Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SewPINK + Hearstrings Quilt Block Tutorial

Hello friends and new visitors!  Today I'm sharing a new quilt block tutorial - one that is close to my heart.  

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner - scrappy quilt block - free heart quilt block - breast cancer quilt idea

Recently I was invited to participate in the #SewPINK initiative created by ByAnnie.com and I didn't hesitate for a moment.  You see, I am a breast cancer survivor myself and I will take any opportunity to bring awareness to this important issue. 

Nearly five (!) years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral (double) mastectomy. During the difficult months of recovery, some dear friends secretly gathered heart quilt blocks from fellow quilters and stitched them together into a sweet quilt which was presented to me.  The beautiful, scrappy quilt included a label on the back with an inspirational quote and the names of all who contributed in some way to the quilt.  It is still one of my most treasured quilts and brings tears to my eyes just talking about it.


With that beloved quilt in mind, I wanted to share a tutorial for a quilt block that could be used by a group of friends or a guild to make a personalized and meaningful gift for someone battling cancer or going through a difficult time.  

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner - great for scraps or a block swap - heart quilt block free

This Heartstrings quilt block is a foundation pieced and applique block but it is beginner friendly and is great for using scraps.  I wanted you to be able to pull from what you already owned to make these blocks - use those scraps, favorite treasured fabrics, and prints with some meaning behind them.



**scroll to the bottom to read more about the #SewPINK initiative and how you can play a part!  And be sure to read the details about the giveaway as well!



If you know basic foundation piecing techniques then you can breeze right through the first part of this tutorial.  And if you're not familiar with it - don't be intimidated!  Once you get the hang of it you'll love it.  Pssst.....scroll down to find info about a giveaway from ByAnnie.com

Shall we get started?  

First - Download and print the Heartstrings PDF pattern. That's where you'll get the outlines for each side of the heart.  You can print on regular printer paper like I did, or you can also use Foundation Paper.  If you're making a lot of these blocks I recommend using Foundation Paper because it tears away SO easily.  Carol Doak's Foundation Paper is my favorite - find it here on Amazon*


Makes one 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" quilt block

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when purchases are made through links found in this post. Thank you!

Scrap quilt idea - Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Gather the following fabric:
  • a 6 1/2" x 11 1/2" piece for one half of the heart
  • a 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" background square
  • a variety of scraps / strips
You'll also need:
  • a washable gluestick (optional)
  • scissors
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • sewing machine that can do both straight stitching and zigzag
I love using Elmers washable glue for foundation piecing quilt blocks - paper piecing quilt blocks tips
 
We'll be working on the left side of the heart first, but using the BACK of the paper.  

1.  Place the first strip of fabric (right side up).  Use a bit of washable glue (Elmer's Washable School Glue is my favorite) to help that first strip stay in place.  You'll want to be sure that the strip fully covers the bottom of the heart from edge to edge.  You can hold the paper up to a window or a light to check this.  

TIP:  You need to sew the strips to the back of the paper so that when it comes time to trim the half heart shape you can see the lines.  To make the lines more visible on the backside, you can place the paper against the window and trace over the lines with a pencil.  

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

2.  Place the second strip right sides together on top of the first strip.  Reduce your stitch length (I set my Juki TL-2010Q to a stitch length of 1).  

TIP:  When foundation piecing, it is essential to reduce your stitch length.  Having a really short stitch length will help to perforate the paper as you sew so it will be much easier to remove at the end!

Stitch along the edge of the fabric, stitching through strip 1 and 2 and the paper.  I try to still use a 1/4" seam allowance.

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

3. Fold open strip 2 and press.  

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

4.  Have some fun with these strips - for my 3rd strip I wanted it to be at a different angle so I placed it how I wanted it, and then stitched 1/4" from the edge of the 3rd strip.

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

See how it's going to leave a large seam allowance on that 2nd strip?  That's ok!  I'll just fold back the paper and trim that seam allowance to be 1/4".  

TIP:  The Add-A-Quarter ruler is really helpful for trimming up seam allowances when foundation piecing.

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

There....all trimmed up nice and neat!

Scrap quilt idea - string pieced quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

5. Fold open the 3rd strip and press.  

String pieced quilt block - a foundation piecing tutorial - Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

6. Continue adding strips, varying the width of the strips and the angles.  Just be sure that each strip you add is WIDER than the heart shape.  At the end we'll trim it down and you don't want any strip to end up too short or you'll have to start over. 

String pieced quilt block - a foundation piecing tutorial - Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

Now I have my heart shape all covered.  See the photo below for the view from the other side...

quilt foundation piecing tutorial - Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

7.  Time to trim the heart!  Use scissors to trim around the outside edge of the heart.  Carefully remove all the paper on the back side of the heart.

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial from A Bright Corner - foundation pieced string quilt block

Set it aside for now and work on the right side of the heart.

