Sunday, January 1, 2023


 The Quilt Show is happy to present HOMEWARD BOUND, designed by Sarah Fielke, as the 2023 Block of the Month quilt project. 

Even if you are not planning to make this quilt, I think you will find useful information in the monthly posts I write to help those who are working on it. 

The patterns are FREE to STAR MEMBERS of  The Quilt Show. Join now if you want to start right at the very beginning.  The Show featuring Sarah Fielke is FREE TO ALL to watch, even if you are not a member, so take a look at that show.

In Month 1, we make the small center cabin and the four star point units that surround the cabin.


1. Watch any VIDEOS before beginning. Month 1 has two videos.

2. READ the pattern completely before beginning.

3. Follow the instructions carefully.

4. Ask questions on the FORUM if you need help.

The cabin is SMALL--4" finished, that means when sewn into the quilt. The cut sizes of the pieces are really small, some as small as 3/4". Those are the precise sizes for machine piecing with an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. 

Verify your units are the correct size as you sew them together. If the little units are not the right size they will not miraculously become the right size when you do the next step.  Pay close attention to the cabin/background sections. I found it helpful to remind myself which fabric was cabin, which background:

What NOT to DO. I didn't have the KIT when I began testing the pattern. I did have a jelly roll of a lot of the Tula Pink fabrics so I used those. When selecting cabin fabric I thought the stripe would work well. It didn't. I had to cut several pieces more than once to get the stripes in the correct direction. And the walls were still a bit "wonky":

So I made another one. I liked the fabrics better but the cabin is still "not to code": 

It occurred to me this little cabin can easily be paper pieced. The advantage to paper piecing is precision can often be achieved, especially with small pieces. The disadvantage is it takes more fabric and you need a paper pattern to stitch on. And you are sewing "upside down and backwards". 

There are many videos on paper piecing. I am  not going into details here. I am providing you a photo of my paper pieced pattern for this cabin so you can draw your own. You are only making one cabin this month so you only need one set of patterns. Simply use a ruler and a pencil to DRAW the pattern onto the paper of your choice. I like newsprint or tracing paper. Heavy copy paper is not the best choice.

The top section with the Chimney appears backwards--that is because in paper piecing the pattern is reversed since the fabric is on the back side of the paper pattern. If you draw the first section as it appears in the finished cabin, your finished chimney will be on the left side of the roof--not really a problem, just different. 

The first and second sections from the top are 1" x 4" finished each. Draw that size rectangle then add the 1/4" seam allowance all around to create the section. Use a pencil to draw lines as shown. I used the cut sizes of the pattern to determine what size each piece is. The roof section is simpler than the pieced version, one rectangle for the roof, two triangles of background for the sky

The bottom half of the cabin is made in 3 separate parts, the door in the center and two cabin parts on either side of the door. Again, I used the pattern sizes, minus seam allowance amounts, to know what size to draw the various shapes. The door is 1" w x 2" h and the cabin sections are 1.5" w x 2" h--those are finished measurements--add the seam allowance around each section as shown in the photo.


1. Reduce stitch length to about 1.5. Small enough it won't come undone when you remove the paper, not so small it perforates the paper completely.

2. Cut the fabric pieces with a 1/2" seam allowance rather than a 1/4". This allows for movement of the fabric when you sew. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" AFTER the sewing. I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler to trim as I sew. 

3. Once each section is sewn to the paper pattern, trim to the exact size each section should be, including the seam allowance. For example, the first section, the chimney section, is trimmed to 4.5" w x 1.5" h.  This is when I remove the paper. It should come off easily if your stitch is small enough.

4. The paper serves to make the sections the right size. I don't need the paper on as I sew the various sections together. I find it much easier to join the sections as in regular piecing, without paper.

5. When your cabin is done, it should be 4.5" including seam allowance.

In the Month1 video Sarah explains how to fix it, if your cabin is a bit too small. Cut the surrounding border  fabrics wider than called for in the cutting instructions. Once the border is in place, you can trim your cabin/border unit to the required 6.5" square including seam allowances. 

My third and final small center cabin, paper pieced, better:


The stems that are placed on the background of the star point units are straight so bias isn't required. If you prefer, you can cut them from straight grain fabric. Watch the second video for Month 1, Making Bias Stems, to see how Sarah uses a Hera marker to make very precise 1/4" finished Stems. The process would be the same if you cut straight grain stems. 

Sarah does all her applique by hand. I use the machine when it seems reasonable to me to do so. These long straight stems were a breeze to machine applique in place.  I used Alex Anderson's class on machine applique to stitch them: 

Machine Applique class   She talked about Monopoly thread but discusses other threads too. I used a green Quilters Select 60 wt thread that closely matched my green stem fabric. I used the same stitch and settings as Alex demoes.  You can see how the stitches disappear:

Leaves and Coneflowers are hand appliqued, stem is machine appliqued


There are two ways to make the Star Point sections. In the Month 1 VIDEO Sarah shows how to use her Half Square Triangle Ruler. Other brands of Half Square Triangle Rulers will work the same way. She cut a strip 3.5" wide, placed the strip with wrong sides together and used the ruler to cut the 8 triangles needed. 

