>Part 1: How to Make a yoyo Advent Calender

>This is the start of a continuing tutorial. This will show you how to make the wall hanging part of the calendar. Then, each day I will post how to make one or more ornaments to hang on the tree ’till I have 25. This way you can make it, too. (Above photo is after star, prior to buttons)


  • Green fabrics (you can use 1 or lots of green fabrics, I choose solid for the tree and variety for the ground) 42 green yoyos tree, 25 green yoyos ground = total 67 green yoyos
  • White fabrics (you can use 1 or lots of white fabrics) ( I used recycled 100% cotton, from my husband’s outgrown Sunday shirts, 2 of them) 86 white yoyos
  • Red fabrics (you can use 1 or lots of red fabrics, I used lots of varieties) 67 red yoyos
  • Brown fabric enough for 1 yoyo
  • Yellow fabric enough for 1 yoyo for star (I used the small clover flower maker to make my star)
  • Standard cd to use as template
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Thimble (if you use one)
  • Pencil, optional (for tracing around cd; I don’t do this, but some might)
  • Optional small clover flower maker to use in making the star. You can also just buy a star at a store and sew it on instead of making one.
  • 2- 4 cabone rings ( or other type of ring to use as a hanger)
  • Dowel or other straight item for strength when hanging
  • Bias tape
  • 67 buttons (I used mother-of-pearl, but you can use whatever you want)

Photo to upper right is what the back looks like.

Order of events:

  • Make round yoyos and yoyo star
  • Lay them out in the pattern (shown below in this post)
  • Stitch together in six format, not the 4
  • Add star at top of tree
  • Stitch a button on every green yoyo
  • Stitch on cabone rings (or other hanger item) on back of wall hanging on top row of yoyos; covered by bias tape
  • Stitch dowel (or other straight item) to top back of quilt to help prevent sagging from weight; covered by bias tape

There are 21 rows in this wall hanging.

  1. 11 red
  2. 1 red 8 white 1 red
  3. 1 red 4 white 1 green 4 white 1 red
  4. 1 red 3 white 2 green 3 white 1 red
  5. 1 red 3 white 3 green 3 white 1 red
  6. 1 red 3 white 2 green 3 white 1 red
  7. 1 red 3 white 3 green 3 white 1 red
  8. 1 red 2 white 4 green 2 white 1 red
  9. 1 red 3 white 3 green 3 white 1 red
  10. 1 red 2 white 4 green 2 white 1 red
  11. 1 red 2 white 5 green 2 white 1 red
  12. 1 red 2 white 4 green 2 white 1 red
  13. 1 red 2 white 5 green 2 white 1 red
  14. 1 red 1 white 6 green 1 white 1 red
  15. 1 red 4 white 1 brown 4 white 1 red
  16. 1 red 2 white 4 red 2 white 1 red
  17. 1 red 3 white 3 red 3 white 1 red
  18. 1 red 8 green 1 red
  19. 1 red 9 green 1 red
  20. 1 red 8 green 1 red
  21. 11 red

Stitch all yoyos together and hand stitch star at top of tree. You can do this same type of pattern with English paper pieced hexagons. If you want to use this other technique, go here; there is a tutorial.

Add front embellishments like the star and buttons now. The buttons are for holding the ornaments on the tree. They are also to hold the ornaments on the bottom ground area ’till they are moved up. There are more buttons on the tree than on the ground so you can have more of a choice where to place them.

Stitch two to four cabone rings (or other hanging devises — I used metal belt loops because that is what I had on hand) on top row for hanging purposes. Use four if you don’t use a dowel for strength and to keep quilt from sagging. Once stitched on, cover stitches with bias tape, too, just like the dowel.

Here is the link to make all the ornaments to add to this advent calendar.


>Free Antique pattern library on Internet

>Here is the link to a page full of lovely old old patterns in crochet, tatting, and knitting and other things as well. There are thousands of patterns available through this link.

