Christa’s Quilt Along 5.5 – Hugs and Kisses Top and Pieced Borders

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″

Welcome to part 5 of my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along!

For anyone just joining me, Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Kits are available for purchase while supplies last.

Be sure to work at your own pace and please share pictures of your progress on flickr.

Scroll to the end of the post for the quilt along schedule.

It took me a total of 6 hours to follow the steps below and complete my Hugs ‘n Kisses quilt top.


Step 1 – Arranging The Blocks (30 Minutes)

I decided to go with all X blocks for my layout. You will notice that my blog header shows part of a Hugs ‘n Kisses quilt I made several years ago in reds and oranges. I decided to try something different this time around and I encourage you to make it your own. 🙂

Kisses Blocks

Using a design wall or other large surface, play around with your blocks until they are in a pleasing arrangement. I tried to create a radiating effect by grouping all of the lighter blocks together in one corner and gradually darkening them across the quilt.

Step 2 Sewing the Blocks into Rows (1 Hour, 30 Minutes)

Lay out your design forming 5 blocks across by 7 rows down. To keep track of my rows, I took a picture with my camera phone. Then I was able to refer back to it for proper block placement. I pinned at the intersections and pressed all of my seams open.

Pin BlocksPress Seams Open


Sew each set of blocks into a row. For easier joining, press rows 1, 3, 5 one way and press rows 2, 4, 6 the opposite way. Or press all seams open like I did.

7 Rows of Blocks

Step 3 – Joining the rows (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

Join two sets of rows into one piece. Repeat for 3 pairs of rows with one left over. When pressing my seams open, I open them with a wooden seam roller, then press with an iron.

Pairs of Rows Seam Roller


Join rows 1-2 and 3-4. Then join rows 5-6 with row 7. Then sew the two pieces together.

Step 4 – Adding the Inner Borders (45 Minutes)

Measure the width of your quilt top. An easy way to do this is the fold it in half and measure using a cutting mat. My folded measurement is 20.5 inches which means my quilt measures 41 inches. (Mathematically it should measure exactly 40.5 inches so mine grew slightly.)

Measure the quilt.
Trim two 2.5 inch background strips to this measurement. Attach carefully with pins and sew one strip each to the top and bottom. Usually I sew side borders first. However, since I wanted to avoid piecing the top/bottom borders I sewed them first. 🙂

Inner Border

Next, measure the length of your quilt including the added strips. Use the same folding trick as above. Mine was 61 inches (mathematically it should have been 60.5 inches). You will need to join multiple background strips together for length. Trim two pieced strips so that they measure this length exactly. Add rows to either side.

Step 5 – Adding the Pieced Outer Border (2 Hours)

Each pieced border is composed of bricks that you cut out previously. You need a total of 54 bricks that measure 2.5″ x 4.5″ each. Sew them together into segments until you have 4 pieced segments (you can make them random or gradated):

Pieced Borders

2 Top/Bottom Borders – 12 Bricks Each
2 Side Borders – 15 Bricks Each

Top & Bottom: 12 segments sewn end-to-end (Make 2)
Sides: 15 segments sewn end-to-end (Make 2)

Add the pieced side borders to your top first. If they are too short, you may need to go back and re-sew a few segments with slightly narrower seam allowances. Or you can insert a piece as needed.

If the rows are too long, you may need to go back and increase the width of a few of your seam allowance segments to shorten it up. Or just trim off the excess.

Hugs 'n Kisses Quilt Top

Add the top and bottom borders on in the same way. Voila! A finished quilt top!


If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.


Christa’s Quilt Along 5.4 – Hugs ‘n Kisses X and O Blocks

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″

Welcome to part 4 of my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along!

For anyone just joining me, Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Kits are available for purchase while supplies last.

Thanks to all of you who have shared your quilt along pictures on my flickr group so far. It’s been “sew” fun to see your progress!

Scroll to the end of the post for  the quilt along schedule.

It took me a total of 2 hours to sew all my blocks.


Did you finish your bow ties from last week? If not, that’s ok. I added an extra week to my schedule to give everyone a chance to catch up. That means less homework this week!

Bow Ties

140 Bow Ties is a lot!

Step 1 – Sewing the Half-Blocks (1 Hour)

It takes 4 bow tie units to complete one X or O block. Sew two bow ties together to complete half of the block. Repeat for the other half of the block.

Half Blocks

At this point you can decide whether you want it to be an X or an O. Chain piece all of your pairs of bowties until you have a total of 70 “half-units”.

Partial Blocks

For an X block, join the halves with the print squares in the middle forming an X. For an O block, join the halves with the background squares touching to form an O. I pressed all of my seams open so that it did not matter which way I rotated the units.

Step 2 – Completing the X and O Blocks (1 Hour)

Sew a total of 18 X blocks and 17 O blocks. You should have a total of 35 blocks.

X O Blocks

For a fun design aesthetic you could try to make the X blocks from mostly medium/dark fabrics and the O blocks from mostly light/medium fabrics. It’s up to you!

