templates placed here on my background piece to get my other circles in the right place. > Batchelor Buttons is sew simple! Cut a 5 ½" square of your main fabric. Lightly press it from corner to corner (diagonally). Open it up and press it again from opposite corners. This is a light pressing, you don't want it to be a permanent crease! Using a 3" circle template, trace 4 circles out of your background fabric. (If it's a light fabric, you may have to line your yo-yo with another layer of fabric before you draw up your basting thread.) Make 4 yo-yos. Appliqué the four yo-yos, centering them in the triangles created by the folds. Appliqué one yo-yo and then appliqué the one opposite it, keeping them about 1 ¾" apart. Appliqué the 3rd yo-yo making sure it is perfectly centered between the 2 yo-yos. Complete with the 4th yo-yo. Remove template material (if used) from your yo-yos, press the block carefully, removing the creases in the block, and you are finished! 

B-2, Sweet Tater Pie, page 25

Barbara Brackman's 1483)

Hand/Machine Piecing: The tricky part of B-2 is getting the eight point center to lie flat. After stitching the eight "pie wedges" to the outside pieces, (clipping the seams as needed) you will have 8 wedges that will meet in the center when done. Place a pencil dot at the center juncture of the two side seams. That is, the point where the 1/4" seams will join to make the center. Sew from the outside edge toward the center. Stop sewing at the dot, backtack. Do the same for all seams. I sewed four quarters together, then two halves, then joined the halves, always leaving the center points free. Always stop 1/4" from the center and backtack. Look at the other seams as you join the groups together and see that your stopping stitch will bring your seam right up to the other seams you have made. Once you have the block complete, press the block from the wrong side, pressing the seams down in a circular fashion. Start at the outside and work toward the center (sort of pinwheel-ish). When your seams are all lying flat there will still be a mess of points in the center. Take the iron point and start to tease the center open. There will be a little pinwheel in the center. If you have paid close attention to all your seams they will meet in the center. If you have a hole in the center, you should extend some seams a little further. The center will lie incredibly flat.

I have been piecing B-2 and B-3 and thought the way I did them might be interesting to you all. (1) I ironed the freezer paper template to the wrong side of my fabric, cut it out adding the seam allowance and drew around the template for the sewing line. (2) Leaving the freezer paper on I pressed with my iron, the curve on the section that goes inside the block, using the freezer paper as the guide. (3) I took Roxanne's basting glue and put a line of glue around the curve on the outside section which was left flat. (4) I then held the two sections to the light and lined up the curves and glued them together. (5) When the glue was thoroughly dry, I clipped the curve to the seam line and then removed the freezer paper. (6) I put a pin in the corners to make sure they lined up and if not, tore them apart just enough to line up the corners. Then hand sew the sections together. I had perfect circles all set in and the seams lined up perfectly. Karen E.

B-3, Mirror Image, page 25

Barbara Brackman's 1450)

Hand appliqué and machine piece: Make two 4-patch blocks, reversing the color placement. Trace the inner circle and guidelines onto plastic or card stock. Cut out top circle, adding ¼" seam allowance. Press under seam and starch well. Hand appliqué to background 4-patch. Trim away under top circle.

Machine Piecing: with freezer paper: Draw the entire block on freezer paper and then carefully cut it apart. Iron the pieces onto the back of the appropriate fabric, background or print, and cut with 1/4" seam allowances--it's okay to "eyeball" the quarter inch. Cut the outside pieces a bit larger than required to compensate for any imperfection in your piecing. (The block can be cut down when finished if necessary.) Trace around the pattern pieces on the wrong side of fabric and remove the paper. Thoroughly clip the inside curve of the four outside pieces. Clip within the seam allowance within a thread or two of the penciled line. Pin well, stitch and press. Join the four sections and cut the block to size. 

B-4, Chris’s Soccer Field, page 27

Paper Piecing: This can be done in just one unit. The center provides a great opportunity for use of one of your larger design fabrics. I started with the square and added full strips to all sides and then cut it down to size before adding last color strips. Linda Brandau

Paper piecing: Do the center first, then add the strips to each side. Then add the 4 straight borders. Make sure when doing those 4 borders you cut extra fabric. That way you can trim to 5" unfinished. Sharon Mastbrook, Fort Worth Texas

B-5, Hot Cross Buns, page 27

Paper Piecing/Appliqué: Paper piece in units, starting from the center, the square-strip-square unit times two then piece them together with the bar in the middle. Add the four outside strips counter clockwise starting with the top. To form the diamonds, cut a Templar template of the diamonds as shown on Brenda's pattern. Cut fabric 1/4" larger. Using a small brush or Q-tip, apply starch to the seam allowance on one edge, fold over with the tip of your iron on low. Hold until the starch dries. Repeat on the opposite edge, then the other sides. You will have two "tails" sticking out on the ends. Fold under, touch with starch and press dry. Hand appliqué the diamonds in each square.

(1) I extended the lines on the diamonds from 2 points to outer and inner corners of the block. (2) I ironed the freezer paper templates to the wrong side of the fabric, traced the sewing line and cut out adding the 1/4 seam allowance, you know the drill. (3) On the background I snipped the fabric to the seam line in the spot where the piece makes a V. I then pieced first one side of the diamond, sewing just to where the sewing line stops and knotted the thread and cut it. Then I pivoted the diamond and the background, lined up the corners and sewed the second side of the diamond. I did the same way for the remaining half of the diamond, I then sewed the background together at the points. This will give you a set in diamond. I only extended the lines at two points (top and bottom) of the diamond but you could extend the lines on the other two points also and then you wouldn't have to pivot the background at the V. I hope that you can understand this. Karen Ehrhardt, IL

B-6, Wild Goose Chase, page 28

Paper Piecing: In the center of the block are four squares, each with a 1/4" diagonal bar across it. These squares are separated by 1/4" bars. The first units to piece are the two rectangles making up this center square. Piece from the center out (toward the short ends). Then sew these two units together with a bar between. The next unit starts with this center square, the 1/4" strips around it, then the small triangles and another round of 1/4" strips. Set aside this unit and PP the triangular corner units with their 1/4" strips on two sides. Add to the center square and surround with the outer border.

Hand/Machine Piecing: Starting in the center, add the two small triangles to each of the rectangle to make four squares. Join the squares as you add the 1/4" strips. Think of the rest of the block as a log cabin, adding round after round. Now that you have made this block, you may have found there are 43 pieces!

It's not so bad if you break it down into sections. Look at it starting at the middle. Near the middle are four squares, each made of two triangles and a 1/4" wide diagonal band. Hand piece them quickly, or you can paper piece them, or you can strip-piece them. To strip-piece cut a strip of the center band fabric, 3/4" wide, You could cut it 9-10" long to be generous. Now cut 2 strips of the print fabric, 1 1/4" wide, same 9-10" long. Now I'm figuring a little generous both on lengths and the width of the print fabric, because I'm not doing it, except in my head, and I don't want you to come out short. You can sew the strips together, print-white-print. Now make a little plastic template of the square with seam allowances added and the center bar marked. You can lay this template on the strip and cut out your little squares. Only thing is the outer edges will be bias. If you want them straight grain, then when you cut the strips at the beginning, cut bias strips. I hope this is all clear to you. Sewing the little center bars to connect the squares into a larger square is an easy matter. First add the short bars, then connect them to the larger center bar. See the two-piece triangles that add onto the new square to make an even larger square? You could sew two strips together and cut them out with a little template, same as with the center. You'd need a 3/4" strip of the light, and 1 1/2" (?) of the print, straight grain gives a bias edge, bias strip gives straight grain edge. I think you can squeak it out with 11" strips, use a bit more to be cautious. OK, now you have 3-piece triangles to add on. You could paper-piece them, working from the center outward, like little triangle log cabin blocks. In fact, if you're good at it, you could just log cabin them, without the paper! Either way, easy. Add those triangles on, now all that's left is to put on the final border, log-cabin style. Janet 

B-7, World Series, page 28

Appliqué: Prepare four melons and four diamonds by your favorite method. Appliqué onto a square of your print fabric. Cutting the print square larger than the required 5" will give you leeway for the shrinkage occurring with appliqué.

Reverse appliqué: using only two pieces of fabric.

Handpiecing: Sew the diamonds to the dark material-all four of them. I then pieced the outside circle to the inside circle. This is probably not a method for the faint of heart! Another thought: Rather than piecing in the diamonds, make mitered seams underneath and then appliqué the diamonds on top.

B-8, Water Lily, page 29

(Similar to Barbara Brackman's 3091 and 3899)

Handpiecing: Piece the four diamonds which make up the "star" in the center, then add the corner trapezoids. Appliqué the four melons. The center star can be made of one piece rather than four. Perhaps the star should be a bit smaller to preserve the points.

I really wanted them to be positioned right so I couldn't figure out how to put them in the exact places they should be. I had already traced to freezer paper with pencil, I took the paper and turned it upside down on the fabric and rubbed a little and Walla! the pencil transferred onto the fabric, perfect positions for appliqué. This doesn't work if the work will be reversed, and those of you who don't want pencil, (just a tad on you fabric under the appliqué.) but my grandma has used pencil on her quilts for 50 yrs and they are all fine. Steph

B-9, Tinker Toy, page 29

Hand/Machine Piecing: Start with the center square and add two pieces across from each other. Then set in the other two large pieces. Join 2 half squares for each corner and set them in, sewing from the outside edge to the V, stopping exactly at the ¼" mark. Press the seam allowances all in the same direction, sort of like a pinwheel, and the block will lie very flat.

