The Snowball 4 Patch Quilt

Hi I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look at this beautiful quilt behind me. This is such a gorgeous quilt. I love civil war fabrics. This fabric is called “First Ladies,” it is by Nancy Gere for Windham and this quilt is so easy, you are just going to love it.

This quilt is basically made of two blocks. A four-patch like this and a snowball block like this. Really quick and easy. So to make this quilt behind me you are going to need about one layer-cake and about three yards of background fabric that will make these squares and this first border. And then you are going to need about two yards for your outer border. And so it’s just something that goes together so fast.

So lets talk about how to make these blocks. There are lots of ways to make four-patches, and I like the scrappy four-patch method where you never cut out the single piece, you make them from the big blocks. So to do that you are going to take your layer-cakes like this, and you’re going to put a light and a dark together right sides, and then you’re going to sew right down the sides. Just the sides. It’s the regular same quarter of an inch, and I have one here that’s already done. And you can see it’s a quarter of an inch, actually let me flip this over and you can, you might be able to see that white thread better right there. So you are just going to sew it a quarter of an inch right down the sides. When you get all of your layer-cakes done you are just going to do one set after another after another, you can chain piece them all through the machine and then they come back around the other side and chain piece them. And to chain piece means that when I get through sewing this I am going to have this one ready to go in so they’ll just go one right after the other.

And so then what you are going to do with your pieces like this is cut them in half. So we’re going to take our ruler, and just lay it on the edge of the square and cut it directly in half, just like this. So then you have two pieces that look like this. So then you’re going to take these pieces and you’re going to press them open. I like to set that seam and then roll them back.

And you’re going to take these pieces and you’re going to mix them all up and you’re going to sew them together end to end to end. And you’re going to put light and darks opposite and you’re going to have a big long chain. So you’re going to sew your entire layer-cake together in a long line. So I have a piece of one here. This is just the beginning of it I didn’t sew all of mine, but you’re going to want to sew all of yours.

And then what we are going to do is we’re going to fold this, let’s see, we are going to fold this in half. Now I’ve already cut one off of here so let me make that cut so I can show you. Actually, you know what, I will start from the other end so you can see how this begins.

So we are going to fold our layer-cake in half like this. Our big piece. They’re not layer-cakes anymore they’re the two pieces I have sewn together. And I’m going to cut that in half again. A layer-cake is ten inches, so you’re coming in five inches and you’re going to make that cut. Now you will end up with this extra piece like this, but that you’re going to sew on the tail end of your strip and it’s going to make your last four-patch. So what I want to show you here is, take a look at that, so there’s aq four-patch and then every time you fold that over and make that cut you get a new scrappy four-patch. So let me make another cut and show you.

And this is just a really easy way. This works great for any kind of postage-stamp quilt or anything like that. Anytime you want to make something that has a scrappy four-patch but it isn’t that you want to cut those single little individual pieces. So here is another cut. So then you can see, look at these that you have all these different scrappy four-patches and you can turn them around and mix them up, and that makes all your scrappy four-patches. This works with any size block you want to make. So its just a quick and easy way to make four-patches.

So next we need to talk about the snowball block. Now the snowball block, what I do is I take one of my four-patches and I measure to see how big it is. And then I cut my snowball blocks just those size. Now my blocks came out to be nine and a half inches, and you’re going to cut your plain white blocks just like this just that size. And so that’s going to give you the next block, and then we need to snowball the corners.

Now when you snowball the corners you are just going to put a smaller square on each of the corners and it will give it an appearance of it looking kind of round-ish. So to get those little blocks what you are going to do is take your layer-cake, one of your big ones here, let me see if I can grab one of these, like this and you’re going to cut that in half both directions like this, and make a cut. That’s going to give you four four-patches this size, I mean not four-patches, but four charms this size. Or four squares I should say.

So then you are going to take those little squares and you are going to cut those in half both directions too. Just like this. I am going to turn this so I don’t cut an arm off or lose a leg on here. So then we end up with four little blocks like this. What I do is I cut several of my charms at one time and then I mix them all up, you know, so I have all different colors, and then I sew a different color in each corner, because I love that scrappy look.

