°318QAL° Week One Sewing!

318 Patchwork Patterns QAL at A Thousand Needles

Are you ready to get sewing?

Each week of the QAL we’ll be working on four blocks for our mini quilt.

The blocks that I have chosen to start off with are:

  • Shooting Star (#59)
  • Heart (#90)
  • Tulip (#104)

And our Guest for this week of the QAL is Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics! She has chosen the Ice Cream block (#5) which is one of my absolute favorites.

PS: If you still need a copy of the book you can order one from Brenda HERE .

For all of this week’s blocks, I’ve used Freezer Paper Piecing to put the blocks together. If you aren’t familiar with this technique, I have an intro post (featuring the Heart block) to get you started here. 

Kerry from very kerry berry also has a great detailed post HERE where she goes through the process of scanning and reversing the blocks so that you can put your paper templates on the wrong side of the fabric (and therefore see them when you sew).

Let’s take a look at this week’s blocks!

I’m including my original enlarged copy of the block from the book in each photo. You’ll notice that there’s red dotted lines marked on it. I thought that it might help some of y’all to see exactly where I split the block when piecing. If there was ever a chance to split on a straight seam I took it, but it’s not always the case with these block designs. When piecing the blocks, I would focus on building all the pieces in *each* section. The red dotted lines are my final seams to piece the block together.

  • Shooting Star (#59)

The curves here are gentle enough to not be too much of a problem. I split this block into the star section and everything else. I originally picked that star fabric because it’s silver metallic with a purple design but now that I see it in photographs I wish I had picked something a little more bold. I’m always a sucker for a metallic though.

318 Star



  • Heart (#90)

I would recommend starting with this block if it is your first time using Freezer Paper Piecing. There’s a long straight seam to split the block into two manageable sections. It comes together easily without any y-seams which is a great confidence builder.

318 Heart

  • Tulip (#104)

I feel like this block looks a lot trickier than it actually is. There’s no real sections to split the block into (even though I included a line to split the base off). I started by building the top part of the tulip and working down.

318 Tulip

  • Guest Pick: Ice Cream (#5)

Have I mentioned how much I love Brenda’s pick for the QAL? This is a great and beginner friendly block. I pieced the cone half and then the ice cream half, joining with that final seam. This block makes me dream of a whole ice cream quilt. Be sure to check out Brenda’s Instagram (@justabitfrayed) to see her Ice Cream!

318 Ice Cream

Sponsor of the Week: 


Week One of the QAL is sponsored by Aurifil! They’ve generously donated three of these thread boxes that include ten 50 weight spools of cotton thread. I’ve got two boxes of pink and one box of white (the boxes will be randomly shipped out to the winners since there isn’t an even color split). That means I’ll have three winners this week!

Aurifil Giveaway

Use the Link-up below to enter the giveaway! Any blocks from this week of sewing are eligible. I’ll be shipping these boxes out and I will ship out internationally so anyone from around the world can enter.

I’m also happy to report that you can link up Instagram photos now! No need for a blog entry. Please be sure to tag the picture with the #pp318qal tag.

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I’ll be checking out all the links and the Instagram tags! Link-Up will close on Weds. and I’ll announce the winner’s in Week Two’s post!

Also! Please feel free to leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram (@a1000needles) if you have any trouble/questions with your blocks. I’d be absolutely glad to help out!

Happy Sewing!

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°318QAL° Freezer Paper Piecing

Freezer Paper Piecing

I consider myself lucky that my Mom introduced me to Freezer Paper Piecing years ago. It’s a great technique to have available in my toolbox (even if it is one that I don’t use often).

With the first sewing week for the 318 Patchwork Patterns QAL starting on Thursday, I realize that some of y’all may be unfamiliar with Freezer Paper Piecing and how it works.

The blocks in the book are designed with hand sewing in mind but Freezer Paper Piecing, Foundation Paper Piecing and English Paper Piecing are all additional options.

So I thought I’d write up the way in which I Freezer Paper Piece to help introduce y’all to this technique.


To get started, I enlarged the heart block from 318 Patchwork Patterns 250%. Then I cut a rough square of freezer paper and used a lightbox to trace the heart block onto the paper side of the freezer paper.

