Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Blue Heaven!

My Blue Heaven!
Here for Printer Friendy .pdf file)

A pile of blue strips, a pile of neutral strips, a whole lot of power sewing!
Finished size: Approx 81"X89"

This is a two block quilt! A modified puss in the corner block, and an hour glass star block, both in 8" finished size. You can make this quilt as big or small as you would like depending on the number of blocks you make. This quilt uses 45 star blocks and 45 puss blocks. The 90 blocks are set 9 across by 10 down.

This quilt is perfect to learn how to use the specialty rulers I love and use so much in my scrap quilting!

The easy angle ruler is available in a 4 .5", 6.5" and 10.5" sizes. All will work for this quilt, but I find the 6.5" the easiest to handle and the most versatile.
Fabric supplies:

I started by digging through my strip bins for 2.5" strips in neutrals, and in blues!
If you don't already trim your scraps into useable widths, you can cut these pieces from your scraps or from fat-quarters and yardage.

Oscar does his part in selecting fabrics for the "puss" blocks!

There are times when I want to work on a few blocks at a time....then there are times when I just want everything cut into stacks so I can feed them mindlessly through the machine so I don't have to think too hard! This quilt came about during a stressful period over the past year where I felt my creativity was stumped. It felt good to just push the pieces through the machine!

I also didn't want to spend TOO MUCH time cutting before I could sew....so I cut in sections, and then sewed, and then cut and then sewed some more. These directions will be broken up the same way so you can sew/cut/sew/cut too!

Hour Glass & Puss Blocks!

Let's start with the basic units! The one unit that both blocks and the border have in common is the "hour glass" unit. This unit is a square divided on both diagonals into 4 triangles. These quarter-square triangles all need to have the straight of grain on the outside edge of the triangle. There are convoluted math formulas so that you can cut out individual squares, and then cut those squares twice on the diagonal to come up with the right size needed for the hour glass units, but since I was working with 2.5" strips, I just grabbed my favorite "companion angle" ruler by EZ. This ruler has all the math built into it so you don't have to think too hard....just get to the fun stuff! For 1/2 square triangles, I use the "easy angle" ruler also by EZ. These two rulers work terrifically together. Besides these two, you will need your regular rotory ruler. I have a 6.5" X 12.5" that I really like from Creative Grids.

It took me a bit to think this way.....so I'm going to tell you right off! I cut through 2 to 4 layers of fabric depending on how long my strip is. In the first pic, I just plopped my companion angle ruler down on the folded strip, aligning the bottom of the strip with the 2.5" line on the ruler and made my first cut. Makes nice triangles! But what about that left end? It was too small to use for anything and I soon realised I'd have a lot of "waste" triangles if I didn't think differently. So...the next strip...I grabbed the easy angle ruler to make the FIRST cut after squaring off the end of the folded strip. (We are working with 2.5" strips, so you align the 2.5" triangle mark which will make a 2.5"UN- finished 1/2 square triangle square...when sewn into a block, the unit will finish at 2".) I set these first-cut end triangles off to the side for use in the hourglass star blocks as the star points. After the first cut with the easy angle....use your companion angle to complete the cuts needed for the hourglass units.

Back to the hourglass triangles!

This is where the power cutting/power sewing comes in. For this quilt you will need 174 completed hour glass units or 696 individual blue hourglass triangles. Use a variety of blues from light to dark. Sew the triangles right sides together into pairs. Press seams to one side. Match the pairs together and sew into 174 completed blue hourglass units. 90 of these units are for the blocks. The remainder are for the border.

The next step is to cut 2.5" X4.5" neutral rectangles. You will need 180 neutral rectangles as each of the 45 puss blocks uses 4 of them.

I power sewed 45 of these rectangles first to one side of the hour glass block units, and 45 more to the opposite side!

I had these all chained together......and I would lie these out on top of my ironing board, press the seams towards the light strips, and then snip between the units. You can see how they trailed on the floor!(this is how I generally chain press after chain piecing.) I press first, all in a row, and then cut the treads between the units.

Next step! I rummaged through my bin of 2.5" cut squares to pull out all the blue ones I had in there. You need 180 blue 2.5" squares.

Sew a blue 2.5" square to each end of 90 2.5" X 4.5" rectangles! Press squares TOWARD the light.

Now I know if you wanted to "speed piece" this another way, you could sew two 2.5"blue strips to either side of a 4.5" neutral strip, press, and then cross cut in to 2.5" sections if you wanted to do this faster. I was doing this using up scrap squares that I pre-cut and had saved, so I was content with chain piecing the old fashioned way, one pair at a time. Do what works for you!

Construct the puss blocks by sewing the rectangle/squares units to both sides of the partially completed blocks. Press. Your blocks are half done!