>Old sweaters/ Conference Saturday project


start of sweater afghan

So, what to do while listening to conference on Saturday Morning and afternoon. Get rid of the pile of old sweaters sittings at the foot of my bed that I have been meaning to tear apart for awhile. So, as you now know, I had a bunch of old sweaters (cotton rayon blend); these all had some sort of embroidery. Not really my style any more, and most didn’t fit well, either. So what to do with them?

  1. First, salvage all the buttons; lots of good MOP (mother of pearl) buttons on these sweaters to be saved, and a few cool beads. After you pillage the buttons and such, what next?
  2. Cut as many 9 1/2 inch squares as you can, save short sleeves (I have another project for them in mind) and the large scraps (same project).
  3. Cut white 100% cotton fabric squares, also 9 1/2 inches square. (I have not done this step, yet). I plan to back with cotton fabric to help prevent the wavy look I have seen on other such afghans. Don’t know if this will work, but I will give it a try. I plan on using 1/2 inch seam allowance. Bigger than normal, but I am hoping this will help with some raveling that may happen.
  4. When all are sewn together with a bat and a back, I want to tie the front to the back with crow feet quilting. A sort of quick quilting-tie with an embroidery look.
  5. Bind edges; I am thinking old silk from same pile of clothes to get rid of, or old-fashioned satin blanket binding. There are also jeans in this stack to add to my jean braided rug.

I think it will be cute and if not, it will still useful.

>November BOM


november block of the month

Sorry for all the bad photos in this post. My husband has requested that I try to keep my projects in the studio/sewing room/kids’ art room and not all over the house. Well, honestly, that room has the worse light in the entire house. I will have to figure out some way of taking better photos in that room. I love the light in my family room, but oh, well. Maybe I should just drag the photos down after every stitch; oh let’s not kid ourselves, I am patient when it comes to making things but spending four to ten minuets per photo — just not happening. Especially going up and down the stairs since my knee is still hurting and I’m still wearing the knee brace on and off when the pain is too much to stand. Anyway, on to this month’s BOM. It is sort of a cross between snail’s trail/court house steps/ and log cabin. I honestly don’t know the name of this block, so if anyone in blog land does, please let me know.

3 fabrics cut in 1 1/2 inch wide stripes
sewing machine and sewing supplies ie: scissors, rotary cutter, mat….
clear quilter’s ruler for truing up

Go to it!

First two pieces are 1 1/2 inches square. From there, it is follow picture and sew and cut till done. This is a more follow-the-picture type of thing and true up as needed. Be careful, there shouldn’t be a need for truing up and you have no tolerance for it either. I like to use a scant 1/4 inch seam; that gives me just a little fudge room. Just so we know, the block is square: a nice 10 1/2 by 10 1/2, but I didn’t take the photos from dead-on; the lighting issue and kids-under-feet issue. First block is just the three fabrics cut in 1 1/2 inch wide strips; the rest are sewing order.
Side note: the last two photos are of the same finished block (oops), and they are rotated wrong, too. This is what I get for doing this when I am sleepy, too.

I figured out why I have two of the same block at the bottom of this between picture 1 and 2 on row three. There should have been two more photos; I haven’t a clue where they went, the photos that is. But I think everyone can still follow well enough to make the block and life goes on. You see those two last blocks were supposed to be in the construction layout just at the top or bottom of this post. Sorry folks!

>October BOM


block 2

I know it is November, but I never showed October’s block; it was Ditzy Donuts by Mary Evans from 2005. Since she posted the detailed instructions on her site, I will just show an over-view of what I did in construction of these three blocks. The block starts out 13 inches and ends up 10 1/2 inches, unfinished size.

1. 3 fabrics cut into 13 inch squares stacked on top of each other.
2. First two cuts
3. Third and fourth cuts (none of these cuts are measured; they are random in width)
4. Fifth and sixth cut
5. Seventh and eighth cut
6. Take top center piece and place on bottom of stack
7. Take bottom pieces of middle row and place on top of stack
8. Take middle pieces to machine and keep them lined up in order so you don’t forget orientation
9. Iron pieces and take back to original layout and make sure you have layout correct
10. Repeat step 8 and 9. Do not true up at this time; do trim ears at this time
11. Repeat step 8 and 9. Do trim off ears at this time; do not true up
12. Take back to original block and make sure you have directions correct. Repeat step 11; cut off ears and true up now 2 more finished blocks, plus the one at the start of this post.

block 3
block 1

>Block of the Month Tutorial For Aug


Aug  block of the month / tutorial follow link

So the block of the month on flicker is under way we have our first block which will be for the month of August. You can join the group at any time but sign ups for the swaps are always the 1-5 of each month. Sorry it is a rainy dark day so my photos are not the best but will work. Below are the basic rules and layout of the group.


