by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Tree of Life Block

February 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (3 Comments)
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It’s my turn for the block of the Tree and House Quilt-along at Kim’s Crafty Apple. Here it is!

It’s a little bit of a pieced block to fit in with the others and a little bit Quilties, but I hope you have fun with it too!

 Download the TreeofLifeBlock PDF pattern.

If you’d rather see the instructions online, keep reading.

Materials Needed:
• Lightweight fusible interfacing
• 12 – 2 ½” squares
• Flower and leave fabric scraps
• Light background fabric 8 ½” x 10 ½”
• Ground strip 8 ½” x 2 ½”
• Water soluble glue stick
• Optional fusible web

Step One: Patchwork Squares Side
Cut a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing 5″ x 15″ and arrange your 2 ½” squares along this strip in two columns.

Line up edge to edge as perfectly as you can, then fuse the squares to the interfacing.


First you will sew the short seams across these squares by folding over the first two right sides together and sewing a ¼” seam from the edge of the interfacing.

Fold the next two and sew the seam and so on, for five short seams.


Trim the seam allowances just a tiny sliver (just enough to cut off the fold) allowing you to press the seams open.

Press open, then fold in half the long way and sew the ¼” long seam. Trim and press open as before.


Step Two: Assemble the Background
Press an 8 ½” x 10 ½” piece of interfacing to the reverse side of your background fabric. Sew the ground strip to the bottom of the interfaced background. Then stitch the side panel to the background/ground unit.


Step Three: Appliqué the Tree of Life
If you prefer to appliqué with fusible web, fuse the web onto several green and floral scraps. Free cut various flowers from floral motif fabrics. Also free cut some simple leaf shapes and 5-6 small strips of brown tree trunk fabric.

Note: I do not use fusible web, it gives it a little fluffier look, the edges will fray more, but I like that. You can decide what will suit your quilt better!

Arrange your tree free-hand, starting with a good tree trunk and branches, adding flowers and leaves until you like the look of your tree. Don’t worry if the flowers are not all from the same fabric, it looks a little more whimsical that way! Use a glue (or the fusible web) to adhere them to the background just enough for quilting.

Step Four: “Quilting” the Tree
At this point, you are not exactly quilting because you have not assembled your sandwich, but you can sew a single line of stitching around the edges of all the appliqué pieces. This will hold the pieces on and can be decorative as well. I added a little texture to the tree trunk and veins in the leaves. Use thread that is either matching all the parts or neutral enough to not stick out. (click the photo to see it bigger and see the stitching.)


That’s it, your “Tree of Life” block is done and I’m sure it’s as unique as you are!
Enjoy the rest of the Quilt-a-Long!
– Emma Thomas-McGinnis

p.s. If you’re a new guest here, please stay a little while and look around my blog. I hope you’ll join me as a friend of Quilties too!

101 Patchwork Projects

May 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

You may have already heard the news, but I don’t know what has taken me so long to blog about this….I’ve been published! I have a pattern in the great big Quilting Arts special issue “101 Patchwork Projects.” I even brought it to my guild meeting before posting it here. They gave me the warmest, most enthusiastic applause I have ever received at just a show and tell. I think they were proud of me!

Anyway, here’s the project that gave me the honor of sharing my craft with the quilting world.

And here it is in a magazine!

And here is where it says my name, in a magazine!

Oh, I know, maybe someday having something in a magazine will seem just as exciting as my everyday job, I hope anyway…but right now I’m basking in the newness and excitement of it.

I’ve made three of those “Tree of Life” wall-hangings since that first, just to make sure I could do it again. I had the magazine open and pretended to be someone else, just following the directions in a book! I had to really concentrate on reading each step before just rolling ahead and doing it, but it was fun that way!

Here’s one of the others. (I still have to photograph all of them.)

I’m sure I’ll be offering them on Etsy, so if you’re interested, stay tuned (or convo me on etsy and get the listing up!) BUT better yet, go get the magazine and make your own!! I do hope I get to see what some other quilters do with the pattern. So, if you’re going to make it, be sure to show me you finished quilt!

By the way, the project is super-fun! It’s made in a fun and easy method that really allows you to play with the design before stitching it all down.

Here’s the cover of the magazine and the link for you to purchase your own copy. It’s a really great book. I made a pretty big list of projects in it that I want to do someday soon. I’m sure there are a few more blog posts about it to come! Bracelets, slippers, a headband, vases, placemats, a few simple quilts, and lots more.

Thank you Interweave and Quilting Arts, for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project. I am so honored!

– Emma