Sunday, February 25, 2024


 PICK A PETAL is the 2024 Block of the Month quilt designed by Jen Kingwell exclusively for The Quilt Show. It is FREE to Star Members, join today to take advantage of this great bonus. WATCH Jen's Show to see how she makes this quilt--it is FREE for EVERYONE all of 2024: Jen Kingwell Show 3401

Month 3 introduces Block 2, a unique block with curves and petals, ideally made with hand piecing:

Jen's block from the sample quilt, all hand pieced 

I studied this block for a while, trying to find an easy way to machine piece it. I made several: 

1. Completely hand pieced, following the pattern instructions--too slow for me

2. Machine pieced the first 2 curves and center square, hand pieced the petals. I call this the "Hybrid Method" --that works but not real fast

3. Re-designed to eliminate the curves, applique the petals on top--much faster and a good alternative

4. Substitute a completely different block--I declare that a fail, I tried several alternative blocks but none supported the basic, excellent design of the quilt

So, my personal solution is to do some with idea 2 and some with idea 3:

Curves joining green, aqua, and background sewn by machine, center square added by machine, Petals added with hand piecing 

Alternative block, straight lines by machine, petals hand appliqued on top--before trimming to the correct size, 8.5" including seam allowance

If you prefer hand piecing, simply follow the pattern instructions to make 20 Block 2, using a wide variety of prints. Block 2 is more controlled than Block 1, which used a different print for each position. This Block uses only 5 fabrics.

For the "HYBRID METHOD", using both machine and hand piecing, here is what I did: 

As always--I add at least 1/2" extra to the outside edge for "insurance". That outer edge is only 1/4" FINISHED, pretty narrow:

Fabrics selected, templates traced

A gentle curve I found easy to machine piece, sewing Edge to Edge is fine on this seam, Dot to Dot is NOT NECESSARY here 

Jen demoed a clever trick on her Show, using the corresponding template to draw the actual sewing line should you want to have that line. 

To draw the sewing line for joining Template J (the dark print) to the Background, you will need to do it in two steps. First, place the curved template on the wrong side of the Background, placing the curved edge on  the two dots drawn on the background. I used a mechanical pencil.

The outer curve is larger than the sewing line so you need to work from right side to the middle, Step 1: 

Then shift the template to the left side, put the curve on the two dots, left and middle, to complete the curve: 

Middle curve drawn

To add the curves for the petals, simply use the Petal Template to draw those lines. Be sure the template is right up to the dots drawn when the background pieces were cut out:


Five pins show you how this will be sewn. I found it easier to use only 3 pins, middle and outer edges. Sew SLOWLY, it's not how fast can you sew it, but how accurately. I use a Stiletto to keep the outside edges aligned as I sew SLOWLY:

Although this photo shows I sewed "dot to dot" when joining the background, that is NOT NECESSARY with this seam, edge to edge is fine. It is faster and does not require backstitching. Dot to Dot sewing is most helpful where multiple seams come together:

One of the great things about the FORUM is all the things you can learn. I don't know everything. Sonia showed how she has made several Jen Kingwell quilts using curves like this. She showed a little different "path" for piecing. Make 4 units with templates I, J, and K, add the center square to two of those, piece the Petals to the other two. Now you have a long, gentle curve to add the left and right sides to the center shape: 

Another tip Jen mentioned in her Show is that she cuts a lot of the pieces from a wide variety of prints before she makes the block. This gives lots of choices for fabric selection. I think most of us just cut for each block, one at a time. Here is my original plan for this block:

When I got to that stage, I didn't love it. My advice: if you don't love it, don't sew it. Find another option. The Lime green shown above was an option, this purple is what I ultimately chose. Now I have a couple extra sets of Petals for future blocks:

Once the block is sewn and pressed beautifully, it has to be "trimmed to perfection", 8.5" including seam allowance. Take your time and carefully line up the diagonal lines, getting the petals exactly at the 1/4" mark. I fiddle with it BEFORE picking up the rotary cutter. A mistake now could be really bad: 

Before trimming, showing how I pressed this block

AN ALTERNATIVE BLOCK:  I mentioned on the FORUM, in December, I was trying to find an alternative block. HelenW showed what she worked out in Electric Quilt, a block that looks similar but uses straight lines instead of curves. She shared her design with me, I printed it from EQ8 and was ready to give it a try. 