If you sign up in an individual month’s block exchange you will be required to make 1 quilt block, it must be 10-1/2″ x 10-1/2″, and send to your partner for that month.

I will suggest a block to make but you can always choose your own, any style or color.
Then, when you have enough blocks, you can make a quilt and post the photos on the photo pool.


1st of every month I will post a photo of the suggested block (please note you do not have to make this block, it is only an idea). You may make any type of block you choose as long as it is the right size and agreed color of your partner.

1 – 5 of the month sign ups post on thread also flickr mail me please.

5- 10 contact partner to see if there is a color theme or not and to get mailing address.

5 – 20 of the month make your block.

20 – 30 of the month, post/mail out to your partner.

Post your blocks in the pool before you mail to your partner.

Now that you know that, on to the block:

Aug 2007 Tutorial for Pinwheel
finished size 10 inches unfinished size 10 1/2 inches


  • Minimum 3 different fabrics (1 is the background, the other 2 colors make up the pinwheel if you want a scrappy look you can have as many colors as there are pieces to the block)
  • A way to sew the block, either a sewing machine and supplies for it, or needle and thread for hand sewing
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron
  • Here is the pattern: PDF file, plain SVG file and Inkscape SVG file. I cut mine using measurement, but you can download these files and use templates if you are more comfortable.


  1. Cut three stripes of fabric 4 1/2 inches by 9 inches; set aside ’till step 5.
  2. Cut one piece of fabric 4 inches by 10 inches.
  3. Cut in half so you have 2 pieces of fabric that are 2 inches by 10 inches.
  4. Stack neatly and cut at an angle so one side is 4 inches and the other is 6 inches. You will now have 4 pieces of fabric (before making this last cut, make sure you have the angle facing the right way for the block) set aside.
  5. Stack all 3 pieces neatly (from step 1) and cut in half, so now you have 2 squares that are 4 1/2 by 4 1/2.
  6. Stack squares neatly and cut from corner to corner and set aside.
  7. You now have 12 triangles and 4 edge pieces for a total of 16 pieces.
  8. Match up first seam for all blocks, short side of edge with short side of triangle, and then two short side of triangle. To help with this, lay out the block as if done and flip the pieces over on top of the piece they will be sewn to and make two neat stacks.
  9. Take to machine and sew. Use the chaining method when sewing; that means, do not cut threads between blocks. This is faster, neater, and easier to manage; use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Continue in this manner of chain stitching through the triangles and the triangle with boarder pieces.
  10. When sewing the triangle to boarder, note the little dog ears at the end where the two blocks cross; your stitches should go right through that intersection. If done correctly there will be a smooth edge when flipped and pressed.
  11. Cut apart blocks and press seam to one side.
  12. Match next set of seams for blocks; lay right sides together and sew in chain method again.
  13. Press seams to one side and match up next seam and chain stitch again; continue in this fashion ’till done with the block.


>Tutorial Mock Cathedral Windows



This is sometimes called an orange peel quilt, and a few other names, too. Whatever you want to call it, it looks sort of like Cathedral Widows.


