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Modern Sewcialites Blog Hop – New Beginnings Quilt (quilt reveal) + How to square up a large block (video tutorial)

Hey sweet friends!

Today I’m showing off my New Beginnings quilt.  The block was designed by the talented Stephanie Kendron of Modern Sewciety.  If you are not listening to her entertaining podcast while you sew you are really missing out!  I don’t miss an episode.

I myself have been featured on her podcast.  You can listen to that episode here.

But let’s get to the quilt….


Sulky Thread by Cotton + Steel


Here’s the Deal

We were given our choice of fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics Capsules fabric collection (in case you don’t know, Capsules is AGF’s bite size collections), plus the use of some of their blenders to make this quilt with.

Here’s the fabrics I chose:

Find more about the Nest fabrics here.  There’s also a look book here.

What is Squaring Up

First off, I love this block because of the secondary design it makes.  That is cool!  I think I’d like to make another, but use all the same fabrics for the strippy pieces that connect all the blocks.  And it’s a big block, 20″!

Another thing about this block is that it requires “squaring up” which can be hard to do on a block so big.  I’ve got a trick to show you how to do that at the bottom of this post.

Just in case you are new to quilt making, I wanted to go into a little detail about what squaring up is.

Most of the blocks we make won’t require squaring up.  Think of a nine patch or a plus block.  These blocks are complete once you sew the pieces together.  Now think of blocks that are not square when you make them, like a granny square.  These are blocks that you have to make square.  Most of the time this is pretty easy to do when the blocks are under 12.5″ (the biggest quilt ruler I know of), but what about when they are not?  We’ll get back to this in just a minute.

I added embroidery touches to both of my panels.  I haven’t used panels in my quilts, but a few times, but I like them.  You don’t have to make as many blocks when you use them, plus it gives the eye a resting place I think.

Wool Batting

This is the first quilt I’ve ever used wool batting for.  I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I thought the wool would make for more difficult quilt making.  It did not!  In fact, the only difference I can think of was that it is a puffier quilt and definitely warmer than my standard cotton.

I used Hobbs Heirloom Wool batting for this quilt.

If you like me are used to cotton batting, wool seems scary!  It didn’t look anything like cotton batting either.  It was thicker and see through and puffy.  I had imagined this very thick batting that was hard to work with (like a wool sweater), but it wasn’t that at all.


I even washed and dried the quilt just like I do all of my quilts and held my breath worried that it would shrink.  I’ve made the mistake of washing wool sweaters before and they looked like they belonged to a child afterwards.  Not the case with the batting.

It washed beautifully and the quilt is scrumptious feeling.

Sulky Threads

I was also asked to use Sulky threads on this quilt.  If you remember, trying the Sulky threads is what started me down to the road to “testing all the threads“.  For this quilt, I quilted with 50 wt. Cotton and Steel thread by Sulky.  I used the light pink found here.  It was yummy!

I then added some hand quilting down all those connecting strippy pieces in the quilt.  I used Sulky Petites for that, the 12 wt thread in romantic rose.

How to Square Up a Very Big Quilt Block

You only need:

  1. Take the dimensions you need the block to be and divide by two (example:  20.5 divided by 2 is 10.25″).  That’s the dimensions on your ruler you want to use.
  2. Fold your block in half, taking care to fold precisely in half.  Then fold in half again until the very center of your block is at one corner.
  3. Match up any seams on the block and the corners to ensure that you have your block perfectly folded in half.
  4. Place your ruler on the dimensions you calculated in step 1 on the CENTER CORNER and trim around.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt reveal and video tutorial.  I don’t often make such large quilt blocks, but it’s nice to know how to center them and size them correctly when I do.

Special thanks to AGF, Hobbs Batting and Sulky Threads for sponsoring this post.

Let me know if you found the tutorial helpful below!  Thanks for reading.

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  1. Oh my goodness, Melanie, this is wonderful! I just bought the bear panel at my LQS and was trying to figure out what to do with it, lol. Love your quilt. Thanks for the video. I’m sure it will come in handy.

  2. Hi, Melanie. The quilt is awesome. I especially love the sheep! I’ve often thought of using wool batting, but I’ve worried that moths may try to attack. Do I have cause to worry??

    1. My cats seem to be obsessed with this quilt more so than my others. I think it might have a smell (that I can’t smell) that makes it more yummy for them. No moth trouble for me though.

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