A note on numbering: Numbering/Marking my block is partly where I differ in this process. My numbering system might not make much sense to anyone else. I think numbering should always be something that works for *you*, not necessarily what someone says you should do. Sometimes I don’t number and instead just used a colored pencil to lightly color each piece. If you’d like to follow my numbering system today the heart pieces are numbered 1, 2 and 3 while background pieces are B1 – B5.


You’ll want to cut out all the individual pieces from the block next. Since this block only has a few pieces, I cut them all at once. For blocks with multiple pieces, I’ll cut the block into sections and then cut them down into individual pieces one section at a time. With a two to three second press of the iron the freezer paper pieces will stick to the fabric. I iron all my pieces to the right side of the fabric. If I ironed them to the wrong side, then the block image would be backwards once I pieced it.


These pieces don’t have any seam allowance included in them. Using a Add-a-Quarter Ruler, I’ll add all the seams to each of my pieces. Under the fabric in the picture above I have a small rotary mat. I set the ruler against each side of my template and then cut along the edge of the ruler. You could also mark all the seams with a pen and then cut your pieces out.


I’ll piece this block in two halves. I try to piece into straight sections whenever I get a chance. To help keep everything in order, I’ll set all my block pieces up on a table near my machine.


This step is the trickiest one to get used to doing. To begin piecing your block, you’ll take the first two pieces (in my case, the top left corner B1 and heart section 1) and place the freezer paper templates together. I find that the light on my machine is enough to see through the fabric and get them aligned properly.


It can be a little slippery, especially on smaller pieces, so I keep some Wonder Clips nearby and use them to hold the two pieces together. Next you’ll run the pieces through your machine and sew with a 1/4″ seam. You’ll want to avoid sewing through the freezer paper (it’s surprisingly easy to feel where the paper is sitting in your pieces).


When you open your pieces up, your templates should sit right next to each other. Press with an iron (and leave the freezer paper templates on until your whole block is together).


Continue to add the pieces in order until you get your two sections together. Above you can see my top and bottom sections.


All that’s left is to join that long seam to complete the block! You can see that I still have my templates attached to my block. It’s a good habit to establish to leave them on until the block is finished because you’ll come across a lot of Y and partial seams with more complicated designs. Leaving the templates on also ensures that I can focus on accurate piecing (even with a simple seam like the last once in this block).


Pull your paper off and admire your block! You can reuse the freezer paper templates so you can save them if you’d like. I’ve been able to use my templates three times before they won’t  adhere to the fabric.

That’s how I freezer paper piece! I hope that you’ll experiment with this technique during the 318 QAL. This Heart block is part of the first week of sewing and is a great practice block for using freezer paper.

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Pineapple : Feature Project

Pineapple Bag1





While I do dream of an entire quilt full of pineapple blocks, this month I wanted to focus on a smaller project (there’s a couple deadlines kickin’ my butt right now).

Plus, it’s October which means I totally need a new treat bag!

I used two pineapple blocks and a mix of scraps to make a Halloween Drawstring Bag. That green ribbon has been hanging from my door for a little over a year now and I’m glad to finally have found a use for it.

The interior is a mixed candy print that I had in my stash.

Pineapple Bag 2

I’m glad I chose to use scraps with white backgrounds to surround the block on the exterior. I didn’t want those perfectly pieced little pineapples to get lost in a chaos of color.

Pineapple Bag3


This bag is going to become another project bag for me. I made it a lot larger than I normally make these drawstring bags and I think I could continue making the larger sizes. I can fit a ton of EPP pieces in this one!

And just because it’s made of Halloween fabric doesn’t mean I won’t be using it all year round.

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318 Book Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment on my kickoff post! I love that y’all are just as excited about the English release of this book as I am.

Thank you to World Book Media for not only publishing the English version but offering up a copy to one of my readers!

I used random.org to pick the winner:

318 Random Comment #32


Congrats Siobhan! I’ll be emailing you shortly!

Make sure to check out the Blog Hop going on as well right now for some great posts about these blocks (and more chances to win a copy). The first stop is verykerryberry.

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318QAL Kickoff! Full Schedule + Giveaway!

Today is Kickoff Day for the 318 Patchwork Patterns Quilt-along! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for months!