  1. Template — cd or plate, depending on the size you want (small plates work better than cd size). I did cd size for tutorial; it’s easier to take photographs, but you will get smother rounded sides with a bigger circle (small salad plate or large soup bowl)
  2. Scissors or rotary cutter / mat for fabric
  3. Quilters see through ruler with square grids on it
  4. Scissors for paper
  5. Needle and thread if doing all by hand / sewing machine if doing all by machine / or half and half
  6. Card stock to make square template
  7. Pencil


  1. Trace round template onto fabric and cut out (use what ever method you want, such as: trace and cut with scissors or use a rotary cutter and mat with template).
  2. Lay right sides of circles together in preparation for sewing.
  3. Next, either sew by hand or on a sewing machine with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
  4. Overlap beginning of seam by 1/2 to 1 inch.
  5. Cut a small slit in one side of fabric being careful not to cut through both layers. Make this incision close to where the folded sewn edge will be.
  6. Turn fabric to right side through the small hole you just made.
  7. Put something inside of circle to push all the edges out. The back side of the pencil works well for this.
  8. Smooth out circles.
  9. Iron circles.
  10. Figure out inside square size. As this is different for each person who makes this because of different templates used or not everyone’s seam allowance being the same. I will just reference how to do it. Way 1: Fold circle in half and iron; fold in half again in the opposite direction mating up first iron marks and iron again. The four marks that are left on the outside edges of the circle are the corner points of your squares. Do this to all your blocks. Sew from corner to corner. Make a row as long as your quilt’s finished length will be. Way 2: Place see-through ruler over circle and see what size square will hit all sides, four corners of square at once, and cut that size square out of cardstock. This is your template for inner sewing dimensions of square. Place on all circle and trace. Sew on traced lines as before.
  11. When sewing seams, make sure that the seam you sew will cover the slit you have made when flipped over.
  12. Continue in this manner until you have enough strips to equal the width of the quilt.
  13. Next, start to sew these long strips together
  14. When all strips are sewn together, iron flaps down
  15. You now have a choice: you can either sew the flaps down by hand or with a sewing machine. If you use a machine, you can use decorative stitches; I sewed mine by hand.
sewing down flaps

Finished, you can either sew down side scallops and make a straight edge quilt or leave them, as I have, as scallops for a decorative finish and less work.
Below is what the back of the quilt will look like. Front view is at the top of post.


There is no batting in this version. If you want batting, use warm and natural and sew it at the same time you do step # 3; trim close to seam and flip as before. This will make the quilt warmer, but less like cathedral windows. This is more of a spring-summer quilt, not a winter-keep-you-warm type of thing. Of course, this is a doll quilt, but you can use the same technique to make a normal size quilt, too.

If you have questions please ask so I can help you understand how to do this.

For an added surprise go here and you may just end up owning this quilt, or maybe another mini quilt I have made. As a celebration of the 4th of July and my blogiversary.

Cathedral Window Quilts. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

whipup whipup


>Tutorial on English Paper Piecing : Grandmother’s Flower Garden


English Paper piecing tutorial
Prep work: cut paper templates and fabric

I actually like to buy my templates, mine are die cut, this gives more accuracy to my work and speeds up the process; you can do it either way, though, buy or make. Finished size paper templates are 1/4 inch shorter on each side than the unfinished size template for the piece of fabric.

My papers are 3/4 inch; this is my finished size for the hex block. My fabric pieces are 1 inch to a side. Just a side note, when I buy my pieces I buy two sizes; one for the finished size in a bulk big package and a small package to use as my templates for cutting my fabric.

Ways of cutting fabric

If I am using scraps, I use a pair of scissors to cut my fabric hexagons. If I am purposely using yardage, uncut fabric, I will use a rotary cutter. With this size hexagon I cut my strips to 1 1/2 inches wide. Then I place my template on the strips and cut the six sides. After you have cut one, each time you add the template you will only be cutting five sides because one is already cut.

To get the measurement for whatever size hexagon you are using, you will measure from point to point on the unfinished template piece of fabric. On mine that was 1 1/2 inches; yours will vary if you are using a different size hex than I am.

****** Update between stars******

There is an easier way of doing this if you do not care about your  seam allowance being exactly 1/4 inch.  You can just cut a square that will work to fold over all the sides of the hex.  A rectangle would be better than a square for seam allowances but I have not seen people use a rectangle only a square. I do not do it this way as I am picky on my seam allowance but it is an option for you just make sure your square/rectangle  is 1/2 wider  and  taller than your hex.  This will speed up the cutting process and if you machine quilt it doesn’t matter to much for the bulk.  If you plan to hand quilt I do not recommend this: unless after you baste you go back and trim your seam allowances back to 1/4 inch.

