Books, Music, Podcasts, Studio

Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I

This is a continuation to yesterday’s post – Revisiting Traditional Piecing.

In my previous post I mentioned the first set of blocks I made with the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (while participating in a Block-a-Month Quilt Club) were turned into a sampler quilt, Block Filmstrip, around 2008.

What I forgot to mention was that details of four (4) of the blocks in this quilt ended up in the book 1000 Quilting Inspirations by Sandra  Sider, Quarry Books (2015). It is funny that a a sampler quilt that I was not sure if I even wanted to finish around 2008 ended up as the opening series of “Quilting Inspiration” images in the book – images #0001 – 0004 of the 1000 inspirations!

Filmstrip and Book
Filmstrip quilt – four images 0001-0004 are featured in the book 1000 Quilt Inspirations
1000 Quilt Inspirations
Photo Credit: Quarry Books

In addition to four (4) images from Block Filmstrip, the book also contains images from four (4) of my recycled silk art quilts and are part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.

Making Blocks

Using the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by (2007), I have made eight (8) 12 inch blocks (finished size) using a fat quarter packet, scraps and yardage of Northcott’s Stonehenge fabric line, so far as I created a queen-sized sampler quilt to be given as a wedding gift to a young couple.

I made two (2) of four (4) different blocks from the Block Tool:



BIG DIPPER (I made 2 of the same color way)




Thinking About Settings and Borders

In case you have not figure this out yet, I plan to set the blocks “on point” that is why they are all turned on point. I originally meant to photograph them in their traditional square orientation instead of this “diamond” orientation. Also I took the photos on the design wall in the hallway where the light is not the best. Life has been busy and I figure if I took time re-doing the photos then I will never get this post up, ha!

Next set of blocks, I will take better photos (smile).

In addition to wanting to set the blocks “on point” I have already started looking at different options for settings. I am currently looking through a book I recently borrowed from the library – The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson (2016). There is a wonderful block setting option in this book called “Point Taken”. I am leaning towards that setting.

Photo credit:

I am also thinking about what type of border I want and I have decided to make a pieced border. I want the quilt to be special and I think a pieced border will add a nice touch.

Looking through my collection of quilt books I came across an old book in my craft book library called The Border Workbook by Janet Kime (2006). This book has great ideas for creating lovely pieced borders.


More blocks to come (and better photos next time)!


Traditional piecing seems to be what I need right now. My mind feels overloaded from my non-crafting life, especially related to my job in the healthcare industry. At the end of the workday and the end of the workweek I am feeling “all thought out” and was not inspired to create any art quilts.

Creating these blocks from patterns feels mediative, centering and peaceful. All I have to do is follow the instructions, cutting the fabric to the dimensions indicated and sew the pieces together.

I am also enjoying carefully pressing the different components of each block as I assemble them and trying to ensure the back of the block is nearly as neatly pressed as the front.

The back of a carefully pieced block

While piecing the first couple of blocks I listened to a wonderful and engaging audiobook read by the actor Peter Coyote – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997).

Photo credit:

The Four Agreements are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

These seem logical and on the surface very simple. What makes the audiobook so engaging is the author’s discussion and exploration of each of The Four Agreements. Powerful and centering stuff to listen to and ponder while peacefully piecing my blocks!

14 thoughts on “Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part I”

  1. What a beautiful back of the block! I’m impressed with your pressing skills. Of course, a carelessly pieced block can never be rescued by pressing, so kudos for accurate piecing, too! I’m on the way to the library to look for The Four Agreements. I have a 3-hour drive this afternoon and back home tomorrow, and this sounds just perfect. I identify with your “back to traditional” work. I’ve been so busy with quilt show and art quilts that I’m hungry to get back to another Log Cabin or sewing strip sets mindlessly–what Rayna Gillman calls “therapy piecing.”

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    1. Hi Martha! Thanks for your comments. The Four Agreements is not a long audiobook but it is jammed packed and also pretty spiritual. Thanks – part of my block piecing meditation was to slowly and carefully piece each block. I remember when I first started quilting, I just tried to get everything done as fast as I can (and yup there were a lot of mistakes). As long as I am not waiting last minute to complete a quilting project/quilt gift – why not go slow and savor each moment of the block coming together 🙂

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      1. I agree with the slow down and savor philosophy–something that is disappearing from the quilt world, it seems. After quilt show responsibilities, I took a trip to Texas to visit my son’s family, then a two-day state quilt gathering, now a two-day guild program. So when I get back home tomorrow I’m looking forward to some relaxed time to just stitch with no deadlines in sight!

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  2. I relate to this post very well. My ability to think about harder quilts right now is minimal, so I’ve been working on a couple of very simple ones. I’m in the midst of assembling one all of hourglass blocks now, another for the VA hospital. Some day, probably soon, I’ll have ambition for doing something more challenging. This same lack of ambition is serving me well with my physical therapy and personal training. I thought I would hate being told what to do all the time — do this, now do this, now do this — but in fact I’m rather enjoying it. Just tell me what to do. I’ll do it… 🙂

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