I am making my quilt from all X’s so I have sewn a total of 35 X blocks

All X's

Alternate Block Design

If you would like to go with an alternate layout such as waves, mix up your bow ties so that each one is different and sew all block units like this:

Waves Block 1Waves Block 2Waves Block 3


Play around with your bow ties and see what other designs you can come up with!
On the left is a sketch of what my quilt will look like. On the right is an alternate layout.

All X's

All X’s

Random Waves

Random Waves


If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.


Christa’s Quilt Along 5.3 – Hugs and Kisses Bow Tie Blocks

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″

Welcome to part 3 of my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along!

This week we will cut our strips into pieces and sew the bow tie units that make up the hugs and kisses blocks. Today’s post is pretty lengthy but I want to remind you to work at your own pace. Making this quilt is not a race; rather it is about enjoying the process.

I timed each step as I completed it to give you an idea of how long it will take to sew (total of 9 hours).  Rather than try to hurry and finish it all at once, I completed 1-2 steps per day so I never felt rushed.

Before cutting into segments, I starched my strips.

I also replaced a few jelly roll strips with a couple from my stash. (That’s because I borrowed them to make a previous Valentine’s Table Runner last month, LOL!!)

Hugs 'n Kisses Strips

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll Plus Stash Strips

Optional Step 1 – Starching the Strips (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

I sprayed a light mist on the backside, let it soak in, then gently pressed from the front. Take care not to stretch your skinny strips out of alignment. It’s not mandatory, but I do get better results by starching. You can read my previous post about using starch here.

Starch BackPress Front


If you decide to starch your background strips, take care that you don’t scorch them. I would suggest testing on a piece of white fabric first to make sure you don’t get any yellowing or flaking of the starch. Here’s a hint – cut some of your starched strips into units while you are waiting for other starched strips to dry in between pressing.

If you select any one of the layouts from last week’s post you can cut all of your fabrics according to the chart below. But feel free to modify your design further if it pleases you.

Step 2 – Cutting the Print Strips into Segments (2 Hours)

From each of 35 print jelly roll strips (2 .5″ x 42″), cut:

  • 8 – 2.5″ squares (2o inches so far)
  • 8 – 1.5″ squares (32 inches so far)
  • 1 – 2.5″ x 4.5″ brick (37 inches total)
Cut Squares

Cut Squares

Be sure to cut off the selvedges first and stack up to 4 layers of strips for cutting efficiency. Just remember – measure twice, cut once! I found it easiest to cut the 2.5″ squares, then the brick, then trim the rest of the strip down to 1.5″ before cutting the smaller squares.

You should have one stack of squares (8 large, 8 small) for every complete X or O block.

From 3 print jelly roll strips, cut:

  • a total of 19 more 2.5″ x 4.5″ bricks
Border Brick Units

Border Brick Units

You should have a total of 54 bricks that measure 2.5″ x 4.5″. Stack all of your bricks together and set aside for now. Keep your squares above sorted by color.

Step 3 – Cutting the Solid Background Strips (30 Minutes)

From 18 solid background strips (2 .5″ x 42″):

  • Cut a total of 280 – 2.5″ squares. Yes, this is a lot of background squares.
  • You need 8 squares per large block and will be making 35 blocks total.
  • You can get 16 – 2.5″ squares per strip.
Background Strip

Cut 4 stacks of squares per background strip.

Background Squares

280 Background Squares

Here’s a hint: fold one of your background strips into 4 layers so that it is at least 10 inches wide.

Cut one background strip at a time into 4 stacks of 4 squares each.

Continue cutting until you have a total of 280 squares. You will use a total 17.5 strips exactly for the squares.

Set aside 6 extra full strips for borders = 24 background strips total.


Step 4 – Sew and Trim the Bow Tie Corners (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

  1. Layer one smaller print square in the corner of one larger background square.
  2. Sew diagonally from corner to corner on the print square.
  3. Trim off the corner, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Press the print corner down to complete the square.
Bow Tie Corners

Bow Tie Corners

Chain Piecing

Chain Piecing

Practice making one bow tie corner unit so you get the hang of it.

I didn’t worry about marking my sewing line since it was such a small square.

Assembly line sew all of your squares until you have a total of 280 pieced corners (8 of each fabric).

This is also called chain piecing. Sew all of the squares before cutting in between each one.


Step 5 – Press All the Pieced Squares (45 Minutes)

Taking care not to scorch your fabrics, press all 280 pieced squares with the fabric towards the dark side. At this point, they can all face the same direction.

Bow Tie Corners

Bow Tie Corners

Step 6 – Sewing the Bow Tie Blocks (3 Hours, 15 Minutes)

It takes 2 print squares and two pieced background squares per bow tie unit. For efficiency, you can turn the pieces all the same way and join them together assembly line style. Be sure to sew one test unit first so you know you are putting it together correctly.

