Hi there!  We are home now and inflicted with the usual bug bites and camping exhaustion :)  I went to bed at 10 last night, which I rarely do, but really needed some solid sleep.  This week I’m starting with 2 basic blocks to get us started, and I’m going to share some of the most basic steps to encourage those of you without experience thus far.
To begin, have your iron & ironing board, starch if you like (I really, really like!) cutting board, ruler and cutting mat out and ready to use.

 I like starch because it gives the fabric a crisp finish and helps with stubborn bolt creases.

 Just be sure to treat all your fabric the same, if you starch some, starch all.  It also tightens the grain, causing it to shrink just a tad.

After ironing out your fabric, you are ready to cut!  Here’s our first block:

 A classic 4-patch.  You can make this block in any size and it’s still a 4-patch, a great addition to lots of quilts, and a great place to start!

 Since we are using 1/2 yard cuts, I decided to take the selvage off and use one end, usually we use the width and cut strips, but I don’t need a lot of these and want to conserve my fabric.  Cut one strip 6 1/2″, then square the end, and crosscut 2 – 6 1/2″ squares.

 Repeat with your alternate fabric, and lay out blocks as shown.

 Pin the top two squares together, like so:

I find pinning at either edge, keeps the layers from stretching while I sew.  And one in the middle to keep things lined up nice :)

I chain stitch as much as possible – it save thread and time.

Next iron your seams, first set the seam by pressing it just as you have sewn it.

Then open your seam, and carefully press open.

Flip it over and press from the right side as well, make sure you didn’t get any extra creases in there.

Layout your pieces in the block formation

Match up your center seams, like so:

Usually I do this in my hands, without a camera….Open where your seams match up to verify that they are lining up as you wish.

Pin on either side of the seam, in the seam allowance.

Match the edges and pin in the center as well.

When sewing, wait until you have your needle in the seam allowance to remove your first pin, then slowly go over the seam and remove the second pin.

I always double check my seams before I iron, stitches are easier to remove when they have yet to be ironed.  Learn from my experience! They matched so I ironed,  if yours do not match as you would like, take out an inch on either side, and try again.

Second block, a simple mosaic, or 16 patch.  More practice in basic skills :)
Press your fabric, fold with selvage edges together, and square your edge, notice that my ruler is lined up on the folded edge of fabric.  

Cut one 3 1/2″ strip.

Remove the selvage edge and crosscut 8 – 3 1/2″ squares.

Repeat with alternate fabric.

Eight of each

Layout your squares in the block formation, and pin pairs together.  I like to turn one over onto the other, then pin, so I don’t mix things up.

Pin like so:

Ready to sew!

More chain stitching, saving thread and time.

Press your seams open as instructed earlier.

Forming rows, lay the left over the right and pin.

Sew and press seams, layout rows.

Turn one row down onto the next and match seams up.

Pin carefully.

Check points and press seams open.

Join the two halves together, pin carefully and sew.

All done!

There’s lots of little steps in there, they go quick once you get into a rhythm.  You can piece one block at a time or do all the cutting and pinning at once – do what makes you comfortable :)  Do you have questions?  I’ll do my best to answer then in the comments.  I hope that things are clear and easy to understand.

**After you make your blocks, post about them on your blog, then post a link here:

I just realized this would be a great way to cheer each other on :)  And encourage you to get them done right away.  I’ll still post a list this week of blogger’s quilting along, as not everyone blogs.

Happy Quilting!

PS – Here’s a image of the entire quilt!
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