******end of update*****

  1. Pin paper to wrong side of fabric. I skip this step, but when you are starting out it is a good rule of thumb to do this ’till you get use to it.Next you fold over the right side of the fabric followed by the top side. If left handed, do the opposite (do the left followed by the top).
  2. At this point you can have a knot on your thread, if you so desire. I placed one on mine for the picture, but usually I do not use one; I leave a little tail hanging out. This is a little harder technique when starting, so for beginners I recommend a small knot. Place needle in fabric going right to left and slightly up. Pull needle through and repeat this step by making another stitch in the same spot, aka a back stitch. This will hold the corners in place.
  3. Rotate hex in left hand so the point that you just finished is pointing right. If left handed, rotate left and point last done will be pointing left. Fold down top like you did before. Insert needle from right to left, repeat. Repeat this last section of rotation and insert needle twice then repeat all the way around. If left handed, insert needle from left to right, of course. Finish off on sixth corner; you don’t have to do the first one again. Cut thread; you don’t need a knot if you leave a tail when you cut the thread. Exception to the rule: if your finished hex size is over 1 1/2 inches, it’s good to do the first corner one more time. A lot of tutorials on this technique tell you to stitch through the paper; I don’t like to do that as you have to cut all those threads when done. I only stitch through the paper if my finished hex size is bigger than 2 inches (I don’t do that size often). If I am doing that size, then I do one stitch in the middle of each side. This is a really tiny stitch see example I posted at a later date than this post. This way when I want to remove the papers all I have to do is make a small snip with scissors (6 times per block) and pull the papers out. This leaves in the corner stitches and the other stitches are pulled to the back. These middle stitches are known as a stabilizing stitch, and I only do them one to a side. More than one stabilizing stitch to a side and you have to pull out threads. It also takes too much time, and I believe it to be a waste of time. Make sure if you are doing your hexagons like mine (you leave your basting stitches in), that you use a basting thread that will not show through your work when finished.
  4. On the last hexagon for a flower or whatever shape you are doing, I finish my hex a little differently. At the end of basting I do the first corner again, but I bring my needle out in the point of the hex. This sets me up for the next step which is assembling the blocks. If you noticed, this block doesn’t have a pin in it. Like I said, that is a step I don’t do any more, but when I was learning how I did. That is a personal choice.

  1. Place two hexagons right sides together. If right handed your starting thread should be on the left; if left handed, on the right. Insert needle grabbing only two or three thread thicknesses on each fabric of each hex. DO NOT GO THROUGH THE PAPER. This is a common mistake beginners make. This makes it hard to remove the papers later. It also makes the papers not able to be used again, and wears out your fingers, too . If you do not stitch into the paper you will have an easy time pulling the papers out at the end, and you will be able to reuse the papers dozens of times, if not more. Make your stitches small and even.There should not be any gaps or openings when unfolded. Side Notes: I use Gutterman quilting thread 100% cotton and a #9 quilters betweens needle to sew mine together. Use what you like and are comfortable with. Also I like to take one extra stitch at the corners to make them a little stronger because this is where all the pressure is when used and might break easier without this extra stitch.
  2. Your thread should be at a corner from the last side you stitched. Repeat the steps in step one of assembly.
  3. Now a few things that come up while you are assembling your blocks together: First there is back tracking. This means your thread is in one spot but you really need it in another that isn’t too far away. Instead of cutting your thread and tying a lot of knots, you can back track. It is faster and fewer knots on the back of your work. In this picture my thread is on the lower right of a seam and I need it in the upper left of the same seam. So to get there, I travel over the stitches I have already done. My stitches only go through the fabric on the back of the work, never through the paper and never all the way to the front of the work. They are never more than 1/4 of an inch from each other. They do go in the opposite direction of the other stitches (see the stitches’ different slants). Now I am where I want to be at the start of the next spot to stitch, also known as a “Y” seam because it resembles the letter “Y”.
  4. Next you have what is known as a “Y” seam. You can see the spot I have yet to stitch in the photo. A “Y” seam is where 3 seams come together. When sewing with a machine this can be intimidating to some people. But when doing hand piecing it is easy to work with. The stitches are taken just as before, with little bits of fabric. The only difference is, this time the pieces just aren’t laying face to face. You can make them lay face to face if it is easier for you. To do that you just crease the hex block at the end of the seam you are doing, where my needle started the seam. This is not my preference because it wears out my papers and makes them less usable, and sometimes the paper pops out, too. Continue in whichever technique you prefer until you have your flower made or what ever shape you are making, I am making diamond shapes. When finished stitching the block together, knot and cut thread.

