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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.

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H-1 H-2 H-3 H-4 H-5 H-6 H-7 H-8 H-9 H-10 H-11 H-12 H-13
I-1 I-2 I-3 I-4 I-5 I-6 I-7 I-8 I-9 I-10 I-11 I-12 I-13
J-1 J-2 J-3 J-4 J-5 J-6 J-7 J-8 J-9 J-10 J-11 J-12 J-13
K-1 K-2 K-3 K-4 K-5 K-6 K-7 K-8 K-9 K-10 K-11 K-12 K-13
L-1 L-2 L-3 L-4 L-5 L-6 L-7 L-8 L-9 L-10 L-11 L-12 L-13
M-1 M-2 M-3 M-4 M-5 M-6 M-7 M-8 M-9 M-10 M-11 M-12 M-13

H-1, Peek-a-Boo, page 73

This block was paper pieced in four sections. The five diagonal strips can be FP. Start with making the center 4-patch normally. Then trace a paper pattern that has the square you've already made, plus the bars, plus the end piece (pentagons). The next strips are the long bars with a tiny triangle on each end. The last two strips are the center pentagon and two tiny triangles. Leave the paper on and sew all five rows together.

Because the measurements were "odd" numbers (not very manageable), I traced the pattern of the "center section"(the four-patch, plus the surrounding pieces) onto freezer paper. I carefully cut them apart, inside the pencil lines. I also write "w" for white or "b" for brown on the pieces before I cut them apart, so I get the correct color fabric in the right place. Iron the templates on the back of the correct fabric, hen I rotary cut them out, adding a 1/4" seam allowance. Tear off the freezer paper, and machine to make the "center" section. You can FP the four outer triangles: Trace one of the corner triangle pieces. To make three duplicates, layer three pieces of paper underneath and then stitch over the lines on the original drawing with the sewing machine with NO thread in it.

FP by putting the dark fabric in the center and adding the light on either side. Just be careful to get the grain going the right way so you don't end up with bias edges on your outside triangles. Then I just sewed the four outside triangle sections to the center section.

I made the little 4-patch, then did the log cabin around it. Next the challenge of those little triangles and all of a sudden the light goes on in the ol' brain. I sewed a gold strip of fabric between two white strips. Sewed that strip onto one side, laid the ruler so that the diagonal line would line up through the middle of the 4-patch (with the 2 1/2 in. mark in the center of the four patch) cut the corner and repeated this procedure around the remaining corners. (Eleanor Burns used this technique in her card tricks book).

H-2, Jacob Anthony, page 74

The draft in the book is not, but these could very easily be, 60-degree triangles, in which case there is a much easier way. The 1,000 pyramids method. Cut a strip each of background and main 1-3/8" (12" long) and sew, right sides together down both sides (1/4" seam). Now, using the 60-degree triangle, place the 1-3/8" mark on one seam line and cut both sides. Turn fabric and cut another. The resulting diamonds are then joined in 3 rows of 3. After that you're on your own.

BE CAREFUL of the center seam. Susanne Kleen suggested to grade the seams. The center can be intense. If you paper piece this one, do yourself a favor and STOP before the end at the center and back stitch. This will give you the option then to swirl the center and alleviate some of the bulkiness. Very simple block. Easy paper piecing. Then applique the diamonds.

H-3, Berry Baskets, page 74

Paper pieced this block in four sections: top row, bottom row, and center section in 2 mirrored halves.

 H-4, Abbey's Eyes, page 76

Hand pieced using 7 pieces. Or, hand applique the 2 white cone shapes onto the focus fabric square.

H-5, Michael's Motorcycle, page 76

From focus fabric cut a 2-1/2" square, cut on diagonal once. Cut a 5" >>square and cut on the diagonal twice. From background but 2 squares 3-1/4" and cut on the diagonal twice. (You will discard two of the triangles). From both fabrics cut (2) 1-3/4" squares for the half square triangles. Cut (4) border strips at 3-3/4". Make the quarter square triangles from the 3-1/4" squares and trim them to 1-1/8". Piece as a 9-patch.

H-6, Pie Sale, page 77

I'm not confident with curved piecing, so for this block, I appliqued little quarter circles in place before assembling it like a 9-patch. Cut away the excess at the back to reduce bulk.

H-7, Bennington Star, page 77

What a great block for practicing quick machine piecing methods, they certainly make light work of anything with triangles. Follow directions for making quarter square triangles. From focus fabric cut: (4) strips 1" x 5-1/4", (1) 1-3/4" square (for center), (2) 2-1/2" squares. From background fabric cut (4) 1-3/4" squares for corners and (2) 2-1/2" squares for quarter square triangles. Assemble quarter square triangles and trim to 1-3/4" square. Assemble block as a 9-patch and add the finishing strips. Trim to 5" .

