Sunday, June 13, 2010

Snowball Night Update...Chain Piecing

Hi all my Snowball Night Friends. I hope you didn't think I left you out in the blizzard all by yourself. I was cheating a little. Instead of just doing a few snowballs a night, I wanted to sew all my I Spy squares I had from a swap into snowballs. That way I could share what a full quilt might look like.

Here are the 120 blocks laid out, but not sewn together. If you want to move a little further along than a few blocks at a time, the best way would be to chain piece the snowballs.

Start by sewing a corner square to a block. Then without breaking the thread, place another block down with a corner square on it and keep on sewing. By the end all the blocks should be attached like this.

When you are finished with the first set of corner squares sewn to the blocks, take them off the machine and find the first block you sewd at the beginning of the chain. Place a corner square on the opposite corner and chain piece down the whole line again. It's much easier now, because all the blocks are attached together.

Just bring the next block up to the previous one...

add another corner square and sew to the next block right through that open space.

When you reach the next block, you can keep on going, but I like to do a little back stitch at each end.

This is what it looks like with 2 corners of each block sewn with a corner square.

Here they are in a long chain.

To finish the other 2 corners, you first have to snip all the threads between each block.

Now start the chaining process again for the other 2 corners...

chaining to the next block.

Snip them apart after all you corners are on.

Trim all the corners to 1/4 inch. I just eye balled it and cut it with scissors instead of rotary cutting. These are only 5 inch blocks...if they were larger, I might rotary cut the corner off.

Press all the corners open towards the corners.

Here's a close up of a block.

Aren't these I Spies cute. That was a great swap. Thanks all my I Spy Friends!

Here's the full layout again. Can't wait to sew it together, but there are 2 quilts ahead of this one...sorry I Spy, you'll have to wait. Right now you are classified as a UFO.

Hope you are all having fun sewing your blocks. I am doing another post tonight with the list of all Snowball Night participants. That way we can all visit each other and see our progress.
Talk to you soon,


  1. Looking good!! I see the fabric that I sent in...must do something with my stash now!! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Another great idea Karen. Very cute indeed! Reminds me that I need to get busy on my stash of "I spys" so I'll be ready in time for Christmas.

  3. I think we are going to have matching quilts!!!! I have over half of my blocks done, but I do them four at a time. I can't imagine a chain that long!!!!! It looks awesome and can't wait to start putting mine together.

  4. The money in the one block caught my eye right away!

  5. Snowball I-spy - very innovative approach.

  6. LOVE it......what a FUN quilt!!!

  7. I never totally understood what people meant by chain piecing, but then I took a class a few weeks ago and learned the method, so now I am a fan :)

    I see one of my squares(the pink with the cakes)

    Looks great!

  8. THank you for the tutorial Karen! I need to get brave and start piecing quilts!!!! :-)

    Hugs! Vikki xx

  9. What a great way to do this! I have many more blocks to make, so I'm going to have it try it this way. I was sewing each square individually, with all four corner pieces before moving on to the next one.

  10. NO joke...this is EXACTLY what i was thinking of doing with my I Spy squares from your swap - I even had a black and white polka dot picked out but i was unsure it would look good - now that I see yours, I KNOW it will look great and can't wait to get started! My husband and I will hopefully finish the home construction in the next two weeks and we are planning a nice long camping trip afterwards - I'll definitely be making lots of snowballs in the summer on my camping trip!

  11. P.S. I chain the same way, too - backstitching included! :D

  12. Hi! Starting to look very good! Are you going to organize an I spy swap again? I'd love to be in one again soon!!

  13. Wow, Karen I spy looks good. I had the same idea for my snowball quilt but had not decided on the connecter fabric. Great way to use all those I spy blocks we swapped.


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