When you have several blocks made, play with the layout, if you did not do that ahead of time. I always do it at the end. That is a personal preference thing. My papers are actually made out of card stock to make them last longer. Yes, you can use normal paper, but it has a lot of drawbacks, it is very flimsy and doesn’t hold up well to wear and tear. When I remove the papers ,I just use a pair of tweezers on real small hexagons, 1/4 inch. If the hexagon is larger than 1 inch, then I just pull them out with my hands. Some people like to punch a hole in the middle of the paper, with a standard size hole punch, before basting it. Then to pull out the papers they put a crochet hook in the hole and pop them out that way. I do not do this because it weakens the papers. Once again, a personal preference; do what you like best, even try both.

The papers DO NOT get left in the quilt. Years ago they, pioneers, did leave the paper in when they used the old “Sears and Robuck “catalog pages as their paper templates, and they tied those quilts. They did not quilt that type, it was too hard going through the papers. Leaving the papers in added extra warmth; it also made the quilts rustle. So, if you have a real old quilt that rustles like paper a little when moved around, that is what is probably inside of it. I remove the papers as I go along, sewing the blocks together. If a single hex has all 6 hexagons bordering it sewn to it, I remove its papers, the center hex, that is.


For those who have asked I found a tutorial (http://thatgirlthatquilt.blogspot.com/2010/08/binding-hexagons-tutorial.html) on line on binding thought you might like it if you have finished your top and don’t know what to do.  This is not how I bind mine but it is a good way all the same.  I bind by hand.

******End of Update*****

This tutorial was featured in Small Town Living Magazine in Apr/May 2007 issue.

If you have any questions let me know in comments and I will also answer them in the comments area to help everyone else who reads this because they may have the same question. Also click on photos for a bigger image if you can’t see what I am talking about. If you would like to see items I have made, or am currently making, with this technique click here.

If you do decide to try this technique, there is a group on flickr that you are welcome to join and post your results there. This is a group about people who like to do hand piece using English paper piecing method or any other type of foundation piecing. Yes machine foundation piecing is welcome in the group, too.
English paper piecing/ foundation piecing. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr


>Wip Fall needle turn Applique with embroidery


This, as you can see, is a partially-done quilt.

This is also not the final lay out for one — that yellow leaf at the bottom is facing the wrong way. A few more blocks need to be made as well. The muslin squares are 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches and make a finished 9 x 9 inch square. Please use a 1/4 inch seam allowance now and through out. You can actually use any leaf that is native to your area for this or use random leaves to give lots of variety to this quilt.

The three smaller leaves are for a vine boarder that will go around the entire quilt on a 7 1/2 inch wide, unfinished size, muslin boarder. But once again you can use any leaves you want, holly leaves would be good for a Christmas theme and maybe a few pine cones in the boarders.

This is my WIP for today. You can always make it yours, too; it’s not a hard pattern. Pin pattern on pieces of fabric you wish to cut, yes you can cut more than one at once they won’t be exactly the same and that is better — more like real leaves. I recommend using scissors to cut, not a rotary cutter, but either would work. Then pin to muslin squares and use a needle to turn applique to attach them. It’s a little random that way and each has its own personality, too.

Next, use a chain stitch to make the stem and veins. You can either make the embroidery blend or have a real high contrast. Sew blocks together, add a boarder, add a vine using handmade bias tape, pin small leaves in place. Finish them the same as big leaves. Then set up on quilt frame; quilt with echo quilting and bind. This makes a very lovely fall project. Blow up pictures to your desired size and make templates. Have fun.