H-8, Eaton's Crossroads, page 78

Made 2 separate units and join them together. The first unit is a 3" square consisting of the center circle and cross section. The second unit is the larger frame without the center circle and cross section. To begin, prepare the inner circle: cut (4) 2" squares of focus fabric, and (2) strips of background fabric measuring 7/8" x 5". Join the squares and strips to create the unit with the cross section. Prepare a circle template out of heat resistant template plastic, cardboard or manila folder. Freezer paper is too flimsy for this step. Use this template to draw a circle on the backside of your square. Cut out the fabric circle adding a ¼" seam allowance. Using spray starch, turn under the seam allowance using your template to get nice rounded edges on the circle. Press very well and set aside to dry. For second unit, begin by making the 4 quarter square triangle units. Cut (2) 3" squares of focus fabric and (2) 3" squares of background fabric. Piece as in G2 to make 4 squares. Trim them to 1-3/8" square, which is just shy of 1-1/2". To trim using the baby bias square: Make the first cut at just shy of ¾" (measure from two edges of your block to the intersection of center seam). Make the 2nd cut just shy of 1-1/2", measuring the block from edge to opposite edge. To complete the corner units: cut (8) 1-3/4" squares of background fabric. Sew them to opposite sides of you quarter square triangle units. Make sure you sew them to the background fabric triangle in the square, not the focus fabric triangle! (Ask me why I'm stressing this!) Trim these units to 1-3/8" wide. Cut (2) 2" squares of background fabric and cut once on the diagonal. Sew them to the strips you just completed for the outermost corners. Cut a background square at 3-5/8". Sew strips to opposite sides of this square and trim the edges. Sew remaining 2 strips and you will have a very "raggy" 5" square. Hand appliqué the now dry circle with cross to the center of your raggy square. Make sure the cross is lined up as in the block photo. You may trim away underneath the circle or leave the fabric in for dimension. Press your block well and use your Dear Jane ruler to square it up. Phew! You did it! Give your block a little kiss and count those numbers! Go eat a little chocolate, too! H-8 Easton's Crossroads wasn't bad. I paper pieced all of it and then appliquid the center section.

H-9, Snowflake Melt, page 78

Look at the picture; this block is 4 half-square triangles with their corners cut off and diamonds appliquéd on-don't you think? Wouldn't that be the easy way to piece this? I think you could do it this way with either Brenda's diagram or redraft to make it look like the picture and leave off the white edge strips. From focus fabric cut: (2) 3-1/2" squares From background fabric: cut (2) 3-1/2" squares Place a focus fabric square and a background square right sides together, draw a diagonal line and sew ¼" away from drawn line on both sides. Press seams open and trim the squares to 2-3/4". Repeat. Sew the 4 squares together as a pinwheel. On wrong side of block measure 1-1/8" from the north, south, east and west seam line at outer edge of block. Place a dot on each side of all 4 seam lines. (You'll have 8 dots total.) On wrong side of fabric lightly pencil in a diagonal line across the corner of the block, connecting two of the dots and trim ¼" away from this line. Cut (2) 3" squares of background fabric, cut them once on the diagonal and sew to the 4 corners. Make the diamond applique shapes using your favorite method. I enlarged mine 1/8" on all 4 sides since my white space was larger than Brenda's diagram. Applique them using your favorite method, press block and trim to 5".

H-9 Snowflake Melt also wasn't bad. The whole thing can be paper pieced but BE CAREFUL of the center seam. Susanne Kleen suggested to grade the seams. The center can be intense. If you paper piece this one, do yourself a favor and STOP before the end at the center and back stitch. This will give you the option then to swirl the center and alleviate some of the bulkiness.

H-10, Ben's Bowtie, page 79

This is an easy block to rotary cut and machine piece, with 4 quarter square triangles and 2 half square triangles. Follow the directions for half square triangles in G2, cutting (1) 2-1/2" square of focus fabric and (1) 2-1/2" square of background fabric. Trim to 1-3/4" square. Cut (2) 2-1/4" squares of focus fabric, and (2) 2-1/4" squares of background fabric to make the 4 corner quarter square triangles. Piece the center bow tie, then piece the block together like a 4-patch.

H-11, Piercing Rays, page 79 The pie in the center can be paper-pieced in halves, then joined and appliqued on. I think you're stuck with templates and set-ins on the rest.

Or, hand piece H-11, do the center then the points then the edges.

H-11 Piercing Ray is one of my all time favorites!! I LOVE this block. It's Y seams, but if you stop and start at the end of the paper piecing and backstitch without getting to the other piece of fabric, the turning of the fabric is very easy. I LOVED H-11 so much, I think I'd do that one for any swaps. It's really not bad and looks GREAT when it's done.

H-12, Hannah Lou's Hearts, page 81

Hand applique the four hearts onto a 5-1/2" square of background. Trim to 5" . NOTICE that Jane's blocks looks like 8 "tears" appliquéd to become the 4 hearts. Decide if you want to do this block the easy way or Jane's way.

H-13, Farm Fields, page 81

Paper piece it in two sections.

Or, machine piece: Cut the 2 small background strips 1" x 3-1/2". Cut the long strip 1" x 7-1/2". From focus fabric cut a square 5-1/2" and cut on the diagonal twice.

Or, cut a 6" square on the diagonal once. Insert a background strip cut 1" x 7" (sewing on both sides of the strip). Hand applique the other diagonal strip on top.

I-1, Ralph & Nelda's Wedding, Page 82

From focus fabric cut (2) 2-3/4" squares and (8) 1-1/4" squares. From  background fabric, cut (10) 1-1/4" squares. Piece together the 9-patches and then sew the block together as a 4-patch.

I-2, Kaye's Courtyard, Page 82

From focus fabric, cut (2) 3-1/2" squares and cut on the diagonal >>once. >>For the 9-patch center, cut (5) background squares 1-1/2" and (4) focus fabric squares 1-1/2". Piece together the 9-patch and add the triangles to the corners. Trim the block to 5".

I-3, Family Album, Page 83

From background fabric: cut (2) strips 7/8" x 5". Cut (6) strips 7/8" x 1 ¾" . From focus fabric: cut (9) patches 1-3/4" square (begin with a 17" strip.) Piece in strips, square/strip/square/strip/square. Repeat 3 times. Piece together w/5" strips.

I-4, Stability, Page 83

For the center square, applique the 4 curvy sections to the square and then sew the block together like a nine-patch. Alternatively you can hand or machine piece the center.