In the written pattern instructions, Sarah describes how to cut squares, draw a diagonal line on the back side, place the square onto the Background unit, after sewing the stem in place, and sew on the diagonal line. Cut away the excess part of the square and background, as shown in the pattern.

Either method works. Why not try them both to see which you prefer.

STOP! This month you make the center Cabin with Border. And the four Star Point units. That's it. Don't sew the star points to the cabin. In Months 2 and 3 we will make bias stems and a lot of circles for the Hollyhock squares. In Month 4 we will join the Hollyhock squares to the Star Points and Cabin so we can applique the Coneflowers and their leaves in place.

Post your progress on the Forum and be sure to use a hashtag if you post on social media.

Let's quilt.



  1. Have eagerly awaited this next BOM! Garden Party Down Under is ready to quilt. Thank you very much for your tips!

  2. Where can we the paper piece pattern?

    1. You simply have to draw your own. Paper piecing is not part of the pattern. I only mention it as an option for those who enjoy the technique.

    2. I have the Electric Quilt program. I went into the easy draw section of block draw and drew the house using her measurements for the finished house. The program automatically sectioned the house for sewing. I printed the pattern on foundation paper and stitched the house together using electric quilt sectioning. A whole lot faster and much more accurate.

  3. Barbara, I was wondering if the asahi binding will be stocked so we can purchase it. I looked at Sarah’s website but honestly, the postage is awful.

    1. No, the cost would be prohibitive. It isn't hard to make your own. Sarah has a video to show her method.

  4. Feel better SOON! Pain is debilitating indeed, but you are amazing!

  5. Does the pattern say how much total bias binding we’ll need?

    1. No it doesn't. It's about 15 yards. But it would be a waste of time to make it all now. Each month it is needed the pattern will say how long to make them, like Month 1 says four 8" strips. All stems in the quilt are 1/4" wide when finished.

  6. Hi Barbara my name is Lisa and I’m from Rhode Island, this is my first time doing a BOM with the quilt show.. question?
    What time do you go live on Thursday? And I bought the kit , I’m a little confused on what fabric to use from the kit . I did print out the color chart, it’s just a little confused. Will you be going over that during your live video?
    Thank you so much I look forward to being part of this BOM with you and all the quilters! P.S I was really thinking not doing this BOM and selling my kit. I’m going to give a chance and try!

    1. The LIVE is FRIDAY January 6, noon central time. Yes I will talk about the kit fabrics. A few of the fabrics are hard to compare to the printed pages.

  7. Hello Barbara, thank you so much for sharing your blog and giving tips about the making of this centre block. What I perhaps appreciated most is to realize that it was ok to do it all over again if you didn't do it as you wanted it to look the first time. We're talking about just inches of fabric here, and if something bugs you early on, it is bound to bug you down the road when the opportunity to do it again will be harder to consider.

    I also realize that there are several way to arrive at the finished result and it is ok to do it your way. These 2 findings are likely to help me down this journey.

    Best, Kati

  8. Hi Barbara... I'm one frustrated gal here right about now. I've been a member of TQS for several years but have only posted in the forum one time and that was nine years ago. Now, I can't figure out how to do it again. I've spent about an hour and a half trying to figure it out and have now called "UNCLE". All I want to ask is if you think it would make a difference if the bias tape is 3/8". I ordered 1/4" off from someone on ebay but when it came today, I measured it and it's 3/8" wide. sigh.

    1. So sorry you are frustrated. Be sure you are logged in as a Star Member to be able to post on the Forum. Sometimes I have to log out and log back in to be really logged in. It's a mystery.
      The stems can easily be 3/8" without a problem. If you are happy with the product you have, use it.

    2. Thank you for your help...finding out the bias tape was wider than it was supposed to be was just the frosting on the frustration cake I was having today. I haven't tried signing out and then signing back in yet... will try it right after I finish here. I know I kept checking to make sure I was logged in and that I was/am a star member thinking that would be enough (aren't computers supposed to make life easier for us? ). Thanks again for your help.

  9. Thank you for telling me the light and dark colors are opposite in the printed pattern..that was making me crazy. Will the rest of the pattern be the white being colored fabric and dark being background? My brain was going bonkers keeping it straight until I wrote on my pattern…now I’m afraid it will go backwards.ha

    1. I don't remember. I spent many hours proofing and correcting things. Things like this are minor so I knew I would address it in my blog of important tips to know. Read the blog, and watch any videos each month before you begin and you'll be fine.

  10. I went through the kit yesterday to acquaint myself with the fabrics. I labeled all the assorted pieces as to the "Pattern Month (s)" with a sticky note. As I use that fabric for the month, will cross # off and move it to the next month marked. I am a methodical person and this should help me stay organized.

  11. The Asahi tape is listed in Australian dollars, not US dollars, so it's less pricey than it looks.