“MS Pillars of Strength” Quilt Block

As part of my American Quilter “A Year of Giving” series of articles throughout AQ’s 2016 magazines, I have had the distinct pleasure of communicating with some wonderful quilters about the charities they represent.  I have also been humbled when those charities ask *me* for a contribution toward drawing in more quilters by designing quilt blocks for their volunteers.

My March 2016 article focused on “Quilting for Multiple Sclerosis.”  While I have vowed that I will not speak of the struggles I (and my family) have faced personally from my MS, it still remains a subject that is near and dear to my heart.  And definitely worthy of my time to pursue as a charity.

For my “Quilt Blocks for MS” (a Facebook Group) contribution, I designed a quilt block using my own Sew n’Slash™ quilt method to make my “MS Pillars of Strength” quilt blocks.  Orange is the predominant color because that is the color associated with MS.  But purple and green are also colors we associate with MS so those were the three main colors I stuck with for my quilt blocks.

You can download my free pattern for this quilt block by clicking on either one of the photographs above.

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    Tutorial Tuesday: Sew N’Slash “LOVE Letters” Table Runner

    This is a super-simple, no-pattern-necessary tutorial on creating and piecing ABCs out of quilt fabric, the Sew N’Slash™ way.



    • TWO (2) fat quarters
    • 1/2 yard backing fabric


    These are the two fat quarters I chose.


    All of my letters will have at least one piece of fabric in them that is 1 1/2″ (finished) wide.  I begin by envisioning my finished letters.  I will use the green fabric as two of the letters and the red fabric for the other two letters in the word LOVE.


    Cutting out the two parts to the letter L.  This is a creative project.  There is no wrong way to make letters – it’s up to your creative mind!  I don’t even have a size for my letters determined – they will be the size they end up being and then I will piece them together.


    Now it’s time to cut out the background fabric for my L.


    Sew and press them together.


    Let the sewing begin!


    The letter itself is done, now it’s time to Sew N’Slash™ the rest of the border fabric for the L.  To get started, I eyeball the length and/or width to add to the letter blocks.  Once the fabric is sewn on, I slash it to whatever size I want.


    The L is completed!


    Using the same no-pattern Sew N’Slash™ method, I begin putting the V together


    Here, I visualize putting my V together just as you would using the paper-piece method of quilting – except without the paper.  It’s all in my head!  LOL


    This is the V before I slash it.


    The first slash is cutting everything away that is to the right of my seam line.


    Then it’s time to slash the two ends so they are straight.


    I *never* throw away the scraps that are created when I Sew N’Slash™ unless the pieces are too small to use elsewhere.  You never know when you are going to need a portion of the scraps to fill in a spot.  I will complete a Sew N’Slash™ project and then throw away any unusable scraps or sort the usable ones into bins.


    My V is ready!


    Continue with the same process except now I change my fabrics around – the red will become the letters and the green will become the background.


    My O is ready!  Where it looks like I’ve spent a lot of time measuring and cutting and sewing, I’ve completed this letter in less than 10 minutes, using my Sew N’Slash™ method.  I just square everything up at the end so all of my letter blocks can be sewn together.


    This is the completed “LOVE Letters”, sewn together and squared up.


    And this is the completed table runner!  Go forth and Sew N’Slash™!

    Share and Enjoy!

      Tutorial Tuesday: Sew N’Slash Scrappy Pennant Points

      The purpose of making a scrappy quilt is…using up your quilt scraps.  Right?  Keeping that in mind, my tutorial today is doing just that – and ending up with some pretty rad quilt blocks, too!

      I developed my Sew N’Slash™ method of making quilt blocks in 2009 and have had a blast employing it ever since.  It’s almost fool-proof and it makes putting quilt blocks together so much easier than all that precise measuring, cutting and piecing.  The key, with Sew N’Slash™ is all in the final block cuts.

      Think of Sew N’Slash™ in terms of piecing a paper-pieced quilt block except without the paper.  That’s how I approach it when I use it.  Without further ado, let’s get started!


      Begin by choosing various fabric pieces for your blocks.  While these fabrics I’ve chosen are scraps, they are all from the same colorway.  That isn’t necessary.  The scrappier, the better!


      Determine the size you want to make your pennant point.  I decided on 60° angles and about 4 1/2″ unfinished height.


      Choose the fabrics you would like to flank your pennant point.  Lay them out with your pennant point to make sure your scrap is big enough, by length and width, to create your desired finished block size.  I found these two squares so cut them diagonally, corner-to-corner, ONE (1) time.  I only need ONE (1) green and ONE (1) blue triangle for a single Pennant Point block.


      Because I am dealing with triangles that are cut on the bias, I like to starch and press each piece of fabric before doing anything else, to reduce the chances of the fabric stretching.  Then, pin the green fabric to the pennant point and sew together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Once done, press toward the pennant point.


      Repeat the same sewing process to the opposite side of the pennant point (pins optional).


      Once pressed, this is what your pennant point looks like with the two flanks sewn on.


      It’s time to trim the excess fabric!  My unfinished block size is 3 1/2″ wide by 4 1/2″ long.  Using my rotating cutting board (such a quilt-fabulous invention!), I square up my block to my desired dimensions.


      After another quick spray of starch and pressing it with a hot iron, this is the finished Pennant Point block!  Repeat the process and make another one (or more).  It is always quicker to chain piece a number of blocks but if you are trying to perfect your own Sew N’Slash™ abilities, just make one or two at a time.  It does get much easier with practice!


      Ta-da!  Two Pennant Point blocks using my Sew N’Slash™ method.


      Pin the two Pennant Point blocks, right sides together, and sew them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.


      This time, press the seams open.  It reduces the bulk for your finished Pennant Point block and makes sewing multiple blocks together a breeze without lumps and bumps.


      The finished Pennant Point block using my Sew N’Slash™ method.


      And this is an illustration of what a quilt top would look like if you wanted to create a quilt using Pennant Point blocks made with my Sew N’Slash™ method.  It definitely would be MUCH more fun with scrappier fabric choices.

      Share and Enjoy!