I-5, Maria's Majesty, Page 84

Cut a background fabric square a little larger than 5". Using a dryer sheet or interfacing, place this over the right side of the PRINT fabric and stitch around the pink "flower" shape. Cut the interfacing open, and turn inside out -- this gives you a perfect shape to appliqué onto the muslin square. If this seems too thick, you can cut out the back around the appliqué stitching, AFTER you appliqué the print flower shape onto the muslin. The muslin melons are then appliquéd onto the fabric in the proper place. Voila! You have those thin melon shapes in place without trying to cut them out. Then you can trim the block to 5".

Beware! When you cut your melons for that one, make sure you mark which side goes on the inside and which side goes on the outside. The melon-seeds on this one doesn't curve equally on the two sides. I started out trying to reverse appliqué the inner arcs of the white to the pink plaid. When I got to the corners there was no fabric to turn under so I could not get a sharp point and it just didn't look good. Ripped it apart and went to plan B. Hand pieced individual melons to the pink along the inside arc. Cut out a circle template of freezer paper and ironed that to the back and appliquéd the outside edge of the white melons to a larger piece of pink plaid. Cut a 6" piece of white background and marked the circle and the outside scallops on it. Matched up the pieces with pins to the markings on the white, and needle turned the outside edge of the scallops. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to appliqué this one - melons AND little sliver moon shapes!! Using freezer paper templates on the top of the fabric, I appliquéd the four melons to a 4-3/4" square of navy blue (with tiny white snowflakes). There was enough blue on the outer edges for the little sliver moon shapes. I then appliqué the outside edges of the slivers to my background fabric. On the first melon, I turned the edges under and glued them down with water-soluble fabric glue stick. I soon discovered the glue was getting on my needle, so I just finger pressed the edges under and pinned them.  1) Start with a 5" square of the red fabric. 2) Iron freezer paper patterns of the 4 "melon" pieces of background (on top of the fabric). Cut out with scant seam allowance. 3) Trace the whole block design onto a thin piece of plastic with permanent pen (I use page protectors, cut to 6" sq.) 4) Lay transparency over the red square. Slip one melon between the transparency & the red fabric, with the freezer paper on top. Get the melon centered exactly under the melon drawn on the transparency. I put a dab of fabric glue stick on the back of the piece before I slip it under the transparency, so I can just press it in place. 5) Remove the transparency & appliqué the melon in place. Repeat for the other 3 melons. I put one piece in place, appliqué. it, then put the next piece on, etc. 6) Now you have the 4 melons appliquéd on the red square. Remove the FP templates for these 4 melons. (I do this as I finish each one.) 7) Position the FP templates for the 4 crescent pieces on the red fabric, touching the background melons you just appliquéd on. Iron in place. 8) Trim seam allowance away, leaving you the center (red), 4 background melons, and the FP over the red 4 crescents. 9) Lay this piece over a 6" sq. of background fabric. Make one clip in the seam allowance at the end point of each crescent, where the 2 crescents meet. Appliqué in place. Remove FP templates. 10) Iron FP templates for the 4 "corner" melons (the ones that point to each outside corner) onto red fabric. I used the leftover from the original red square. Cut out with a scant seam allowance. 11) Again, use the transparency to position the melons, then appliqué in place. Remove FP.

If you look quickly at the block, you might think you should appliqué the red center portion onto the background...but those long, skinny points are very hard to do...nowhere for the seam all go! I try to figure out the easiest way to come out with an accurate block. What seems logical to me, might not be the way someone else chooses to do the block, though!

I have done this block in two ways:

Reverse appliqué the outer line. It's easy because there are no sharp corners. Then I appliquéd the diamonds on. The reason for this order is that it's easier to align the meeting corners. Notice that the diamonds are not symmetrical.
In another block my background fabric was too coarse for reverse appliqué and I appliquéd the big focus fabric on the background with help of freezer paper After sewing I cut the background fabric out on the reverse side and picked the freezer paper out. Then I appliquéd the diamonds as above.

I-6, Viewer's Choice, Page 84

Regular appliqué: You can piece the center "flower" to look more like Jane's block, and cut it out of one piece of fabric.

I-7, Mac and Muff, Page 85

From background fabric: cut (2) 2-1/4" squares, cut (1) 1-1/4" x 4-1/2" rectangle, (1) 1-1/4" x 3" rectangle, and (2) 1-1/4" x 3-3/4" rectangle. From focus fabric: cut (2) 2-1/4" squares, cut (1) 3-1/2" x 1" >>rectangle, cut (1) 1-3/4" x 1" rectangle. Quick piece the right triangles. The squares are a tad larger than needed. Square them up after you are finished with the diagonal line sewing. Piece the block together following the diagram. Then use your applique of choice for the four tiny triangles on the sides.

I-8, Pete's Paintbox, Page 85

Foundation piece in sections: the center square in 4 rounds, and then do the 4 corner triangle pieces separately. Join them to the center square.

I-9, Chase A Myth, Page 86

Another good one for FP or rotary cut and piece in sections. To paper piece, divide the block in 3 diagonal sections. Paper piece the center square in 4 rounds and then continue by paper piecing the flying geese. PP the remaining 2 corners and attach them to the center strip.

