Is there life after 323 Aunt Grace snowball blocks?

After recovering from being sick in April, I got on a tear to finish all the snowball blocks for my Aunt Grace scrap quilt, although I have no idea why I became so obsessed.


The final three!

The final three!

By graduation day (May 13), I had already sewn two rows together and was starting a third.

No borders yet, and already it’s bigger than the design wall....

No borders yet, and already it’s bigger than the design wall….

I committed to sewing two rows per week, but as things rolled along, I upped it to three rows per week in order to finish piecing the top by June 30, the original date for the blocks to be completed. Mission creep is something I frequently impose on myself.

My OCD goals for this quilt top were

  • repeat no print in any column or row (Believe it or not, this is fun for me.)
  • distribute colors evenly across the top, particularly with the black, orange and brown which weren’t nearly as abundant as the blues and greens
  • distribute like prints evenly across the top

I started by sorting all the blocks by color and then separating those with white corners from those with green corners.

After laying out each row, I collected each block’s mate (same print but with corners of the other color) and set it aside so that specific print wouldn’t be sewn into the top until the midpoint of the quilt or below. This would help to achieve an even distribution of prints across the top.


At first it was fun: 323 blocks with nine different colors to pick from; this is arranging heaven. By the twelfth or thirteenth row, though, I was burning out, and attempting to match all those diagonal seams—1,220 of them—became a huge chore. I plugged away.

Even though I was using my favorite pins,

snowball match points

matching those diagonal seams was a challenge.

Don’t you hate it when this happens?

Don’t you hate it when this happens?

After piecing one top several years ago with diagonal seams, I swore never to make another quilt with diagonal seams, which proves I don’t listen to myself very well.



The borders took longer than I expected. I considered piecing each border strip with width of fabric strips, but decided instead to cut them on the lengthwise grain for maximum stability, to limit stretching and to avoid having to offset the seams in adjacent strips.

border miter

Rather than stitching and mitering each border strip individually, I sewed the three strips together to create each of the four borders prior to sewing them to the quilt. When it was time to miter and match the border ends at each corner, I basted along the 45-degree line to secure the match points between the white and green strips—something my mom would’ve told me to do if I wanted to be sure, so I did. I also pinned along the stitching line because she would’ve told me to do that, too. I miss my mom.

Here is my completed Aunt Grace scrap bag quilt top:

Aunt Grace scrap bag quilt

What’s next? I have no clue.



Filed under Mom, piecing

4 responses to “Is there life after 323 Aunt Grace snowball blocks?

  1. Rhonda

    Nice job. It looks great.

  2. I love your quilt – and yes I hate it when ‘this’ happens but I’m always a bit relieved when it happens to other people. I’d hate to think I was the only one with imperfect points/joins.

  3. Thanks! I especially hate it when the pros on TV nail their match points every time (or at least act like they do)–it’s not the best confidence booster, is it?

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