A Block ‘o the Irish, To You!

Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block from McCall's

Betsy’s rendition of the Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block from McCall’s.

The shamrock has been around forever, as we all know. But how did it get tied in with St. Patrick? Well, you’d have to go back to the 5th century when St. Patrick used the shamrock, or clover, as a religious icon because of its 3 leaves. St. Patrick’s used the clover with the 3 leaves as symbols of the Holy Trinity. This was during the time “he introduced  Christianity to Ireland.” (Michelle Gervais, “The History of the Shamrock” at http://www.finegardening.com/plants/articles/history-shamrock.aspx)

When you were a child did you ever try to find a 4-leaf clover hidden in your grass? I did. I don’t know if I ever quite knew what to do with it but I believe I made a wish upon it, twirled it around a few times then tossed it into the air and let it land wherever.  Perhaps that’s where the magic lies? The unknown result of a wish dreamed.

I don’t think I have an ounce of Irish in me but I will pretend for the day. I believe corned beef and cabbage is on the menu. Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

I thought about creating my very own shamrock block but then decided, why? I am including a link to McCall’s and their directions to make a free shamrock block. It’s called Seven Lucky Shamrocks. I did make the block myself and have included some pictures on making it here.

I went a step further and created another block (for Valentine’s Day, I suppose) so that I could have a centerpiece that doubled as a hot pad that I could use first in February and then flip it over to use in March. Good thinking, eh? Except before I finished the hot pad I started having mechanical troubles with my machine so it’s not done. It doesn’t matter, though, I’ve included what I could and I think you’ll get the hang of it. I have included a PDF of the heart. I used a cookie cutter to create the design.

Here’s the McCall’s link and my how-to pics follow.

http://www.mccallsquilting.com/content_downloads/Seven_Lucky_Shamrocks.pdf

Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block

Step 1:
Raid your stash and come up with a piece of fabric for your background and a green fabric for your shamrocks.

Assemble scissors, iron, pencil, fusible appliqué paper. I used Sew Lazy’s Fusi-bond Lite, which is available in the shop. I’ve used a couple different ones and I like this very much.

Print out the directions from McCalls so you get the shamrock motif.

Basic Supplies for Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block

Fabrics and directions for the Seven Lucky Shamrocks block.

Step 2
Using your shamrock template, trace the shamrock 7 times on the paper side of the Fusi-bond Lite.

Cut your background fabric in a 12.5” square.

Fold your background fabric in quarters and finger press it. This will show you the center of your square when you unfold the fabric. You will place your shamrocks evenly around the center.

Finding the Center of your Fabric

To find the center of your fabric piece, simple fold into quarters. Your center point will be where you fold lines intersect.

Step 3

Place your drawn shamrocks, glue side down, on the wrong side of your green fabric.

Iron according to the directions on the Fusi-bond Lite.

BTW – I used my new, made by me, pressing board for this project and I LOVED it.

Ready to Cut Your Shamrocks

All ironed and secured to your green fabric, your shamrocks are ready to be cut – on the line.

Cutting Out Your Shamrocks

Cut out each shamrock on the cutting line.

Getting Ready to Secure Your Shamrocks To Your Background Fabric

Peel the paper backing from your shamrocks and position them to your background fabric.

Step 4
Peel the paper backing of each shamrock and lay them out in a circle around the center of your background block. Place the shamrocks glue side down onto the right side of your background fabric.

When you are happy with the shamrock layout, press the shamrocks to the background fabric, following the directions for the Fusi-bond Lite.

Presto! You are done with the block. If it looks good you have had the luck o’ the Irish with you and Irish eyes are smilin’ upon ya.

The Finished Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block

The Finished Seven Lucky Shamrocks Block

So what do you do with it? Well, like I said, I made another block with the desire to make a hot pad/centerpiece that could be used for 2 months of the year – February and March.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day block and my Seven Lucky Shamrocks block.

Heart & Shamrocks

A Valentine’s Day quilt block and a St. Patrick’s Day shamrock block will do double duty when put together as a centerpiece/hot pad for my table.

To get the heart appliqué, I simply traced a cookie cutter I had in my kitchen drawer. Cookie cutters are great templates.

Follow the directions as for the shamrock block – cut a 12.5” block for your background, determine the center of the block and cut out the heart appliqué and iron it to the background fabric.

Here’s a link to the Heart Motif you can use.

After getting your motif’s on the backgrounds you will want to either machine or hand embroidery around the motifs. You can use threads (DMC or Cosmos) in colors that match or contrast to your motif.

Once the embroidery is done, I cut a piece of Insul-Bright to sandwich between the blocks. This is good if you are quilting something that will be used to handle hot things – like hot pads. It works quite well.

Go ahead and quilt your piece any way you would like and when you are done, add a binding. If you struggle with binding, check out this YouTube video. It was produced by Margaret Knapp Leuwen, Sue’s sister.  Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvu57CJCJ5o

Insul-Bright

Insul-Bright. Use this as the sandwich batting between your two quilt blocks. It works really well.

Well, I would show you a picture of my finished piece, but it isn’t finished. I’m hoping to get my machine fixed soon. Until then, show me YOUR pics and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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