318 Patchwork Patterns QAL at A Thousand Needles

For those of you just joining in, hello there! We’ll be working with the book 318 Patchwork Patterns by Kumiko Fujita . I’ve been after this book since I first saw it in Japanese and World Book Media have now published an English version!

**Pink Castle Fabrics also has the book available HERE**

To celebrate the English release, I’m hosting a QAL! Together with some of my favorite people, we’ll be using sixteen blocks from the book to create a mini quilt. Each week of sewing will feature four blocks (three chosen by me and one by my guest). There’s also going to be giveaways each week for linking up pictures of your blocks here at my site(either a blog post or Flickr Picture will work).

The giveaways have been provided by my lovely sponsors:



**Schedule of events**


Between now and the 30th, I’ll be posting some tutorials and tips both here and on Instagram! I know this book layout is a bit different than what some quilters might be used to so I want to make sure that y’all are all confident on joining in! I hope you can learn some new skills but more importantly I hope y’all will have fun putting these blocks together. Be sure to follow along. I’m @a1000needles on IG and for this QAL I’ve been using #pp318qal to tag my posts. Feel free to tag your own posts! I’d love to see any progress shots or more pictures of your blocks!

For each sewing week, I’ll be posting pictures of my four blocks for the week as well as what techniques I used to put those blocks together. There will be a link-up open here for y’all to add pictures of your blocks. Anyone who links up will be entered in that week’s giveaway.

I’ve tried really hard to pick a fun mix of blocks (with the help of my guests!) for y’all to sew but I know that there might be other blocks in the book that are more appealing to you. So the requirements for the weekly sewing link-up are as follows: 

  • Please choose at least TWO of the four blocks to sew for that week and include those in your pictures.
  • Link should be to a Flickr picture or a Blog Post. (You don’t have to write up a full post, just linking a picture is fine). Note: I’m not sure if Instagram links will work with the link-up program I’m using. I’m trying to figure out a way to include Instagram in the giveaways. 
  • You can substitute other blocks from the book in your mini quilt but please remember to pick at least TWO of the blocks that myself and the guests have chosen each week for the giveaway.


We’ll be enlarging the blocks from the book by 250% to make them 6″.

Here’s a list of the blocks we’ve chosen (in order of appearance in the book):

  • Cake (#3)
  • Ice Cream (#5)
  • Mug (#9)
  • Scissors (#13)
  • Apple (#32)
  • Car (#47)
  • Shooting Star (#59)
  • Whale (#66)
  • Heart (#90)
  • Duck (#95)
  • Chicken (#99)
  • Tulip (#104)
  • Elephant (#127)
  • Dog with Bone (#136)
  • House (#161)
  • Applique Flower (#204)



Listing out fabric requirements is a little difficult because I’m working from scraps for each blocks. I think if you have a good variety of scrap or FQs then you’ll be set for this QAL. I like text prints and dots for my backgrounds personally. Since the block size is 6″, you won’t need a ton of fabric to create this mini quilt. I’ll be sure to take a picture of the fabric stack that I’m mainly working from on Instagram to give y’all an idea.

Whew..That’s a lot of information. Please send me a comment here or on Instagram if you have any questions! Get your books ordered and enlarge your block patterns! Sewing kicks off in two weeks!


To celebrate the Quilt-along, the wonderful folks at World Book Media have offered up a copy of the book to giveaway! This giveaway is open up to anyone who wants to join in!

To enter: 

  • Leave me a comment here! Are you a fan of this book like me and never was able to snag a Japanese copy? Never seen the book before now?
  • For a bonus entry: Spread the word about the QAL! Let people know on your own blog or on Instagram/Twitter! Leave me a note letting me know. I’d really love to spread the awesomeness of this book and have y’all join me on the QAL. My favorite part about this online community is seeing everyone’s different versions of the same pattern!


Giveaway will be open until Tuesday morning, October 21st at NOON EST. I’m closing it up then so that we can get the book shipped out and the winner can join in with the QAL!

I’m so excited to be sewing along with y’all. Thank you so much to World Book Media for helping me pull this event together. And thank you to my sponsors and guests for joining in with me as well!

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|MMM| Slow Week



Just a single block this week. And one that I didn’t love until I took it out to my back porch to take a photo.

