Christmas Town Sampler Blocks

Twelve blocks are made for my Christmas Town Sampler. Some of the border blocks are made, most are not yet made.

Applique is just not my “thing”.  My understanding is that I trace all those fiddly little shapes onto that paper with a pencil and then when I’m ironing the shapes onto my fabric, not only do all the pencil marks end up on my iron but half the sticky stuff ends up on my iron.  Yes, I know about applique pressing sheets.  Yes, I have one.  No, I do not know where it is.  So every time I make one of these blocks, I have to get out the iron cleaner and clean my iron and then ask forgiveness for the bad words I’ve said while trying to do the applique.

The first month of this project, I said to myself . . you’re one of the leaders, a role model of sorts.  You *will* do the applique and I made the little bird in the heart.  It wasn’t too bad.  For a minute, I thought I might like applique.  Then I looked at my iron.
The second month, I saw poinsettia block and said to myself . . who cares if I’m one of the leaders!  Then I said to myself that I care and I had to do it.  I improvised a little but got it done.
The third month, the cat would be so cute as a green cat that I didn’t too much mind but besides the iron getting all cruddy, I don’t like cutting little pieces out of my fabric.  I like cutting strips across the width of the fabric.  I like having straight edges . . always!

For the last month in which we do blocks, I looked at Susan’s block.  I thought about it.  I pulled some fabric and then I said . . no way!   It’s a very pretty block.  I would love to have it in my quilt but I know what happens when I try to do round shapes.  They never end up round.  No . . I just couldn’t put myself through it.

I chose to substitute this block:

This is when the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issues come in so handy. Volume 1, was the first issue I grabbed.  The above block is Block #63, Four Corners by Celine Perkins from Perkins Dry Goods.  She used a variety of backgrounds and reds and greens and her’s is really prettier than mine but mine will work nicely in the quilt.

Then I looked at Sheryl’s block.  OMG!  It is so cute.  It looks so hard.  I printed it . . all 10 pages.  Then I said . . no way.  I’d be so frustrated trying to make that.  I substituted this block:

This one is in the same magazine, Block #6, Rising Star by Toni Kay Steere and Jenny Foltz of Wing and a Prayer Design.  They have some embroidery in the black spaces but I also knew I wouldn’t do that so I cut some extra little stars and stuck them in there.

And then I cleaned my iron and said that I may never do applique again! I’m glad to have all 12 of my blocks done.  I will work on the border blocks and try to have them all done by the time Denise gives us our setting instructions.


  1. 1


    You have to know who you are. You are an amazing machine sewer; I’m a lousy machine sewer. I know this. Making a 1/4 inch seam is almost impossible for me. BUT, I can do English paper piecing, and do it well. So, that’s where I am. I wish I were a better machine piecer, but that doesn’t seem to be the way it is. I do love EPP totally. It would probably make you run screaming into the night.

  2. 3

    Donna says

    Judy, Did you know you can iron a Bounce sheet and it will take all the fusible goop off your iron. I keep a box close by although I very seldom do applique either. Best tip someone ever gave it. It also keeps you thread from tangling if you run down a Bounce sheet.

    • 3.1


      You helped me understand! I kept wondering why Judi’s iron would get gunky…oh Fusibles! I hand applique… No goo. I’ve a little machine applique, a very little & yes, now i get it!

  3. 4

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    I’ve done my share of applique. In fact I’m working on an applique quilt now. I don’t like those little sheets with the adhesive on them. I tried them and went right back to using my plain old glue sticks. I’ve used glue sticks for years for my applique and it works great for me. There is no ironing because I press the pieces before I put a tiny amount of glue on the backs before hand pressing them onto the background square and then applique away. My mother and grandmothers did applique work by only pinning the pieces. It’s amazing what we don’t need in order to do great quilting.

  4. 5

    Lyn says

    Judy, if you can’t find your pressing sheet; parchment paper works very well. I put a sheet under what I am pressing to keep the ironing board cover clean and another over top of what I am pressing to keep the iron clean. Just thought I would give you a little push to do a bit of appplique!! Judy, you are awsome and I enjoy your blog a great deal, just keep being you!!

  5. 7

    carolyn says

    LOL I’m right there w you! I have one of those sheets too, I foudn it last week, but couldn’t tell you today where it is! I’d rather do applique by hand sewing…. which is not happening either lately.

  6. 9


    Forget the appliqué pressing sheet that you can never fine. I’m sure you’d always know where a roll of parchment paper is, wouldn’t you? That’s what I use. And, If you mess up your iron, get a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, dampen it, put is atop a towel on your ironing board, get your iron nice and hot, and iron the crap out of the Magic Eraser. Your iron will be spotless!

  7. 10

    Kathy Wilson says

    Judy -my quilt will be appliquéless. I’ve replaced those squares by doubling up on pieced squares. Appliqué stresses me out!

  8. 11


    Judy, believe me…I would NEVER voluntarily make another of my October blocks. It’s a pretty block, but I futzed with that block till I was ready to scream. I probably would’ve had WWanda not been sitting across from me laughing…I am so dyslexic with angles, that’s why I don’t paper piece.
    After a good nights sleep, I picked my block apart and restitched. It’s not perfect, but it’s going in that quilt. I love your replacement blocks.

  9. 12

    Sandra Clarke says

    Hi Judy, I see someone already added what I was going to say! Parchment paper works great when I cannot find my appliqué mat! Love your posts, especially ones about your chickens!