Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charmed Snowballs Tutorial


Free tutorial. The snowball block is in the public domain but this tutorial is copyright 2013 by The Colorful Fabriholic, for personal use only.  
Charmed Showballs
40 x 49"

Fabric Requirements:

50 assorted 5” charm squares of colorful prints

1-5/8 yard white Kona cotton

5/8 yard accent color (Wordplay by Michele D’Amore for Benartex used here)

1-1/2 yards for backing (or pieced backing to measure at least 43” by 52”)

3/8 yard for binding

If not using charms, cut fifty 5” squares from assorted prints.

-        Cut six 5” width-of-fabric (WOF) strips, then sub-cut 49  5” squares *
-        Cut nine 2” WOF strips, then sub-cut  200  2” squares *  **

Accent Color:
-        Cut nine 2” WOF strips, then sub-cut 196  2” squares *

*Yardage and number of strips based on 40” cuttable width of fabric. Wider fabric (42” cuttable print or 45” cuttable Kona) may yield more pieces per strip. Cut one fewer strips than number listed, cut squares, count yield, and determine whether you need to cut that last strip or not.

**If you cut your 5” white squares first and have a partial strip left over, you can use it for some of your white 2” squares.


1. Mark the 200 white 2" squares on the diagonal on the wrong side of the fabric

2. Place white squares at the corners of each charm and stitch on the marked lines. You can chain-piece all one corner, then all the next corner, etc. 

3.   Press seam allowances toward the charm:

4.     Open the pressed corners back out and trim away the excess fabric, 1/4" away from the stitching.  Pressing first and trimming afterward results in more accurate squares and minimizes stretching (rather than trimming first then pressing).

5.     Make 50 of these little snowball blocks.

6.  Repeat steps 1-4 to attach the Accent Color corners to the white squares. In step 4, press the seam allowances toward the corners (toward the accent color), then trim.  Make 49 blocks.

7.   Alternating color and white, lay out blocks on design wall, 9 across by 11 down, with colored charm blocks at the corners.

8.     Assemble rows, locking and matching seams, using ¼” seam allowance. Seams will lock together nicely but pinning is highly recommended to prevent slippage.  Press all seam allowances toward the charm blocks.
9.    Join the rows, locking and matching all seams.
10.     Layer, baste, and quilt as desired. Sample is quilted using a walking foot, as follows: 
  •       Quilt in the ditch vertically and horizontally.
  •       Mark with a Hera marker or other marker of your choice, across the snowball from point to point.  Be sure to start and end ¼” over to allow seam allowance for the binding. If using a Hera marker, mark and stitch one pass at a time.
  •       Complete all vertical quilting, then repeat going horizontally.  Quilting forms a kaleidoscope pattern.
First pass marked with Hera marker

     Note 1/4" at start of marking
    Note 1/4" at end of marking

    Second pass marked with Hera marker

Kaleidoscope pattern of quilting

11.     Attach and sew down binding.
12.     Add label or sign and date your quilt.
Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Check out all the other creativity over there!



      1. jan, I adore the quilting pattern you chose for the snowballs. I think it makes them look even rounder! and the back looks fabulous with that pattern showing up so well.
        what a great tutorial. =)

      2. what a lovely scrappy quilt and great tutorial! I agree, the quilting really adds to the snow ball design. Well done!

      3. I haven't sen snowballs quilted this's ay before! Thanks for the great idea! Like your blog!

      4. I haven't seen snowball blocks quilted this way before. Great idea! Like your blog!

      5. This one has been on my to-dew list since I first saw it! I think it's time has arrived!!! I just love it!

      6. Your plus quilt and its quilting is phenomenal. Thank you for the tutorial. I also adore the charmed snowballs. My guild is having a quilt show next year and we are going to have an exhibit of red and white quilts. We have been asked to bring any red/white quilts or made one. The front must have only red and white fabrics. I just won a red/white quilt and it also has a touch of green. I though the charmed snowball quilt would be lovely in red/white and then also use red/white charms instead of colored charms. I think it would be stunning. Thoughts? I still need to look at more of your generous tutorials and I just signed up to follow you on Bloglovin'.

      7. I wasn't sure if I should leave a comment here or on Sarahs' blog so I will leave on both! Love your Snowballs. I did a wall hanging, all blue and white snowballs, and I didn't LOVE it. It is okay, but I LOVE yours and am encouraged to do another. Thank you!

      8. Thank you so very much for this really great tutorial. I found you through Sarah of Confessions of a Fabriholic. Blessings to you ...