Maybe it’s the afternoon light or the mix of fallen leaves…but suddenly this block doesn’t look so bad.

While I had wanted to use all prints in this quilt, I had to throw in this solid because I didn’t have pieces large enough in the pile I had pulled. I might throw a solid or two into the smaller blocks to keep this one from standing out.


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Pineapple : Starter Block



The Pineapple Quilt Block has long been one of my favorite Log Cabin variations. And since it *is* October, I couldn’t resist making my Starter Block in Halloween fabric.

I still like the Foundation Piecing method of making Pineapple blocks. I find this method more accurate. Plus I like that I can pull fabric directly out of the scrap bin without really pre-cutting.

I mark my foundation patterns for Pineapple blocks a little differently so I’ve uploaded my version to Craftsy. (You can download it for free here)

So on my blocks, I leave the sections that will be made of background fabric blank. Anything that is a color/print/focus fabric gets numbered. There’s also a 1/4″ block seam guideline around the edge for trimming your block down after you finish with paper piecing.

If you’re familiar with paper piecing, this block is very straightforward. If Foundation Paper Piecing is new to you, I’m gonna walk you through how I build my blocks!

Let’s Make One: 

Materials Needed: 

  •  Foundation Template (printed on standard printer paper)
  • 2.5″ scrap for center
  • Various scrap strips (min. size 2.5″ x 3″)
  • Rotary Cutter and Ruler at least 8″ long (for trimming finished block)
  • Glue Stick (optional but helpful)





  • I’m using a Lightbox in the photo above (for the tutorial) but you should be able to easily see through your paper. Center your starting square on the foundation template. You want your fabric to be wrong side together with the paper. In the picture above, the paper is right side up and you’re able to see the wrong side of the fabric. I like to use a glue stick to apply a small dot of glue to hold the fabric in place. When working with foundation patterns this small, I don’t like to use pins because I find they get in my way.



  • Next, turn your pattern over so that you’re seeing the back side of the paper and the right side of your starting square. Take one of your background scraps and place it right sides together on top of your starting square. Again, I use a small dot of glue stick (right in the center on the edge) to keep my fabric from moving around.


  • The lines on your pattern are your sewing lines. Set your stitch length to something small (I put mine on 1.5) because the smaller stitches will make the paper easier to tear away later. After sewing each piece, press open (I keep a small ironing station next to my machine).


  • Each layer of the Pineapple, you’ll attach four pieces. Above is how my block looks after the first set of background strips.


  • The photo above shows how your block will look on the paper side after the first round of pieces.


  • To reduce bulk in my piece, I like to make a fold on the line that you’ll be sewing on next and then trim 1/4″ away. This will ensure that you don’t have a lot of excess fabric in your block.



  • Keep adding pieces in rounds. Above is what my block looks like after a five layers of fabric.


  • When you get to the last few rounds of the block, you want to make sure that your fabric that you’re adding will extend all the way past the 1/4″ seam guideline. I just put larger pieces on the block (that extend outside of the paper) so that I didn’t have to stress that I’d accidentally leave a hole. Using a long ruler and your cutting mat, cut through the paper *and* the fabric below on the four seam guidelines. This brings your block to 6.5″.



  • This is the stage at which I like to remove my papers. They should tear easily (because of the short stitch length).
  • Repeat the above steps until you have enough blocks for your project!


Feel free to grab the Six Inch (finished) Pineapple Foundation Pattern that I used. It’s a free pattern!

Pineapple blocks can take a lot of work, but I feel that the end product is always worth it.

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|318QAL| Sponsors and Guests!

The kickoff event for the 318 Patchwork Patterns QAL is a week away and I’m starting to feel incredibly excited!

318 Patchwork Patterns QAL at A Thousand Needles

I love that y’all love this book as much as I do and want to take the time to thank you for all your comments and notes. It’s been awhile since I’ve run a QAL and I think I had forgotten how much fun they can be!

With all that being said, I want to introduce my sponsors and guests for the event!


I couldn’t imagine making a mini quilt from this book without getting a little bit of help! I reached out to some of my quilting friends to join me! Each week will feature a block picked out by one of my guests (and they’ve picked out some great ones).

