Block Lotto

Jan/Feb Block Lotto: Tri-Ball

The Block Lotto blocks for January/February are now up on Simone Designs (Simone’s blog). This block is called Tri Ball, and is a clever raw-edge applique design that can be laid out in multiple ways:

The instructions to make Tri Ball are up on her blog, but read on for some tips. There are also more layouts on her blog, where they can be seen in full size. As per her usual, Simone has created another stunning design for us. Gather together your fabrics:

  • Low volume for the background
  • Warm colored fabric for the half-circle, such as reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows
  • Cool colored fabric for the triangles, such as blacks, blues, greens and purple

I tried out her pattern and really had fun with it. (NOTE: I added a 1/4″ on the flat side of the half-ball to keep that shape once it’s sewn into the seam.)

[Bonus: by sewing an extra line 1/2″ away from the snowball-block line, I was able to cut in between the two stitching lines, gaining me a stack of half-square triangles.]

I decided to make some for myself, but wanted to have turned-edge appliqué, so I added 1/4″ all the way around, and used the freezer-paper method to shape that curve. You can see them pinned to the background with small appliqué pins on the right.
A REMINDER: We are asking you to make raw-edge appliqué for the blocks that you turn into for the Block Lotto drawing.

Please head over to Simone Designs for info on how to make these blocks. Make blocks during January and February, and bring them in to the March meeting for our Block Lotto drawing. The more blocks you make, the better your chances at winning!

Block Lotto

September/October Block Lotto – Tipsy Twofer

Tipsy Twofer is a combination of two blocks in one; the Drunkard’s Path & Drunkard’s Trail. I combined them into one block so you get a twofer. See the sample & tutorial below.

Please make your IEMQG Block Lotto blocks in September & October and bring them to our IEMQG meeting in November. You can make them in any combination of white low volume background and black patterned template pieces, or you can reverse them, and have a black background patterned fabric with white low volume template pieces. You’ll need the templates for your Tipsy Twofer block and you can download the Tipsy Twofer PDF instructions here.

PREPARATION: Starch all fabric, cut out templates A & B from the PDF download.

STEP 1: Cut a 7.5” x 7.5” square of low volume fabric. Fold in half and finger press, open and fold in half in the other direction and finger press again.

STEP 2: Using templates A & B cut out contrasting fabric.

STEP 3: Line up A & B on the 7.5” x 7.5” low volume square using finger pressed lines as guides.

Pin in place.

STEP 4: Raw edge appliqué ⅛” from edge on A & B as show in PDF download.

Here’s a close up of how I used the creases to line up one of the appliqué pieces.

Done! It’s that easy!!!

Here’s a sample of how I’m laying out my blocks.


Block Lotto

July/August 2019 Block Lotto – Fibo’s Sister

Fibo’s Sister Block is designed using the Rule of Thirds, which some may say is a sister to the Fibonacci Sequence Rule. Using math to help create & design is always a plus. (No pun intended.)

Please make your IEMQG Block Lotto blocks in July & August and bring them to our IEMQG meeting in September.

Fibo’s Sister is a mix between improv made fabric and the Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds is a “general guideline” for creating a composition. It’s applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. It looks something like the following photograph


When following the instructions, you can make 4 blocks at once. You will need at least 5 warm colored strips of fabric and low volume fabric.


~ 16, 2”x15” strips from the warm colored fabric. This will be used to make the improv made fabric which will be but into 4, 6.5”x6.5” squares.

~ 4, 6.5”x3.5” rectangles from your low volume fabric

~ 4, 9.5”x3.5 rectangles from the same low volume fabric used for the 6.5”x3.5” rectangles.

In the photo above I used a variety of strips cut at 2”, 1.5” and 1.25”. DON’T DO THIS!!!
Keep it simple and just cut all your strips to 2”x15”. (I have a hard time doing simple.)

To make your improv made fabric lay one strip face down on another strip of a different color at a wonky angle. Sew along the right edge of the top fabric as in the photo below.

Trim off the excess seam allowance. I like to press my seam to one side before I sew the next strip on.

Repeat this process of placing the new strip at a wonky angle, sewing, trimming the excess seam allowance, and pressing. Soon you’ll have your improv made fabric.

Make sure your improv made fabric ends up at least 15”x15”.

Next trim your improv made fabric into 4 squares that measure 6.5”x6.5”.

Next sew the shorter rectangle, 6.5”x3.5”, to the top of one of the improv made squares and press to the darker fabric.

Next sew the 3.5”x9.5” rectangle onto the left side of the Fibo’s Block and press the seam to the darker fabric.

For our IEMQG Block Lotto leave your Fibo’s Sister blocks as individual blocks. Here is one what you can sew them together.