I-10, Iris's Medallion, Page 86

I paper-pieced the entire background in three vertical sections and sewed them together. THEN I created the mid-overlay consisting of the four triangles around the square. I created it by sewing large pieces onto each side of the square. THEN I made a freezer paper template of that 5-piece and ironed it onto the back of the 5-piece. Trimmed it to size and appliquéd it in place onto the middle of my paper-pieced sections. - Sandy A

Start by sewing the 4 star-points to the center square. Sew only from corner to corner, no sewing into seam-allowances. This point is important since you will have to insert the pieced "side"-triangle into those points (and no, there is no way I know of to do this block without having to do inset seams :-) Sew the 4 "side"-triangles. Now the two elements are to be joined. Start by insetting the side-triangles in between the star-points. Pin one side and piece it, going only from star-point to the point of the central square. Now pin and sew the other side. Repeat 4 times. NOW, you piece the last little snippets of seams, the ones that go from the tip of the star-points to the corner of the block. Here it is really a great help if you have not sewn into seam-allowances, but have only sewn from corner to corner :-)

FP - Visually divide the block in four diagonally. You will see that you can paper piece the four 'stripes' that run towards the center square. Then add a wonky triangle bit to each side of each stripe, which gives you four chunks which are a pointy sort of triangle. Then paper piece the middle square with the four long triangles sticking out (I guess that is the piece you've already made.) If you lay the four 'pointy triangles' into the gaps in the long triangles it is now relatively easy to sew them in place.

I-11, Coyote Chase, Page 88

Appliqué using overlay or reverse applique. You can piece the background squares as Jane did or use one piece of fabric for the background.

I-12, Fred's Square Fair, Page 88

I made templates out of freezer paper and made sure about the 1/4-inch seams and they all lined up quite nicely. If you cut a 1-1/2 inch square and diagonally cut it in half it is the perfect size for the tiny corner triangles. Sew a dark to a light triangle to form a square, add two triangles to the side of the small square then add to the side of the larger triangle. Did you know there are 41 little pieces in this block . . . and I mean little!

At first, I thought all I could do was paper piece the 8 sections on either side of the flying geese triangles (the ones with all those tiny little triangles). I printed out enough patterns from my EQ program so that I could cut out those sections, leaving 1/4" seam allowance around all sides. As has happened before, when I went to sew the paper pieced section to a rotary cut piece of fabric, just didn't work!

So, then decided to try to add other sections to the small triangle ones before paper piecing. Ended up making the top row in two units: one had the tiny triangles in the center with the corner square and the big flying geese triangle on either side and the other had the tiny triangles on one side with the small square in the corner (this is the top row if you're looking at the book). Repeated this for the bottom row and then paper pieced the two side sections (also in two units) which I added to either side of the center square.

* Start with the center square; add the four large triangles. The same as you would do with D-13. Set aside. * Piece the "four triangle" triangles. See diagram. * Take 2 of the "4 triangle" triangles and add to each corner square. You have now formed 4 large pieced triangles. * Stitch these large pieced triangles to the center section. Take your time and you should be ok. Hope this helps. One more thing, I like to use freezer paper because it keeps the fabric from shifting. Cut the seam allowances in the "4 tri" tris to 1/8 inch.

I-13, Sweet Harmony, Page 89

Piece the center like Farm Fields, then FP the outer light triangles. Make the center like you would make F-4. It is the same, just smaller. Border it with a sashing with corner stones. This "finished" block then needs corners. You can either appliqué the little square to each corner, or you can add seam-lines and piece each corner. It all depends on what you enjoy the most. I added seam lines and pieced. Add the corners to the square-square. If you have reduced the size, add the colored borders.

J-1, Josepha's Jonquil, Page 89

Applique the center square and 4 diamonds on a 5-1/2" piece of background. To be more like Janes, you will piece the background with 4-3" squares of background fabric.

J-2, Picture Perfect, Page 90

Cutting: If you want to "fussy cut" the 4 center squares remember the squares will be set on point when the block is finished. I forgot that, so my kitties are off kilter! Cut (4) 1-3/4" squares of focus fabric. Also cut (2) 4" squares of focus fabric and cut them once on the diagonal. From your background fabric, cut (2) strips ¾" x 1-3/4", (3) strips ¾" x 3-1/4" and (2) strips ¾" x 3-3/4".

Machine piecing: Strip piece the center section. Add the vertical strips and then the top and bottom strips. Lastly add the triangle corners and using your Dear Jane square ruler, trim your block to a perfect 5". Add 15 pieces to your block count!

J-3, Rick's Volleyball Net, page 90

Cut a square of background fabric for the center and applique the quarter-circle shape onto the corners. You can paper piece the corner sections: a white center with triangles on each side. Sew them onto the corners of the square/pie wedge unit. It is believed that Jane used cheater cloth in her focus fabric.

J-4, Adelaine's Apron Strings, Page 91

Paper piece the 2 corner sections then piece in the center strip. Or, appliqué the underneath strip on a 5-1/2" background square. Then appliqué the top strip on top of all. These measurements worked for me with plenty left to trim up. 1. From background cut a 4-1/2" square and cut it into 4 quarter-square triangles. 2. From focus fabric cut a 1-7/8" by 8" strip and two 1-7/8" by 3-1/2" pieces. 3. Join the quarter-square triangles to each side of the 3-1/2" strips. 4. Join these to each side of the 8" strip matching your centers. 5. Be careful with those bias edges!

J-5, John Jacob's Windmill, page 91

Piece the center section, add the mitered sides, applique the cone shapes. For this block I attached white strips to the brown center by machine. The curved part of the brown triangle was attached by hand. On all of the 4 white set in pieces, I put pins to mark where the seam would turn. I sewed each of these pieces by machine with one long seam.

J-6, Granny Weaver, Page 92

Cut: (2) 10" x 1" strips background (1) 10" x 1" strip focus fabric (1) 3" x 1" strip background (2) 3" x 1" strips focus fabric (1) 1" square focus fabric (4) 2" squares focus fabric (I "fussy cut" these) Sew the 10" x 1" strips together with the focus fabric in the middle. Press, then slice that strip crosswise into (4) 2" pieces and (1) 1" piece (for middle section of center 9-patch). Sew the 3" x 1" strips together with the background in the middle. Press, then slice that strip crosswise into (2) 1" pieces. Sew these pieces to the 1" slice from above, and make the 9-patch section that is the center of the block. Then take your other strip sections (with the focus fabric in the middle) and put a 2" focus fabric corner block on either end. Sew together in 3 horizontal strips to complete the block. Trim to 5". Add 25 pieces to your count!

