Monday, 30 May 2022

May BOM: Whorl


This block is featured in Issue 4 (Oct, Nov, Dec 2021) of The Modern Quilt Guild Journal. It is an easy block with a partial seam to challenge and build your skills.

One of the benefits of being a member of the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild is having an included membership to the Modern Quilt Guild. If you have not taken advantage of this resource, it is well worth signing up The Whorl block can be found in Resources/Block Studies/Beginner Friendly Piecing.

Materials: One fat eighth each of solid fabrics for Fabrics A and B in complementary colours. You can use a solid and a print if you wish. My fabric pull is Fabric A (deep coral) and Fabric B (green)

NOTE: All seams are a scant 1/4 inch. RST = Right Sides Together

1. From each of fabrics A and B cut (1) 8 1/2" x 20" strip

8 1/2" x 20" strips ready to subcut

2. Subcut each 8 1/2" x 20" strip into (2) 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles and (1) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" square


3. Make Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

 Draw a line diagonally from corner to corner on the lightest 5 1/2" Fabric B (green) square

4. Place Fabric A (deep coral) and Fabric B (green) squares RST and sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the drawn line

Sew a scant 1/4" on each side of drawn line

Cut along the drawn line

Press each HST seam to the side

5. Make Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs)

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one HST block

Position HST blocks RST matching alternate colours together and nesting centre seam

Sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the marked line

Cut along the line

Press seams open and trim QSTs to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"

You now have two QSTs. Set one QST aside for another project

6. With RST place the Fabric A (deep coral) side of a QST on top of a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" Fabric A (deep coral) rectangle. Sew a partial seam to the halfway mark of the QST

Press partial seam toward Fabric A (deep coral) rectangle

Sew a Fabric B (green) 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle to the QST/Fabric A (deep coral) rectangle. Press seam away from the QST block

Sew remaining Fabric A (deep coral) 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle to bottom of the QST/Fabric B (green) rectangle. Press seam away from the QST block

Sew remaining Fabric B (green) 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle to the right hand side of the QST and Fabric A (deep coral) rectangle. Press seam away from the QST block

Finally, sew the remaining partial seam to the QST Fabric B (green) rectangle. Press seam away from the QST block

Trim block to 12.5" x 12.5"


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

 Online Auction Postponed

Due to the Derecho storm that hit much of Ontario and Quebec, we will postpone the auction until everyone has power and can participate.  Stay tuned for the new dates.

Monday, 25 April 2022

April BOM: Gentle Improv Curves

Hi everyone! Leslie here with the instructions for the April Block Lotto/BOM draw activity.

This month we're going to make something I'm calling Gentle Improv Curves. I resisted the urge to call these "flattened curves" because, well, you know. #toosoon Each block is a solid background with two overlapping, improv curves on one of the sides of the block. Completed blocks should measure 10.5" square (finished size 10" square).

Fabric Instructions:

I'm going to be a little more prescriptive this month than normal. This month, each block should have a solid background fabric, and then two contrasting prints for the curves. Solids and prints can be any three colours of your choice, just pick what looks good to you, or what you have available. The main tip is that the three fabrics should be different enough from each other that there is a noticeable difference between the three parts of the completed block (background, curve 1, curve 2).

To achieve the 10.5" x 10.5" size of the completed block (finished size will be 10" square), your background piece should measure approximately 11" wide and 10.5" high to start.

Block Construction:

I'm using Patchwork Posse's tutorial on YouTube for this block. The gal behind Patchwork Posse is Becky Jorgensen (@patchwork_posse). It looks like she runs an online quilt community and produces a lot of materials and activities to help people connect and improve their quilting skills. Neat!

Becky's instructions are very detailed and she walks everyone through how to create a block with two gentle, overlapping curves. I only used 1 pin at the centre of each curve when I was sewing them, so these curves weren't very dramatic to piece.

The URL for the video tutorial is here in case the link above doesn't work:

So have a go, make a few, and the winner should end up with a pile of rolling hill blocks in a bunch of different colours. What's not to love?

