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Monday, January 11, 2016

Small Projects to Start the Year

Happiest of New Years to All!   

Can I just say this... I'm so glad the holidays are over!

My brother and I many moons ago.

As joyful as they are, they are also incredibly stressful. Add on to that a bout of stomach virus which laid me up for three and a half days (and I went on an interview while I had it to boot!) and this season of joy was a bit tarnished. If you are a crafter, it can be ten times as stressful as you push yourself to get that last project done in time to send it off to it's recipient in time for the holiday. 

Sometimes it takes the joy out of making something.

                .....And I love making things, so that sucks.

Now that the holidays are over life can calm down and not be so frenetic, and we can once again make things because we like to make things (or get a head start on next year's projects if we are so inclined). 

For the first few projects of the new year I wanted to do some quick projects. I still have two major quilts to finish for gifts SOMETIME during the year (didn't quite make it for Christmas) but in the meantime I need a to create a few things that can be done in a weekend or less. I like instant gratification!

For the first project, I decided to make this lovely wall hanging from  "A Cut Above".
This little unassuming book has several fun and quick little projects that you can whip up in an afternoon. Today we are going to make the Star/Square in a Square wall quilt project.

"Square in the square".


First we'll start with the square in the square.

We take a square piece, in this case 4 1/2" and we use a smaller square (2 1/2") in each corner and sew from diagonal to diagonal. Clip off the corner and iron it flat. Once this is done, you clip off the corner and do this on the other three corners.

Ultimately this is what you are going to get:

Trim it and add three more sides. Trim that up to a square.


This is a simple four patch square. You make it by sewing together 2 1/2" squares together to make 2 four square blocks. If you were making an entire quilt out of this pattern, you would make up strips that were 3" wide and then cut them at 2 1/2" increments. (You are going to loose 1/4" off of each side for the seams).  That would make the sewing a lot easier. Square it up so all sides are straight.



The star pattern we've done on a previous project from this book, here. Essentially there are two different ways of making the flying geese patterns that surround the four patch. If you have the flying geese ruler, you can follow the Eleanor Burns method, which, after making the peony, I'm somewhat of an expert on. Her method takes a bit of time but for each go around, you get two geese which makes the process go a bit faster

If you don't have the ruler, a simpler method is the square and rectangle method which is just like the above square in square only this time we are using a rectangle. Simply make a rectangle to the desired size and two squares of fabric. Put each, right faces together on either side of the rectangle and sew on the diagonal towards the center. Lop off the excess and press.
And if you have not got into the habit, make the resolution to start assembly line sewing, it saves SO much time. Just like cooking, it takes no more time to do all the pieces at once then it takes to make one, so save yourself some time but doing all your pieces at once instead of individually.

Join your flying geese to your four patch

 Square it up and sew the square in a square to your star blocks and just like that your center is completed! Pretty!

Add a frame with some background fabric and some rectangles sewn together.

Then we are going to do some fusible applique for the flowers and leaves. If you have never done this method before, it's actually very simple.

Cut your applique piece out. Using the "bumpy" side facing the "right" side, sew pieces together. Once completely sewn, cut a slit in the back of the fusible webbing and turn the applique inside out. Make sure all the edges are firmly pushed out. You can use a variety of tools to do this. A clean popsicle stick, a crochet hook or, being very careful, your sewing scissors.

After all the pieces are fully crisp and turned, place your applique where it pleases your eye. Then simply iron down. Once ironed, sew it in place. Continue this method until the piece is done in your eyes.

Once the piece is completed, wash and iron it. Now frame it as instructed in the last post, "Framed". Turned out quite nice.


  1. ohh pretty! I want to try more quilting and this looks like a fun project!

  2. It was fun and because it was so small, you can get it done relatively quick!

  3. What a beautiful project! I love the fabrics you chose! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Stacey! :)

  4. How pretty! I love that combination of fabrics! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist!

  5. Wish I could do something like this. I just cant seem to get the hang of it. Love looking at it I could look all day. Thanks for sharing on My Romantic Home.

  6. As I went down your blog, I said "oh", "oohh" "ooohhh", "oooooohhhh"! I would love to see the framed finish!

  7. cute, cute project...

    thanks so much for linking up!

  8. This is the perfect project for an antique farmhouse!

  9. Oh, and I was thinking right up at the top - that's the whole reason I don't make Christmas gifts anymore unless I do it in the summer. NO gift-quilting allowed in December. That month is only for deadline-free quilting work and family and tradition times.

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