Find Joy in the Small Things

Find Joy in the Small Things

I’m in the process of making a king sized quilt.  It’s a 9-patch variation quilt so it has many small parts.  Making the small parts of this quilt is not my favorite thing so I always do the “not my favorite part” first.

The smallest parts of this quilt are what make it look so beautiful.  It makes a diagonal crisscross pattern over the entire quilt.  Most 9-patch variations use a dark color for the crisscross pattern so that it’ll really pop out and is pleasing to the eye.  For this particular quilt, I chose to use gray with a flower print, and a black print. The crisscross variation is made from making many 4-patch squares and each one will be a 2 ½ inch square when completed.  For this king sized quilt, I’ll be making 540!!!


First iron your two fabrics being used for the small 4 patch square and then cut them into 1½-inch strips.

Put right sides together and sew a ¼ inch seam allowance all the way down the strips.

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Then you press your strips. I like to lay my strips so that the dark side is up.

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Then you can lift the dark side up and press it back. This ensures that the fabric is pressed to the dark side. I always make sure my two sewn strips are pressed flat. I do not press my seams open on this step. You’ll see why in a bit.

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You then take your pressed black and gray strips to your cutting board and cut 1 ½ small rectangles.

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When you get ready to sew two of these small rectangles together, flip them to the back so that the black and gray alternate. Black should not be next to black and gray should not be next to gray. Can you see the pressed seams? They are in opposite directions. This is genius! I did not invent this but someone did. Someone found a way to simplify matching up the middle seam of the 4-patch block. It’s one of those small things, but huge in making this step so much more enjoyable and easy.

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When you put your right sides together, the two black seams nest together. They don’t overlap but simply nest together. You can either pin it or simply hold it together with your finger as you sew a ¼ inch seam allowance down the longest side of the two rectangles. I try not to pin when I don’t have to!

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Another great idea someone had and taught it to others who then passed it on to others and so forth and so on, was to chain sew. As you sew your ¼ inch seam allowance down the right side of the long part of the little rectangle, you just add another one for the sewing machine to grab as you finish the one before. No need to stop and cut thread and then start again. Chain piecing saves so much time and it’s another small thing that makes this process so much more enjoyable and easy.

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Then you get press all 540 little squares if you’re making a king sized quilt like me. I do press these seams open now because it’s quite bulky with the other two seams from putting the little rectangles together.

Sometimes when I’m sewing many pieces together or pressing several blocks at once, I will watch an episode of Quilt TV on my big screen in my sewing studio.  Most of the time though I just sew or iron.  All this time gives me time ponder; to think, reflect or plan.  It’s during times like this that I get those “aha” moments about sewing, quilting or just life in general.  Many problems are solved and life just seems better.  It was during the sewing and pressing of all these little blocks that I realized that these little blocks were going to make a big impact on the finished quilt.  Just like in life, it’s all the really great, small things that happen during the day that make the whole day wonderful.  Most of the time, we focus on the negative or we worry or conjure up some make believe, crazy scenarios in our mind. I realized that these “bad” thoughts drain us and make us feel less important or not as confident.  I also realized that there are more great, small things that happen during the day.  I actually took time and counted all the great, small things that happened during that day.  They way out numbered the negative.  As a matter of fact, I couldn’t get past two or three negatives that day.  I realized that the great, small things really stood out and made me feel productive, appreciated, and loved.

Just like these small 1 ½ inch small rectangles will stand out and make this huge quilt beautiful, I challenge you to let the great, small things that happen during your day stand out and make your day glorious.

Blessings to you always,


Pam HayesQuilt