I like it for speed and that from a distance, it resembles the original. In my center I used two of them, do they jump out? 

If you like it, give it a try:

Made in 4 sections, it is easy to use the eighths fabric cuts in the Kit. Jen discusses the importance of grain in her Show so I was sure to cut pieces on the Lengthwise grain, along the selvage:

Cut BACKGROUND    1.5"  X  10.5"  (4)  this includes an extra 1/2" for insurance
        OUTER ROW       1.75" X  8.5"   (4)
        INNER ROW        1.75" X  6"      (4) 
        CENTER SQUARE   2.5", use the Template (1)
        PETALS, use the Template (4)   I added the Dots on the FRONT for needle turn hand applique.

Sew the strips staggered, fold in the middle 

IMPORTANT PRESSING TIP: Press two sets in toward the middle strip, press the other two sets away from the middle strip--this allows the seams to "nest" when sewing the diagonal mitered seams: 

Fold in half, carefully aligning seams. Draw a DOT 1" from the FOLD, that is the DOT for the center Square

Use a Half Square Triangle Ruler to accurately cut BEYOND THE DOT. The dashed line on the ruler sits on the dot, the seam allowance is to the right of the dot. Keep the sewn lines straight as you make this all important angle cut

Ready to join the 4 strip sets to the center square

Dot To Dot Sewing with backstitching is important here

All 4 strips sets sewn to the center square
I sewed from the center square out to the edge, backstitching at the center. Press seams open


I made a Petal Template without seam allowance so I could draw the sewing line for the hand applique. Using a mechanical pencil gives a light, thin line

Auditioning Petal options

Here is this block except for one last petal ready to be appliqued on. I  will do that in the MONTH 3 LIVE, scheduled to air March 1, 2024:

Wow! That is a LOT of information this month. It gets easier next month when we move to the Log Cabin blocks.

Let's quilt.



  1. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I continue to learn more from you than I did in many of my college courses! The details you provide for Pick A Petal month 3 in this week's "Quilting Cliff Notes" post educate and provide doable options to ensure success. I personally will be doing your "alternative block, and appliquing the petals. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Terri, it really helps to know all this effort is helpful!

  2. Your detailed instructions and photos are amazing and I’m sure it took a lot of time.

    1. Thank you, Kim, it does take time. Glad it’s helpful.

  3. I've been working on a sampler block to test best steps for construction and pressing. This blog post was really helpful in that process,k esp photo of pressing! thanks. I found block 2 for Feb much easier and did all by machine as Jen designed (20 done!) I choose 80 fabrics and traced, cut out for 20 blocks then choose sets to sew a few each day. Taking Month 3 much slower! well, I wanted a challenge for 2024! :))

  4. Thank you so much for another wonderfully detailed and helpful blog. I will be trying Sonia’s sequence of piecing. I also plan to draft some slightly squared circles to appliqué on top of one another before placing the petals and cutting out a reverse appliqué for the center square. Will let you know how that goes.

  5. Wonderful study in alternative ways to do this block! Saves me so much time in “analysis paralysis” and allows me to “just do it”. Your blog is a treasure…just enjoyed reviewing your hanging sleeve instructions getting ready for HQH Fanfare. Hugs!

  6. Thank you for the wealth of information! I personally do not like to hand applique. For that reason, I initially decided not to attempt this quilt. But as I started to read your blog, I thought I would do it!!! I enjoy machine piecing and I totally loved the freezer paper option month 2. Those blocks are done and look great! Not sure how month threee is going to go, but I’m on it! Thx. Again!

  7. I have learned so many tips and tricks the last 3 years with you Barbara and Alex !!! Thanks a million!!!