Hour Glass Star Blocks!

You've aready got the star centers made since we did those along with the hourglass puss blocks and border sections. You are farther along with this quilt than you realise you are!

The next thing we are going to do is make some flying geese units. There are many ways to make geese units and you are welcome to do them the way you like. I did mine with this quilt using the companion angle and easy angle rulers since I was using pre-cut 2.5" strips.

We need 180 flying geese units that measure 2.5" X 4.5" before they are sewn into the block.

Just as with the blue strips, I folded my neutral strips into halves or fourths. Make a straight cut on one end, and then position the easy angle ruler at the 2.5" mark so you can make your first cut to give you the right angle to use with the companion angle ruler. Trim the rest of the strips this way, until you have 180 quarter-square triangles for the geese units. Set the 1/2 square triangles you cut from the beginning of the strips aside. They will be used in another step.

For the "wing" part of the flying geese units you will need 360 2.5" half square triangles cut with the easy angle. You will already have SOME of them from when you trimmed the ends of the strips when cutting the blue quarter square triangles. Cut more blue half square triangles until you have enough.

See how nicely these fit together? I like to lay my triangles so the notched part is at the top and the points in the bottom corners are even. Stitch blue trianges to the right side of all the geese quarter square triangles. Press towards the dark and trim points.

Sew the remaining blue 1/2 square triangles onto the opposite side of the geese unit. Press and trim points.

The next step is to sew a geese unit to either side of 45 hour glass units. Press seams towards the hour glass unit.

MORE CUTTING! Now you could have cut more triangles earlier, but I was in a power sewing mood, remember? I wanted to sew more than I wanted to cut, so I was cutting as the need arose.

We now need 180 blue and 180 neutral 2.5" half square triangle squares to be sewn into corner units so we can complete the star blocks. Remember, even though I say 2.5"....that isn't the cut measurement. That is the measurement on the ruler. The unfinished measurement of the half square triangle squares before they are sewn into the block. If you are cutting them with any other method, they would be 2 7/8". Some of these you have aready cut. Just cut more to give you the number that you need so that you have 180 blue/neutral 2.5" unfishined half square triangle squares. Sew the triangles with right sides together and press towards the darler fabric. Trim excess points.

Sew a pieced triangle square to either side of the geese units as sewn. You want the blue triangle towards the corners of the blocks. Press seams towards the half square triangle squares.

Sew the goose/square unit to either side of your center block section to complete star blocks! Press.

At this point you should have two piles of blocks, and enough hour glass units left over for the outside border!

This is my quilt center laid out on the floor before sewing blocks together. When assembling I like to do what I call "webbing the top" .

Sew the blocks into rows, and sew the rows together to complete the quilt top center.

I finished the quilt by adding a 2.5" cut inner border of a tan/brown stripe. Then after that I sewed the hour glass units together and added them to the quilt top. There are 21 units across, and 23 units down! Machine quilting was simply done with continuous baptist fans.


  1. I am cutting for this quilt, and curious as to how many strips I should cut of my lights. I have 14 half yard cuts from a shop hop that I want to use.

  2. Hi,
    Taking your workshop in January with a group of friends for My Blue Heaven. If cutting strips, how many strips are needed for each color. Say blues, cream background, and ? You basically have 3 colors going in this quilt, right? Since I'm traveling from Maine to California for the workshop I can't really bring my stash. vbg
    Thanks, Carolyn

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM EDT

    I'm working on your My Blue Heaven and it's coming along nicely. I did go buy a little extra fabric because I didn't have enough blue scraps. Your instructions are fantastic Bonnie and I probably will just work my way through your books and your free patterns on Quiltville. Thanks for the inspiration. Susan in FL (but not at the moment)

  4. Anonymous10:19 AM EDT

    you give great tips and instuctions thank-you

  5. Anonymous8:24 AM EST

    This was my first scrap quilt, and it taught me two things - I don't have NEARLY as many scraps as I thougth I did, and I don't use that much blue either! I am almost ready to add the tan border, then put the blocks around the outside and it will be finished, and like any good quilter, I had enough in the stash to make up for what wasn't in the scraps. But there are A LOT OF LITTLE PIECES in this quilt!

  6. I finally finished and gifted this quilt, it is gorgeous! The recipient (not surprisingly) loved it! Thanks Bonnie for such wonderful patterns - next on my list is the pineapple blossom!

  7. What a gorgeous quilt Bonnie! You are my scrap quilt hero :) But one thing I always wonder about... how come you never seem to run out of scraps?

  8. Thank-you so much for sharing. I haven't been able to quilt for some time. This will help get me going again. God bless you! XO


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