Happy Sewing!
Block Lotto

May/June 2019 Block Lotto – The I.E. (The Improv Effect)

After last month’s foundation paper piecing (FPP) project, I thought it would be good to do something REALLY SIMPLE!

The block for the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild’s May BLOCK LOTTO is called The I.E. (The Improv Effect.) It’s an easy and quick improv block. This is a great block for using scraps that you’ve been collecting.

STEP ONE: Gather your fabric. To simplify things for the IEMQG BLOCK LOTTO use any low volume fabric for your block and any cool colored fabric for the improv triangle from your stash. I used cool colors such as greens, teals, turquoise, and blues . Here’s a sampling of what I gathered from my stash.

STEP TWO: Cut all your low volume fabric into 6 1/2” squares. I like using a 6 1/2” square ruler for this part. I’m into the no-brainer thing.

STEP THREE: Start with a cool colored scrap of fabric, this will be your improv scrap, and lay it over a corner of your 6.5” block. Make sure the corners of your improv scrap overlap the 6 1/2” block by at least 1/4” inch. Now is a good time to also make sure the improv scrap is big enough to cover the corner. The beauty of this block is that no two blocks need to be the same. With each imrpov scrap you can change the angle and size of the improv triangle. Sew a 1/4” seam along the straight edge of your improv scrap.

STEP FOUR: From the low volume fabric trim off the excess low volume corner fabric that will be covered by the improv scrap. Flip the improv scrap over and press the seam away from the low volume fabric.

STEP FIVE: Using a ruler trim away the excess improv fabric and square up your block keeping it at 6 1/2” square.

There are numerous ways to use The I.E. block in your projects. To keep things simple I organized the blocks by color from lightest in the upper left corner to darkest in the lower right corner.

If you are a member of the IEMQG bring your blocks to our July Monthly Meeting and you can enter our raffle.

Additional pictures and information can be found on my blog.


Block Lotto

January/February 2019 Block Lotto – Skipping Rocks

Our 2019 Block Lotto program promises to be fun and creative – encouraging you to try new techniques using a modern aesthetic!  We are fortunate to have the talents of our own Simone Bradford for our 2019 Block Lotto program!  For the new year, we’ve decided to do this program bi-monthly so you’ll have plenty of time to put together your Skipping Rocks blocks and submit them at our March meeting.  As with our 2018 Block Lotto program – the more blocks you make, the more entries you’ll earn!  We’ve attached a printable/view-able PDF print out of the pattern here.  Additional instructions, photos and details are available on Simone’s blog here.

Have fun and be creative!

Block Lotto

November 2018 Block Lotto – No Waste Flying Geese

This is my version of following the online tutorial here. There are quite a few tutorials out there for this version of flying geese, but I liked this one best.  I tried the Eleanor Burns method and I didn’t care for it – mostly because I like matching things. I’m a quilter after all.

This month’s Block Lotto makes four [4] flying geese in about as much time as you can say honk!  It was REALLY fast – and like the title says – with VERY little waste! Choose a white/cream for background fabric and anything you want for your geese.

Step 1. I cut squares – one 5 ¼” for the geese and four 3” for the backgrounds. Yep, her tutorial says to cut 2 7/8” squares, but I don’t like squinting to line up the little tiny 1/8” marks on my rulers. Then I marked my smaller squares with a faint diagonal line.

Step 2. At the machine, stack two small squares on the larger square like this and sew ¼” away from each side of the line.

Step 3. Press and cut between the stitching lines. Then press again with seams towards background fabric.

Step 4. Back at the machine with the two unused small background squares, position and sew on each side of the line.

Step 5. Cut between stitching lines and press again with seams to background fabric.

Flying Geese!!!

Step 6. Trim to 2 ½” and 4 ½”. I make my first cut ¼” above the point of the geese, but trim away. This was all the waste I had from this little project. Pretty accurate description, I’d say!

A printed version of the instructions above can be found here (must have a pdf viewer installed).

Block Lotto · Block of the Month

October 2018 Block Lotto – Witches Hat

This month’s block is Witches Hat, but was originally called ‘Triangles 4 Fun’.  You’ll start by printing out the one-page pattern to show the cutting diagram here. The rest of the instructions are found below for constructing your triangle block!  Happy Triangles!

You SHOULD spray and iron your fabric before cutting triangles; as you can see – I didn’t.

Align the print triangle fabric “down” ¼” from the point of the background triangle (yellow fabric).

After the first ¼” seam is sewn, align the points of the background triangles and stitch the second side,

After pressing – like a good quilter – you’ll have this.  Square up this module to 7 ½” wide X 6 ¼” high.

Add the 1 ¾” strip at the bottom to complete the square. Re-trim for a 7 ½” block.