J-7, Chicken Tracks, Page 92

Best done by strip piecing the little 9-patches and then making the big (5") 9-patch. From background fabric, cut (5) 2" squares, 1 strip 1" x 10", and 1 strip 1" x 5". From focus fabric, cut 2 strips 1" x 10" and 1 strip 1" x 5". Sew the 10" strips together: Focus/Background/Focus. Press both seams downward. Sew the 5" strips together: Background/Focus/Background. Press both seams up. (Note: You are ignoring the "always press to the dark side rule.") Slice these strips into 1" pieces. Make 4 little 9-patches per the block photo. Press these last 2 seams in each 9-patch open to help distribute the bulk. (The Quilt Police will not come and get you, I promise!) Piece the block in 3 horizontal rows. If you've been careful with your seams your block will need very little trimming. Add 41 pieces to your total!

J-8, Anna's Anchor, Page 94

Make the center 4-patch, then add the border pieces. Applique on the seed shapes.

J-9, Maury High School, Page 94

Piece log cabin style, then applique the seed shapes

J-10, Chieko's Calla Lily, page 95

Piece the center to the outer section, then applique the seed shapes. Tip: Put a stitch through the center of the 4 seeds that join in the middle to keep them in line.

J-11, Twin Sister, Page 95

Applique the center seed, then another over it at right angles. Applique the other shapes.

J-12, Rebecca's Basket, Page 96

Piece it in rows. This avoids any "set-in" pieces (and if you've attempted C-2 you'll appreciate this!) Label the pieces: Handle -A Background behind handle -D Basket body -B Background beside basket body-E and ER(reversed) Basket base -C Background beside basket base F and FR Background strip at bottom of basket...G 1) Applique the handle A to the background piece D, lining up the cut edges with seam allowance. This becomes row 1. 2) Add piece "E" to the left side of "B" and "ER" to the right side. This becomes Row 2 3) Add piece "F" to the left side of "C" and "FR" to the right side. This becomes Row 3.

I made Rebecca's Basket J12 and have a tip for the handle. That little curved piece is hard to turn the edges under and keep the curve also. I cut a strip of bias 1 1/4 by 6" or so. Fold and stitch. (be sure to make hte seam exactly 1/4 and this will give the 3/8 you need for hte handle. Turn the strip. (I use a big tapestry needle and string) press with the seam at one edge. Place the seam side on the inside of the handle. I cut a peice of paper the size of the inside and pinned it to the peiced block. Then pin the handle to the block, easing the edge so that it fits the paper. Applique by qtitching onall sides. This made a very neat handle with the edges straight and neat. Linda

This reminded me of the way to make them with "tie wraps" You can buy various sizes of tie wraps at the hardware store. (and I even saw "quilters bias strip makers" at the store the other day... but they're tie wraps...grin.Anyway, find one the right size.. then cut your bias strip about 1 inch wide. Sew with the wrong sides together ALONG the edge of the tie wrap. This will leave a big seam allowance. trim. turn the seam under the tie wrap.
Take some spray starch (magic sizing) and spray it into the lid of the can. take a small brush, and brush onto the strip.. press to dry out the starch. Slip the tie wrap out, cut to length and sew down. I learned this at Paducah in a class we took on applique this year. cindy in St. Louis

J-13, Pam's Bells, Page 96

Strip piece the block then applique the tear shapes.

K-1, Crooked Creek, Page 97

Done as a five patch - five easy rows, then put the borders on.

K-2, Grandpa's Chickens, Page 97

Cut (6) 1-1/8" x 4" strips of focus fabric and (6) background strips of the same size. Sew the background strips to the focus fabric strips. Then continue alternating fabrics so that you end up with two patches with 6 strips each. Press to the darker fabric. Now cut the strips 1-1/8" wide by 4" long. Alternate the strips and sew them together to complete the center. Cut 1-1/4" border strips and sew them around the block. You can also make this as a series of 4- or 9-patches and join the sub-units.

K-3, Seven Sisters, Page 99

From background fabric cut (13) 1" squares. From focus fabric cut: (4) 1" squares, (4) strips 1" x 2", (4) strips 1" x 3", and for last round cut strips 1-1/4" wide and 4", 4-1/2", 4-3/4" and 5-1/2". Construct the 9-patch then add strips in rounds. Add this last round log cabin style, adding them clockwise around the block. Press the block carefully and trim to 5". Total # of pieces: 29.
K-4, Thea's Turn, Page 99 Jane's block is made from only 2 fabrics-one has an interesting brown strip running through it! This is a great block to feature one of your favorite focus fabrics as you begin by cutting a 3-1/2" square for the center of the block. Cut (2) 2-3/4" squares of background fabric and (1) 2-3/4" square of focus fabric, then cut the squares diagonally twice into triangles (cutting the squares into 4 triangles). Piece 4 sets of 3 smaller triangles (one triangle is of the focus fabric and 2 are of the background fabric - one set for each side). Pin match the center of each section and the center of the middle block and sew on each side section in ¼" seam (sew on opposite sides). For the corner triangles, cut (2) 2-3/4" squares of the focus fabric and then cut them in half diagonally once. Sew them onto the corners. Press well and trim your block to 5" square.

K-5, Passing Through, Page 100

First, construct the 4-patch diamonds by sewing together two 1-1/4" strips of background and red fabric, then cut sections on the diagonal. Next, piece together 2 diagonally-cut sections to form each diamond.