I was inspired to do this when I found a piece of fabric that was just perfect. It is a Clarissa Alford reproduction. I don't remember who makes this and I need to know for my log. It has light streaks on it and gets darker out from there. Almost perfect. I fussy cut the pieces from freezer paper templates and carefully marked the 1/4 inch SA. I then made 4 half square triangles and trimmed them to the perfect size. I was going to hand piece this block and then decided to just use the sewing machine. I think you should hand piece it. Hope you find that perfect fabric. Linda In Mustang OK

While I was working on B-9 I was curious how everyone else did the center square. I cut a 2" square and sewed it in like the dimensional bowtie block. It worked great, the center square measures a 'hair' larger than an inch and is more in proportion with Jane's original block. Sarah-Jane Sarah Francis

Straightforward hand piecing, sewing just to the end of the seamline, not crossing it as in machine piecing. I may piece in the center square, or... I am toying with the idea of appliquéing it on. I probably will machine piece the corner squares larger than needed and then trimming them up to the perfect 1 3/4" and then hand piece them into the corners. Judy in the Mitten

B-10, Jud’s Trophy, page 30

Paper/Machine Piecing: Paper piece the center-square-on-point and round of four triangles. Strip piece the next round. The cut sizes are: rectangle: 1-3/8" x 2-1/4"; corner squares: 1-3/8". The last round of strips should be cut at 1".

Hand/Machine Piecing: Measure, cut and sew all pieces but the center cross. (The center will be a 1-1/4" square on point.) Appliqué the cross, in either one or three pieces.

Hand piecing. It is really cute. The middle pieces are very small. I only had one problem. As I would sew a seam I would trim it before I would sew on another piece, well, with the handling, the fabric frayed. Now, some of my seams are pretty tiny, I will have to be more careful on the next ones. I did go back and sew another line of sewing to give what is left extra strength. Karen in IL 

B-11, Melissa’s Cross, page 30

(Block in book is not exactly like Jane's)

Note that the corner triangle and half melon, while similar, is not a Drunkard's Path as the curve does not end at the same place as the triangle. Matching these pieces is the key to a beautiful block.

Handpiecing : Hand piece entire block. Or hand piece up to the corner pieces, which are made up of a triangle and a half melon. Each half melon can be appliquéd onto a 2" half square triangle. Then add to the center. In detail: 1. Reduce the pattern to about 95% so that more background shows similar to Jane's block. Cut the two curved pieces of plastic template material and use them to trace on sewing lines with a water soluble pen. (Do this at your own risk!) Clip the inside curves and pin, pin, pin the together being careful to match up both sewing lines marked. Sew by hand or machine. Check your seam for accuracy. 2. Spritz off the marked lines if using a water soluble pen before pressing. 3. Cut a template of the two pieces together and use to mark the sewing line being careful to match up the line where the pieces are joined. This is an important step for true accuracy. And a testimonial: "This method worked so much better for me than just hand sewing them. I was VERY surprised by that fact!"

Machine Piecing: (Redraw the block to look like Jane's.) Measure, cut and sew entire on-point center unit. Make a template and mark seams for the blue half melons and the triangles which make up the corners of the block. Join the straight side of the blue piece to the completed center. Use many pins to prepare the seam attaching the corner triangles and sew.

Paper piece the melon part at the bottom with the square background it is on (same seam) and then appliqué the round part. Sew ½ strip, melon and background together. Hand appliqué the curve of the melon down. Works great. Looked funny at first but it worked. Steph

 

B-12, Starflower, page 32

(Similar to Barbara Brackman's 3092)

Appliqué: Decide whether you will follow the line drawing or reduce the size of the melons so they do not touch the center background piece as Jane's do. If you want to make it look like Jane's, appliqué or reverse appliqué the center and the melons.

Another option: Make a freezer paper template of the center curved-sided "square" and carefully add 1/4" seam allowance. Pressing this onto the fabric will result in an accurately cut shape. Draw a line on the print fabric from the corner of each square to the block corner and make a pattern for the four surrounding "quarters". Sew the square to the opposite side pieces then set in the other two sides. Prepare the four melon seeds and appliqué onto the seams, which will now disappear. Handpiecing: A good way to make this block if you are a confident appliqué technician.

I pieced the melons in instead of appliquéing them. It wasn't hard but was time consuming, the curve on the melons was an easy one, so not much trouble setting it in. Karen Ehrhardt

I think the easiest way to do these small curved blocks is to mark the seamline and sew on the line. (I don't usually do this with "normal sized" blocks") Be sure to clip the piece well that curves in and pin wherever you need to. If it has a bumple in it, stick another pin in "from here to there". Remember, no one gives awards because you used fewer pins! And be sure you check and make sure you are sewing on both sewing lines. That's about it, its very simple if you go slowly and keep an eye on what you are doing. For the order.......Sew a top-center-bottom, to make an hourglass, then make 2 sides composed of a side with 2 petals (it is a starFLOWER) then fit the sides in. Remember.........HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!! Judy in the Mitten

Appliqué: I traced the block outline onto a plastic page protector with a permanent pen. Then I cut 4 pieces of freezer paper, the "dark" or "print" pieces of the block. I iron the FP onto the right side of my print fabric & cut out with a scant 1/4" seam allowance on the 2 curved sides & the short side (in the middle of the block), but left 5/8" extra along the long outside edge. Then I cut a 6" square of my background fabric. Using the "transparency", I centered one of the FP/print fabric pieces on top of the background fabric. I used a bit of fabric glue stick to hold the piece in place...a few tiny "appliqué pins" are helpful, too. Then, I appliquéd one curved edge, the short middle line, and the other curved edge. One section done :) Repeat this with the other 3 pieces, using the "transparency" to get them lined up perfectly with the other pieces. My block came out really nice this way, the "points" of the melon line up exactly in the middle, forming the center square. After I was done with the appliqué, I trimmed away the extra background fabric from behind. I chose to use 4 separate pieces, rather than "reverse appliqué" because at those center points, there would be virtually no fabric left to turn, where the melon points meet to form the center square. However, reverse appliqué is another method you could choose to use for this block. After the block is all done, I use a 4 1/2" square template to mark the "seam lines" on the wrong side of the block, and trim off the extra seam allowance added around the outside edge of the block. This extra fabric is insurance, so if the block "shrinks" a bit in construction, I have some extra fabric to cover this, without having to add a row of tiny borders (which is what Jane did for some of her blocks, which were a little small :) Hope this description is clear & gives you some ideas for looking at some of the blocks from several points of view (can I piece it? can I foundation piece it? can I appliqué it? can I reverse appliqué it? should I just stencil it (well, maybe that is going a bit too far VBG) ....which technique would be easiest...and most important, which technique will work the best for ME?) Many of us have found that our technical skills have increased, and our "eye" for looking at a block & deciding on what method/methods to use, have improved, too, as we have moved along on our "DJ journey". Sometimes that growth has caused some frustration...and a few "orphan blocks" VBG, but ultimately, you will be a better quilter for it!! Happy Stitching, everyone!! Karan-Jane from Iowa

B-13, Four Corner Press, page 32

(Variation of Barbara Brackman's 2020)

The challenge in this block is choosing a fabric which will be interesting in the large center.

Hand/Machine Piecing: Make by hand, by machine, or by strip piecing. Cut the center square 3-1/2", the corner blocks 1-1/4" square and the outer strips 1-¼" x 3-1/2".

I have been looking at B13 and wondering how Jane did it. It is apparently done in cheater cloth. How did you ladies do it? Answer: This is one block where I used four different fabrics. Actually I used 4" swatches I had bought of a Smithsonian fabric line to make it look more like Jane's. The four corners are one fabric, the center is another, the top and bottom rectangles are another, and the left and right sides are a stripe. Carla Jolman

 

C-1, Trooper Green’s Badge, page 33

Hand/Machine Piecing: Cut center square 2-1/4", half square triangles (4) from two 2-1/8" squares, and outer strips 1" wide. Assemble as economy block (sew the four triangles around the center square) and add the 1" side strips log cabin style. Or you can paper piece it in only one unit.

C-2, Streak of Lightning, page 33

Paper Piecing: Paper piece the 9 patch diamond in the middle in three sections. Join them together to make a diamond-shaped 9-patch. The two diamonds in the opposite corners will be appliquéd on as the last step. Change the mitered seams to straight seams and add the background log cabin style. Prepare the two diamonds using your favorite appliqué method and appliqué them to the two outer corners. Not as hard as it looks!

