Category Archives: Block of the Month

Block of the Month 4 – Cactus Basket



Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been feeling a bit blah about my blog and life in general, I think it’s the winter blues! I’m trying to give myself a virtual kick in the bum to get back on the go again!

Here is part 4 of my Block of the Month series. The first month I made the “Anvil” block, and the second month, I made a block called “Barbara Frietchie’s Star”, and in the third month, I tackled the “Brown Goose” block. This month, I made the “Cactus Basket” block, which is another traditional American quilt block.

This month, I found accuracy was a lot easier to get. I like the way half square triangles can be used in so many blocks! If you use HSTs, what is your favourite pattern to make with them?

Block of the Month 3 – Brown Goose

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, Between travelling Ireland on holidays to visit my parents, and the “rentrée” this month with my son starting crèche, I’ve been pretty busy! Also, my son is getting a lot more active so it’s harder to find time to craft!

Here is part 3 of my Block of the Month series. The first month I made the “Anvil” block, and the second month, I made a block called “Barbara Frietchie’s Star”. This month, I tackled the “Brown Goose” block. It apparently was so-called because it was originally made from brown calico fabric. This block is also known as the Double Z block, or the creepy Devil’s Claws block.

The first two months of this project I had some problems with my points and accuracy. Now this month my block is not perfect but it is much improved. There are a couple of reasons for this: firstly, instead of just trying to get a 1/4″ seam, I actually drew around my template and followed the lines. I know that’s more time consuming but it does make a difference. Secondly, I TOOK. MY. TIME! Really it was important for me not to rush: this isn’t a race, if I skip a month, I’m not going to stress about it. So I’m happy enough with the results.

How do you improve your accuracy when piecing blocks?


Block of the Month 2 – Barbara Frietchie’s Star

I got a little behind with my Block of the Month blocks. So just between you and me, let’s pretend June didn’t happen, mkay? 🙂 Last month I tackled the “Anvil” block, and this month, I made a block called “Barbara Frietchie’s Star”.

Barbara Frietchie was a woman who lived in Frederick, Maryland and during the Civil War she was a Unionist supporter. She was celebrated for the fact that at the age of 95, she waved a Union flag from the window of her house to annoy Stonewall Jackson’s troops as they passed by. The patchwork star got it’s name in the 1930’s when Helen Rockwell Adams of Needlecraft Magazine visited Frietchie’s home, saw the block in a quilt on Frietchie’s bed and gave it the name. (Source:

Making this block had taught me that I need to be a lot more careful when I’m cutting my pieces, and with my seam allowances, particularly when there are lots of triangles involved, I’m not terribly with my points! My next block will be better, I promise.

Block of the Month No. 1: Anvil

I’ve always wanted to make a sampler quilt, and I don’t think I make enough “traditional” patchwork blocks. So I decided to do my own “Block of the Month” series, making traditional quilt blocks with modern fabrics with the aim of having a bright colourful sampler quilt sometime in the future. It’s also a good stash buster!

Block number 1 is the Anvil block. I found cutting the pieces the longest part of making this block! I pressed my seams open, I hear that that makes the block lie flatter…not sure how true this is when you have multiple seams… You have to be pretty careful with the layout (or at least I do!), I had to rip seams to redo a piece I sewed in the wrong order. It wasn’t a big deal though. It’s not perfect, I think I need to practise more on my 1/4 inch seams a bit! But I think it looks good for a first attempt.