Twelve Words Block of the Month: #1: January Sparkle


Introducing the Twelve Words Sampler! I’m so excited to share this Block of the Month with you…and even more excited to see the blocks you make! I’m calling it the Twelve Words sampler because, as you’ll notice, each block will have a word on it. I chose these words to be uplifting and encouraging, they inspire me and I hope they will inspire you, too.


So here’s how it works: each month I will post a block with basic instructions. Then, for the next couple days I will post tutorials on how to complete each step of the block-making process. That way, those of you who are ready to just jump right in can just go for it as soon as I post the block, and those of you who are learning some new skills as you go will get to finish the blocks too.


Each month the blocks will incorporate a basic quilting “building block” as I like to call them, the elements that make up a large majority of quilting projects out there, in some combination or other. This will help build and refine skills, as well as help me build an arsenal of tutorials here on the little old blog.


By the end of the year, you will be old hat at machine applique, basic embroidery, flying geese, pinwheels, and lots of other things! Don’t worry, if you need a little hand-holding, I’ll walk you through it. Promise.

01242013gPlease,  join along! We’re going to have so much fun, and the end result will not only be beautiful, but positive and uplifting–and I don’t know about you, but I can use all the bright cheeriness I can get in this weather.


Like I said earlier, basic instructions today, more thorough explanations over the next 2-3 days. Please ask questions if you have them, and I will be sure to answer you.


Before we get too into this project, a few words on fabric selection so you can plan. I chose 8 solids and 2 linen blends to work with for this quilt. For each block I am choosing two or three solids to form my color palette, and then pulling print scraps from my stash in the same color values. You can see the black and white linen on the bottom of the pile, that will be my sashing. I wanted something that would set off every color nicely, but I didn’t want to use white. Finally, I am using a natural colored linen for my background of my embroidery and applique, and plan to use that natural color in each block as well.

Here’s the details on making this month’s block!

Piece 2″ squares in (4) strips of (8) squares, and (2) strips of (4) squares, as shown.


Press seams in alternating directions to avoid bulk.

Align intersections, pin, and sew top two rows together. Repeat for bottom two rows. Press.


With disappearing ink, mark a line 1″ from each side of your 7″ x 10″ rectangle. Trace center snowflake for embroidery. Using templates provided, and following manufacturer’s instructions, use fuseable web to adhere applique pieces INSIDE the lines you just marked.


Using a small zig zag or other decorative stitch, sew around each applique piece.


Using navy thread, embroider the main lines of the snowflake. Switch to aqua thread, use large stitches to embroider the small middle star. Press the block.

Trim to 6½” x 9½”.


Sew remaining (4) piece strips to the sides. Press.

january6Finish block by putting all three units together and pressing well.

Download templates here. January Sparkle Templates

I’m starting a flickr group where you can add pictures of your block, please add yours! (I just might have a giveaway planned, and your entry is your block picture in the group…) Join the flickr group here.

More tomorrow!




  1. 1
    Lynnette says:

    As you know this is not my first rodeo, as they like to say, but I have never seen linen used in a quilt or at a quilt store to buy. Where did you get yours? I’m assuming your solids and additional pieces are 100% cotton – does the linen behave the same as cotton for washing drying etc. What type of fusible web will compliment the linen the best? I know there are a wide range of products with varying qualities depending on what you are using it for.
    Thanks, I’m excited to see the rest!

    • 1.1
      April says:

      I got my linen from Pink Castle Fabrics online, though I’ve heard that Hancock Fabrics sometimes stocks it, too. My solids and other fabrics are 100% cotton, yes. The linen is actually a 55% Linen 45% cotton blend. It’s easy to work with, and doesn’t shrink any more than my cotton does. I used Heat ‘n Bond lite for my fuseable webbing, and it worked beautifully.

  2. 2
    Robin says:

    Let the games begin! I have been looking forward to this and am excited. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. 3
    Janet S. says:

    Would love to follow along via email if possible. What a great project!

    • 3.1
      April says:

      I’ll see what I can do about adding an email list for the block of the month. In the meantime, still follow along, k? :) xoxo

  4. 4
    Sharon says:

    Love your new BOM idea.

  5. 5
    Tabatha says:

    April, I love your block and think it’s gorgeous! I hope you design one for spring too! :D

  6. 6
    Jean says:

    Thanks for sharing your BOM .

  7. 7
    GeeGee says:

    Great idea for a BOM and the Jan block is so cute. I will be following along, Thanks for sharing!

  8. 8
    cindy says:

    Love this idea for a b.o.m. Will be following and passing along your blog. Found you via Pinterest, if you like to know those things! :)

  9. 9
    Jana says:

    This block looks great.

  10. 10
    Bernie says:

    Love your new BOM.

  11. 11
    Shari says:

    Oh my, you did it again! So I’m definitely going to have to join in!

  12. 12
    Michelle M Lewis says:

    This is my first time doing a block of the month and I was wondering what the colors are that you are using; how much to purchase of the solid colors and black and white linen material; and is the white tonal a linen fabric also. Sorry for all the questions, but I new at this and would really appreciate some guidance.

    Thank you.

    • 12.1
      April says:

      Hey Michelle! I just chose a bunch of colors that I like and you’re welcome to do the same…but I’ll do what I can to track down the specific colors for you. :) The white tonal is actually from Sweetwater’s Noteworthy line. The linen is Essex Yarn Dyed linen in Natural and Black. I got both online at Pink Castle Fabrics. I’d get about 1¼ yards of each, you’ll prb have leftovers. I’ll do a post on more specifics soon, just for you. xoxo

  13. 13

    […] dyed my binding blue (and they weren’t even in the same load), and the next tutorial for the block of the month. Plus, February is already here, and that means a new block […]

  14. 14

    […] dyed my binding blue (and they weren’t even in the same load), and the next tutorial for the block of the month. Plus, February is already here, and that means a new block […]

  15. 15
    Shawkl says:

    I’m late to the party! But, have download the January block and so looking forward to the February post. For now, I’m off to decide on my palette!
    Such a super cool idea for a quilt! Can you tell me the finished size? Wondering if this will be a wall hanging or a bed size. Sorry if you have already said…and I missed that. Thanks for doing all this work to provide such a fun project!

  16. 16

    […] Have you made January’s block? Or February’s? (You’re speedy!) I’m going to post a giveaway this month, and one […]

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  18. 18
    Barbara says:

    Looks like fun! Count me in!

  19. 19
    Barb says:

    Hope I can figure this out would love to do this. Thank you!

  20. 20
    mitzie says:

    I am hoping this is still on your month to month!!I just found it and I am excited to make it. Love your site!

  21. 21
    Kim says:

    Wish the quilting cutting and joining instructions were on a PDF also…did I miss them somewhere?

    • 21.1
      Terrye says:

      I just found this quilt and it’s tutorials and want to make it. In your January tutorial, April talks about a video for each month. I’m having trouble finding them. Does anyone know if they still exist? Also, I would love the instructions in pdf also. Do those exist?

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