Category Archives: quilting bees

String Quilt Tutorial

*Clearing off the cobwebs*

Here’s a string quilt tutorial for my Twilter peeps. This block is inspired by a quilt I saw on Emily Cier’s Instagram feed and a tutorial I saw ages ago on Missouri Star Quilting Company.

In news that would surprise no one, this will be a rainbow quilt. Each block will be half monochromatic colour and half white/off white. This is a great block for using up strings and small scraps, so pick a colour and go mad.

Start with a 6 ¾” paper square. If all you have is regular printer paper, use that, but if you have some thinner paper, this will make removing the paper easier. It so happens that the Yellow Pages were distributed in Munich a couple of weeks ago and I happened to pick up a couple because I need to make about a squillion blocks for this quilt. They’ve made removing the paper a total breeze. Reduce your stitch length to 1.5-1.8.

Place a white or off-white strip diagonally across the square, right side up, overlapping the centre of the square by about ¼”.

Step 1

Place a coloured strip right side down, lining up the edges. Sew the two strips down with a ¼” seam.

Step 2

Press open towards the coloured side (it’s not really possible to press to the other side ;)).

Step 3

Use strips of varying widths, but no wider than 2 ½”, and try to use no more than one 2 ½“ strip in the block. Work one side of the square and add more strips, pressing open after each strip, until you’ve covered the entire side.

Step 4 Tackle the other side of the square in the same way, until the entire square is covered.

Step 5

Turn the block over and trim along the edges of the square.

Step 6

Step 7

Lastly, remove the paper.

Step 8

In terms of colour, on the white/off-white side, creams and whites are ok, as is one low-volume strip with a matching colour to the coloured side (if you have it, not mandatory). Here are examples of inserting a low-volume strip on the white/off-white side.

Rainbow blocks

On the coloured side, go nuts! I hit my orange scrap box at a sewing retreat recently.

Orange blocks


A quick and easy Stash Bee block for September

Being a quilting bee queen is all sorts of awesome! I spent the entire month of August refreshing the Stash Bee website and running to the mailbox (the actual mailbox) to see if any mail had arrived, and I probably got more mail this month than I have the entire last year. It was an absolute delight to open each envelope and to discover the treasures inside! Once I finish putting my Checker Block quilt together I’ll be sure to post about it.

September’s bee queen, Gayle, asked for an X block in pinks and blues. This isn’t a colour combination I would normally gravitate towards, but the colours work really well together! The block came together quickly and easily, and I’m adding it to my list of possible quilts to make myself.

What colour combinations have you tried that surprised you? Let me know in the comments!

My Queen Block for Stash Bee

Hi, all!

This post was also posted over at the stash bee blog, but I’m posting it here in case any of you (hi, mom and Kate!) are reading and feel like sending me a block too!


Hey there, Hive 4!

I know I promised a no-measurement block in one of my Stash Bee posts, but then I saw this gorgeous block on Instagram and fell HARD.

Checker Block

Checker Block

The good part is that it’s super easy and not at all fussy, so should take you no time at all. I’ve broken down the cutting and piecing instructions into the diagrams below, which can also be downloaded as a one-page PDF.  You can also find a tutorial for this block on the Blossom Hearts blog.


I’ve been coveting a yellow-grey quilt for a while, and these gorgeous fat-eighth bundles that I treated myself to for my birthday this year were the perfect starting point.



For the HSTs, please use a dark yellow and light yellow; the difference in shade should be noticeable. The large and small HSTs don’t have to be made of the same fabrics, so if you want to raid your scrap bins, by all means do (Who doesn’t love a good scrap*? I know I do!), but try to keep the colours of the large HST and the small HST similar. If you can avoid using yellows that feature colours other than white, yellow, grey, or black, that would make me an extra-happy bunny, but don’t go buying fabric just to satisfy my whims—I’ll be a happy bunny either way.

For the sashing, please use a medium to dark grey, using the same fabric for all three pieces. If your grey is more of a medium, try to ensure that there is a discernible difference between it and the larger grey blocks.

