Someone asked me recently how I constructed my spools quilt. When I commented that it was sewn entirely by hand, she immediately said, “Oh, I could never do that!” I assured her that it was really quite simple, and promised her a tutorial. It took a few weeks to get to it, but here it is!
First, I made two simple templates, shown below.
You can see the post where I drew the templates on graph paper here. For each spool block, using a regular pencil with a sharp lead, I traced one center square and two trapezoids out of the same print fabric. I also traced two trapezoids out of a white or cream or tan fabric (we’ll call this the background fabric).
I found it easier to prepare many blocks in one sitting, as I usually do my sewing while I’m enjoying a good television show or movie. These little pieces store easily in Ziploc bags and are quite portable in your purse!
Sewing a Spool
Begin with the center square, one print trapezoid, and one pin. Place right sides together, the short side of the trapezoid next to the square. Put a pin at one corner and your needle at the other as shown below. Note: the black background is my pant leg… if the trapezoid looks curved, it’s not.
Next, take one of your print trapezoids and position it on the next side of the center square, as shown. Put your pin in the corner farthest from your needle. Pick up your needle and continue sewing from where you left off.
Sewing the corners: Very easy!
You won’t believe this until you do it yourself the first time, but the hardest part is behind you! The corners are easy!
Put a pin in the unsewn outside corner and your needle at the corner nearest the center square. Sew along the pencil line from the inside to the outside corner. Knot and clip your thread. Repeat three more times and you are finished sewing!
I found that the more I did these blocks, the faster they came together. They really do become almost mindless sewing… and they are all straight seams!
See? All pressed and ready to go!
Sewing the blocks together
Sew your spool blocks together alternating the light and dark trapezoids as shown, following the pencil lines you have already marked.
You can do this!