Spool Quilt Tutorial

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The Spool Quilt: Easy Charm Pack Quilting Tutorial with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC’s Jenny teaches us how to make an easy Spool Quilt using charm packs (5 inch squares of precut fabric).

Find all the details here: http://land.missouriquiltco.com/spool-quilt

Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look at this great quilt behind me. This is my version of a spool quilt. I love spool quilts and I’ve had one in my head for quite a few years and these are one of those patterns that kind of, you know, roller coaster. It’s one where there will be a whole bunch of spool quilts and then you’ll see a few. Well, I decided to come up with my own spool quilt and, you guys know, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I love big spools of thread. I just like those big spools because I hate to change my thread. So, I decided to make the tall spool quilt. Now, here’s my tall spool. One of the fun things about this quilt is that it’s made from one charm pack. So, the fabric that I’ve used in this quilt today is called, is called Threads of Time by Julie Hendrickson for Windom and it’s just one of those beautiful Civil War lines that I love. But I also think this would look darling in brights and, I mean, just in anything because it’s just really fun and easy and it just takes this one charm pack.


So, let’s talk about what you’re going to need for this quilt. To make this quilt, you’re going to need: one charm pack of color. You’re going to need: 2 ½ yards of this background fabric and this is all the background, right here, all this cream color is the background. You’re going to need: ¾ of a yard for your spools, and that’s these top parts, right here, and I just used something that looked a little like wood, you know, or a wooden spool that would go with this type of a quilt. You could use a solid or any color; it would work great. But you just need ¾ of a yard of that. And then, for your border and your binding and these little squares, you’re going to need an additional yard and a half of fabric. So it’s just not that much fabric, and it’s just a great, quick and easy quilt to make. So, let me show you how easy this is.


So, what we’re going to do to make this quilt, I’ve got my charm pack all open up here. You’re going to open it up and you’re going to kind of spread it out because, because we want to put, well, I wanted to match my spools and so I wanted to make sure that I, like on this green spool I wanted to use different colors, different charm packs for different colors, but I wanted it all to look like a spool of green thread, so that’s entirely up to you– you can do whatever you want to do– but let me show you how easy this is.


So, what I did was, I took charm squares, just like this, I put them right sides together, and I sewed straight down the side, a ¼ of an inch on both sides. So, let’s go to the sewing machine and do that. Alright, now I’m just going to, I’m putting my fabric right sides together and I’m just going to sew down the sides, right here, and, a quarter of an inch down each side. So, I’m just going to turn this around. I went down one side, I just flipped the whole unit around. Now, if you’re doing… when you do yours, you’ll lay out all your charms and you’ll just chain piece them and go down one side and then the next, the next, the next, and then you’ll flip your whole string around and do it. Since I just have one going, I flipped the one around.


Alright, now what we’re going to do is, we are going to come over here and we’re going to cut this directly in half. So, I’m going to lay my ruler on here and I know my squares are 5 inches, so I’m going to come in 2 ½ inches from the side, like this, and I’m going to, I have another one here that’s already sewn, so I’m going to cut that one, as well, and then I’m going to just cut that right down the middle, 2 ½ inches, and then we just need to iron these open. And, you can see here, I wanted to mix them all up, so I have one of these and one of these over here is going to make one spool. And I have another, the makings for another spool, already sewn just by those two seams. So, let’s press these open, just like this. There we go–nice and flat. Then, what I want to do is, I want to put these together and that is going to make the tall spool. So, let’s go ahead and sew these two squares. We’re putting them right sides together and we’re just going to sew this one seam on this one side and that will make our spool.


Now, one of the fun things about designing a block like this is that, once you have your spool of thread, and I’m going to go ahead and press this back, you have to figure out how to make it work in a block, how to make the block. So, what I’m going to do here is, I’m going to take my background fabric, which is right over here, and I’m going to cut a 2 ½ inch strip off of it, just like this. And I’ve got my, I’ve got my big piece of fabric folded in half and I’m just going to line it up here, make sure it’s straight and come in, and I’m going to cut a 2 ½ inch strip off of here, just like that. So, this is going to make my, the side to side piece on my spool, and what I need to do now is, I need to measure my spool block and this one measures 8 inches. Yep, just 8 inches. So then what I’m going to do is, I’m going to take my 2 ½ inch strip and I’m going to cut it in a couple of 8 inch pieces. So, I’m going to cut, this is my selvedge end right here, and my fold I just cut off. And I’m just going to count over 8. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and make a cut.


So, now I’ve cut a little stack of four of these and I need to put one on either side of this, just like this. And I’ll set these aside for my other, my other spool block. So, let’s go ahead and put these on. And I’m just going to put right sides together and sew down the side. I am going to actually put my side piece on the top of my, of my thread, my spool, and I’m going to add it to both sides. So, there’s one side; here comes the other. And this is kind of cool because this will show you how you go about making a block so that it will set into a quilt. So then I’m going to press these open and I’m just going to go ahead and roll these back, a little shot of steam. So this is the middle of my block, now, just like this. And now we get to make the spool parts.


