Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd – #36 -Organizing Tips for a Complicated Block

Welcome to this month’s edition of Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd where you can learn how to organize your work for a complicated block. I was on a retreat last week and working on one, and I thought I would share some of my tips!

A special welcome to those of you who recently joined from the Villa Rosa Blog Hop. There are lots of giveaways with this hop, so if you didn’t see it, do check it out and enter some!

Last Month’s Link Ups

Here’s a list from last month’s link ups! December was busy for all of us, but I am always grateful for those who remember to link up.

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl shared with us an excellent Mini Quilt using her revised Flying Geese tables! Andree @QuiltingLearningCombo shared more of her Free Motion Quilting and lessons learned.

If you didn’t visit them last month, this is a good time to check out what they shared.

Tutorial: Organizing Tips for a Complicated Block

Last week at a quilt retreat I made a moose! The moose block is part of a quilt, and is fairly large, but the approach is one I used when making Elizabeth Hartman blocks, too. I don’t know when I will get to finish the quilt….I need to decide where it might go before I do, but here’s a look at Moose! This pattern is from Sew Fresh Quilts and is called Buffalo Plaid Moose.



1. Read over the pattern, it really does help.

2. Make a copy of the cutting chart. I suggest making it a bit bigger if you can.

These will become your labels. I scanned the cutting page and added my colors on the chart below. You can use labeled pins, but I like having the measurements so I can cut from the label as well as check whether the misfit is due to my error or a pattern error or my misreading the placement.


(NOTE: I used to copy onto a chart, but found I made mistakes, this is a bit more foolproof).

Measurements removed for copyright purposes.

3. Begin cutting out your fabric, and labeling as you go. You will be surprised how this helps when you need a Medium A and a Dark G to begin piecing or you are trying to figure out if it is the right size piece. It is so easy to confuse the sizes!

Picture with written labels, but I prefer to use labels made from the pattern.

4. When you being piecing, keep the instructions close by. Some of these are so complicated that it really helps to see that you are modeling the pictures!

5. Construct the block as you go!
Because these complicated blocks, whether small or large, can be tedious, I find it makes me feel better to see the progress.

6. Take your time and make sure it matches the pattern and diagrams.

I do find I have to check and re-check as it is so easy to flip a corner on the wrong quadrant.

These tips work for me….whether it is a small block or a large block. Hope this helps you!

Join the Linky Party

Now it’s your turn to post, and the rules are simple – write up a tip or group of tips or a tutorial that is quilting or sewing-related and link that post below. The linky party is open from 12:01 am on the 22nd, through midnight on January 30th The post does not have to be new but should be one that hasn’t been linked to Tips and Tutorials in the past. If you don’t have a blog, please send it to me (kathleen@kathleenmcmusing.com) and I will post your tip or tutorial for you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Past Tips and Tutorials

In case you didn’t know, if you have missed some past #TTot22, you can check them out in the tab at the top of my page or on my Pinterest board.

Coming Up on My Blog

I hope you enjoyed today’s tutorial. I’ll be back on Tuesday with the Shades of Blue Blog hop.

Tips and Tutorials 1/22/23
Shades of Blue Blog Hop 1/24/23
Retreat Placemats

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11 Comments

  1. January 22, 2023 / 12:17 am

    Good tips. Labeling is key with multiple-piece patterns. Reading the instructions first has saved me quite a few times!

    • January 23, 2023 / 8:29 am

      Thank you for these great tips, as a beginner I have been trying to avoid blocks with a lot of pieces because I couldn’t figure out how to keep it all organized.I started a block got pieced mixed up and needless to say my friend Jack helped a lot to untangle the disaster..going to try this again with these tips

  2. January 22, 2023 / 8:14 am

    Great suggestions Kathleen! I have made several big Elizabeth Hartman quilts and they are beautifully but intricately pieced. I remember something like 68 pieces per owl….and I was making 6 of them!
    I like your idea of copying the pattern a bit larger and cutting out the measurements for labels! I’m going to do that for the quilt in working on now!

  3. January 22, 2023 / 11:01 am

    I have also made complicated blocks as well as bags. Great idea to make a photo copy of the cutting instructions and use that for labeling parts! 🙂

  4. January 22, 2023 / 11:21 am

    Great tip for labeling. Thanks!

  5. January 22, 2023 / 11:31 am

    Great tips for working with a detailed block or quilt pattern. I have a tutorial I’m publishing tomorrow, so I’ll be back to link it up soon!

  6. January 22, 2023 / 11:58 am

    Labeling is definitely helpful! I just purchased some pins that have numbers on one side and letters on the other. I really like them!

  7. January 23, 2023 / 8:23 am

    Good thinking, Kathleen! I need to try that with my next “fiddly” block.

  8. January 24, 2023 / 9:42 pm

    Loved your Soar quilt so much, bought the panel & will create my own Hillside when the pattern arrives. My LQS’s had the fabric & didn’t know what to create until I saw yours! The light went on, thx you

  9. January 25, 2023 / 9:29 am

    I need to do this more. I tend to lay it out and pick up and sew, but then I get things flipped or messed up and I am lost. LOL

  10. January 27, 2023 / 4:10 pm

    Hi Kathleen those are great tips. I learned to be organised when I started doing foundation paper piecing, and then some neutral quilts. Now I stay away from these as much as I can – they really drive me crazy! Hope you’re having a great day and thanks for the link up!

I love hearing from you and reply promptly to each comment by email. I will publish replies if there is something that is helpful to the readers of my blog.

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