Snowballs and Shooflys
Tips & Hints
For the May block we're doing a block with snowball and shoofly (variation of nine-patch) units. You will be using a sewing/quilting-related print and a coordinating print (something like a tone-on-tone or a Moda marble, no solids please.) You should be sure there is contrast between your two fabrics so the pattern will show. We are making 12" blocks this year (that's 12 1/2" unfinished). We will be making TWO blocks for May.
Below is a table with the cutting information for EACH block.
These cutting instructions will work with the piecing instructions below. If you are using templates or doing foundation piecing, you will need to adjust your cutting to match your method.
Please read through all the directions carefully before you begin cutting and sewing. Piecing instructions are for one block. Repeat for second block. First make a "snowball" corner on each corner of the 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares with four of the coordinating print 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares. You will sew diagonally, press the remaining fabric back toward the corner and trim as you prefer. Just be careful you don't trim the wrong fabric!! I've done it a time or two. Please click here to see pictures of the steps. (This is the jar we did in April. The only difference is we're working with a square this time.) You should have two snowball blocks that measure 6 1/2" x 6 1/2".
Now on to the shoofly. First we'll make our half-square triangle units. Looks like we haven't made any this year. Put a 3" x 3" sewing print square right sides together with the coordinating print square of the same size. Draw a light pencil line on the wrong side of the lighter fabric from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line. Cut on the line. Press toward the coordinating print (away from the sewing print.) Trim carefully to 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". I use the bias square tool. I like the 8" size, because there's lots of room to hold it down well with my left hand. Be sure the diagonal line goes from corner to opposite corner. Any variations in this will result in piecing errors later on. Repeat three more times for a total of eight half-square triangle units.
Sew a sewing print 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" square between two half-square triangle units. The coordinating print triangle will be touching the sides of the square. This is the first row. Press toward the square. Repeat for the third row. Repeat twice more for the second shoofly unit. Sew a coordinating print square between two sewing print squares. This is the second row. Press away from the middle square. This will result in opposing seams when you join the rows, which will make your seams easier to line up. Repeat for the second shoofly unit. Sew the first row to the second row, carefully matching seams. Press toward the second row. Sew the third row to the bottom of the second row, making sure your third row is a mirror image of the first row. Press toward the second row. Repeat these steps for the second shoofly unit.
You should now have four units, each measuring 6 1/2" x 6 1/2". For the first row, sew a shoofly unit to the right side of a snowball unit. I pressed my seam toward the snowball unit, but you could also press it open. There are an equal number of seams on each side. For the second row, sew a snowball unit to the right side of a shoofly unit. Press toward the snowball or open, as you prefer. Join the first row to the second row, matching seams. Press toward the shoofly units so that a small 4-patch forms in the middle of the back or press open if you pressed the other seams open. Repeat all instructions for the second block.
That's all there is to it. Your block should measure 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" (unfinished). Click here to see a photo of the front of the test block I made. Click here to see the back. There are templates this month and a foundation piecing pattern.
Remember to label your blocks on the BACK of your block. Sticking a return address label on each is an easy way to do this and you're already putting one on the envelope anyway. If you use pen, please use something that is permanent, like a pigma or archival album pen. Do not forget to label your blocks. On the outside of the envelope, in the lower left corner, please write which month(s) the blocks is(are) for (i.e. BOM May 2003). This helps Patty separate the BOM envelopes from the rest of her mail.
If you have questions or comments, post a note on the MSN Club or email Squirrel (Patty) or AzPatch (Margo). You will be making TWO blocks for May. Please do NOT trim your blocks. Blocks will be due to Patty by May 30th. Please allow enough time for your envelope to travel through the mail system. Patty and I will be getting together to open "squishies" June 7th, so please get your blocks to her at least a week before then. If you can't get the blocks to Patty before the winners are picked, please email me for the addresses of the winners so you can mail the blocks to them directly.