C-3, Rayelle’s Fence, page 34

Strip Piecing: Cut (2) 1-1/4" x 10" strips of background fabric, and (2) 1-1/4" x 10" strips of focus fabric. Cut the center 2" square of focus fabric. If you want to make a "fussy cut" template for the center square, draw a 1-1/2" square on clear template plastic with a fine point Sharpie. Cut it out allowing for a ¼" seam allowance. Position your template over your fabric and position different design elements in the "window." Save the template for use in other blocks. When fussy cutting a patch, your edges will not always be on the straight of grain, so sew the seams carefully to avoid stretching. Okay, back to Rayelle's Fence.Sew a background strip to a focus fabric strip, press seams to dark side and repeat with other set. Cut (4) 2" wide slices, then cut (8) 1-1/4" slices. Make (4) little 4-patch blocks with the (8) 1-1/4" slices. Assemble the block in 3 horizontal rows: top, middle and bottom. You must sew perfect little ¼" seams so your block will come out to 5" square. If it's not, you made your seams too big! Add 25 more pieces to your count!

C-4, Tic Tac Toe, page 34

Appliqué/Strip Piecing: Strip piece the center square and then add wide strips of the print fabric to the center unit. Trim back to the octagon shape in Jane's block, plus 1/4" and appliqué onto a background square.

Hand/Machine Piecing: Construct the center area that reminds me of nine windows. Then add the next four triangles. Piece the wide short triangles into the four background sections, clipping the seam allowance of the V in the background piece and using small stitches to reinforce. Then sew the four 2-piece corners onto the center with a simple straight seam.

Paper Piecing: Starting in the center, first piece 3 units made of the five-piece columns. Join with the 2 center vertical strips. Draw a paper piecing unit that includes the entire block except for the corner pieces. Consider the unit just made as piece #1 and add the remaining pieces in rounds until only the corner triangles remain. Appliqué to a background square or piece.

C-5, Eye of the Cyclone, page 35

Appliqué/Machine Piecing: The only reason I would not call this block easy is because it involves appliqué, which a lot of people "think" is hard to do! It is not! Okay, here's how to do this "almost" easy block: Think in 3 layers. C-5 is made from two layers of half square triangles, sewn together in two four patches (one small, the other large) and a third layer that is the outer framework.

Layer 1 and 2: Cut 8 3-1/2" squares, four of background and four of focus fabric. Make your half square triangles and sew them together in (2) 4-patch blocks. Watch that you place your fabrics in the right place! Trace the small circle on freezer paper and prepare one of the 4-patches using this template, trimming around the circle and adding a ¼" seam allowance. Appliqué the small circle over the other 4- patch. Trim away the excess fabric from the backside of the 2nd 4-patch.

The next piece (the 3rd layer) will be a 5" square with a clover shape cutout. If you look at Jane's block in the photo, you will see a curved seam where the outer curve continues around. This line is not on the block drawing in the book. If you add this line, you can reverse appliqué the 'background' to get that continuous curve. Iron this freezer paper frame piece to your background fabric. Cut out the center, adding a ¼" seam allowance and reverse appliqué it over the 4-patches. Wallah! Finished!

 

C-6, Ashley’s Aura, page 35

Method 1: Appliqué: Cut an oversize piece of your focus fabric. Hand appliqué the four melon pieces onto it. Method 2: Reverse appliqué will prevent seams from showing through the white melons. Method 3: Appliqué the block in three parts. Cut a 5" square of focus fabric. Trace the large circle on freezer paper and appliqué a background circle onto the focus fabric square. Then, trace the "cross" piece onto freezer paper and prepare a focus fabric shape and appliqué it down. Cut away the extra fabric from the back. You may learn to love melons but don't make a career out of them.

C-7, Megan’s Mountain Laurel, page 36

Hand/Machine Piecing: I pieced everything but the 4 corner diamonds. Those I appliquéd on. I do not have the nerves to reverse-appliqué sharp points like those LOL. But if I was ever to do this little horror again, believe me, I would do it in appliqué (and I am not good at appliqué. In fact, had never done it "before Jane"). I would appliqué everything but the center square. Glue, baste, use a see-through plastic template on top/ Oh, never mind. I will not have to do this again.... unless, of course, I go totally wacky and decide I want to do another complete Jane. Well, that is a decision which is - fortunately - some time in the future :-) And remember Brenda's mantra : Finished is better than perfect !!!! (Works like a charm with these horrors :-) "Tilde Binger"

Appliqué and Hand or Machine Piecing: Rotary cut and strip piece the center with the strips around it, then add the corner OR hand piece these units. Then appliqué the 12 diamonds onto the block.

Paper Piecing: Identifying the units is the trick here. At first look it seems this block cannot be paper pieced because of the strips with the diamonds. Splitting each strip into two is an elegant solution. Draft your pattern with a center square and 8 units around it--made up of the diamond strips. Each unit is composed of: a diamond, two tiny triangles on the end toward the corner square and only one of the little triangles on the other end of each diamond (toward the center of the side of the center square). Once you have paper pieced the 8 units you can join two together for each side. To complete the side strips around the square, add two corner squares to each of two of the two-diamond strips. (The corner units can also be paper pieced onto the diamond strips, one on each of four of the one-diamond units.) Then add the corner units and appliqué the diamonds.

I did C-7 by paper-piecing. The units are not what you think. The difficult units are the diamonds strips. You will have a center square, with the diamonds strips divided into 8 units around it. Each of the 8 units will be composed of - a diamond, the two tiny triangles on the end toward the corner square, and ONE of the triangles at the center of the "Strip". This will make an irregular 4-sided block. Once you have paper-pieced these 8 units, they will be put together two by two, to make rectangular strips for the sides. Note that two of the strips will have corner squares added to them, and two will not. (Or, to build the corner squares in at the paper- piecing, make four of the units with corner squares, and four without.) The outer diamonds I appliquéd. Jackie. Your diamond shaped templates from B-5 can be used for the diamonds in each corner of this block. 

C-8. Hani’s Crown, page 36

Use a gorgeous FF as you'll get to see lots of it in this block! PP the center square with the four triangles around it (a mini-D13!). Surrounding in on all 4 sides are units with 2 BK triangles and a FF diamond. PP each of these units separately (see handout). Then, with all the papers still on, line up the points of the center square with the diamond points. Sew two opposite sides on, then started to remove the paper before any seam allowance is sewn down by another seam. The last two triangle units are sewn on after the paper is removed. Press and square up the center portion. Cut two squares at 4-1/4" and cut them once on the diagonal. Sew on opposing sides first. Trim these triangle edges to make straight seams and sew on the remaining triangles. 

C-9, Jane’s Tears, page 39

Appliqué: Fold the background square in quarters on the diagonal and press. I use a light box to mark my blocks: take the pattern and background fabric to the light box and mark the background. You may also use the light box for assistance in placing the appliqué pieces. Simply place the pattern on the light box, center the background square over the pattern, and place the appliqué pieces in position. You may choose to either baste or pin them into position. Another little hint: If you have just one appliqué shape to trace out of a fabric, place that design on the light box and trace it directly onto the fabric to be appliquéd, this saves you from having to make a template. This is used for needle-turn appliqué (could also be used by those of you who baste). Hope this may be of some help to those having some trouble with appliqué.

Reverse appliqué: You may want to appliqué white tears on a red background if you wish, but I think this is a perfect reverse appliqué block. The design must now be put on the darker fabric. My fabric would have been hard to trace through, so I printed out the design on freezer paper, carefully cut out all four tears, and ironed the freezer paper onto the right side of my red fabric (Use a generous red fabric square and trim to 5" when the block is done). Then with a pigma pen (.01) trace the outline of each tear using the paper as a stencil. (I have also done this by leaving the paper on till all the stitching is complete) Next layer a 6" square of your white tear fabric (right side up) with the red on top of it (right side up also). Secure the layers with whatever you are comfortable with (appliqué pins, safety pins, or basting). Now you are ready to cut and stitch one tear at a time. Pinch up the fabric so you can insert your scissors and trim out the center of one tear (you are cutting the white fabric ONLY) about 3/16" from either the marked line or freezer paper edge exposing the right side of the tear fabric underneath. You will need to make tiny clips around the curved parts and one in the tip of the tear (I don't clip until I need to). Use thread in a color that blends with the appliqué fabric or the background fabric. When you have finished, press well and trim to a perfect 5".

Reverse Appliqué: In addition to reverse appliquéing C9, you can piece the four triangles together for the background, as Jane did. You could quilt those diagonal lines in, too, but if you are trying to do your blocks as much like Jane's as possible, you'll want to piece them. It also gives you 4 pieces to count instead of one background square!

C-10, Patriot’s Lantern, page 38

Use a focus fabric that has a lot of color to it as the pieces are so small, you don't want your seams to disappear! Make the little half-square triangles from 1-1/2" squares: Draw the diagonal line, right sides together, sew ¼" away on both sides. Trim this seam to 1/8" and press open. Cut the center square 2". The other pieces are all cut 1" wide. Piece it in vertical rows. You might want to trim all your seams to 1/8" as they are so many of them! Press your block well and square up using your Dear Jane ruler. 