Monday, 28 March 2022

March BOM: Feathered Friends

Foundation Paper Piecing or FPP. Not to be confused with English Paper Piecing or EPP. Some of you have tried it and love it. Some of you want to try it. Some of you have Fear of Paper Piecing (FOPP). So why do it? One advantage is the accuracy and crisp points that can be achieved. There are many methods of paper piecing. For this BOM we will be sewing directly through the paper and then tearing the paper off, which can be quite therapeutic. However, if you prefer the freezer paper or no tear method, feel free to do that.

And what exactly is FPP? It is the method of sewing fabric together to a paper foundation that has been printed with the outline of a quilt block. The paper is removed once the sewing is complete.

The most difficult part of FPP for me and for a lot of people is dealing with the mirror image aspect because you are sewing seams on different angles. When the fabric is flipped after sewing a seam, it must completely cover a specific portion of the paper template. It can be somewhat of a challenge to position the fabric correctly. And because seams are sewn with tiny stitches, they can be difficult to rip out. I have the utmost faith that you will rise to the challenge. You've got this!

You can use regular printer paper or paper made specifically for paper piecing, parchment paper, or freezer paper. A word of caution: If you choose the freezer paper method, do not put freezer paper in a laser printer as it will melt the plastic coating on the freezer paper and perhaps damage the printer. Having said that, Sugaridoo suggests that you can put freezer paper in a laser printer if you follow her instructions at

You also have the option of tracing the template on to the freezer paper. A light box is useful for this purpose but not necessary.

You might find the following links helpful:

FPP tutorial from Kefi Blossom Designs:

Freezer paper tutorial from Bethanne Nemesh:

As mentioned, a light box can be utilized to make sure that the fabric overlaps the template.  @crankykangaroo on Instagram suggests you can make your own light box by using a clear plastic bin with a cell phone flashlight inside. Or simply prop a clear acrylic ruler above a cell phone flashlight. Or you can just hold the template up to a window if you are sewing in the daylight hours.

This Youtube video from Tiny Orchard Quilts demonstrates the paper and freezer paper method. She also uses a light box so you can see first hand the advantages of doing so:

And finally a Youtube video from Rachel Rossi Designs using the freezer paper method and a light box:

Feathery Friends is the name I have given to this free pattern from Riley Blake Designs. There is also a free pieced pattern. Get both patterns here:

I made both the FPP and pieced blocks and hopefully you will too and see which method you prefer.

So let's get started...

FPP Feathered Friends Block



3" x 22" for bird body (solids or prints)

5" square for wing (solids or prints)

1/5" x 5" strip orange or yellow for beak and legs

5" x WOF for background; low volume prints or solid white or cream

2 1/4" x 8 1/2" background fabric for Section F

NOTE: Fabric can be irregularly shaped so you can utilize your scraps. It is advisable to cut fabric approximately 1/2" larger than the portion of the template to be covered.

You also have the option of cutting the fabric pieces in advance in a more accurate fashion by cutting out each individual paper segment and placing the paper segment on a piece of fabric. Cut the fabric using the template as a guide and leave approximately 1/2" seam allowance all around. You will then need to keep the fabric pieces together with the corresponding paper template so it will be easy to grab each piece when needed. If you choose the latter method you will, of course, need to print two templates; one for cutting fabric segments and one for actually sewing the fabric pieces to the paper template.

FPP Template

scissors for cutting paper

rotary cutter


glue stick


credit card or other tool with which to fold the template to score a crease along the printed line



1. Set stitch length to approximately 1.5 or whatever setting on your machine will give you 18 to 20 stitches per inch. The small stitches help to perforate the paper and make it easier to tear off. I use whatever needle happens to be in the machine but some guidelines suggest using a smaller sized needle. It is also recommended to replace the needle after paper piecing. I would do that if I did a large FPP project but for just a few blocks I personally wouldn't replace the needle. Totally up to you though.

2. Print the template. To ensure that the pattern has printed to the correct size, measure the 1" test square to ensure that it is indeed 1". I had to set my Brother laser printer to 102% to get the correct size.