For the larger grey blocks, please use a light grey. The two pieces can be of different fabrics, but try to keep them similar so they don’t draw the eye away from the centre of the block.

My only hard and fast request is no solids.


Cut one of each piece shown below.

Cutting instructions


For the HSTs, place the squares right sides together and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Sew a 1/4″ on either side of the line and then cut along the drawn line. Press the seams open and trim the HSTs to 4.5″ and 7″, respectively.


This will give you two sets of HSTs for each size – please just send the extras along with your finished block so I can make more blocks with them, or if you feel inclined to make a second block—they’re so fast and easy—I’m not going to say no ;).

Follow the diagram below to put the block together, paying attention to the direction of the HSTs. The dark/light sides should be on opposite sides of the block diagonal, in the order shown (that is, for the large HST, the darker value will be on top, and for the small HST, the darker value will be on the bottom–does that make sense?). Press seams open.


There are lots of ways to lay out these blocks for a quilt, but the order of the dark/light yellow is important because in all layouts, they keep the quilt balanced, either in terms of a potential pinwheel or even in the case of the third layout below.

Possible layout 1

Possible layout 1

Possible layout 2

Possible layout 2

Possible layout 3

Possible layout 3


I know that shipping to Europe is expensive, so feel free to fold up this sucker to fit in a standard envelope. I’ll press (yeah right. I’ll iron) it into submission on my end. Please don’t include any extras*–save your money to buy more fabric!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with—feel free to tag me on Instagram (@quiltingrainbows) with your progress shots or finished block, or drop me an email if you have any questions!

* Except, in case you’re looking to get rid of some small scraps, I’m planning an EPIC quilt for QuiltCon made up of about eleventy squillion 2.5″ squares. If you feel like throwing a scrap or two my way, I’d be incredibly grateful.

July Quilt Block for Stash Bee

This was a fun one! Although I’m loathe to admit it, this solids thing isn’t the absolute worst.

To put this block together, you cut seventeen 4.5″ squares in a range of white-grey-black and one 4.5″ square in a bright colour. Toss them all in a paper bag and randomly pull a pair and make an HST (line down the diagonal, sew 1/4″ on either side, cut, trim to 3.5″). Once all the squares have been turned into HSTs, set aside one of the coloured HSTs and another random one (they’re extras) and put the whole lot back in the bag. Pull a pair of HSTs out, sew it randomly together, and so on and so on, until you have a 4×4 block.

Random HSTs

Random HSTs

Kiwi says Hi!



I’ll talk a bit more about the frame in another post.

Catching Up With Stash Bee Quilt Blocks

I’ve been enjoying the stash bee and am looking forward to being Queen Bee next month. I have my block picked out and I’m happy to report it’s not one that’s been done by anyone this  year. Yay!

Here’s a quick catch-up on what I’ve done so far.

In February I made this “low volume” star block for Ruth. I… don’t really have much in the way of low-volume fabric, but Ruth seemed to like it anyway!

February block for Ruth

February block for Ruth

In March I made this paper-pieced Union Jack block for Toni (@gypsygirl6923 on Instagram). Paper piecing is not for me, friends, but I concede that it produces perfect results. I’m avoiding any and all Brexit cracks here and you should know it’s really hard.

Union Jack block for Toni

Union Jack block for Toni

In April June I made these awesome cross blocks for Jennifer (@jabloxham). They may have gone in the post only this past weekend, but they were really fun to make, even though they have solid fabrics, which I typically avoid.

Cross block for Jennifer

Cross block for Jennifer

In May I made this fun star block for Rose (@rosebraun914). It came together so easily that I actually made a pair.

May block for Rose

May block for Rose

Officially in June, I made this green star for Em (@moonlightsewing). It barely made a dent in my green scraps.

Green scrappy star for Em

Green scrappy star for Em

Thanks for picking fun, challenging blocks, bee mates!