Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 4 – Thread Tales and Spinning Spools

Welcome to the fourth block reveal for the Sew Let’s QAL.

ButtonThis QAL is brought to you by Partners in Design: Where Friends and Fabric Meet.

Partners in design
Presenting: Thread Tales

tunaquilts 1a

This delightfully artistic block is 12.5″ unfinished. I followed Bobbi’s directions carefully and my block is 12.5″.

This block was designed by Bobbi Bridgeman of Snowy Days Quilting. You can download the free pattern here on her blog from now until September 24th, 2019. After then, the patterns may not be available anymore. Don’t delay, download them today.

tunaquilts 2a

Can you find the cactus fabric I am including in each block?

Bobbi designed two blocks for this release. You can find Spinning Spools also on her site. Choose one or the other or do both. I am planning on sewing Spinning Spools, too. I had  hoped to have it completed in time for the reveal today but it wants its own day to shine.

Tips and Tricks to Constructing this Block

  1. Don’t let the number of pieces in Thread Tales discourage or overwhelm you. There are 77 pieces but I think it will probably take you longer to cut them out rather than sew them together. If you think that’s too many pieces and you decide to work on Spinning Spools instead, be aware that block has 104 pieces. No matter which block pattern you choose you can be assured that the pattern directions are well-written and it will sew together easily. It took me about 3 hours to sew Thread Tales. But then I was a bit distracted with a new cactus bloom and needed to check on it occasionally (see picture below).
  2. LABEL the pieces!! It’s definitely time well-spent. Not labeling the block pieces is a “Recipe for disaster!” 
  3. Use the cutting chart provided in the pattern and put a check mark after cutting out the pieces. This will help you keep track of your progress and let you know where to start if you are called away in the middle of your work.

    tunaquilts 4a

    Use the cutting chart and check off the pieces as you cut them out.

  4. Use a purple thang (or something similar) to help you hold onto those little pieces as they are sewn. Some people use their fingers or a seam ripper, but I prefer the purple thang as it won’t hurt my needle if I get too close to it. I wrote an interesting story here about my purple thang and how I came to get it. You might enjoy reading it as it will bring you a bit of humor while you work on your block. tunaquilts 67a
  5. Fold each of the J pieces (in Thread Tales) in half lengthwise and iron a crease. After you’ve sewn the O sides to J, lay your ruler on top of your piece so the 1 3/4″ line lies along the crease. Trim the right side and the top. Turn block around and do the same again with the other two sides. This is an easy way to get the desired block size as listed on the pattern and keep the thread spool centered. 

tunaquilts 3a

See These Hosts for More Construction Tips

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers.

Sandy @ SandyStar Designs

Abbie @ Sparkle On!

Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter

In addition to those listed above, look for inspiration from these bloggers during: 

Segment 1: March 12th to May 21st

Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs

Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing

Quilt Hosts

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers as they turn their blocks into a quilt.

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting — Designer of this block

Sherry @ Powered by Quilting 

April @ JANDA Bend Quilts

Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts

Join this QAL

You can join in anytime. Every other Tuesday, a new block will be released until all 13 blocks have been released. You can find the full schedule on my post here. This QAL will be divided into three segments. Segment one will consist of 5 blocks.

Share a picture of your block on our Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL. We want to see them. A prize will be awarded at the end of each segment.

Segment 1: March 12th to May 21st

Block patterns will be free from the designers and available on their blogs until the date of the Grand Prize announcement September 24th, 2019.

Enter to Win

Entering to win the prizes below is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Everyone (You must be 18 to be able to enter to win prizes) gets to participate because International entries are welcome! You do NOT need to have a blog to enter.
  2. Make all of the 5 blocks in this segment provided to you free of charge for this event. Use your own fabrics and embellish them as you like. If entering the giveaway, the blocks should definitely be recognizable as made from these free patterns.  Take one picture with all of them included.
  3. Post a picture of all of your blocks before 11:59 PM EST, May 20th, 2019 either on the Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL, or on the hosts  blog Linky party at the end of each segment.  You are welcome to post a picture on each of the sources but it will only count as one entry.