3. Using a pen or pencil notate the paper template segments with the corresponding fabric designations as follows:

Beak and legs: A1, E2 E4

Background: A2, A3, A4, A5, A6; B2, B3, B4, B5, B6; C6, C7; D1, D3; E1, E3, E5, E6

Body and head: C2, C3, C4, C5; D2

Wing: C1

Do not skip this step. It will help to avoid confusion

Notated template

4. Using scissors, cut out each of the 5 template pieces along the outermost line on each template

Cut the template pieces

5. I suggest that you begin with Section D as it is the easiest and will give you a feel for the process.

NOTE: It is important to sew the fabric to the paper template in sequential order

If you are new to FPP or need a refresher, this Youtube video by Violet Craft uses an identical template to the Section D template we are starting with. Skip the intro if you wish and start at 2:46

Place a credit card along the solid line between template piece D1 and D2 and fold the paper over to make a crease

Fold along line to make a crease

Place the wrong side of the background fabric on the blank side of section D1 of the paper template. Check to see that it covers the entire D1 section of the template and overlaps the other sections by at least 1/4" . Put a small dab of glue on the blank side of the paper template and affix the wrong side of the fabric to the paper. Or pin the fabric in place if you prefer. I glued and pinned. Overkill! The right side of the fabric should be facing you when the paper template is flipped to the blank side

Fabric secured on Section D1

Fold along the crease again and trim 1/4" away from the folded edge. I used my Quilter's Magic Wand. I can't recommend this tool enough

Trim 1/4' away from folded edge

Fold the paper back down and flip the paper template over to the blank side. Place the D2 bird body piece on top of the D1 background piece, right sides together, again ensuring that piece D2 entirely covers that section of the template and overlaps the corresponding sections by at least 1/4". Pin in place.

Once again, flip the paper over to the printed side and fold the paper on the creased line. You can trim 1/4" from the folded edge now if you like. I did not trim until after I stitched the seam. You can see in the photo below that I used a much larger piece that I needed for D2. It is better to use larger pieces than you think you will need to ensure complete coverage on different sections of the paper template. Of course this is not a concern if you pre-cut your fabric pieces to match the template segments.

Starting print side up, sew along the line between D1 and D2. Begin with a couple of stitches and reverse a stitch or two. Continue stitching to the end of the line and reverse a couple of stitches. It is not essential to start and stop with backstitching. You can also sew slightly beyond the line when starting and ending, if you wish. Clip threads and finger press or iron

Sew along lines between D1 and D2

D1 and D2 sewn together

Fold the paper back again along the D1 and D2 line and trim 1/4" from the fold
Trim 1/4" from the D1 and D2 fold
D1 an D2 trimmed

Continue in the same manner sewing Section D3 to D2

Section D3 sewn to D2

Trim the template segment and proceed to paper piece the remaining four templates. Do not remove the paper yet.

6. Assemble the block as follows:

A + B

C + D



And finally, sew F to the top of the block.

7. Carefully remove the paper. The completed block should measure 8 1/2" square

Completed block 8.5" x 8.5"

Pieced Feathered Friends Block

 1. Select and cut fabric according to the directions. Label each fabric piece with the corresponding letter designation from the pattern. I like to use washi tape for this purpose

Fabric cut and labelled according to instructions

2. Sew beak unit I and N

3. Sew O background rectangle to the top of the I/N unit

4. For the head unit sew the V and Q background squares to the B body rectangle 

5. For the upper tail unit sew the E body square and T background rectangle

6. For the breast unit sew the C body rectangle and the U background square

7. For the wing unit sew the F body and D body squares to the G wing rectangle

8. For the lower tail unit sew the A body rectangle and the S background square

9. For the legs unit sew each of one H leg rectangle to both sides of the P background rectangle and press towards P (the HPH unit)

10. Sew the K background rectangle to the left side of the HPH unit and sew an M background rectangle to the right side of the HPH unit. Press towards K and M

Units completed and ready for assembly

Block Assembly

1. Sew the beak, head and upper tail unit together. Press seams open

2. Sew the breast, wing and lower tail units together. Sew the L background rectangle to the breast unit. Press seams open

3. Sew these two units together and then sew the R background rectangle to the right edge. Press seams open

4. Sew the J background rectangle to the top

5. Sew the legs unit to the bottom

6. Trim the block to 8 1/2 " square

Completed block 8.5" square

Thank you for participating in the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild BOM. I hope you enjoyed hatching some feathered friends. I am eager to see the flock.

