Bow tie quilt blocks

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite traditional blocks: the bow tie quilt block.

I’ve been working on two projects that will eventually be gifts so I haven’t had a lot to share here. One of these projects is going well and one of them … well let’s just say if this is a “learning year” for me for quilting then it is a success so far. (One big lesson: really make sure a block is within reasonable reach of your skill level before you cut half of your fabric!)

Luckily this more challenging project doesn’t have a fixed deadline, so I’m setting it aside for now in the hopes that I’ll do better with it later in the year, once I’ve clocked more hours on quilting overall. Having made that decision it suddenly felt necessary to have a little fun with something small and low-pressure and unattached to any larger project. I’ve been watching the “Itty Bitty Blocks” quilt-along over at Quilty Pleasures, and am taken with the bow tie block in particular.

It’s a classic block popular in the 1920s and 30s, and apparently dates back to the late 1890s.

For the sake of my sanity, I sized up to make a larger, 5-inch (finished) block using these instructions from Dora Quilts. I also used these tips for stitch and flip as it’s something I was struggling with in my, ahem, problem project.

And voila! A relaxing-to-sew, cute little block that you can make with scraps. Not sure what I’ll do with them but I don’t even care!

Bow tie quilt blocks

Thanks for stopping by! This week I’m linking up with Quilt Story’s Fabric Tuesday, Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social, and Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday. If you have bow tie quilts or quilt blocks to share, please leave a link in the comments!

quilt block library : spinning star

This week I’m linking up my quilt library block with the Weekend Doings blog for “Sew the Library.” The idea is that you sew your way through all those great-but-possibly-somewhat neglected sewing books on your shelf. I am certainly guilty of buying quilting books and using them more to daydream than anything else, so I thought this was a great idea.

Sew the Library

And a perfect fit, because this week’s block is from a book called Shape Workshop for Quilters, by Katy Jones, Brioni Greenberg, Tacha Bruecher, and John Q. Adams. The book is great, especially for beginners, because it’s organized thematically by shape, and there are plenty of simple blocks that you can use to build up your comfort level with the different methods possible for each shape.

Shape Workshop for Quilters

I tried the “Spinning Star” block by John Q. Adams, because I liked the fact that it’s both simple and full of motion, which is something the sampler it will eventually be a part of needs at this point. The instructions were easy to follow and I was really happy with the block itself: simple to cut and sew but with lots of graphic impact. Those parallelograms you see in the shape gave me a taste for the possibilities of the HST and I think I’ll be looking to tackle some projects that use HSTs to create stripes as well as more parallelograms before too long.

Finally, the block!

spinning star quilt block

quilt block library : churn dash

churn dash quilt block

So I was all ready to write about how aptly named this block is … because you can churn through them so quickly, dashing them off one after another … when I thought I had better actually look this up. Turns out it’s named after its resemblance to a butter churn and butter? Pays to fact-check I guess! Seriously though this block was so speedy to put together (I used the instructions in this video by the Missouri Star Quilt Company – only difference was that my layer cakes were more like 9.75 inches square), I can see this becoming a favourite.

One thing I did struggle with was making sure that my points didn’t disappear at the edges of the block (or I guess, that they won’t in the future when it’s joined to something, because they approach the edges too closely). I eventually figured out that the key is not to be to stingy with my seam allowance, i.e. they should not be scant at all and can even be a little generous to avoid this result. (At least I think this is the solution? If anyone can correct me on this / has a better strategy I would love to hear about it!)

churn dash quilt block