Block Lotto · Block of the Month

August Block Lotto – Square in a Square

August 2018 Block Lotto Challenge

Improv Square in a Square

This month’s challenge is inspired by a Pinterest post I can no longer locate.  I’m sure no one has EVER had that happen before!!

The quilt was composed simply of an improv square in square blocks. No sashing, no repeating pattern, no color theme – it was stunning.  This month’s challenge is going to be that quilt!

Create an 8 ½” square in a square block. The “inside” square can be any solid (or, reads solid).  I used up some scraps and leftover squares from another quilt. The “outside” square should be a light neutral/white/beige. I used improv techniques for several of mine – again – just to use up odds and ends from my stash.

The inside square can be ANYWHERE in the square! You can put it in the middle, on the edge, in a corner. Make it big, make it small, on point. Have fun with it.

Bring your squares to our August 4th meeting and let’s see who wins!

Block Lotto · Block of the Month

July Block Lotto – Wonky House

Wonky House Tutorial

Block measures 12.5″ square
Seam allowances are 1/4″ but don’t need to be perfect
Press seams to the side that is darker
I suggest you read through all the steps first before beginning

You will need at least four prints for the house, roof, door and windows (more for additional windows, chimney, etc.), a background fabric and a green print for the grass.

I find it extremely helpful to mark off the finished block size on my cutting mat with painter’s tape.  This helps to keep proportions accurate and ensures you don’t cut anything too small!!


Looking at the final block picture above, you will see that it is basically three sections – the base, the house body and the roof.  Begin by cutting the base 13″ long and at least 4″ wide.

For the house body, it is easier to cut the door and window first and then “fill in” the area around them with the house pieces. They can be trimmed and adjusted as you go, but you don’t want a door or window that is too small or too big so I start with them. I like to cut the roof triangle now so I can “see” how it is going to come together.

These measurements are a good starting point, yours may be different. I like to start with straight edges and I trim them at angles later.

Now cut the house pieces.  Using the picture as a guide, cut a piece for below the window, between the door and the window, the right side, the left side, and the top.  Remember to cut them too big and trim as you go.

The numbers indicate the order to sew them together.

To make it wonky, trim the angled edges as you go.

To make your angled edges match before sewing, cut one piece to the desired angle, and then use a clear ruler to cut the second piece.  In the picture below, I first cut the blue door piece at an angle. Then I placed the red piece next to it – straight.  I placed a line on my ruler along the cut edge (the 3/4″ here, but it doesn’t matter). Then I cut the red piece.

I did this on both sides of the door.  Doing it this way keeps everything on the straight of grain which prevents distortion.

I used the same method to angle the window.

After sewing pieces 1 – 6 together, trim the top edge and bottom edges.  They can be straight or angled.

Sew on the top piece.

Trim the sides and do it wonky!!

Cut two rectangles out of the background fabric..  Mine are 4″ x 8″, but you will want them to be at least an inch bigger than the finished background area.

Using a clear ruler, cut the angle to match the sides of the house in the same manner
as you did the door and window.

Sew the two side pieces to the house body and trim the top and bottom edges even with the house.

It is looking pretty cute, right?  I know you are dying to see how it looks sitting on the green grass, so go ahead and sew that to the bottom edge.  First cut the angled edge on the green rectangle to match the angled edge on the bottom of the house.  You should be pretty good at that by now!!

Notice that the block is extending beyond the blue tape – that is good!  You will trim it up nice and square when it is all done.

Test the roof triangle to make sure you are happy with the fit now that the house is done.  If you want the roof to extend beyond the sides of the house, keep in mind that you’ll lose about 1/2″ in seam allowances.  Trim it smaller if you need to.  If it turns out that it is too small, toss it in the scrap bin and cut another one.

This is my foolproof method of making sure the roof and background fit together nicely.

Cut a rectangle at least 1 inch bigger on all sides than the finished piece will be.

Place the roof piece on top of it in the exact location of the finished roof.

Line up your ruler with the edge of the roof and cut through both thicknesses.
(oops – the sun was coming through the window!!)

Put the underneath piece of background fabric in the scrap bin.

Sew the roof piece to the right background piece and then the left

background piece. Don’t worry about the seam allowances or the edges not lining up – the piece will be trimmed down.

(If you want to add a chimney first, cut one of the background pieces in half where you want the chimney to go.  Piece the chimney with the background fabric and sew into place.)

Trim the lower edge and sew it to the house section.

Using a 12.5″ square ruler, trim the block to size.  If you don’t have a 12.5″ ruler, I recommend you get one!  It is the one ruler I couldn’t live without!!


I hope this all made sense and was easy to follow.
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to help you!

If you’d like a PDF printable file, you can find one here.