C-11, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, page 39

It appears that Jane actually made 4 little blocks, appliquéing the quarter circles in the opposite corners of each block and then seamed it all together. Too much work! Too many seams! Here are two methods to try, you can choose which method you like better. Both use appliqué. Cut the center circle from the freezer paper and iron it onto the back of a piece of the focus fabric. Cut out leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Turn under the seam allowance and appliqué this onto a 6" square of background fabric. Trace the background fabric shape onto freezer paper and iron it the piece you have just appliquéd, centering the circle. Cut out leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Apply freezer paper to the back of this piece and turn under the seam allowance. Appliqué in place over a 5" square of focus fabric. Press and trim to 4-3/4" square. Cut 4 strips of focus fabric, 1" x 5-1/4" and border your little block with it. Or, cut a 5" square of the background, then appliqué the 4 corners and the center circle of the focus fabric on top. I suggest you use whatever system you used for A-3, since both blocks are similar. When it was time to sew C-11 into my Jane, I (once again) utilized my patented 'Executive Randomizer' (also known as 'a brown paper bag') by placing both blocks within, shaking the E.R. a few times, and grabbing one. I honestly don't recall which method made it into my quilt. <grin>

C-12, Family Reunion, page 39

Machine Piecing: Cut 3 dark strips and 3 background strips 1" by 12". Make one strip set with dark on the outside and one strip set w/background on the outside. Press the seams to the dark on both. The cut 1" strips from these sets and set together into 9 patches. Be sure to sew with a scant 1/4" seam or your overall blocks will come out just a hair small. Cut 4 background squares at 2". 

C-13, Lakota Sioux, page 40

Make the little half-square triangles from 1-1/2" squares: Draw the diagonal line, right sides together, sew ¼" away on both sides. Trim this seam to 1/8" and press open. Trim these half square triangle units to 1" square. Cut the center square 2-1/8". The strips are all cut 1" wide. Cut 4 cornerstones at 1" square of a third fabric. Piece the block like a 9-patch. After you've added the 2 rounds of strips, press well and square up the center of your block. Cut two 3-1/2" squares BK fabric and cut once on the diagonal. Sew opposite sides on first. Press your block well and square up using your Dear Jane ruler.

D-1, Alison's Guiding Light, page 40

Paper Piecing: Paper Piecing: In the center of the block are four squares, each with a 1/4" diagonal bar across it. These squares are separated by 1/4" bars. The first units to piece are the two rectangles making up this center square. Piece from the center out (toward the short ends). Then sew these two units together with a bar between. Then set the two rectangles together with another horizontal strip in between. Border as B-13. Cut from focus fabric: 2 strips 1-1/2” x 9” and 4 (3”) squares. Cut the squares on the diagonal once. From background fabric, cut 2 strips 1” x 14”, cut 4 (1-1/2”) squares for corners. 

D-2, Mouse in a Mirror, page 42

Piecing: Draw an X in the tiny center square. This will create four Snowball blocks in the center. (A Snowball block is a square with small triangles in each corner.) From focus fabric cut 4 (2”) squares, 2 (2-1/2”) squares cut once on diagonal (these become the 4 corners); cut 2 (2”) squares, cut once on diagonal for the “ears”. From background cut: 4 2”x4”, 2 (3”) squares, cut once on diagonal, and 16 7/8” squares. Lay the 7/8" squares right sides together on the corners of the 2” FF squares. Stitch across the diagonal and flip back, forming a triangle. Repeat on 4 corners of all four squares. The corner units can be hand, machine or paper pieced.

D-3, Jason's Jacks, page 42

Appliqué/Reverse Appliqué: using your favorite method. Appliqué “jack” shape on top. A few clips in the inner curves make this easy. Good block for freeze paper template.

D-4, Crystal Star, page 43 

Center square is 2-1/2" finished, so cut it 3”.

Hand/Machine/Paper Piecing: The trick with this block is the corner melons. Assemble the 4 sides by paper piecing in the focus fabric triangle (cut 4 (2”) squares focus fabric, cut 8, 2” x 3” background rectangles). Sew the four side pieces to the center square, starting and stopping your stitching ¼” away from the ends of the seam. You can do this by machine. Then remove all paper from the inside seams. Sew the miter by beginning a few stitches before the inside corner and sew to the outside corners of the block. I used freezer paper templates for the melons and hand appliquéd them onto the mitered corners. A little steam and it will lie flat!

D-5, Cathedral Window, page 43

See B-13 for piecing the center square on point. Center square, without strips, is 2-1/2" finished.

Hand/Machine/Piecing: Make the center of the block like a 9-patch. Make the four corner units, paper piecing if desired. Add them to the center, opposite sides first.

 

D-6, Challenge, page 44

One for beginners! I would definitely paper piece as one unit.

D-7, Meeting Place, page 44

Hand/Machine Piecing: This block can be viewed as 3 diagonal strips running from bottom left to top right. Piece the center strip with a 1-7/8” background square and 2 strips cut 1-7/8” x 3-1/4”. To make the upper and lower triangles, cut a background strip 1-1/2” x 14” and a focus fabric strip 1-1/2” x 14”. Sew them together along the long edge, press seam to the darker fabric. Make a template out of clear plastic for the triangle piece, adding a ¼” seam line to all three sides. Draw the seam line on the template. Use the template to mark the four triangles on your strip-pieced fabric. Cut out four triangles, and piece two triangles to a strip of fabric 1-78” x 3 ¼”. Repeat this last step. Sew block together, press well, and trim to 5”. 

D-8, Dee Dee's Delight, page 45

Appliqué using your favorite method onto a large oversize square of the background fabric. If you are piecing the rows in order you have not yet had melons this exact size or shape so you will need a new template. Press the background fabric in half on the diagonal, and repeat this step. Use the creases as guidelines for centering the melons and diamonds. Appliqué the melons, touching them in the center. Then appliqué the four diamonds. Trim to 5” square when finished.

D-9, Uncle Richard

Hand/Machine Piece: View this block as a center unit (with 17 pieces) running from bottom left to top right. Add two corner triangle units (with 7 pieces in each unit). The center strip is composed of the center square of 7 pieces, the bars on either end, and a small four piece triangle on the end of each bar. Construct the center square in three pieces--the outside three squares joined to the center bar. Then add the two end bars. Trim to size. Paper piece all four four-part triangles. Add two to the ends of the bars to create the center assembly, then add a bar to the bottom of the other two triangles, and a further small corner triangle, and sew this whole unit to the center assembly.

D-10, Battlefield, page 47

The center of this block consists of 2 types of units—2 snowball squares (like D13) and 2 squares with 4 half square triangles. Construct these 4 small squares and sew them together as a 4-patch. Cut 2 1-1/2” squares of background, 2 of focus fabric, and make 4 half square triangles for outer corners. Trim to size. Add row of background strips to block, then complete block with outer strips and corner squares.

Machine/Hand Piecing: Little corner triangles – cut 4 each of background and red fabric, 7/8” x 7/8”. Larger triangles – cut 8 each of background and red fabric 1-1/4” x 1-1/4”. Large square – cut 2, 2” x 2” background fabric, and 8, 1-1/4” x 1-1/4” of red fabric to make the corner triangles. Sew them all point to point

D-11, Snow Crystal, page 47

Foundation paper-piece the square in the square center. Make templates with seam allowance included and hand-piece the four triangles on. Then hand-piece the background on. Lastly, appliqué the four tiny diamonds on using regular appliqué.

Or, redraft the block so the center piece was a square, not a rectangle. The four triangles around it form a square in a square. The four pieces at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock are squares on point like Jane’s block. The large triangles are not equilateral. Seam them to outside background piece. Paper piece center square in square. Mark side of large triangle that touches center square in square. Sew large triangles to center, leaving ends free. Appliqué square to each outside piece. Sew side pieces using “y” seam construction. Linda in TX

D-12, Crossed Swords, page 48

You can paper piece the 4 square sections of this block, then add the white horizontal and vertical sections. Draw an extra line in each "sword" and you'll be fine. Just extend one of the lines that forms that little square straight across to the opposite diagonal line, forming a tiny triangle below the square. Start piecing with that new triangle, then the square, then the rest of the "sword", then the two larger triangles. CarolJoy

I split the block vertically into 3 sections and foundation pieced each side section, ignoring the little squares in the corners. Then I joined the 2 side sections to the center bar. Then, for the corners, I cut four pieces approximately 1-1/2" square and turned under 2 edges ¼” and pressed well. I hand appliquéd these squares onto the corners.

Hand Piecing: Cut out the four arrowheads and set in the four corners. (By making the hardest seams first, you will not have lost a lot of work if you have to bail out of it). Then, add the triangles on either side of the arrowheads, then sew quarter squares together with bar between, then half rectangles together with bar between.

D-13: Field of Dreams, page 48

(Barbara Brackman’s 2375a)

Paper piecing: Because the center square is an “in-between” measurement, paper piecing may be easiest and quick, though it could be hand or machine pieced with templates. Be sure the outer edges of the four triangles are on the straight grain.

Cut one 3-5/8” square of background fabric for the center. Cut two 3-1/2" squares of focus fabric; cut them on the diagonal, making four triangles. Sew the triangles on opposite sides of the center square, press, and then sew the other two triangles onto the remaining sides, and press. Trim block to 5” square. 

E-1, Aunt Exie's Phlox, page 49

(Barbara Brackman's 1527a if it has the four-patch seams)

Use your melon template from A-7 and save it for E-10. Remember to cut the background square a little larger than 5" to allow for the "draw up" of appliqué.

Hand Appliqué: Cut a 5-1/2" square of focus fabric. Trace the melon shape on FP four times and make four melons with your background fabric. Fold the focus fabric in half twice and iron creases to use as guidelines for hand appliquéing your melons.

