A Ribbon Runs Through It BLOCK #1

Hello Everyone,

This is the beginning of the tutorials for the Block of the Month for Marcus Fabrics called  ARRTI - A Ribbon Runs Through It.  You will be able to access the tutorials at anytime.  I'll be posting hints throughout the entire duration of the 10-month program.

I want you to be successful, and this tutorial, and links to my online videos should help you achieve that success while making this heirloom quilt.

In this tutorial I will not be mentioning the size of the pieces to cut.  I will refer to the letter on the cutting chart.  If I posted the size, then I'd be giving away the farm!  

Here is your first series of "Little Tipsy's".

1.  Starch your fabric first with a heavy duty spray starch.  Let the fabric dry before you press it.  I know some of my students starch their fabric so heavily that you could bounce a quarter off of it!

2.  Cut carefully at all times.  You are dealing with a lot of small pieces that need to be cut with complete accuracy. 

3.  I piece my quilts with Aurifil thread, a nice 50 weight that is thin yet strong.  

There are 16 star blocks in the quilt.  I will be demonstrating Block 1 from Month 1 which begins on Page 2 of your pattern.  

SQUARE IN A SQUARE - Instructions begin on page 29 of your pattern.

Since you will be making 16 of these gorgeous stars, I would begin by making a reusable template to fussy cut the beautiful center for PIECE A.  All of these little details make a difference in the finished quilt.  It's all part of my extreme, maybe obsessive attention to detail.

I make the template out of heavy-duty cardboard.  The center of the template is cut the exact size I need. Keep in mind this will be "on point" in the block.

I use a Frixion pen and trace around the inside of the template.  I still use a ruler to cut this out the exact size that I need.  Now that Piece A is ready, let's move on to Piece B, the corner triangles around the center of the block.

I love to work with stripes as I think they add so much interest to the finished designs.  In my obsession to detail, I have to have all of my stripes lined up and headed in the same direction.  Now you will learn how to do this too.

PIECE B is a beautiful striped fabric, so let's get our stripes lined up properly, and all marching to the same beat.

Begin by cutting two identical squares.

Then cut them like this.

Place two of the triangles from one of the squares next to the center Piece A.

Place the other two triangles on the other two sides of Piece A.  Just look at how the stripes line up beautifully! 

Now you are going to use a corner trimmer on those pesky little corners.  I use a Fons & Porter corner trimmer.  When you are stitching a triangle to a square, you trim the corners off at a 90 degree angle.  YOU WILL BE DOING THIS 90 DEGREE PROCEDURE ON ONLY TWO OF THE OPPOSING TRIANGLES.

Here's a close up.

You will trim each side.  

See how well Piece B's line up with the center.

Place right sides together and pin.

Little Tipsy - When stitching the triangles, make sure you have the triangle next to your feed dogs and let them gradually feed the material under the needle.  If you had the triangle on the top, you may inadvertently stretch those little triangles.

Press toward the triangle.  Trim off those little "doohickies" that extend beyond the triangle.  You want to get rid of any fabric that will add bulk to the component.

The heat of the wool pad combined with the Gypsy quilter clapper, (say that 3 times fast) make this part of the component very flat.

Now I'm ready to stitch on the other two triangles to the center.

On the other two sides, I'm no longer stitching a triangle to a 90 angle.  I now have a 45 degree angle.
So I need to trim the ends of the other two triangles at a 45 degree angle.

By cutting the tips of the triangle off, they now fit perfectly on the component.

Again, turn the component over, and the let the feed dogs do the work.

Press toward the triangle.

If any trimming needs to be done, I use a BlocLoc flying geese ruler.  The ruler fits snugly into the apex of the seams, and gives me the perfect 1/4" seam.

I removed the sizes on my signature block layout sheet.  Again, it's all part of not giving away the farm.
I use a Sewline pen and apply glue to the paper.

Then I place my component on the Block Layout Sheet.

This sheet is the map to your success.  The size of the components on the sheet are the exact size your component needs to be.  

For an additional tutorial on Square in a Square, you can view my videos on The Quilt Show for free.  Here's in the link to my Square in a Square video HERE.


These are double flying geese (DFG), and you will be making (4) at a time.  There are a total of (12) DFG per block. 

After I cut my pieces for the first set of DFG from the cutting directions on page 2, I lay them out like this.  