Bow Tie Squares

Bow Tie Squares

Bow Tie Piecing

Bow Tie Piecing

Sew two half units together to complete one bow tie unit.

Bow Tie Units

Bow Tie Units

Pressing tips: I like to “finger” press each half of the bow tie unit with a  wooden seam roller. Then, after sewing the halves to complete the bow tie, I will press open with an iron.

Seam Roller Press

Seam Roller Press

Press Seams Open

Press Seams Open


Sew a total of 140 bow tie units, 4 of each color. You may have 8 bow ties of some colors if you have duplicate strips. Next week we will sew them into blocks.


If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.


Christa’s Quilt Along 5.2 – Hugs ‘n Kisses Fabric Layout

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″

Welcome to part 2 of my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along! Today I will be discussing fabric selection and layout.

Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Kits are available if you’d rather not worry about fabric selection.

For a successful design, this quilt relies on contrast between the print fabrics and the solid background.

You could choose one of your favorite themed fabrics like solids, batiks, or a favorite color range, and pair them with either a totally light solid or a totally dark fabric for contrast.


That being said, what if we play around a little? You will notice my original version has a few light colored strips. What if you wanted a modern, low-volume quilt? Just blur the contrast between the prints and background to achieve this sort of look in the pink design below.

Low Volume Hugs 'n Kisses

Low Volume Hugs ‘n Kisses

Juvenile Hugs 'n Kisses

Juvenile Hugs ‘n Kisses


And if you want to make a more playful, juvenile quilt, you can choose a bright background solid that matches one of your print fabrics. You could also use several different background fabrics if you want to make it a bit more “scrappy.”

If you are working with a kit where all of the fabrics are already chosen, you can make it your own by changing the setting of the squares, also known as block layout.

Hugs 'n Kisses Bowties

Hugs ‘n Kisses Bowties

Hugs 'n Kisses Waves

Hugs ‘n Kisses Waves

The basic unit we will be constructing next week is the bow-tie block. You could lay out your entire quilt with the bow ties all going the same way to achieve a totally different look. Or how about zig-zags, all kisses, or all hugs? It’s up to you!

Hugs 'n Kisses All X's

Hugs ‘n Kisses all X’s

Hugs 'n Kisses All O's

Hugs ‘n Kisses All O’s


I even dare you to play around with the borders if you are so inclined. What if you swapped the border fabric for the binding fabric, i.e., a solid border and a scrappy binding instead? If you want to make a larger quilt, who is stopping you from cutting a few extra strips from your stash and mixing them in with the other blocks? You can always “borrow” the inner border strips to cut up into more block backgrounds, and replace them with something else.

I want you to look at the kits as a starting point and explore your creativity (but only if you want to – there are no hard and fast rules here)! Who knows, I might even change up my own quilt a bit when I get to that point. 🙂

Here is this week’s “homework” for those of you cutting your own strips:

  • Cut out 36 assorted 2.5″ print strips for your blocks and pieced borders
  • Cut 23 – 2.5″ solid strips for your background and inner borders
  • Set aside 1/2 yard of coordinating solid for the binding and be sure to prewash it.

If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.


Christa’s Quilt Along 5.1 – Hugs ‘n Kisses Supply List

Free Quilt Pattern

New to my blog? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free pattern!

Time for another fun quilt-along! My Hugs ‘n Kisses design is based on a quilt I made several years ago. If you look closely, it’s similar to the quilt shown on my blog’s header. Over the years I’ve had several requests for this quilt pattern, so I finally decided to make one!

Hugs 'n Kisses

Hugs ‘n Kisses

About This Quilt – Finished Size 48″ x 64″

I designed this quilt using EQ7  so that it will work with Jelly Rolls or precut strips.  Although I am making this quilt in the size stated above, you can easily double the yardage requirements, purchase additional kits, or add borders to make it bigger.

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll

Kissing Booth Jelly Roll

Kona Snow Roll Up Strips

Kona Snow Roll Up

Kona Solids Brick

Kona Solids Brick


Fabric Requirements (Hugs and Kisses Quilt Kits are available for a limited time.)

  • 1 Jelly Roll of print fabric. You may use any jelly roll or set of precut strips you like as long as you have at least 38 – 2.5″ strips.
  • 2/3 Jelly Roll of solid or background fabric,  or 24 – 2.5″ strips.  If you prefer to purchase yardage and cut the strips yourself, you will need 1.75 yards.
  • 1/2 yard fabric for the binding in a coordinating color – I prefer to use solid 2.25″ strips. Purchase a little more if you like wider strips.
  • At least 52″ x 68″ piece of batting; my favorites are high quality cotton or wool.
  • 3 yards of non-directional fabric the backing, or scraps and fat quarters to total about 3.5 yards if you prefer to make it scrappy like I do.
Machingers Gloves

Machingers Gloves

Supreme Slider

Supreme Slider

Superior Needles

Superior Needles


Supplies Needed


If you have any questions please be sure to join my flickr discussion or email me directly at christa@christaquilts.com.

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