Reverse Appliqué: Cut (2) 6" squares (1 each of background and focus fabric). Trace the pattern onto a piece of 5" square freezer paper (FP). Cut out the pattern on the curved lines. Machine baste the two squares of material around the outside, with the print on top. Have the right sides facing up. Iron the square of freezer paper to the print material, leaving about 3/16" for turning under, carefully cut out the pattern from the print material only. REMEMBER your background fabric is UNDER the print! Clip the curves almost a hair short of the edge of the pattern to the fold line. Begin turning under your 3/16" edge and start stitching the print to the background. This works just like appliqué except it is backwards! When complete trim to 5" square.

 

E-2, Merry May, page 49

"Merry May" named in honor of the last day of May!

Appliqué/Piecing: Cut the center square about 4-1/2" and trim it after appliquéing the melons. Apply the melons either as two melons, exactly the same, one on top of the other or as two partial melons and one full melon. Put the full melon over the top of the partials. Be sure that you have added allowance to the partial melons for hiding the raw edges under the full melon. Trim and piece and add the outer strips. Or, piece the block as a 9-patch (similar to B13) and then hand appliqué the melons. 

E-3, Paddle Wheels, page 50

Hand/Machine Piecing: Uses bias squares or half-square triangles. From focus fabric cut the following: (2) 2-1/4" squares and (2) 2" >>squares. >>From background fabric cut: (2) 2-1/4" squares, (4) 1-3/8" x 3-1/4" rectangles, and (2) 2" squares.

Lay a 2-1/4" focus fabric square right sides together with a 2-1/4" background square. On the lighter colored fabric, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew ¼" away on both sides of this diagonal line. Repeat with other set of 2-1/4" squares. Cut them apart on the drawn diagonal line and press to the darker fabric. Trim to 1-7/8" square. You should now have four 1-7/8" half square triangles.

Sew the 2" squares the same method as above to create 4 1-3/8" squares.

Sew the larger half squares together as a four patch to create the center or "Paddle Wheel." Take 2 of the background rectangles and add one to each side of the Paddle Wheel. Sew one half square onto each end of one of the remaining rectangles. When finished you will have two strips. Add these strips to the rest of the block and it is all finished! Total 20 pieces.

Paper Piecing: Piece the 8-part center square in two units. Join the units. Then make a foundation for the whole block. Add two opposite sides (without the corner squares) to the center. Separately piece the other two sides with the corner squares (two triangles). Add to the rest of the block.

 

E-4, Buffalo Tree Hopper, page 50

Hand/Paper Piecing: Divide the block visually into three "vertical" units. Decide if you are going to simplify the fancy corners to look more like Jane's block. After piecing each triangular corner, add one of the side quadrilaterals to each. Paper piece (or machine or hand piece) the center unit of 3 pieces. Match up the seams and start sewing the long straight edge, stopping at the Y. Sew the Y from the outside to the meeting point. Or, you can redraw the Y-seamed corners to eliminate the Y-seam. Straighten out either the vertical or horizontal seams.

E-5, Rising Sun, page 52

(Barbara Brackman's 3496 in two colors)

Do you suppose Jane had a problem with the center where 16 points meet and solved it with a circle appliqué?

Paper Piecing: Draw the foundation ignoring all those center points, that is draw a 1" circle and erase the lines in it. The much larger circle will be appliquéd over this "hole". Piece in two halves, then join the halves. You must reverse the colors for your wedges when paper piecing. Remember, the drawn side of the pattern is the wrong side of your block. Appliqué the circle over the vacant center.

Hand/Machine Piecing: Hand piece the rays only up to the circle line plus ¼" . (Two pattern pieces, regular and reversed.) Press all the pieces in the same direction. Cut out the circle at the center. Using template, cut out circle with seam allowance and turn under and baste the edge. Baste the circle to the rays and appliqué.

 

E-6, Michelle's Medley, page 52

Paper Piecing: PP the tiny center square: two units of a triangle with two strips and a triangle added, then the two halves joined. Rotary cut and machine or hand piece the next round as a 9-patch. Add the Northeast and Southwest corner triangles, then the remaining two corner triangles. Then appliqué the tiny squares. Use a stripe fabric like Jane did! 

E-7, Bread Basket, page 53

Piecing: To make the piecing easier draw a line down the middle and across the middle of the block. This will break up the units and make them pieceable. It's easier than it looks! Ignore the vertical and horizontal strips. Piece 4 snowball blocks, sew them together. Then appliqué those narrow strips over them. No need to tuck under the tips of the narrow strips of appliqué. Trim square to 4". Add the borders.

Appliqué: The block can be pieced easily by hand, machine or paper if the triangles and the square on point are ignored, then appliquéd onto the block. Save the outer strips to join after the appliqué is done. >

 

E-8, Mama's Maze, page 53

Do this one and check measurements!

Machine Piecing: To simplify your cutting, the center square is cut 2" and the strips and corner squares are cut 1". For the pieces in the last border, you should cut a strip 1-3/8" wide, so you have some extra seam allowance around the outside. It is a fairly easy block as they are all straight lines.

From your background fabric cut: (8) 1" squares and (8) 1-1/2"x1" rectangles. From your focus fabric cut: (8) 2"x1" rectangles, (4) 3"x1" rectangles, (4) 1" squares, and (1) 2" square. Using the photo in the book to watch the placement of the fabric and using a scant 1/4" seam allowance, piece the center out as you would a nine-patch block. From the center, add two sides, add two white squares to the other side pieces, add to the center section. Continue with the next row, and then the outside row.

 

E-9, Quilt Jail, page 54

You can rotary cut and strip piece this block. Cut (4) focus fabric strips 1-1/4" x 6". Cut (3) background strips 3/4" x 6". Piece these strips together by alternating fabrics beginning and ending with your focus fabric. Press seams away from the tiny strips. From background cut (4) strips 3/4" x 4-1/2". Now you have a choice: 1) Take your pieced fabric and slice it into (4) 1-1/4" strips Machine piece a vertical background strip to the right edge of 3 of the strips. Piece these units together and add the 4th unit to the right side. Or 2) hand or machine appliqué the 3 vertical strips onto your pieced square. Cut border strips 1-1/4" wide x 4-1/4", 4-5/8" (two), and 5-1/4". These are added log cabin style. Press block carefully and trim to 5".

 

E-10, Five & Dime, page 54

Use the melon template you saved from A-7 and E-1. There are two options here: either piece the squares, then appliqué the melons, or appliqué the melons on two oversized squares, trim to 2-3/4" and join all four square units together.

E-11, Wagon Wheel, page 55

This one is ideal for reverse appliqué using freezer paper templates. On your freezer paper, trace the square with the circle in the middle and cut out the circle. Also on freezer paper, trace the "cobweb" shape and the 4 corner quarter-circles. Cut a 5-1/2" square of focus fabric and press the freezer paper square to it. Cut out the inner fabric circle, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the SA to the back side. Layer this with a 5 ½" square of your background on the bottom and appliqué the circle edge to the background. Press the freezer paper "cobweb" shape onto another piece of focus fabric and cut out adding 1/4" seam allowance. Lay the freezer paper shiny side up and iron the seam allowances over the template. Pin it carefully making sure that the points touch the edges of the now white circle and appliqué it on top of the white circle. It helps to take a stitch through each point as it meets the edge of the circle.

Or, cut a background fabric in the circle shape and appliqué it to a 5-1/2" square of focus fabric. Then, appliqué the "cobweb" center with the little points. In either case, you then appliqué the 4 corners down. Press your block carefully and trim to 5" square.

 

E-12, Mary Ruth's Corset, page 55

Begin your block by piecing the center rectangular unit, the "corset." Cut (4) 1" squares of focus fabric and (6) 1" squares of background fabric. Sew them together in 4 diagonal rows. Trace the "corset" shape onto freezer paper indicating all the seams lines, and adding 1/4" seam allowance to all sides. Use this as a template to trim these piece to shape-it should measure 1-1/4" x 2-3/4". Cut 2 strips from focus fabric 1-1/2" x 3", sew them to the two sides of the "corset" and trim this center piece to 2-3/4" square. Make 4 flying geese using your preferred method to finish 1-5/8" x 2-3/4". Finish your block like a nine-patch. Press and trim to 5".

 

E-13, Moth in a Web, page 57

Hand/machine piecing: Piece from the inside to the outside edges. Cut a 1-3/4" square from focus fabric and background. Draw the diagonal, sew a 1/4" seam on either side, cut on the drawn line and press to the dark side. Trim them to 1-1/4" square. Sew a four patch with the (2) 1-1/4" pieced squares. Add a strip to each side, then to the top and bottom. Trim block to 2-3/4" square.

Add four focus fabric triangles, one on each side and trim to 3-3/4" square. Add four background fabric triangles, one on each side. Your block untrimmed should measure about 5-1/2" square. Appliqué on the 4 tiny triangles. Press block well and trim to 5" square.

From background fabric cut: (1) 1-3/4" square, (2) 1-1/4" squares, (2) >>7/8" x 2" rectangles, (2) 7/8" x 3" rectangles, (2) 3-1/4" square divided into 2 triangles.