This is something that I make every time I begin a new quilt or a block.  I take a regular index card and cut it up into rectangles.  I use a hole punch and make two holes in each rectangle.   I write the letter on each of the rectangles indicating which piece it is, and can see it at a glance.

I can then reuse these for other parts of the pattern or other patterns in general.  You can also label it with the size if you wish.

Then place (2) "E's" on top of the "C".  The squares will overlap.  Use a 1/4" ruler, and mark the squares.  When you place the square on top of "C" make sure the design is going in the same direction.


Then stitch directly on the line.

Cut apart between the lines.

You will have two sections that look like this.  Press toward the smaller triangle.  See how each of the flowers are both going in the same direction on each of the units.

Now play around with each of the other squares, and orient them so the flowers are going in the same direction.  This may not seem important, but I like to have all of my flowers in alignment.

Mark each of the blocks, and stitch directly on the line, then cut apart between the stitching lines.

Look closely at the orientation of the little bouquets of flowers.  They are either going sideways or up and down.  This becomes important when you place them on the block layout sheet.

At this point, I use a BlocLoc ruler to trim my goose for absolute accuracy.  Refer to page 21 for the trimming size.

Now you will have four perfect geese flying in formation.

Now place piece "D" on the right hand side of the goose.  Draw a single line from corner to corner and stitch directly on the line.


Press in the direction of the blue triangle.

Place a square on the other corner, draw a line from corner to corner and stitch directly on the line.

Voila!  Aren't they cute?  Since you already trimmed before adding on the set of blue squares, you should not have to trim again.  You will have a perfect 1/4" seam at the top, so you will never loose any points.  You never want to be pointless!

Place the little cuties on the block layout sheet.  Now that you have made your first set of DFG's, the rest will be much easier.  Make additional little rectangles from your index card, so after you cut the remaining pieces for the rest of the DFG's, you can label them with the correct letter.

Since I was so particular about the orientation of the little bouquets of flowers on piece "E", I can now place them on the block layout sheet in the correct orientation.  You don't have to pay attention to this level of detail if it doesn't float your boat.  My boat will sink if I don't take this extra step.  Next, I will have you make half-square triangles (2) at a time.  Notice the little flowers in the HST are also heading in the correct direction.  Don't worry, I'll show you how to achieve this.

For an additional tutorial on Double Flying Geese, you can view my videos on The Quilt Show for free by clicking HERE

Next up, Half-Square Triangles (2) at a time.


  1. Thank you for such an informative tutorial.

    1. You are very welcome, Bobbie. There is a lot more to come. Hopefully this tutorial will be helpful with other patterns too.

  2. I love this quilt pattern! Is it possible to purchase just the pattern?

    1. I'm sorry, Brandy. I can't sell the pattern until the completion of the BOM program which will end in Oct. of 2022.

  3. Do you recommend washing the fabric before starching and cutting? I think I am about to purchase this quilt kit. The fabric line is beautiful and your design is exquisite.

    1. Thank you for your question. I do not wash my fabrics first, but I do recommend starching your fabrics with a heavy duty spray starch before you make your first cut. It makes the components behave and lay flatter than a pancake. It is well worth the extra effort. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  4. Thank you for your timely reply.

  5. Lynn, I just signed up for the BOM last night and was so surprised that the tutorials are starting already. I'm fairly experienced at quilting, but have already learned a few things from this first tutorial, especially about trimming the points of the triangles with the F&P trimmers that I have owned for well over 10 years. Thanks so much for the detailed instructions. I can't wait to start the quilt.

    1. I'm glad that there was something for an experienced quilter in the tutorial. I'm starting to post them early since the quilt shops are starting to receive their shop samples. This accelerated my tutorial schedule.

  6. GREAT tutorial, Lynn!!!! Pictures are worth a thousand words!!!

  7. Thank you for the GREAT tutorial!!!! No questions left!!

  8. I am beginner/confident quilter, love this quilt. Your tutorials are great, but I am still “on the fence” if this quilt is over my skill level.

    1. As long as you have enough scrap fabric, you can make practice blocks until you get it right! Pam S.

    2. I like what SOS said, work with scrap fabric first. As long as you cut the fabrics correctly, and have a perfect 1/4" seam, you should be fine. It is an heirloom quilt that can't be rushed. I believe quilters can do anything if they just take their time.