Puzzle Quilt completion

When we started this Puzzle Quilt I suggested that it could be a Quilt-as-you-Go project. This means quilting the blocks (or several blocks) as you make them and then joining them together. I suggested you added sashing to each block as we have gone along so that you can trim the blocks to the same size at the end without losing any of the block itself or trimming off your seam allowances.  Quilt-as-you-go is not for everyone but it does get over the problem of quilt wrestling – trying to get a large quilt under a small machine.

You have choices for quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) – you can quilt each individual block and then join them together, or you can join blocks in groups or rows and then quilt those before joining them. You may want to spread all your blocks out first and decide on the final layout now – especially if you intend to join four blocks and quilt them as one or you want to make a reversible quilt with different backing fabrics for your blocks.

Before you start to quilt, press the block (or set of blocks) carefully and remove any stray threads. Layer each block with wadding and backing, making sure these are bigger then the block – allow at least an inch and preferable more around each one. Giving each block a different backing means you have a patchwork back as well as front to your quilt – two for one! Fasten the three layers together with (safety) pins, tacking or glue and pins. You need extra wadding and backing to allow for shrinkage as you quilt and to give yourself enough wadding and backing (especially) to join the blocks together.

Quilt the block – not the sashing strip. Your quilting can be as fancy or plain as you wish. If you enjoy using rulers, then go ahead and play – individual blocks are a great way to practice. If you want to improve your free-motion then, again, go ahead and play. If you are feeling more cautious then there are plenty of ideas you can try out on a block using your walking foot as it is much easier to turn a block around under the machine than it is a quilt – you can even do gentle curves. Use the edge of the foot as a guide for distance between lines, or use masking tape of different widths, stitch in the ditch (or near it!) – providing you haven’t pressed your seams open,  or echo quilt which is stitching about ¼ inch away from each seam. Once you are happy with your quilting and feel you have done enough then I suggest you quilt in the ditch around the edge of your block – in the seam edge between the block and the sashing strip – if you haven’t already done so, to hold the sashing strip squarely in place. Just don’t put any stitching in the strip itself at this stage.

Once the quilting is all done it is time to join the blocks or sections together. There are a lot of different ways to do this. Some of them, such as this one from Leah Day, use extra sashing strips front and back, but I prefer to use the method demonstrated by Monica Poole. This method joins the top of the quilt blocks together first, then you trim the wadding even and join it, finally you join the backing fabrics.

If you are using different fabrics on the back to make a reversible quilt you can adapt the method above to add some sashing between the backing squares. First trim the backing to the same size as the blocks and the wadding ¼ inch smaller all round (seam allowance). Cut narrow (1½ – 2 inch) strips, fold them in half and cut to them to the block length (should be about 14½ inches). Place the two blocks right sides together, put the narrow strip on the back with the raw edges even and stitch through all layers. Trim any wadding away from the seam, although it should just butt up together. Fold the narrow folded strip over raw edge at the back and slip stitch (or machine) in place.

If you search online for Quilt-as-you-go methods you should find one that suits you.

Borders too can be done QAYG and, again, there are different ways to do it – make the quilted borders and then join them or add the backing and wadding then stitch the borders in place and finally quilt them which is what I did on the blue and yellow one. Quilting with Nancy has a tutorial on this technique. Finally you may want to do some simple quilting across/along the sashing strips to hold everything firmly and then the quilt is ready to bind. Once that’s done you can add a label and relax!

Puzzle Quilt Block 8

The eighth (and final) block in the Puzzle Quilt is a variation on the block called Hope of Hartford – so we’ve christened it Hartford Hope. You can download the instructions here. The block has quarter-square-triangles and squares but is constructed using a partial seam – diagrammatic step-by-step instructions for this are included.

The original blue and yellow blocks were these –

Fun was had playing with the layout of this year’s blocks. A colouring sheet is provided so you can decide on your colour placements before cutting the fabric but once our units were made there was a bit of a ‘what if . . .?’ moment and so units were turned and swapped before final decisions were reached.

