Snowball

Materials

  • Eight fat quarters of cream and orange toned flannel fabrics
  • Six fat eighths for the triangle corners and pieced border of darker red and brown flannel fabrics
  • 20cm (1⁄4yd) of grey flannel for border one
  • 40cm (1⁄2yd) of dark red flannel for last border
  • Remnants of the above fabrics are used for the binding
  • 112 x 130cm (44 x 51in) piece of wadding
  • 1.4m (1 5⁄8yds) of backing fabric

Finished Size

107 x 122cm (42 x 48in)

Skill Level

Beginner

Where to buy

Ask your local quilt shop for flannels or try raiding a wardrobe to use some old lumberjack style shirts (ask permission before you cut them up!). Using a different colour range such as florals or conversation prints would create a totally different feel to the quilt.

THE CENTRE BLOCKS

  1. From the assorted fabrics cut a total of thirty 6 1⁄2in squares. Using a ruler, cut a 2in triangle from each corner of all the 6 1⁄2 squares as shown in Figure 1. You may find it helpful to first make a template by cutting the corners from a 6 1⁄2in square of paper and using that to line up the ruler accurately on the fabric blocks. The 2in is measured along the edge of a square not on the diagonal that is cut off.
  2. From the assorted dark fabrics, cut 2 7⁄8in squares. You need a total of 60. Cut these squares in half across the diagonal to make a total of 120 triangles.
  3. With fabrics RS together, place one triangle on the corner of the snowball shape. Line up the raw edges. Two little ears will overlap at each end. Make sure the triangle is placed centrally and stitch with a 1⁄4in seam allowance. Repeat on the remaining three corners of the snowball block. Press the seams towards the triangle and trim away the little fabric ears. Complete the rest of the snowball blocks in this way.
  4. Arrange the finished blocks in a design that you are happy with. Stephanie suggests it is useful to number the blocks so that you do not lose track as you sew. Try to avoid having two centre blocks the same fabric next to each other. Sew the blocks into rows of five blocks. Press alternate row seams into opposite directions and then stitch the rows together to give a quilt centre of five by six blocks as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 1
Figure 1: Cutting the octagon pieces
Figure 2
Figure 2 Assembling the snowball blocks
Figure 3 The quilt centre complete

FIRST BORDER

  1. Using the grey flannel, cut fabric strips 1 1⁄2in wide, two pieces 36 1⁄2in long for the sides and two pieces 32 1⁄2in long for the top and bottom. Check this measurement by measuring across the centres of the pieced top. Yours may differ if your seam allowances were slightly out.
  2. Sew the sides first, pressing the seam allowance outwards, towards the border fabric. Sew on the top and bottom strips, again pressing the seam allowances outwards, towards the border fabric

PIECED AND THIRD BORDER

  1. The second border is pieced from 2 1⁄2in squares. From assorted fabrics, cut 74 squares each 2 1⁄2in square. Stephanie has used a mixture of both lights and darks from the centre panel. You may like at this stage to see step 4 in Quilting and Finishing and cut the strips for your binding while you still have some long pieces left.
  2. Construct the pieced border. Join the plain squares, until the strips measure the required length for the two sides, top and bottom. This should be 19 blocks for the sides which are sewn first and 18 each for the top and bottom borders which are sewn second.
  3. Stitch these borders to the quilt top with 1⁄4in seam allowance. With so many seam allowances in this pieced border, it may lay much flatter if pressed towards the inside border. Repeat with the top and bottom border strips, again pressing the seam allowances inwards towards the first border.
  4. Cut the third and last border from the red flannel 3 1⁄2in wide. Cut strips for the sides. Sew in position. Measure the new width of your quilt including this border and cut two pieces for the top and bottom. Press all seam allowances for this border towards the plain fabric. See Figure 4 for alternative quilt layout showing the top border added first, this means piecing the side strips and Stephanie suggests sewing the side pieces first to avoid this.

Figure 3

Figure 4 Quilt Assembly diagram
 
Figure 5 Quilting designs

QUILTING AND FINISHING

  1. Backing and layering the quilt: cut the backing fabric 44 x 51in. Check the measurement before cutting, remembering to add a couple of extra inches more than the size of your quilt top. Place the backing fabric right side down and secure.
  2. Lay the wadding on top and then place the pieced top, right side upwards on top of the wadding, smoothing out the fabric to make sure it is completely flat. Pin or tack securely ready for quilting.
  3. Quilting is a personal choice. Stephanie chose to machine quilt. Firstly, on the centre panel, she has quilted inside the snowballs moving from one to another down the quilt top as shown in Figure 5. Take the quilt thread ends through to the back, tie off and run the thread ends into the
    layers of the quilt. Secondly, straight machine quilting lines were stitched 3⁄8in away from the seam lines of both plain borders. She has also sewn a line of X’s through the pieced border working in a continuous line from the corner of one square to the corner of the next.
  4. Working with the fabric you have left over from the piecing and with a bias join, sew sufficient scraps together to make a 2in wide strip long enough to go all around the quilt edge. With RS
    together, stitch the binding to the front of the quilt. Turn the binding to the back of the quilt, turn under a small hem and hand stitch to the backing fabric.

Figure 5 Border Quilting pattern

First published in Popular Issue 3 2007