So I am going to take four of these, find four different ones, and I’m going to come over here to the ironing board, I’m such a mess, and I’m going to iron these in half diagonally. So I just make a fold like that and press them. That gives me a sewing line. And I’m going to do four of these. It doesn’t matter really if you press them right sides together or not. I have three right sides together and one wrong sides together, but all I’m looking for is that line to sew on.

So then we’re going to put these in the corners like this, right sides together, and I’m going to head over to the sewing machine and sew those down. You can put a little pin on there if you want, but I generally lay my squares out there like that and then just put them on as I’m over at the sewing machine. So lets head over there.

Okay, so this first one I just line up my needle on my sew line and I go ahead and sew that down. Then I’m just going to lift up my presser-foot a little bit and turn my whole block and sew the next corner down. I already have my sew line on there so I can follow that. And I’ll do the same thing all the way around. And this is called snowballing a block, and it’s just a really quick easy way to do this. There we go. That one has a little bit of a curve in it so I’m just going to sew right over that and sew on the line this time, because we’re going to cut off that outer side anyway.

So now we come back here, we’ve got our little snowballed block, and we’re going to cut these edges off. What I do is I lay my ruler about a quarter of an inch from that seam line, and make sure you cut these little threads in between. These little threads are what’s kind of causing it to bunch up. And you can do that with a scissor or I happen to have this rotary-cutter handy so I’ll just use that.

So then I lay it out flat and I can just cut these corners off these blocks now. You don’t need that added bulk in there. And then we will press those back as soon as I get this last one done. Just like that. Alright, so now we are going to come over here to the ironing board and press this, and again I like to set that seam and roll them back. So there you have it. A snowball block and a four-patch and that’s all you need to make this quilt.

So now we just need to lay them out, and this is just a super easy layout. You’re going to put your four-patch and your snowball and just alternate them, four-patch and snowball. And then when you start the next row you are going to start with your snowball which is right here. You are going to start with your snowball and just keep alternating them like this. And very quickly the pattern comes together and you can see it.

Now to sew these together you are going to put them right-sides together, and I generally sew a four-patch and a snowball, I do them by two’s and you’re just going to sew a quarter of an inch right down that side press it open, and I just do them in sections of two’s, you can see that I have them here where I’ve sewn the two together. And then you’re going to go ahead and sew four together and that will make my row for my little mini-quilt down here.

So we will go over to the sewing machine and I’ll show you how to do that. Just remember everything is a quarter of an inch in quilting, and here we are. So then the only other big thing, well lets iron this first before I get on to the other big things. Just press that back so it lays nice and flat for you guys. So then once you get this other row sewn together the only other thing that you need to remember is that as you are sewing your rows together like this you need to make sure that these big block seams match up. So these are the seams you are looking to match right here, where your two blocks intersect. And you want to make sure that those match up really nice and nest because that’s what’s going to show on a big block quilt. So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: All, Basic Skills & Techniques, Beginner Quilting Tutorials, Browse by Skill Level, Common Quilting Techniques, Header Featured, Intermediate Quilting Tutorials, Layer Cakes, Product Demos, Quilt Charm Packs, Tips and Tricks | tagged: , , , , ,
Have you used this tutorial to make something cool!?
Send it in to us and share it with the world!
  • Cyndi

    What are the measurements for the finished snowball quilt? I need it to be queen size.. I’m a beginner quilter and need help with sizes.

  • Cyndi

    I guess what I need to know do I need one or two layer cakes….or one layer cake and One charm pack????

    • Camay

      Please can I have the names and quantities of materials used in this quilt and are they available to purchase? Many thanks,

  • Camay

    Please will you let me know the names and quantities of materials used in the Snowball quilt. Many thanks

    • Anna

      Where can I find a pattern for the snowball quilt?

  • nursequilter

    I was thinking this would also make a beautiful fall pumpkin quilt all the snowballs in orange and then u could add a stem or a pumpkin face

  • schellb

    I would like to make a twin bed quilt with the pattern. Can you tell me how many layer cakes I need for the snowballs and four patch squares? Thank you.

  • Vera Sinclair

    Does anyone know where I can get a double bed size quilt top already pattern stamped on?