31 July 2017

Snowflake Monday

Last week, I invited readers to participate in a snowflake quiltalong. In the list of required materials if making the same basic charm square quilt as I am making, I said I'd be using at least 49 snowflake charm squares which I had cut from my blue snowflake fabric stash at least couple of years ago (and 36 focus/background fabric then yet-to-be-cut charm squares).

preparing to cut my own focus/background fabric charm squares

Once I began piecing, I realized 7x7 snowflake blocks I'd planned to do would not be quite big enough. I wanted to maintain an uneven number of snowflake blocks across horizontally and vertically, so I jumped up to 9x9, and my heavens, adding two rows was such a huge jump! I had to cut more charm squares from both the snowflake fabrics and my focus fabric!

My working name for this WIP for years has been Charmed by Snowflakes. It just got a whole lot more charming!

To make the same size quilt I am making, the project now requires 81 snowflake (or other theme) charm squares and 64 focus/background fabric charm squares. It might also require more than two yards of backing, but I had planned all along to use snowflake fabrics from my stash to fill in if the 2 yards I bought is not enough. (I am pretty sure now it won't be enough. Three yards might be required if you don't want to piece your back and you are making the same size quilt as mine.)

I also forgot about the triangles for the edges of the on-point rows. My first quiltalong, and two major changes in just the first week. Let's hope I've got my act together now and don't have to make any more fabric requirement changes or upgrades...

To make the same on-point quilt I am making the same size I am making it, you will need to cut 8 5.5x5.5-inch blocks from the focus/background fabric, which will then be cut in half diagonally into 16 quilt border triangles. You also will need one 6x6-inch block, which will then be cut in half diagonally twice to make 4 quilt corner triangles.

cutting blocks for border triangles

I hadn't initially planned to duplicates of any of the snowflake fabrics in this quilt. Making it larger made multiples necessary.

One of the ways I increased the variety of snowflake charm squares was to applique crocheted snowflakes to three non-snowflake blocks. I have a stack of blue solid, gradient and tone-on-tone charm squares left over from another project years ago, and I selected a cobalt blue batik, a Stonehenge gradation and a fairy frost. I would have used more applique squares, but apparently I gave away most of my finished white snowflakes last Christmas (to Children's Hospital, no regrets), and I guess I haven't made many white snowflakes this year. All I could find that were small enough were three.

In the past, I have hand appliqued my crocheted snowflakes. This quilt will be for a specific Frozen-adoring granddaughter, and I wanted to make sure the crochet snowflakes would stand the test of time and youth. So I appliqued them by machine.

First I glued each snowflake in place, eyeballing the centering. I used school glue because it washes out. One of the snowflakes had been stiffened with liquid starch, and that will wash out, too. However, it did make the sewing machine work harder to penetrate the layers.

Whenever I applique crocheted snowflakes, by hand or machine, I use sewing thread to match the snowflakes. That way, the stitches don't show.

I sew a circle on the inside of the snowflake to hold the center in place, following the first or second round of stitches if I can, and then I outline the outer edges of the snowflake, making sure to catch every single picot so the snowflake (hopefully) won't ever be pulled off.

If the inside of the snowflake has designs such as hearts or smileys, I also stitch around those to keep them in place and to maintain their shape. I pull the loose threads through to the back side of the fabric, tie knots and I DON'T trim the ends off. The loose ends are going to be buried in the quilt, and they aren't going to show through with blue fabric, white snowflakes and white thread. Just a little more insurance the snowflakes will stay in place.

After getting all the blocks arranged on the floor (because I don't have a design wall), I've begun sewing blocks together in diagonal rows. Make sure to clip your dog ears and loose thread ends.

Remember last week when I said I'd also begun cutting up blue scraps for a little boy quilt? Guess what happens when you have two projects going on at the same time in the same place...

Luckily, I noticed before I finished this row and was able rescue the sea life out of the deep freeze before they became landlocked!

Sashing could have been an option to increase the size of a 7x7 quilt, but I'd already decided not to sash these blocks. I had promised to show how I sash blocks, so I'll take a tiny detour from exclusively snowflakes next week just long enough to share the sashing process on a different quilt, this one with 10-inch layer cake blocks. It's a super easy and quick method that produces a child-size quilt with just 12 squares and approximately 10 44-inch jelly roll strips.

So if you are sewing along and plan to sash your blocks, hold tight just seven more days, and we'll get that sashing done.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Sure sounds like you have all in hand. Neat trick with the loose ends to keep the snowflakes in place. You'll charm away as you go to it at your bay.

    1. We are SO charmed here, Pat! I think between The Lizard and me we have at least 8 charm projects in various stages!

  2. Oh, wow - the snowflake project is so pretty! That background fabric pulls them all together in a soft-but-distinct way that completely makes me feel the peaceful enjoyment of a nice, soft snowstorm. LOVE!!

    1. Thank you, Lynette! I wish I had bought more of that background fabric because it really does go well with snowflake projects.

  3. Such prettiness! Love the squares set on point.

    1. Thank you, Myra! I really like the setting, too. I should do more on point!


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