So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to measure how wide this is again and this is now nine inches wide. So, my spool, this is the spool fabric I’ve chosen, and it’s the same type of fabric. It’s called a screen print. It’s by Benartex. So, it’s just a little darker. I wanted to see what it was going to look like. But you can use anything for the tops of your spools. I’ve gone ahead and cut a 2 ½ inch strip off of this and I’m going to cut a nine inch piece. That’s going to be my spool piece. So one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, right here. Then I’m going to double check and make sure this is going to lay nice right across the top. So that’s going to be my spool, but it doesn’t look much like a spool.


So, what we have to do to make it look like a spool is, we’re going to take our background fabric, and we’re going to cut some 2 ½ inch squares, and we’re going to put one on each side, like this, and we are going to sew this, this way, so that when we turn this back, like this… see, it’s going to have that spool look to it. So we’re going to need one of these for the top and one of these for the bottom and I’m going to go ahead and take a couple of these squares. You’re going to need four squares for each block right here. And I’m going to go ahead and press these so that I have a sew line. This will be my little, my little, this is, instead of drawing the line, I’m going to press these in half so I have a little sew line to follow. There we go.


And then what I’m going to do, now this is really crucial right here, this part, because you’re going to lay these on and you have to make sure that they’re going, that they’re both coming into the middle, like this, because this is the look you want, so you have to watch when you put these on. I mean, every once in a while I get one of these turned and I have them both going the same direction–does not work! So you want to turn these and make sure that they’re both coming into the middle, like this, and you’re going to sew from the outside corner into the middle on both ends. So, let’s go ahead and do that.


Alright, so when I come over here to the sewing machine, I’m just going to make sure my square is still lined up. I’m going to set it so that I can sew just straight across here and then I’m just going to come out here, like this, and come around to the other side and do the same thing. Alright, there we go. So now we get to look and see if this is actually going to work. So as we fold these back, you can see that this is actually going to work and it’s going to go. We need to do another one for the other side, so let’s go ahead and do that. Again, watch where you’re putting your squares so that you make sure that they both come into the middle. And we’re just going to come over here and sew this one.


It’s fun to see how these blocks come together because lots of times we have a shape in our head but we don’t know how to make it fit in a quilt. And this is just, really, one of those good ways where you can see how it all goes together. Alright, trim that and sew this one on. And I really do get turned around on these angles, sometimes, so I have to, I have to really walk myself through it each time that I do it to make sure that I, I’m actually coming out the right way. And every time I get up and I look at it, I’m actually always a little tickled. I’m like, “Ahh! I really did it right!” I’m just always a little surprised.


So I’m going to go ahead, now that I know these are going the right direction, I’m going to trim off these corners and I’m just going to set my ruler out about a quarter of an inch from that stitch line and make sure you’re cutting off the right side because if we cut off the wrong side, that would be tragic! So, here’s that one and this one, then we’ll iron them down and see how they look. Alright, here’s this one, right here. Alright, now let’s go press these back. And the fun part about this, when you use the background that’s all the same color, is that, what happens then is, the background is going to disappear and it’s really going to look like you have this cute little spool on top.


Alright, so here’s our spool. Here’s our little piece here with our, the top spool and the bottom spool and, so now, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to turn these right sides together, just like this, and we’re going to sew these on the top and the bottom.


So then, once you get these ends sewn on and it’s all pressed, look at that! You’ve got a spool block and it’s just darling. Now, for this quilt right here, I have five across and four down. I wanted to make it like more of a wall hanging shape and, because they’re so long this time, I’ve only put four rows and five across because I wanted it kind of more square-ish. And so, for this quilt behind me, you’re going to need 20 of these blocks. And it just goes together just so quick and easy, just like that.


Now I want to talk a little bit about the sashing. I’ve covered sashing in a lot of videos, but this one has just this quick, darling little sashing. So this is a little tiny 1 ½ inch strip that I put in between the squares. So, just like this. So, what you’re going to do is, you’re going to measure the size of your block and you’re to put your strip in, like this, and you’re going to do that in between all your blocks. So then how you get this piece up here with the little blue square in there is, you’re going to measure the width of your block and you’re going to put that little strip on there. Let me put this down here so you can see it better. So, you’re going to put this strip on here and a block, right here. You’ll sew this block onto here and you’ll put this whole strip across the middle, just like that.


So, just to recap, you’re going to first put your 1 ½ inch sashing strip in the middle between your blocks and between all of them, right here. Then you’re going to come in with a whole sashing strip that you’ve sewn together that has the long strips, the little block, long strip, little block, and you’ll go ahead and do that all the way across here, just like this, and that will make the darling little sashing. You’re going to finish up with a 1 ½ inch border all the way around, all the way around the quilt and your outside border is going to be 5 ½ inches, 5 inch finished border.


So, that’s really all it is. It just goes together quick and easy and, before you know it, you have a spool quilt. So, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Spool Quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.


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  • sewsilly

    Are there written instructions for this spool quilt, and the other quilt tutorials on the website? It is hard to watch the video, write it all down and then go sew it. (My computer is not in my sewing room.) I am not sure about anyone else, but it would be easier to follow all tutorials with written instructions. Thanks!