From focus fabric cut: (1) 1-3/4" square, a 3-1/2" square divided into >>4 triangles, and the 4 "tiny" triangles.

 

F-1, Big Top, page 57

Cut: 2 (4") squares background and divide in 2 on the diagonal (for the 4 corners). Cut 4 background and 4 focus fabric: 2-1/4" square. Paper piece the 8 pie sections using 1 background and 1 focus fabric piece. Join them in pairs, remembering to stop your sewing ¼" away from the center point. Remove the paper before you join the 8 sections to make a square. Trim the center square to 3-1/2". Add the corner triangles. Hand appliqué the diamonds onto the outer triangles, press well, and trim block to 5".

 

F-2, Kaleidoscope, page 58

Cut 4 background and 4 focus fabric pieces 3-1/4" square. Cut 8 background and 8 focus fabric pieces 1-1/2" x 2". Cut 2 3-1/2" squares and cut diagonally once for the 4 corners. Paper piece the 8 quadrants (4 with 3 pieces and 4 with 4 pieces) and join them together. Remember to swirl the center point so it will lie flat and always press the seams toward your focus fabric on this one so the seams will match up.

F-3, Snowball, page 58

Paper pieced in 3 sections, top row all the way across, middle row & bottom row.

F-4, Old Windmill, page 59

Paper pieced in 3 sections-like A8 only slightly different proportions. Here 's a good little block to practice "cut it big and whack it off!" Background: cut 4 rectangles 1-½" x 2-½". From focus fabric cut 1 (5") square. Cut it twice on the diagonal. These are the "large" side triangles. Cut 1 (1-1/2") square for the center. Cut 2 squares 2-1/2" and cut them once on the diagonal. These become the 4 corners.

F-5, Parcheesi, page 59

Hand appliqué: This block was entirely hand appliquéd, Cut out a 5-1/2" square of background fabric. Fold on the diagonal and press. Repeat. Appliqué the center "X" on. See those odd shapes in the center of each side, sort of like they would have been triangle if someone hadn't taken a bite off the tip? Appliqué them on. Cut 2 squares 2-1/4" and cut on the diagonal once. Add these four corner triangles by hand appliquéing. Press the block well and square to 5".

Reverse appliqué: Lay your background fabric over the pattern (cut it 5-1/2"), draw the pattern lightly with a pencil. Lay this over your contrasting color and pin. Then cut out a bit at a time leaving a 1/8" seam allowance where the white is. Needle turn it under. See Sharon Mastbrook's excellent diagrams at

http://www.smastbrook.net/dj/f5const.htm

F-6, Deanie's Daisies, page 60

Paper piece the 4 little square-in-a-square blocks. Piece them together like a 9 patch. Hand appliqué the four little melons on. She did love those melons, didn't she?!!!

F-7, Star Struck, page 60

For PP, trace the block on foundation paper and piece the four strips: The first strip will include the top section of the star that includes the top left corner, two star points, triangle, top right square, and top border strip. The second strip consists of the left side of the center unit: the two side star points, triangle, and the center square. The third strip is the right center part, which is the two star points, and the triangle between them. The fourth strip is the bottom one which is identical to the first strip. Next, sew section two to section three and then add section 1 and section 4. Now put on the two (generous) remaining border pieces and trim the block to 5".

F-8, Church Window, page 62

A combination of machine and paper piecing. Make the 9-patch center. Then make 4 flying geese units. (You could PP these, adding the corner blocks.) Paper piece the outer strips and you'll have no trouble getting that angle correct.

F-9, Autumn Aster, page 62

You might redraft the block to look more like Jane's by making the center section a little bigger. Appliqué the four background crescents onto a 5-1/2" square of the focus fabric. Cut away the excess focus fabric from the underneath. Appliqué the 8 melons on, press and trim block.

F-10, Potholder, page 63

Mine was hand pieced with a tiny bit of appliqué. I chose to leave out the last strip around the outside of the block, so I have a center square of focus fabric, then a white strip, as per the book, then a focus fabric strip (which is as wide as the 2 outside strips in the book). Jane may have added a muslin strip to make this block a little larger, it's hard to tell. Decide if you want to make the outside edge of the block out of focus fabric or add the background strip.

Steps: Cut a 1-1/4" x 14" strip of focus fabric and background fabric. Sew them together along the long edge. Make a template of the side pieces and use that to cut them out. Appliqué the two outermost edges of the diamonds (the two sides of the diamond that point to the corners) to the corner "kite" shape pieces. The two sides of the diamond that point in to the center are actually pieced in. Sew two of the diamond/kite corner pieces on to either end of the north & south pieced strips. Sew the light edge of the strip unit to the center square (one at top and one at the bottom). Then sew the east & west strips on. Lastly, "miter" the corner units to the strip units. This process could be done by machine, too, just be sure to stop at the marked edge of the patches, don't "sew off the edge" as you usually do, so you can set in the "mitered" seams.

F-11, On Target, page 63

Hand piecing: I decided to look at the block like a typical "Kaleidoscope" block, made up of 8 triangles in alternating colors...just that these triangles aren't all the same size. I hand pieced the triangles in pairs, then put pairs together to get a half block, and then that challenging seam through the middle where you want to get all the points to come together perfectly :-). It helps to "taper" the seam allowance by trimming it with a scissors a little bit as you get down towards the center points to reduce the bulk. To get a perfect match, you can do a tiny bit of basting before you piece the last seam: lay one half block on the table. Fold the seam allowance on the other piece under, so the center point looks like it will after the block is done. You can baste this seam allowance under, about 1/2" on either side of the center point, if you want. Now, lay the basted half on top of the flat half & match up the centers. Pin in place, and appliqué (gasp!) starting about ½" from the center, through the center & continue about 1/2" past the center. Now, remove the basting threads. Flip the block right sides together and piece the rest of the seam as usual. The appliqué will hold that perfect center match for you, and voila, you have the main part of the block done.

Pie wedge appliqués: I chose to do the rest of the "pie wedge" pieces on the block with freezer paper on top appliqué. I enlarged the light pieces in the center slightly, so they come out to the edge of the colored triangles, more like Jane's. To make the "right angles" a little easier & more accurate, you can use fabric glue stick to fold under the seam allowance before you start to appliqué. Leave the FP on top, and use just a light touch of glue stick on the seam allowance fabric along one straight side of the pie wedge. Fold the seam allowance under and finger press to hold it in place. Then, repeat with the opposite side...folding the right angle under neatly. This method works great for the pointed end of melons & leaves, too!

Paper piece: Cut 4 3-1/2" squares focus fabric, cut 4 3-1/2" squares background fabric. Paper piece the square "pie" in 2 sections (each having 4 pieces). Remember to stop your stitching ¼" away from the center point so you can "swirl" the seams to lie flat. Hand appliqué the remaining quarter arcs and quarter circles in place. Press well

F-12, Starburst, page 64

Paper piece by sewing two sections, each with four pie shapes. Then sew the two sections together. Attach the four background corner triangles. Lastly, hand appliqué the triangles at N, S, E, and West points.

F-13, Tour de France, page 64

Hand Appliqué: Cut a background piece 5-1/2" square. Fold your background square in half twice and press well to create guidelines for placing your circles and melons. Trace the melons on freezer paper or card stock. Trace the circles on heat-resistant templar plastic. Using your circle template, trace the circles onto background fabric and cut them out ¼" beyond the drawn line. Make a row of gathering stitches 1/8" away from the edge of the circle, keeping your stitches very even in size. Insert the templar circle inside and pull up the gathering threads, knot it well. Starch the edge well and allow the "yo-yo" to dry completely. Appliqué the circles and melons using your favorite technique (Hand or machine).

G-1, Hattie's Hen House, page 65

Begin by making 2 large quarter square triangles. Cut a 6-1/2" square of focus fabric and a 6-1/2" square of background fabric. Put them right sides together and make 2 quarter square triangle blocks-you can do this easily because you mastered the technique in our previous lesson, right?! Tip: Your block will lie flatter if the seams are pressed open. Trace the clover shape onto freezer paper (actual size) and cut it out. Iron your freezer paper template to the back of one of the squares, matching the seam lines on the paper to the seam lines of your fabric. Cut out leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Flip the freezer paper over and press the raw edges of your fabric to the inside. You may use liquid starch on this seam allowance applied with a child's small paintbrush. You may also baste the edges down. Appliqué this clover shape onto your square with tiny hand appliqué stitches. Cut away the fabric under the clover shape, leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Press well and trim to 5". Give it a kiss and add it to your pile of completed blocks.

Machine piecing and appliqué: Cut one 6" square of each fabric. Cut these squares twice on the diagonal. Make your back-ground using two triangles of each color. Repeat this for the clover shape. Trace the center clover onto freezer paper and cut it out. Iron it onto the back of one of your squares. Trim, leaving a seam allowance. Baste under the edges, then appliqué the clover onto the background square.

Machine piecing and reverse appliqué: Cut two 6-1/2" squares, one of each fabric, cut them on the diagonal twice. You'll need only two tris from each fabric. Stitch these together to make a background of quarter square triangles. Cut two 3 1/2" squares, one from each fabric. Make these into a 4 patch. Trace the clover onto freezer paper. Cut out the center "clover" leaving a nice seam allowance. Iron the freezer paper to the back of the background you made. Trim out the center, leaving a seam allowance. Clip and baste it under. Reverse appliqué the frame on top of the 4 patch. You can trim away the excess under the "clover". Trim the completed block to 5".