Theresa Cody

Monday, 28 February 2022

February BOM: Scrap Vortex!

Hello my fellow quilt guild members! Leslie here, with this month's BOM instructions. We're going to make Scrap Vortex blocks, as instructed by Amanda Jean Nyberg (@crazymomquilts on Instagram - she really is the Master of Scraps!). I've admired this quilt design from afar for a long time, so if I don't win all the blocks at the March meeting, you can stay tuned for me to tackle this one on my own!

Block sizes can be either 6.5" x 12.5", 12.5" x 12.5", or 12.5" x 18.5" - it's up to you! Each block (any size) counts as an entry in the block lotto draw at the March meeting.

The instructions below are all taken directly from Amanda Jean's blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Amanda Jean has been retired from active blogging since 2018, but she keeps the previously posted blog material alive as a kind of archive, so that folks can still benefit from her 12 YEARS of really excellent posts, tutorials, and projects. Love it - thank you, Amanda Jean!

The original instructions for this block are all contained in a Scrap Vortex Quilt Along that Amanda Jean hosted on her blog in June 2015 (also the month I joined OMQG - what a fun coincidence!). I checked in with her, and she gave me permission to pull out the key instructions from each week of the quilt-along and combine them into one post here. If you want the full instructions for this quilt, you could also work your way through each week of her QAL and get to the same spot - your choice! Here are the links to the original posts in the QAL if you want to read it directly from Amanda Jean:


Let's go bright! The point of this project is to use up your scraps, so we're looking for a total mix of pattern, solids, colours, and textures. Just pull out your scrap bin and let 'er rip! But don't forget to mix in some neutrals as well (low volume whites/creams/beiges, as well as brown, black, and grey). Neutrals are going to give your eye a little break, which you will thank me for later.


These excerpts are all copied directly from Amanda Jean - I take no credit at all for putting these together!

Step 1 - Pull out your scraps and start making pairs:

Take two scraps that are approximately same length*, press them and sew them together. Chain piecing is a great idea. Make a bunch of pairs and press the seams to the side, preferably toward the darker fabric. Be sure to use a short stitch length (I use a 2) on your sewing machine, so the pieces won't start to come apart when you handle them.

...the size and shapes of the scraps vary. Some scraps are long and skinny. Some are more chunky. Some are sewn end to end. Some are sewn side to side. Make a bunch of pairs. Variety in shape, color, size and configuration is good.

 Step 2 - Sew your pairs together:

This week's assignment is very similar to last week, except this time you just sew pairs of pairs together. Sew some pairs side by side, sew some pairs end to end. You can sew 3 little pieces in a row, then add a string to one side....any way works. Make some of each!

Now, don't overthink each step. If you do, this quilt will drive you crazy, because there are about a million decisions in a scrap vortex quilt. BUT, auditioning your options is a good thing! It's a fine line some days. Ha!

At this point, I will trim the top and bottom edges just a sliver, because the piece is getting a little bit unruly. That's it! Make several pairs of pairs.

Notice how the seams don't line up in the middle? That is actually preferred, believe it or not. The offset/staggered seams add visual interest to the block and it helps blur the lines in each individual block that you are building. That's what you want! Random is good! :) 

Step 3 - Keep growing your blocks by sewing smaller combinations together:

This week is more of the same...sewing two pieces of patchwork that are about the same size together. See how the blocks are getting larger and larger? That's what you want. Don't worry about a specific block size at this point. I know that goes against the grain of what you may be used to, but it will all work out in the end! Trust me!