The second step is to insert the diamonds into the background fabric. (I adapted this from a technique for making machine bound-buttonholes.) Make a template of the finished diamond section and trace it onto the background fabric. Then, stitch around the opening with a small stitch. Cut open the center, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance all around and clipping to the corners.. Finger-press the edges of the opening to the wrong side and match them up with the diamond's edges. Then, start in the center of one side and carefully stitch around each diamond, being careful not to get the background fabric of an opposite side caught as you reach the pointed ends and being careful to stitch on top of the previous stitching. It helps to also cut the background squares larger than necessary, and then trim them to the right size (2-3/4") when finished. Once the diamond inserts are completed, then sew them together with two 2-3/4" squares of the red fabric into a 4-patch block.

I made the four patch, then sewed diamonds into a diamond shaped four patch and appliqued it on. Probably reverse applique would work too - I didn't try that.

Or, foundation piece the diamond 4-patch, then fp the four sides around it. Cut two focus fabric squares 2-3/4" and assemble the 4 larger 4-patch.

K-6, Ann's Folly, Page 100

If you turn this diagonally you see a nine patch. Sew the long three strips first then build the nine patch. Sew the triangles on the corners, and then piece the narrow outer border and put it on.

K-7, Rose of Sharing, Page 101

Basic appliqué: Alternative: The original looks like Jane sewed 4 triangles together to make her square, then appliquéd on. Jane DID sew hers in quadrants.

K-8, Springbrook Park, Page 101

Springbrook Park is a playground in Brenda's hometown of Alcoa, Tennessee. Be careful when cutting. Some of these side pieces have to be reversed to get the block to sit straight. Sew the two outside units then attach them to the center spine. If you paper piece your block will be the mirror image, but that's okay! Finished is better than perfect! Cut 3 background strips 1-1/2" x 10"; cut 4 focus fabric strips 1-1/2" x 10".

K-9, Scout's Honor, Page 102

For 9-patch cut: (4) 1-1/4" squares background and (5) 1-1/4" squares focus fabric. From background cut: (4) strips 1" x 2-3/4". Cut (4) 1" squares focus fabric for 2nd round. Cut (2) 3-1/2" squares focus fabric for triangle corners and cut these in half on the diagonal. Begin constructing the block by sewing the 9-patch. Add the next round and trim the block to measure 3-1/2" square. Add the triangles by sewing first one corner and then the opposite corner. Trim the seamline edge even across the block. Add the last two corners. Trim the block to 5". For my K9 block I used a red fabric with little dogs on it. A true canine K9!

K-10, Quandry, Page 102

I enlarged the block slightly, so the "flying geese" type triangles at N,S,E and W had their points at the edge of the block. That is just my interpretation...I have re-drafted or enlarged some other blocks, to make them suit the way I see the original blocks. It is easier to do the block the way Brenda drafted it, as you don't have to have those triangle points right at the edge. It is a little hard to "see" the pieces in Jane's block, as her print fabric has so much light background to it. I colored the pattern pieces in black and white...that made it much easier to follow.

The "center" of this block is really a Nine Patch, with borders around it. 5 of the Nine Patches are made up of "Anvil" or "Indian Hatchet" blocks (diagonal strip with triangles on 2 opposite corners). These blocks could easily be foundation pieced, diagonal strip down first, then sew and flip the corner triangles. When you have the 5 pieced patches done, you just alternate >them with a plain (colored) fabric square in typical Nine Patch style. I read the borders as "log cabin units" and "flying geese" units. I would construct the E and W borders, then sew them to the Nine Patch center. Then do the N and S units and add them last. (I always mark my Freezer Paper pattern pieces with either numbers or letters, or N (north), S (south), E (east) or W (west) to help me with where the pieces go and the stitching sequence).

This is certainly not the only way to approach this block (maybe that's why they named it "Quandry" :) You could also divide it up sort of like a "Bear's Paw" block, with block units in the 4 corners and the "cross" type "sashing" units through the middle, both vertically and horizontally. I don't think either way is any easier or more difficult.

This caused the most thought of all of this row. However, the centre is a nine patch (this is a very nine patchy row!) with pieced pieces. Be careful when cutting the odd-shaped pieces for the centre of the outside rows. They aren't symmetrical and if you don't cut them all the right way, the block won't go together properly.

K-11, Columbine, Page 104

Same warning for non-symmetrical pieces as the previous block - otherwise a center piece, (the cross) with an outer layer to form the star.

K-12, Doris's Dilemma, Page 104

I redrafted it to look like Jane's. Brenda's version had the inner triangles not parallel to the selvage line of the block and that bothered me. I redrew it and used the pattern for paper piecing and it came out wonderful (if I do say so myself :-) ) - Barbara The block as drafted in the book is also attractive -- inner triangles come out a little larger. Easy piecing. Two Flying Geese units with a strip in the middle and triangle corners. - Fiona

K-13, Brandon's Star, Page 105

Rotary cutting: Made the 9-patch in the center by cutting: (5) 1-1/4" squares of background fabric; (4) 1-1/4" squares of focus fabric; Cut (4) 1-5/8" squares of focus fabric for corners. Make (4) flying geese that measure 1-1/8" x 2-1/4" finished (1-5/8" x 2-3/4" unfinished). Assemble the 9-patch in the center, it should measure 2-3/4" square. Assemble the rest of the block like a 9-patch. Press well and trim to 5" square.

L-1, Widow's Pane, page 105

Rotary cut and strip piece, or paper piece. To paper piece: from focus fabric cut 2 (2-1/2") squares, cut 2 (1-1/2") squares, and cut a 1-1/2" x 12" strip. From background fabric cut 3 strips 1-1/2" x 11".

