Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hourglass Blocks and a Good Read

I've had a few questions about the hourglass blocks I shared the other day so I figured I'd attempt to walk, those of you that are interested, through the steps I had taken to make them.

These blocks began with 2 Butterfly Garden Layer Cakes I had sitting in a bin and a need to stitch something simple. Something that didn't require thinking or figuring. Some people would say boring, but I just wanted some time with fabric under a needle while I listened to an audio book. This is what I was listening to:

Once Upon a Town

I highly recommend it. I love nonfiction and this story takes place in North Platte, Nebraska during WW II. DH grew up around the same area. This book made me sad because I wonder what has happened to our country. Could this still happen today? WOULD it?

OK, I'll get back to the subject at hand before I step up on my soapbox. :)

Choose 2 layer cake squares and stitch 1/4" all the way around. Doesn't get much simpler than that. Then take them to your cutting mat and slice them 4 times like this:

I'm fairly certain I saw a tutorial on this somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it at the moment. Stitch each one along the short side:

If you stitch along the bias side, you will end up with 1/2 square triangles. Press and you have a pile of these. I forgot to take pictures so I had to un-stitch this one to get one:                          

Pick out the 2 little stitches above your horizontal seam and spin your seams for a flat block:

 My ruler is not lined up in this photo but trim your block to 6"

Each set of 10" squares makes 4 hourglass blocks and before long, you have lots of pretty hourglass blocks.


I also made the little hourglass blocks in this quilt

with leftover jelly roll strips. I used a different method for these and it involves that handy dandy Easy Angle ruler. Just choose 2 strips and set right sides together. Then line up your ruler on the strips at the 2 1/2" mark and cut.


Flip your ruler over, line up with the 2 1/2" mark again and cut:

 I love this thing. Bonnie Hunter is the queen of the Easy Angle ruler and she has a tutorial here for making 1/2 square triangles. Just one more step and you have the makings of an hourglass block - aka: 1/4 square triangles.


Press seams to the dark side:


When you stitch these two pieces together, they will nest nicely. Then take just a minute to pick out the 2 vertical stitches above the horizontal seam:

When you press your finished block. you can spin your seams and a little cute 4-patch will appear


And once you trim:


you will be left with a pretty little hourglass block with good points and flat seams:


 A 2 1/2" strip yields cute little 3" blocks and there you have it. Its way past my bedtime so I hope this makes sense for those of you that inquired. I've got a baby quilt to plan in pinks and grays and I've still got a hankering for hourglass blocks so I may be stitching up more of these.


E lee said...

I read the book about North Platte several years ago and gave a copy to my mother. She traveled by train across country right after WWII on her way to the Hawaiian Territories with the Department of Defense. She didn't go through North Platte, and of course the War was over, but it was an endearing story to her. There was a documentary about it also which was just fantastic. One of my favorite stories of neighborly love. The station is gone, times have changed, but it's good to see similiar spirit around the country still. Quilters come to mind!

carol fun said...

Thanks for the tutorial... I agree sometimes I just want to push fabric through my sewing machine and make something pretty. I think the technique where you sew all four sides and then slice it up is from Missouri Star. I made a quilt using that technique a while ago. I need to check out that book too.. sounds right up my alley. happy stitching!

Pauline said...

Neat quilt and so many blocks! I think you can supply the entire town with baby quilts! Your demo is really the BEST way to make those hour glasses. Great colors! Beautiful work!

Libby said...



Judy said...

Love these! Thank you very much! Love them!

Cathy said...

Thanks for the nice tutorial. These are great blocks.

Kristie said...

Great tutorial! They look so precise!

Gwynette in NW Arkansas said...

Always love your get right to the nitty gritty simple way!!

ytsmom said...

Haven't read the book, but NET, the Nebraska PBS station, has a great program about the canteen.

Ranch Mom said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I have a nice stash of fabric I would like to try something new with. My son is still in Nebraska and he loves it out there. I'm going to try and find the book on audio so I can listen to it while I'm mowing the pastures this summer.

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