Segment 1 Prizes and Sponsors
Prize sponsors

  • A newly released item from Omnigrid® (a Prym Company)
    Large Folding Cutting Kit that includes 18 x 24″ mat, a 3″ x 18″ ruler and a 45 mm rotary cutter
  • Timeless Treasures Tonga Treat Strip Jr. “Orchid” -20 pc 2 1/2″ strip pack
  • 2 Shabby Fabrics Vintage Blessings printed table runner patterns and a packet of Sunflower laser-cut appliqués (small.)
  • One Free PDF pattern (up to $10.00) from each of these “Partners in Design

Sandra Healy Designs   Janda Bend Quilts  Powdered by Quilting 


You choose what you want to make: A quilt or several smaller projects. The sewing machine is the only block that will be large. The rest will be 12.5″ unfinished. We have several hosts who will offer suggestions as to what you can do with your blocks if you don’t want to make a quilt.

Not sure what to do? Just start making the blocks and decide along the way. A grand prize will be offered for a completed quilt top or several projects that use all of the 13 blocks. 

I’ll be making several projects for my sewing room.

Don’t Miss Out on My Previous Sew Let’s QAL Posts

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL – Introduction

Tu-Na Quilts: On Pins and Needles – A look at my fabric selection. It varies with each segment of the QAL.

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 1— Sewing Machine

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 2 — Quilt Along Mug Block

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 3 — Ruler


tunaquilts 3a
tunaquilts 1a

What I Learned Today:

  1. Cactus blooms are interesting. We spent a good chunk of yesterday at the Desert Botanical Gardens. There were many blooming cacti and trees. You can see more pictures of cacti blooms here.
    tunaquilts 6a
  2. Argentine Giants can bloom one year after planting. I wrote about how one came to live in my yard here. It is exciting to see it bloom for the first time. 

    tunaquilts 5a

    Tu-Na Helper planted this Argentine Giant last spring. The flower is 7 inches across and 9 inches long. Quite impressive!

Question: What is your favorite flower? I enjoy daisies and roses but I think that many cacti blooms are my favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

25 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 4 – Thread Tales and Spinning Spools

  1. Leslie Schmidt

    Great block, Karen. Your hints are really helpful. It’s a detailed block, but I think it is really neat.
    I like your photos of the cactus flowers. They’re not something I see around here in Minnesota. My favorite flower is the peony. I love the smell, and they are so showy and dramatic. I think they were my mother’s favorites, too.


  2. travelingro

    I just have to say that I love my Purple Thang and use it all the time. I like these blocks, btw. They are a little different and different is good. Something like a Purple Thang.


  3. Pingback: Sew Let's QAL, Block 4 - Sandra Healy Designs Quilt Pattern Designer

  4. piecefulwendy

    This is such a creative block! Your hints will be so helpful to those making it. I have too many QALs going on, and I’m having a difficult time keeping up, so I’m watching this one from the sidelines (or is it sewlines?). My favorite flower(s) — lilacs and peonies.


  5. karenfae

    the cactus blooms are so pretty. I’m not sure what my favorite flower is – right now I am enjoying the hydrangea on the new little plants Mike bought me that I will plant in the ground in the fall if they survive the summer – I love roses and peonies also


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  8. dezertsuz

    What a great block, and your colors and thread spools and cones look terrific. All your blocks look great together, thanks for showcasing them at the end. I, too, love many flowers, but I think saguaro blooms are my favorite. I also like prickly pear, but that might be because I know it means there will be wonderful fruit for jelly and syrup!


  9. Sparkle On! with Abbie

    Hi Karen, I love your fun Thread Tales block. And the purple thang is the perfect accompaniment! Love those purple thongs too! Lol
    The Argentine cactus’s flower is amazing! It’s so neat your gorgeous surroundings are being incorporated into the QAL blocks:)


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