L-2, Stephanie's Snowflake, page 106

Paper piece in eight sections. Four of the sections are the skinny strips that the corner triangles are added to. Paper piece the "interior" corner sections. Then join the interior as a 9-patch. Add the paper pieced corners. This was a time-consuming block, but not difficult.

L-3, Reflections Abound, page 106

Can be paper pieced in five sections: the middle square in 4 rounds and the four outer triangles.

 L-4, St. George's Cross, page 107

Rotary cut and machine pieced. Piece the 5 blocks with the square and white strips. Then put the block together like a 9-patch.

L-5, Chattanooga Charlie, page 107

Rotary cut and machine pieced

L-6, Maze of Madness, page 108

Paper piece four square units of 7 little bars (in each corner within the outer frames.) Now separating these squares top to bottom are units of three pieces that can also be paper-pieced. Then down the middle is a big section, which looks incredibly easy to paper-piece. Sew all those little sections together like a 9-patch. Press well and square up your block. Add the white strips on all around, followed by the focus fabric strips. Note that the four corner "squares" are not exactly alike. You *cannot* just make one foundation four times and flip them to fit in the block. It's not a difficult block if you take your time.

L-7, Town Square, page 108

Rotary cut and machine pieced or foundation piece. You can paper piece this one in 3 horizontal rows. Begin from the center out in each case.

L-8, Box Kite, page 110

Rotary cut and machine piece or paper piece the middle square, then add outer strips. I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite blocks--perhaps because I used a crisp red for the focus fabric and white for the background. It's a charmer! From your background fabric cut: 1 3-1/2" square and cut twice on the diagonal. Cut 4 1-3/4" squares for the corner. From focus fabric, cut 2 strips 1-1/2" x 7" and cut 4 pieces 2" x3-1/2". The center of the block is paper pieced in 2 pieces. Paper piece the top and bottom row. Press well and trim block to 5".

L-9, Walter's Place, page 110

This one can be machine or hand pieced. It's really not as hard as it looks. Begin creating the center piece by making a big 9-patch. You can add squares instead of triangles and trim it down. Make sure you have good contrast between your focus and background fabric for the design to be distinct.

Cut following pieces from background fabric: A 4 squares of 1 5/8 ", B 2 squares of 3" and cut them diagonally to produce 4 triangles (corners), C 1 square of 3 1/4 " and cut it diagonally twice to produce triangles for the middle of each side.

Cut the following from the focus fabric: D 1 square of 1 5/8" (middle), E 4 pieces 1 5/8 " x 7/8 ", F 4 pieces 2" x 7/8 ", G 4 pieces 2 1/2" x 7/8".

Put the block on point and you can see that actually this block is a variation of a 9-patch. Begin in the center an piece in three rows, adding squares not triangles to the ends of the rows.

L-10, Nan's Naiad, Page 111

L-10 Nan's Naiad can be paper pieced. It's not nearly as bad as it looks. Don't be intimidated. It's really pretty easy...just take your time.

First, turn the block on its side! Make L-10 (Nan's Naiad) in 5 columns: the 2 outside sections; then divide the middle section into 3 parts, keeping the large central square as the width of the central column, surrounded by 2 inner-side columns (the diamonds). In this way, that central column is easily constructed in parallel rows of background and featured fabrics, with the "V" easily appliquéd on the very top and bottom. Finally, just appliqué the large diamonds just below the "V". It is time consuming but the finished product looks great!

L-11, Caitlin's Rose, Page 111

This is also drafted differently from the way Jane pieced hers. Determine if you want your block more like Jane's, or more like Brenda's.

Make a paper-pieced pattern of each of the four corners and paper-piece them. Then take a paper pattern of the entire block and glue tack the middle square in place. Then paper-piece the four paper-pieced corners onto this paper block.

L-12, Sally's Pride, Page 112

Paper piece the interior of this block in three sections, then add the outside borders. Lastly, applique those little corner triangles on. (I added several lines so I could paper piece the little triangles into the corners) Goodness, Jane did like her triangles, didn't she!

L-13, Harvest Moon, page 112

Cut 4 squares of focus fabric and 4 of background at 3" square. Make 2 4-patch blocks. Iron a small freezer paper circle onto the back of one 4-patch. Trim, leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Baste under the SA and appliqué onto the other 4-patch. Make a freezer paper "frame" cutting out the circle (I actually moved the inside seam in about 1/8"). Press onto the back of a 6" square of fabric. Trim out the center leaving a ¼" seam allowance. Clip and baste under the SA. Now appliqué this on top of the four patches.

M-1, Dogwood Days, Page 113

Redraft the block to make the little triangles match in size with the squares. Then piece the little 9 patch. Paper piece the 4 triangles and attach them to the 9 patch. Finish with strip piecing

M-2, Duff's Bluff, Page 113

Assemble the center in 3 units, then add 2 opposite outer strips. Sew the half-square triangles to the other 2 strips and add to the center unit.

M-3, Fireweed Flower, Page 115

Machine or hand piecing: 1) Draw paper piecing foundations for the four triangles and the narrow edgings. 2) Cut the diamonds and 8 corner pieces using the freezer paper method. 3) Sew the triangles together at the top and leave a hole where the center square goes (I hand sewed the square in last). Now you have the four triangles and their narrow edges sewn together and each one pointing in its own direction - north, south, east, and west. 4) Sew the diamond shapes to the triangles. 5) Pair up the eight corner pieces and sew the diagonal seams coming down from outside corner toward the center of the block. Now you have four sets. 6) Sew the inside seam of that corner piece to its diamond. 7) Last sew the small seam that attaches each corner set to its neighboring corner.