Next month we’ll play with layout and quilt construction.

Puzzle Quilt Block 7

This month’s block is Rolling Stone, another nine-patch block but this time with a new unit – Square (or Diamond) -in-a-Square – in the four corners.

These are the two blocks from the original quilt

Download the instructions to make a 12 inch block here.

These are the two blocks for the new quilt.

There are plenty of other colouring/shading ideas in the worksheet but somehow the new blocks are more or less the same version as the original ones!

Puzzle Quilt Block 6

In a Spin is our block this month (somehow this feels like a very relevant block name for the last year or so) and it introduces a new unit – Flying Geese – in addition to some more quarter-square triangles.

Download the instructions here. They include a choice of methods for making both the QST units and the Flying Geese. If you need to you can find additional information on these (and other units) on our Tutorials page.

Tile Tuesday

Over on our sister blog (chrisandbarbaraquilts) it is Tile Tuesday and the tiles for today are a floor in Uttoxeter that just said ‘quilt’ to us.

It was rapidly turned into a pattern and a quilt made in the same monochrome as the floor.

The pattern was first published in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine two (or more?) years ago. It is now available from our Payhip Shop.

You don’t have to make a black and white (and blue) quilt of course – it lends itself to other colours as well. Here’s just two ideas.


Over on our sister site we have just posted our June EQ Doodle – the Triple Sunflower block.

Barbara has a quilt with a very similar block in her collection

so naturally we felt obliged to write a pattern for it which you can buy from our Payhip shop. You can read more on our blog post.

Have a look at the Doodles page to get some more ideas for playing with this block and to download a ‘quilt to colour’.

Puzzle Quilt Block 5

There are more quarter-square triangles in this month’s block which is called Mystery Flower Garden. It is another block based on a 9-patch grid like London Roads.

The corner blocks are a half-square triangle plus two quarter-square triangles (a three-triangle unit).

Download the instructions, more colouring ideas and a colouring page here.

Puzzle Quilt Block 4

This month’s block is London Roads which has a couple of new units – no more half-square triangles! You can download the instructions which have some more colouring ideas and two blocks for you to design your own colourings.

These are the two blocks I made in my first quilt.

As you can see – no half-square triangles, but there are quarter-square triangles and a strip pieced unit. Because the blocks are 12 inches (finished size) each unit is 4 inches and as your Primary School maths will tell you 4 does not divide into 3 very easily! For the strip-pieced units therefore I have given you measurements to the nearest eighth. Once you have sliced your stripped band into four and half inch lengths you will need to trim a little bit off each long side (probably slightly less than a sixteenth) to make it square. Apologies for the colour choice in the first photo – wasn’t thinking about green fabric on a green board – but if you squint you can see where I have placed the ruler to trim a roughly equal amount off each outer long edge.

As ever I have had a play in EQ and come up with a few other colours you could make your blocks

Tile Tuesday

Once more we link through to our sister site and another Tile Tuesday. This time is a rather lovely (if overgrown) path in Eastbourne.

We’ve turned this into a runner pattern which is available from our Payhip shop – although we have simplified the border design otherwise it overwhelmed the centre. Hopefully a full-size quilt pattern including the original border will be available soon (Chris is working on it!)

April Doodles

We’re a few days late but over on our sister site our April Doodle is Fools Square. It is quite an easy block to make by hand or machine with lots of possibilities.

You can download the rotary cutting instructions or the the templates to make a 10 inch block. To stitch it by machine we have added in a couple of extra seam lines to make things easier (no Y seams!) and rather than cutting triangles for one of the units we suggest you cut squares and rectangles and use the ‘stitch and flip’ method which is outlined (with measurements) here along with general piecing guidelines. And if you just want to sit and design your own, or do some colouring-in you can download a ‘quilt to colour’.