TUTORIAL - 2013/2014 Block of the Month

This is technically NOT a Block of the Month. You are going to make an entire quilt that you get to keep.

Each month you will receive instructions for one ninth of the quilt.

To get you started - here are some steps that I took to complete mine. Hopefully this will help you get started on yours.

Selecting Fabric

There are several options for choosing the background fabric.
                Gradate the fabrics from light to dark within ONE colour family.
                Gradate the fabrics from light to dark using MULTIPLE colours
                Choose ONE colour family with simalar values throughout

Make sure that the colour or colours you use for the stars will contrast with your background.

I chose ONE colour family for my background and ONE colour family for my stars

This is what I started with. I took a bunch of oranges and then laid them out according to value. 

I didn't like those yellowish ones in the middle so here I have eliminated them.   Now some of those fabrics are a bit off from the others, but those will become mixed in with the others. I left them. I did NOT get too crazy with what matched with what. That is the beauty of this kind of project - the MORE fabrics you add - the less obvious it will be if one of the fabrics if not quite right!

To make the first corner of the quilt - I chose eight or nine fabrics from the left hand side of my chosen grouping. 

Then I cut 2 1/2" strips - now you are asking HOW MANY did I cut?????

There are 169 squares in this section of the quilt. Of those, 34 are half square triangles with blue/orange combination and 3 are solid blue. That leaves 132 squares of solid orange. I have 7 fabrics - so I divide 132 by 7 and I need approximately 20 squares of each fabric.  I also need some triangles for the half square triangles (more on that in a minute), so I cut two strips of each.

Cutting the components

A common method of making half square triangles is to start by cuting squares that are 1 inch larger than the finished size. That means for this project you would have to cut 2 1/2" squares and 3" squares. BUT there is a way to make half square triangles using strips that are the same size as the strips used to cut the squares.

Here is one of the rulers available for this process...........

Easy Angle Ruler (mine is the Easy Angle II which is the LARGER ruler), but they do the same thing
Description of the ruler
I layered two strips together (because the pieces we are cutting are symmetrical, there is no worry for right sides together, or wrong side to right side - they all work!1)

I would make sure that from each strip, I cut some of the 2 1/2" square and some triangles (I'll show you how to use the ruler in a minute)

And very quickly - I had my orange squares and triangles cut. 

How to make the half square triangles

Start with a 2 1/2" strip (the same size strip that you will cut your squares from)

Square up one end and lay the ruler on the strip. Notice the black tip of the ruler is NOT on the fabric. 

Cut the first triangle

Rotate the ruler (again - notice the tip is NOT on the fabric strip)

Now we have TWO triangles cut

\Notice that instead of cutting two triangles from a 3" square  (as per the other method), we have two triangles cuts from a rectangle that measures 2 1/2" by 3 1/4" inch. (This is the same principal that Thangles uses)

Here is a blue triangle and an orange triangle - ready for stitching

Lay them right sides together - notice that you may or may not have dog ears hanging off. It is important that the right angle side match up!

Stitch with a 1/4" seam and press. You can trim if you would like, but for the most part - they will be the right size. But do trim off the dog ears.

Laying out the quilt

Here are the pieces ready to layout according to the diagram) NOTE - I sewed the half square triangles AFTER they were laid out

All the pieces laid out and ready to sew

The leftovers - these can be used in the NEXT section. 

Sewing the block together

After sewing together the half square triangles - I sewed each row together. I pressed the odd rows in one directions and the even rows in the opposite direction. 

Then sew the rows toegether in pairs

Sew those pairs together

Now you have two halves - sew them together. We do this so NO ONE row gets handles more than any of the others. 

The completed block. I pressed all the sews DOWN. This makes it easy when I do the next section where I will press all the seams UP. 

The wrong side

Detail of wrong side

This is Version one - Multicoloured background with light to dark values (since this is the FIRST setction - most of the values are LIGHT.

Version two - light to dark gradation - mostly from the SAME colour family

 Version three - ONE colour family for background with minimal colour gradation (that will be most noticeable as the quilt progresses)

Hope that helps you figure out the Block of the Month a bit better.

If you have questions - let me know.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!



  1. Hi Elaine,

    If I use version three, do I need to pick a light colour for the first block? For your quilt, will the next blocks gradually get darker on the overall quilt? Will the bottom right corner be very dark? I'm just trying to plan ahead.



  2. Good morning!

    I was wanting to use jelly rolls (because I'm lazy), but I'm not clear on how many strips I'll need. Can I use one package, or will I need to add a few strips to make up the amount I'll need for the background?


  3. Help Elaine - I bought the fabrics, cut the squares, arranged them on a design wall. Your first block measures 13 X 13 squares, but the large quilt pattern has each section being 11 X 13 squares. If all the blocks are this size (13 X 13), it will be a square quilt, not a rectangular quilt (as per your final measurement). I want it to fit nicely on the top of a bed. What's coming the next 2 months - blocks that are 10 X 13 so there are 33 squares across??? Please advise before I sew them together. THNX. MJM