Monthly Archives: July 2014

But I Digress…..

One reason I have a lot of unfinished projects cluttering up my studio is that I suffer from ADDD…Attention Deficit Designing Disorder. Too often a project in progress is interrupted by an idea that just flutters into my brain. Most dash off before I can grab a paper and pencil, but now and again one settles in and makes itself at home. This is one of those ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tutorial for my “Quarter Star” block.

Since then, I have been working on a blog series that should begin next Month. Well, sir, the two ideas collided and formed a new block. I had to stop and whip one up.

I don’t even have a name for it yet, but I like it…a lot…so I’m going to go ahead and share it:

(Put Title Here)

I used 2.5″ and 4.5″ squares and made an 8″ (finished size) block.

For a 12″ block, use 3.5″  and 6.5″ squares.

GE DIGITAL CAMERATo make this block, you will need:

One large square

Eight small white squares

Four sets of three matching small squares

GE DIGITAL CAMERADraw a diagonal line on the back of each of the small white squares. Pair each with a small print square and make four pairs of  half-square triangles (HST’s), using the “stitch and flip” method.

You will have one small square of each color remaining, plus your large square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERALay out all of the parts as shown, so that your HST’s form star points around the large center square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the HST’s into pairs.

GE DIGITAL CAMERANow you can sew the remaining small squares to the ends of the top and bottom star point pairs. Sew the other star point pairs to the large center square.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the rows together to complete the block.

Now, what shall I call it?

Please give me your best idea in a comment, below.


Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, 8" TQ Blocks, HST's, Scrap Quilts, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | 2 Comments

Oh, Susannah!

I made a few quilt blocks recently for a sister quilter who is putting together some charity quilts.

She had asked for this pattern, most commonly called “Oh, Susannah.”


Like most blocks that have been around for a while, this one has several names, including “Wagon Wheel” , and simply “Susannah”.

In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for two or more blocks to share the same name. There are at least three blocks called “Oh, Susannah”

This version of "Oh Susannah" was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This version of “Oh Susannah” was published by Nancy Cabot in 1931.

This same version  is also  credited to Carrie Hall:

"Oh, Susannah" block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

“Oh, Susannah” block made by Carrie Hall (1866-1955) in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas.

And I found a third version in McCall’s Quilting’s collection of free downloadable patterns:

"Oh Susannah" by McCall's Quilting - see link at bottom of post.

“Oh Susannah” by McCall’s Quilting – see link at bottom of post.

For the 12″ (finished size) block we’re making, you will need:

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEight 3.5″ white squares

Four 3.5″ print squares

Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ print rectangle

GE DIGITAL CAMERADraw a diagonal line on the wrong side of four of the white squares. Align the square with the right end of the print rectangles as shown. Sew on the line and trim away the corner triangle. Press open.

(Don’t want to waste those triangles? Click HERE for a previous blog post)

GE DIGITAL CAMERASew the four remaining white squares to the four print squares.

Lay out your segments as shown above and sew into four quarter-units.

GE DIGITAL CAMERANow lay out the quarter-units as shown and sew together to complete your “Oh, Susannah” block!

Let’s have some fun and mess with the color placements, shall we?

Each of these blocks uses the same construction technique. I’ve just moved the location of the colors within the block.


This version is often called "Mr Roosevelt's Necktie."

This version is often called “Mr Roosevelt’s Necktie.”

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow), and replace the white center squares with print squares.

In this version, I used two shades of the secondary color (yellow).

And in this version, I "rotated" the center triangles.

And in this version, I “rotated” the center triangles.

If you’d like to use a fussy-cut novelty print in the center of your block, McCall’s Quilting offers a version of Oh, Susannah that is a little different, but still totally TQable. Click HERE to go there.

One last thing – in case it isn’t already running through your mind, the “Oh, Susannah” quilt block was most likely named for the nonsensical Stephen Foster minstrel tune. You’re welcome.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Scrap Quilt Challenge – 2014


One of my favorite Facebook groups is Scrap Quilt Challenge, run by Shannon, whose day job is running a quilt shop – Fabrics N Quilts in Jamestown, Tennessee. The 4th annual Scrap Quilt Challenge kicks off this week, and Shannon has asked several of her designer friends to help provide inspiration to the challenged by posting a scrap quilt pattern on our blogs. No problem. After all, scrap quilt patterns are what I do!

If this is your first visit to “Seams Like a Plan”, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look back over my previous posts. My first post explains the basics of my Thrifty Quilter scrap management system and how I came to write my book, The Thrifty Quilter:Make (Nearly) Free Quilts from Leftover Fabric Another post from this January goes into a little more detail. In between, you’ll find a few block and project patterns and tutorials.

Now, on to the Scrap Challenge block you were promised.

“Quarter Star”

For each 12″ (finished) block, you will need:

Scrap pieces for one 12" block

Scrap pieces for one 12″ block

Four sets of four matching 3.5″ print squares

Eight 3.5″ white squares

Four 2.5″ white squares

Making HST's

Making HST’s

Step 1: Make two Print/white half-square triangles…HST’s in Quilterspeak… from each of your four print colors. The method illustrated here is to draw a diagonal line on the back side of your white 3.5″ squares, pair each square with a print square (right sides facing), sew on the line and trim 1/4″ from the seam line.

I press my seams open, but you can press to the dark side if you prefer.

Note- Don’t toss those “waste” triangles. The can make 2.5″ HST’s for another project.

Make the corner squares

Make the corner squares

Step 2: Use the same technique and the 2.5″ white squares to put a white corner on one of each color of 3.5″ squares.

You should have one 3.5″ square of each color left.

Lay out the corner unit

Lay out the corner unit

Step 3A: Lay out the four matching squares as shown.

Sew the unit together

Sew the unit together

Step 3B: Sew the squares together to make a quarter-unit. Make one from each color.


Complete the block

Complete the block

Step 4: Sew the four quarter-units together to complete your block.

So once you’ve made a stack of blocks, the challenge becomes what to do with them.

You can set them side-by-side, of course. A row of three or four blocks with a 3″ white border would make an 18″ x 42″ or 18″ x 54″ table runner. Bed runners are popular, too. Two rows of five blocks with a 3″ border would make a cheerful twin-size (30″ x 66″) bed runner. You’d want two 6-block rows for a full-size bed, and two 7 block rows for a queen.

To make a solid set quilt with a 3″ border, you would need:

Crib  (42” x 54”)   4 rows of 3 blocks = 12 blocks
Lap (54” x 66”)   5 rows of 4 blocks = 20 blocks
Twin (66” x 90”)  7 rows of  5 blocks =  35 blocks
Full (78” x 90”)   7 rows of  6 blocks =  42 blocks
Queen (90” x 102”)  8 rows of  7 blocks =  56 blocks
King* (108” x 120”) 9 rows of  8 blocks = 72 blocks
*use a 6″ border for king size quilt.

So there’s one idea to start you on the 2014 Scrap Quilt Challenge.

Be sure to visit “Seams Like a Plan” often for more scrappy ideas!

If you click the blue “Follow” button at the top of the page, you’ll be notified by email whenever there’s a new blog post.

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Ready to meet the Scrap Quilt Challenge?

Click on the logo for full details!



Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, HST's, Quilts, Scrap Quilts, Tablerunners, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, TQ Patterns | 8 Comments

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