by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Sneak peek

January 29th, 2013 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)
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I worked on my “Madrona Road Challenge” for the Modern Quilt Guild last night. I doubt that I’ll finish anything by the Jan 31 national deadline, but our local guild gave us until March, so I’m going to keep at it.

Anyway, I just have to show you what I did last night…it made me squeal!

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Tree of Life Block

February 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (3 Comments)
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It’s my turn for the block of the Tree and House Quilt-along at Kim’s Crafty Apple. Here it is!

It’s a little bit of a pieced block to fit in with the others and a little bit Quilties, but I hope you have fun with it too!

 Download the TreeofLifeBlock PDF pattern.

If you’d rather see the instructions online, keep reading.

Materials Needed:
• Lightweight fusible interfacing
• 12 – 2 ½” squares
• Flower and leave fabric scraps
• Light background fabric 8 ½” x 10 ½”
• Ground strip 8 ½” x 2 ½”
• Water soluble glue stick
• Optional fusible web

Step One: Patchwork Squares Side
Cut a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing 5″ x 15″ and arrange your 2 ½” squares along this strip in two columns.

Line up edge to edge as perfectly as you can, then fuse the squares to the interfacing.


First you will sew the short seams across these squares by folding over the first two right sides together and sewing a ¼” seam from the edge of the interfacing.

Fold the next two and sew the seam and so on, for five short seams.


Trim the seam allowances just a tiny sliver (just enough to cut off the fold) allowing you to press the seams open.

Press open, then fold in half the long way and sew the ¼” long seam. Trim and press open as before.


Step Two: Assemble the Background
Press an 8 ½” x 10 ½” piece of interfacing to the reverse side of your background fabric. Sew the ground strip to the bottom of the interfaced background. Then stitch the side panel to the background/ground unit.


Step Three: Appliqué the Tree of Life
If you prefer to appliqué with fusible web, fuse the web onto several green and floral scraps. Free cut various flowers from floral motif fabrics. Also free cut some simple leaf shapes and 5-6 small strips of brown tree trunk fabric.

Note: I do not use fusible web, it gives it a little fluffier look, the edges will fray more, but I like that. You can decide what will suit your quilt better!

Arrange your tree free-hand, starting with a good tree trunk and branches, adding flowers and leaves until you like the look of your tree. Don’t worry if the flowers are not all from the same fabric, it looks a little more whimsical that way! Use a glue (or the fusible web) to adhere them to the background just enough for quilting.

Step Four: “Quilting” the Tree
At this point, you are not exactly quilting because you have not assembled your sandwich, but you can sew a single line of stitching around the edges of all the appliqué pieces. This will hold the pieces on and can be decorative as well. I added a little texture to the tree trunk and veins in the leaves. Use thread that is either matching all the parts or neutral enough to not stick out. (click the photo to see it bigger and see the stitching.)


That’s it, your “Tree of Life” block is done and I’m sure it’s as unique as you are!
Enjoy the rest of the Quilt-a-Long!
– Emma Thomas-McGinnis

p.s. If you’re a new guest here, please stay a little while and look around my blog. I hope you’ll join me as a friend of Quilties too!