Handpiece that Hattie's Henhouse...it's a great break from appliqué and machine piecing...and curves come out really nicely! It happens that I learned how to handpiece on this very block. I used the handpiecing instructions found on the website of Linda Franz, which are easy to follow.

 http://www.geocities.com/homebays/handpiece.html

Try it, you might like it!

G-2, Mohawk Trail, page 65

First, notice the difference in Brenda's diagram and Jane's pieced block. Jane has 4 pieces in the center block (the quarter square triangles) while Brenda's block has 8 pieces in the center. Brenda's entire block is made from half-square triangles. Jane's block uses half-square triangles for the outside blocks.  Determine which look you want. To piece like Jane's block: To make the center block cut (2) 3-1/2" squares of focus fabric and (2) 3-1/2" squares of background fabric. Make one quarter square triangle block. It should measure a perfect 2-3/4" square when finished. Cut (6) 2-1/4" squares of background fabric, and (6) 2-1/4" squares of focus fabric. Mark on the diagonal once, sew ¼" from both sides of the line. Press seams open and trim to 1-5/8" square. You will have 12 of these. Sew 4 together for the top row, 4 for the bottom row, and 2 for each side. Sew the two sides onto the center square and then add the top and bottom rows. Your block should measure a perfect 5" when finished! To piece like Brenda's block, cut (8) 2-1/4" squares of background fabric and (8) 2-1/4" squares of focus fabric. Make 16 blocks with half square triangles, press seams open and trim to 1-5/8" square. Piece them together in rows across, following the diagram for color placement. You can also paper piece this block in 4 horizontal rows.

 G-3, Four Leaf Clover, page 67

Cut a 6" square of background fabric. Trace the clover shape onto freezer paper and cut out. Press to your focus fabric and cut out, adding a ¼ seam allowance. Prepare as above, clipping the fabric at the tight inside turns. Press seam allowance inside, using your favorite method (liquid starch, hand baste, etc.) Fold your background square into quarters and press lightly. These folds will help you in accurately placing the clover shape. Appliqué the clover to the background. Prepare the ring shape using freezer paper also. Appliqué the ring in place, beginning with the inside edge. If you cut the freezer paper shapes in 4 places just before the hand appliqué step they will be easier to remove. Be careful, however, that you don't clip your fabric-only the freezer paper. Press well and trim to 5".

Hand appliqué: Cut the clover shape from freezer paper then adhere the fabric to the paper by placing the paper shiny side up on the back of the clover shape and pressing the edges over the paper. Clip the tight curve at the end of each leaf. Fold your background square into quarters and press. Lay the clover on the background using the folds to help for placement. Appliqué the clover to a 6" background square. Prepare the ring shape using freezer paper also. Appliqué the ring in place, then trim the block to size.

I used freezer paper for the shapes but after I ironed the template on I split the paper in at least four places so that as I was stitching around the square/circle shape I could pull out the pieces. Also with the clover I split each petal from the center and as I came around it I pulled out the paper before I closed the shape. Try freezer paper on the bottom and the edges basted down.

G-4, Shutter Bug, page 67

Excellent for paper piecing, in rounds, just like a log cabin. Notice Brenda simplified the corner triangles. Decide if you want your block to look like Brenda's or Jane's.

G-5, Poof, page 68

Cut a 5-1/2" square of focus fabric and cut it diagonally twice making triangles. Cut 2 background strips 7/8" wide x 5" and sew two triangles to both sides of the two strips (making two larger triangles). Then attach these units to a 3rd background strip cut 7/8" x 7". Now it is back to a square. Prepare the center piece with freezer paper as G1 and appliqué in place. Trim out the bulk under the flower.

G-6, Papa's Star, page 68

Brenda Papadakis' method:
Construction tip #1: Make the center Background: Print Cut 4 squares 3/4" Cut 8 squares 3/4 inch. Cut one rectangle 1 X 8 inches Cut one square 1". Cut 4 rectangles 3/4 X 1 inch Making the flying geese for the center star as follows:

1. Fold the 8 print squares on the diagonal. You need two squares for each 'goose'. Place two folded print squares on one 3/4 X 1 background rectangle so that the 'goose' is formed (which are the star points). You can do this! Just read slowly and visualize-- look at the variable star in the center of the block. Baste the two folded squares on the rectangle on the two outside edges - no sewing needed here. Make all four of the geese in this manner 2. Sew your star together by hand or machine, using _ seam allowances. Trim to 1/8_. You may want to press open before joining the sections together. I'm not adverse to a shot or two of steam these days, thanks to some DJ's who have the flattest of blocks! Voila! Perfect little star! 3. Use the 1 x 8_ rectangle to sew 1 inch on each side of the star, sashing it, log cabin style. 4. Trace the block onto freezer paper. Do not trace the center star. DO trace the pentagon that surrounds it. You need this little piece:) 5. Hand and Machine piecers: cut the pattern pieces of the star apart and iron all but the pentagon to the back of your fabrics, leaving space for a seam allowance. Rotary cut the pieces, adding a <_ seam allowance outside the freezer paper. BIG NOTE: mark your freezer paper and add =_ seam allowance to all OUTSIDE edges. Makes it easy to trim to 5 inches when finished with block- I do this on all hand and machine-pieced blocks that are not rotary cut.

Hand-piecing: Draw around the pieces before removing the paper to stitch Foundation piecers: Cut the freezer paper into sections: the top strip (three pieces), center triangle- includes the pentagon and two triangles, one "leg" section - two pieces, and second "leg" section - three pieces.

6. Pentagon freezer paper and star with 1" sashing around it: Hold star up to light and move the freezer paper pentagon around until the star looks centered to you. It doesn't matter which direction it turns; just try to center as well as you can. Iron the freezer paper to the TOP of the star. Now cut around freezer paper, Add ¼" seam allowance outside the freezer paper. (If not, you'll weep...LOL) 7. Sew the two side triangles to the pentagon. 8. Using your favorite method, complete the top strip. Add the section with your pretty little star, add the leg section with two pieces, and then the leg section with three pieces. 9. Press, trim to 5 inches and give it a little kiss as you put it in your favorite tin.

Construction tip #2: Cut from focus fabric (F): Cut from background-fabric (B): 1 square 1-5/8" 1 square 1-5/8" 2 squares 1-1/4" 4 squares 7/8" 1 square 7/8"

Take the 1-5/8" B and one of the 1-5/8" F. Mark the diagonal on one of them. Place right side together. Sew on either side of one of the diagonals, using a scant 1/4" seam. Cut on the diagonal. Press. Trim to 1-1/4" square.

* Place 1 triangle-square and one F (1-1/4") right side together. Sew on either side of the other diagonal (i.e. crossing the seam you have on the triangle-squares), use a scant 1/4" seam. Cut the diagonal. Press. Trim to two 7/8" squares. * Repeat from * to *. Make a 9-patch from the 9 pieces 7/8" square. The B-part of the triangle squares has to point away from the middle in all three rows. Check twice before you sew

1st Row: B - "triangle-square" - B 2nd Row: "triangle-square" - F - "triangle-square" 3rd. Row : same as 1st row.

Add borders of the background-fabric, no less than 1" wide. Press. Trim into the pentangle that goes into the center of G6. This doesn't place the seams where The Jane put it, and it brings up the pieces of the block from 31 to 35. The advantage is that you at no time deal with a piece which is smaller than 7/8" square.

Yes, the bugger about G6 is, that you think the worst part is over and done with, when you have finished the center, but the 5-point star is hard as well, and getting them together is too. What I did (and I am pleased with the results BTW, even if I say so myself) is the following :

I sashed the center-star on all 4 sides, with strips that were 1" wide I think, but make them extra wide. It's easier to cut away than add. Then I cut the center hexagon from freezer-paper and iron it on top of the center-star.