Trim up the block so it's a square or rectangle. I'm not super fussy about the sides being at a PRECISE 90 degree angle, but close is good! Isn't it amazing how much better the block looks after it's trimmed up? That never gets old!

At this point in the block construction, I do trim the block after each addition with my rotary cutter and ruler. I try to keep the pieces relatively square or rectangular, because it makes the fitting the larger pieces together so much easier. 

Step 4 - Sew those combinations into even bigger pieces, until you have your completed blocks: 

This week is more of the same...take two pieces of the same size and sew them together.

Since the patchwork pieces are the same width, and since they look good together, I will sew them up. Once again, notice the staggered seams. This is important so you lose the grid of the patchwork in the larger piece.

Sometimes one piece is too short, so I will add a pieced strip to the top of the shorter block. I could add a single string to the top, but it would be too big compared to the rest of the pieces. A pieced string will look better. Whenever you are pairing two blocks together, you have to option of adding to the shorter block or trimming the taller block. I prefer to add pieces as much as possible, trimming only when there is 1/2" difference or less. (That's a general rule, not a hard and fast rule.)

 As I mentioned at the start of these instructions, your completed block sizes can be either 12.5" x 12.5" squares, 12.5" x 18.5" rectangles, or 6.5" x 12.5" rectangles. These three sizes will provide a variety of layout options for the lucky winner of this month's draw while avoiding it looking too "grid-like." Below are Amanda Jean's comments on this layout, as well as a sample of how all the blocks may be laid out:

This layout uses just 3 different block sizes: 12" squares, 12" x 18" rectangles and 6" x 12" rectangles. In this layout, you will lose the grid of the patchwork (which is a good thing) and it becomes more random, but it's still orderly and predictable.

And that's it! Have a great time this month - hopefully we'll run into each other in the scrap vortex!!

Monday, 24 January 2022

January BOM: Winter Trees

I took my cue for this month's block from Mother Nature. Look outside and you will see a variety of bare trees in all shapes and sizes.

In order to keep the palette simple and modern I encourage you to use a solid background in shades such as these blocks from @quiltoph. Think of the morning sunrise and sunset and how the sky changes throughout the day when choosing your background colour.

Branches and trunk should be solid black in sizes ranging from 3/4" to 2" wide strips and in various lengths. Your tree shape and branch and trunk sizes are totally up to you.

Method: Improv

I was uncertain as to how to approach the actual construction of this block but happily found free instructions for a Spooky Tree at but my instructions are more detailed


1 - 14" square for background in a solid colour. I recommend this size to allow for any mishaps and so that the block can be easily trimmed to 12.5"

An assortment of solid black strips in various lengths and ranging in size from 3/4" to 2" wide for trunk and branches

Rotary cutter

Pencil or other marking implement


Step 1: Draw a trunk and branches on your 14" square

Draw tree on background block

Step 2: With your rotary cutter, cut along all the marked lines on the left side only. You don't want too many pieces in play at one time which could lead to confusion. I recommend you take a photo to aid you in remembering the correct placement of the cut pieces

Cut along drawn lines

Step 3: Starting from the top choose a branch size and using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew a black strip to the edge of one background piece, right sides together. Finger press. Sew a second background piece to the black strip. Continue to sew strips strategically to the background pieces and finger press as you go. Don't be too concerned about the direction of the seam allowances. They tend to naturally go in the correct direction.

NOTE: Although improv is very forgiving, it is important to visually line up the fabric and flip it over (much like paper piecing) to ensure that the edges align before stitching your seam.

First branch added. Note the alignment of the edges

Trim the edges and continue to trim after the addition of each black strip

Edges trimmed

Left half of block almost complete

Step 4: Using the same procedure, complete the second half of the block

Step 5: Select a black strip for the trunk and sew it to the left half of the block, then sew the right half of the block to the trunk strip

Step 6: Press seams with an iron

Step 7: Square the block to 12.5 inches

I hope you enjoy making these Winter Trees. I know I did!