M-4, Stepping Stones, Page 115

This is a good one for foundation piecing in sections. I assembled the 5 squares that are "log cabin style" first. Then I did the 4 flying geese units with the background strip base. Then sew these 9 blocks together like a 9-patch. Add the outer strips log cabin style and add the triangles to the corners.

M-5, Mother's Point, Page 116

To match Jane's block use these instructions: From FF cut 2 squares at 3". (These are cut large and will be trimmed down in the last step.) From FF, cut a strip 1-1/4" x 6". From Background, cut a strip 1-1/4" x 6". Cut 4 pieces 1"x2". Cut 4 strips 1"x 3". Sew the 6" strips together on the long side, press seam to the dark. Cut into (4) 1-1/4" slices. Sew them together to get your 4-patches. On the 4-patch, sew two 1"x2" strips across from each other. Press seams to the strip. Sew the 3" strips to the remaining sides. Press these units and trim to 2-3/4". Now sew these patches to the FF 3" squares and assemble the block.

M-6, Simplicity, Page 116

Handpiece and machine piecing: I decided to hand piece the center octagon, alternately adding a white square and a background piece. Then I pressed carefully, pressing the seams to fall under the octagonal center and away from the white squares. I machine pieced the remaining pieces of the block: Add the 4 background triangles and press well. Trim the block to 3-1/4" square. Strip piece the outer long rectangles, then join the units along with the background cornerstones.

M-7, Junko's Rose Garden, Page 117

Handpiece: Start with a 5" square of the dark fabric. 1) Iron freezer paper patterns of the 4 "melon" pieces of background (on top of the fabric). Cut out with scant seam allowance. 2) Trace the whole block design onto a thin piece of plastic with permanent pen (I use page protectors, cut to 6" sq.) 3) Lay transparency over the dark square. Slip one melon between the transparency & the dark fabric, with the freezer paper on top. Get the melon centered exactly under the melon drawn on the transparency. I put a dab of fabric glue stick on the back of the piece before I slip it under the transparency, so I can just press it in place. 4) Remove the transparency & applique the melon in place. Repeat for the other 3 melons. I put one piece in place, applique it, then put the next piece on, etc. Remove the FP templates for these 4 melons as you finish each one. Position the FP templates for the 4 crescent pieces on the dark fabric, touching the background melons you just appliqued on. Iron in place. 5) Trim fabric away, leaving a ¼" seam allowance. You have the focus fabric center, 4 background melons, and the FP over the 4 focus fabric crescents. 6) Lay this piece over a 6" square of background fabric. Make one clip in the seam allowance at the end point of each crescent, where the 2 crescents meet. Prepare this inner edge and applique it to the unit from step 4. Remove FP templates. 7) Iron FP templates for the 4 "corner" melons (the ones that point to each outside corner) onto focus fabric. You can use the leftover from the original square. Cut them out with a scant seam allowance. 8) Again, use the transparency to position the melons, then applique in place.

M-8, Enchanted Square, Page 117

Foundation pp: Divide the center of the block into 5 diagonal rows/sections, using the one with the long color strip as your starting point (it runs from upper left to lower right). That row has 5 pieces. After the center is finished, trim to 3-3/4" square. Pp the 4 border strips. You can add a little extra fabric to the outer edges for insurance.

M-9, Fan Dance, Page 118

Cut 3 strips of focus fabric and 3 strips of background at 1-1/8" x 10" each. Sew together a focus fabric-background-focus fabric strip and a background-focus fabric-background strip. Press all seams to the darker fabric. Make a triangle template that is 1/8 of the square, draw on the horizontal seam lines. Cut 4 triangle shaped units from each strip (reverse the template for the 2nd strip). Sew together 2 triangles to create a square, repeat 3 more times. Trim these squares to 2-3/8". Make sure you nest your seams together perfectly! Trim the seam allowance to 1/8" from the center out to about 1". Sew 2 squares together and press seam allowances so they all lay in the same direction. Sew the 2 rectangles together, press well, again "pinwheeling" the seams, and trim the square to 4-1/4". Cut 2 focus fabric strips at 1-1/8" x 4-1/4" and 2 at 1-1/8" x 5-1/4". Sew the 2 shorter logs on, press, and sew the remaining two on.

M-10, Simple Simon, Page 118

A simple 9-patch. Perhaps to make it more interesting you could find a special fabric and fussy cut a flower or other design element in the squares. I found a darling reproduction fabric with tiny salt and pepper shakers from the 50's to fussy cut in the 5 squares. I've also seen a floral spray cut from a light background fabric and centered in the background squares. Do something special to make this block interesting!

M-11, Rickshaw, Page 119

Paper piece in 3 sections. The outer sections with 2 diamonds will go together in 2 parts, while the center will go together in 3 parts. For the outer border, just add 1" strips and trim back when you size the block. Or, you can paper piece the center and applique the diamonds onto the large outer border.

M-12, Hopscotch, Page 120

From background fabric cut (4) 2" squares; cut a strip of fabric 1" x 10". From focus fabric cut 2 strips 1" x 10". Strip piece the 1" strips, sewing together a focus/bk/focus strip. Cut in 2" slices. Piece as a 9-patch.

M-13, Lynette's Diamond, Page 120

Done a totally radical way-it works! Applique a 5" circle of focus fabric onto a 5-1/2" background fabric square. Sew 1-1/4" (focus fabric) square onto the four background corners using a diagonal line (as you do for quick corners and flying geese). Trim the under side of the focus fabric. Cut the large square into quarters. Turn them around and sew the quarters back together as per the M13 picture and you have a perfect Lynette's diamond!