I’ll give you some info each week as to where you can see their version of the block (whether it be a blog post or Instagram).



I’ve reached out to some of my very favorite companies to join in with this event! Their own emails and excitement have made me feel incredibly lucky to be part of this community.

Let me introduce you!

World Book Media

  • None of this would be possible without the amazing people at World Book Media. I love that there’s a group dedicated to bringing us wonderful Japanese patterns and books in English. If you haven’t yet checked out their catalog, you should! Patchwork 318 isn’t the only title they have and there’s more to come!

FQS logo


  • I think Fat Quarter Shop is a company that everyone in this community has at least heard of – and for good reason! Not only is their shipping incredibly fast (I once had a shipping notification from them *15 minutes* after I sent my order through), but they really have expanded out to be more than just a place to buy fabric. I love their books/patterns and their blog is always full of great content.
  • FlatterBySoakLogoFlatter by soak has changed my studio life! I hated starch and starch substitutes and wouldn’t bring them into my studio…the smells, the texture it left on my fabric…I just couldn’t stand it. I met Jacqueline at last year’s Fall Quilt Market and told her about my aversion…she asked to just show me something. I can see three (open) bottles of Flatter from where I sit in my studio now a year later. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have them as a sponsor for this event.


  • I was slow to experience Aurifil thread because I had gone crazy at a Joann sale once and had yet to run out of those brands. Then I won a small sample pack which happened to contain an orange I really needed for a project. I now pick up this thread whenever I have a chance, especially since I’ve upgraded my machine and the new one tends to hate most other brands. I’m glad to now be the one who has the chance to share this thread with this QAL. It’s a bit of a full-circle moment for me.
  • Knotted ThreadI remember when Jennifer first announced opening her shop and I’ve loved watching it grow. Being someone who works in a lot of small patchwork, I’m always happy to see that she offers Fat Eighth bundles of the latest lines (there’s some Tula Bumble in her shop right now that’s calling my name!).  She also offers some amazing Pop Up Sales on Friday on her Instagram account (I’ve been known to snag a few).

Be sure to check out  these sponsors if you get a chance! I only reached out to companies that I support myself and I can’t even begin to describe how great it feels that each one I reached out to wanted to join in.

There will be five chances for prizes throughout the event and I’ll go into more detail about that during next week’s kick-off.

Are y’all ready to get started yet? I know I am!

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|MMM| Block Two and Three

Some slightly slow progress on my Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt this week. I wanted to be done with all the extra-large blocks (over 20″) and came up one short. Mostly because I kept pulling and pulling fabric for Block Three before I finally just thought I was being silly and cut what was on the table.

Block Two:

MMM- Block Two


Winterkist is one of the few lines I hoard without question. I love it more than I should love pieces of fabric. And even if this is designed to be an autumn quilt, I couldn’t resist pulling out a yard (don’t worry..I have 2 more of this orange..) to play with in some of these blocks. It’s a little quirky all on its own but I think most of my blocks will look that way until I start to pile them together.

Block Three:

Let’s talk for just a moment about how in love I am with those perfectly pretty little points. I love them. There was a time where that three triangle section would have been my downfall.




Whoa….this block is *yellow*. I didn’t realize how yellow it was even going to be until I took it outside for this picture. My lighting might be a little off here (weird grey drizzly day so I had a lamp on an extension cord just to the right in the doorway.

Even so…it might just be the most yellow thing I’ve ever sewn.


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Bear Paw : Twist


There are times where I spend a good week playing around with fabric to create a Traditional twist.

It is the simplest changes to these blocks that always make me the happiest in the end.

This month’s twist involves replacing the main paw square with a Half Square Triangle.

Simple and stunning.

I’ve always loved the mixture of Aqua, Orange and Grey so I pulled fabrics from my scrap bin to give my Bear Paws a different look. They can certainly be made this way using the same color for the paw and the claws.

I’m going to leave my Bear Paws like this without the sashing.

My Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt is thankfully providing me with more orange scraps as I build it so I’ll be able to continue to make a stack of these blocks to go together.

For now they shall live in the ‘Drawer that is Never Photographed’….. it’s a dangerous part in my studio where unfinished-but-in-progress projects live.

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