Pieced the 5-point star, minus center. Now you have two pieces -- one center and one "round-about". Since I hand sewed it, I didn't go into seam-allowances, so I guess what I did was reverse-appliqué the two bits together. I pressed the seam-allowances of the "round-about" bit down, so that they were ready to be appliquéd, without needle turning. The freezer-paper on top of the center means that you actually get it centered properly. The extra wide strips on the tiny star means that you don't all of a sudden find yourself with a too scant seam-allowance. After reverse-appliquéing the two bits together, press the entire block. Peel the freezer-paper off the center and trim the back of the center. Sew the three rows together. Press and trim. - Tilde

Construction tip #3: 1. Learn how to paper piece before you attempt it...everything is upside down and backwards, you know. 2. Appliqué the center square onto the Ohio star. Piecing would be a whole 'nother nightmare, in my opinion. 3. On the 5 pointed and background part, I started with a background piece, then worked my way around overlaying and alternating the star points with the background. Finished with a star point, and appliquéd down the last edge onto the beginning background piece. 4. Make your background bigger than it needs to be when you are paper piecing it, to leave yourself room to size it up when it's finished. 5. Appliqué or Reverse Appliqué the center pentagon into the 5-pointed star points. 6. If you want your block to look like the one in Jane's quilt, turn Brenda's diagram around 180 degrees. 7. Start this block in the morning, not evening, and scream when you need to. MY OWN PERSONAL CHALLENGE TO EACH OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET DONE THIS BLOCK -- It took me approximately 7 hrs to do this block from start to finish. I dare any of you to do it faster than that! - KSH

Construction tip #4: I foundation pieced the center star in 4 parts. Don't breathe heavy or you can blow away the tiny little foundations. I looked for THIN yellow repro fabric and paid very close attention to trimming and grading my seams. I used a very short stitch length (1.0) and thin thread (called bobbin thread? by machine embroiderers). It turned out fairly accurate considering that the pieces are not that many threads wide. The center star took me a very concentrated and patient hour. It was very nice to have it finished. - Cathy Brown, Redlands California

Constructions tip #5: Seriously, the first one, I had trouble with it that I can now see was caused because the fabric was thicker...the second one was done in a nice hand-paint fabric that is thinner than normal quilter's cottons. Less bulk made it much simpler. I paper pieced the entire block. The center is tedious -- the smallest section was 1" x 1/4" -- a flying geese unit with a tiny square on each side. Two pieces like this. Then a band for the center, a "larger" square and two more flying geese. Use a pin to line up the seams, but just insert it into the intersection of the seams...don't put it in and out like we normally do with straight pins. Then once the center is pieced, you can frame the center star and trim to size using tracing or freezer paper as a guide. After that, paper piece the 5-point star in 3 units...voila! - CJ

Construction tip #6: Once I got the center star done, I thought the rest was pretty easy. I used paper piecing for the tiny star point of center star and sweated through getting it all together. Then I used Tilde's method of adding wide sashing on all four sides of center. I cut out freezer paper finished size of pentagon shape and ironed onto star. Then cut 1/4" seam allowance all around. Looking at your book, number each big star point starting at the top with #1 and going clockwise around to #5 on the left side. I drew out the whole block on freezer paper and cut segments. Segment #1 is point #1 with the two background pieces on either side. Segment #2 is just point #2, all by itself. Segment #3 is point #3 with two background pieces on either side. Segment #4 is point #4 with background piece to it's left which is the lower left corner of the block. Segment #5 is just point #5, all by itself. Now paper piece the segments that have more than one piece and cut out the #2 & #5 points. Leave the freezer paper attached to each piece of segment and be sure to cut accurate 1/4" seams around each piece. When the segments are ready, add point #2 & #5 in the proper place on the center pentagon. Now add segment #1 across the upper part of block. Next add segment #4 in its place. Then segment #3 to finish the block. With the paper attached it is really quite easy to get everything lined up and in place. Marlene Royse in FL

G-7, Indianapolis, page 69

Tip #1: Before I started I changed the line drawing to make the green rectangles in the corners a little shorter, leaving a long pointy rectangle of background fabric in each corner. Some 99 Babies will want to stick with Brenda's drawing, and others like to re-draw blocks when they notice differences from the photos of Jane's. I hand pieced the curve of each of the quarter circles to the four outer pieces first and then pieced the narrow strips so I could join two quarter circle pieces to them, and then put the two halves together. I pressed all the seams toward the narrow strips, which required trimming a smidgen off my ¼ inch seam allowances. It turned out very nicely this way. - Judy

Tip #2: Piecing and appliqué: I pieced the background square as if the circle was not on top of it. I used freezer paper templates because the rectangles measure 11/32" wide and my cutting ruler doesn't show that size. Normally I can cut these squares or rectangles without a template using my rotary rulers. You should probably make the outside pieces (that show white in the book) a bit bigger with this method because the appliqué tends to shrink up the background a bit. Then added little triangles on each corner- although I didn't use as small a triangle as the pattern does. I pieced the circle with plenty of extra around the outside edge so I could appliqué it down. I made a freezer paper circle and ironed it on top of the pieced circle and trimmed away the excess fabric. Then I just appliquéd it down over the background, lining up everything like in the photo. Then I trimmed away the fabric from behind the circle and trimmed the block to size. It turned out great. - Beth

Tip #3: I reduced this block by 95% in order to have plenty of background around it. Then I cut the circle in one piece-ignoring the strips cutting through it. I appliquéd the full circle to the background. Then I cut the circle into 4 wedges. I marked where the little green pieces went and sewed them into the strip pieces, sewed the strips onto the wedges, and the pieces all together. The circle worked out perfect without doing it in 4 separate pieces. - Cathy

Tip #4: I came up with a method for this block where you appliqué a round green circle to a square of the b/g fabric, cut it diagonally from corner to corner into four triangles, then piece in the little center strips: "How about partial appliqué and piecing? I appliquéd a 4-3/8" (finished, i.e. outside edge turned under) circle onto a square of muslin. I then made two diagonal cuts through the circle from corner to corner. You now have 4 "slices" of the pie. Then strip piece the skinny bars in green and white. Sew a skinny bar between two pie slices. Do it again. Sew these side units to the long skinny center strip pieced bar. Cut to 5" square. Voila! - You're done!" Jayne TwoxCoug@aol.com

Tip #5: Create two blocks. First block: paper piece two color diagonal strips to background fabric. Second block is a circular piece with diagonal strips, but the circular edges are not used---just extend lines out to edge of block now forming a square, with this new design, paper piece diagonal strips with center square. Then cut out circular shape including seam allowance. Appliqué this circular shape to the first block. --- Linda in TX schna@juno.com

Tip #6: First drew the block in Quilt Pro and printed it twice on freezer paper. Second I've appliquéd the 4 quarter pieces to the background. Third I've pieced all the other pieces by hand with the freezer paper left on the fabric. (used that for the first time too)! This way the block kept the right size. - Ank from the Netherlands

Tip #7: First I redrafted so that those outside green strips are a little shorter and added a background strip right into the corner to make it look like Jane's (the drawing saves you that extra background strip but you'll need to add corners at the end - you could make the corners bigger if you like). To get to the sewing - I measured the cross strips (3/8" = 7/8" with seam all) and cut to size. Piece these into 3 strips (2 with background, green, background and 1 with the whole center strip joined with the little square in the middle). Make templates of the 2 curved pieces, mark on fabric and cut with EXTRA seam allowance on the straight edges, clip the inside curve, and join matching centers and outside corners (hand might be easier if you prefer) Press and trim straight edges to give exact 1/4" seam allowance. Sew each of the shorter pieced strips to one side of 2 wedges, butting seams. Add another wedge to the other side of the strips. Now you have 2 half moons. Join these to the long central pieced strip. - Irene in Adelaide

Tip #8: I pieced four background triangles with connecting long strips of a green leafy print to create the background block. Then I pieced four quarter-circles of the green with four strips of white on white background and a center green square to create the top circle. The top circle is appliquéd to the background block. I also left off the white corners on the block. I can always add them later, I suppose, but prefer the block without them. - Tisha in Colorado

G-8, Justin's Comet, page 69

Hand or machine piece: It's best to cut the outer square and triangles a bit large and trim the block to size when completed.

Paper Piecing: trace the pattern from the book and add a seam diagonally through the four corner squares and vertically through the top and bottom triangles and horizontally through the side triangles. Paper piece the 3 pieces for each 1/8 of the block and press seams open as you join them together.

G-9, Mary's Journey, page 70

Center is done like H-13 Farm Fields only smaller. Make 4 geese units and 4 half-square triangles. Assemble per the picture.

G-10, Woven Meadow, page 70

Work in strips. It's easier than it looks. Replace the triangles at the end of each row with squares and trim the block down when you are finished joining all the rows together. Easy!

G-11, Decisions, Decisions, page 72

Machine piecing instructions: this is a good block for rotary cutting! >>From focus fabric, cut: 1) 2-1/2" square 4) 1-3/4" squares >>From background, cut: 4) 1-3/4" x 2-1/2" rectangles Machine piece with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Finger press seams toward print fabric. Sew three horizontal "rows," then sew the rows into a block.

To appliqué the diamonds: to make it easier to "control" these tiny pieces, I trim the seam allowance to just a bit more than 1/8", and "round" the ends at the diamond points. I use a bit of fabric glue stick to press the seam allowance under on 2 opposite sides. Run the edge of the glue stick along the back side of the seam allowance, then press it under, using the FP as your guide. Also, use a dab of glue stick to hold the FP/piece in place as you start to stitch. Starting at one of the "outside" angles, stitch towards one of the pointed ends. Stitch to the end, then use the point of the needle or a toothpick to push the extra fabric under the point. Take several extra stitches to hold the end tight. For accurate positioning of the diamonds, you can trace one of the side rectangles & the diamond in it, onto a piece of clear plastic. Use this transparency to position the diamond. Or, you can cut the diamond shape out of your FP template, and center the FP under this "window template". Use thread that matches your focus fabric, or a neutral that will blend with it.

G-12, Gloriae, page 72

Appliqué. To control the center, lay freezer paper shiny side up on the back of the appliqué piece, baste the paper to the fabric, and iron over the edge. Or machine appliqué using faced or fusible techniques. Add the border and snowball the corners.

G-13, Molly's Muffins, page 73

Make a 9-patch then appliqué the center.