Scrappy heart quilt block tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

8. Use scissors to cut out the half heart template and pin it to the 6 1/2" x 11 1/2" piece of fabric.  

TIP: Because this is a larger piece of fabric, you have a great opportunity to use a print that has a special meaning or message.  I love this print from Riley Blake Designs - I had it in my stash and I love that it had some positive and encouraging messages on it.  

Scrappy heart quilt block tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

9. Cut out the heart shape along the solid outer line.

Heart quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner - great scrappy quilt idea

10. Place the two heart halves right sides together and using a 1/4" seam and a regular stitch length, sew the two halves together along the center stitch line.  

Heart quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner - great scrappy quilt idea

11. Press seam toward the solid (right) half and trim off the little dog ear at the bottom point of the heart (see photo above).

Heart quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner - great scrappy quilt idea

12. It's now ready to be appliqued to the background square.  You have some options here - you can place your heart at a fun angle (as in the photo above), or center it.  

TIP: Be sure the heart is placed at least 1/2" away from all sides of the background square so it won't get caught in the seam when you're sewing the blocks together.  

If you choose to center the heart, fold the background square in half and finger press to crease.  Use that crease to help you center the heart.  You can see the heart centered over the crease in the photo below.

Elmer's Washable school glue is perfect for using with foundation piecing in quilting.  Plus check out this free heart quilt block tutorial by A Bright Corner

13. Time to use our helpful Elmer's washable school glue again.  I sure love this stuff when I'm foundation piecing.  Use a bit of glue in a few spots around the edges of the heart to hold it in place while you applique.  You can also pin the heart in place as well if you prefer.  

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner - applique quilt block done on a Baby Lock machine

14. Use a small zigzag or blanket stitch (and coordinating thread) to stitch all the way around the heart and secure it to the background square.  On my Baby Lock Sofia 2 I used stitch #8, at 2.5 wide and 1.0 length.  

So that the zigzag stitch would not be as noticeable, I used a lighter pink thread on the left half and a darker pink thread on the right half.  

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner - fun Valentine quilt idea

You're Heartstrings block is done!  


If you want to add more personality to your block, another option is to piece the background square!  To do this you'll need two rectangles, 6 1/2" x 12 1/2"


Heartstrings quilt block tutorial from A Bright Corner - perfect scrap quilt idea

For this block I used some low volume scrap strips and switched which side I used the strips. 

Heartstrings quilt block tutorial from A Bright Corner - perfect scrap quilt idea

TIP:  If you use lighter fabrics in your heart, be aware that the background print may show through.  For this reason, I chose a light pink background for the right side.  

Fun and scrappy Heartstrings Quilt Block tutorial by A Bright Corner

Center the heart on the background square as we did before, glue or pin in place, and zigzag stitch around the heart to secure it.

Fun and scrappy Heartstrings Quilt Block tutorial by A Bright Corner

And below you can see both of my blocks together.  I think I'll keep going and make enough of these for a throw quilt.  They're so fun and scrappy!


Heartstrings Quilt Block Tutorial by A Bright Corner - so fun and scrappy and would be great for a quilt block swap

If you make a Heartstrings block I'd love to see it! Be sure to tag me (#abrightcorner) on social media and use the hashtags: #HeartstringsQuiltBlock and #abrightcorner so we can all see what you create!  

Giveaway

Edited to add:  Giveaway is now closed - thank you everyone!  The winner is Esther G.  Congrats Esther!  

Ready for the giveaway info?  ByAnnie.com is giving one of my lucky readers a $30 gift card!  To enter, simply leave a comment on this post.  I'll randomly choose a winner on October 20, 2020 and notify them by email (so make sure you include your email address in your comment!)  And a big thank you to ByAnnie.com for the giveaway!

Heartstrings Quilt Block Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner



Thanks for visiting!  If you're new here, you might also be interested in:


Ready for more #SewPINK projects? Check out the talented creators that are a part of this blog tour:

 Oct. 1 (Thur): Mister Domestic

 Oct. 5 (Mon): Sewfinity

 Oct. 7 (Wed)Great Heron Thread

 Oct. 9 (Friday)Knot and Thread

 Oct. 12 (Mon): Snuggles Quilts

 Oct. 14 (Wed)A Bright Corner

 Oct. 16 (Fri)Suzn Quilts

 Oct. 19 (Mon)HUGS'N KISSES

 Oct. 20 (Tues)Sallie Tomato

 Oct. 22 (Thur)Masterpiece Quilting, Nancy Scott 

 Oct. 23 (Fri)Meadow Mist Designs

 Oct. 26 (Mon): LoveYouSew

 Oct. 27 (Tue)Teresa Coates

 Oct. 31 (Sat)Sookie Sews of Sue O'Very Designs



#sewpink initiative 2020


The #SewPink Initiative was created by ByAnnie.com LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer throughout the year. Our efforts culminate in an annual blog hop during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote self-care, awareness, early detection and support for those affected by breast cancer. 

To learn more and see the calendar of events visit: https://www.ByAnnie.com/SewPINK

To find screenings available near you: 

To donate directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation visit: https://give.bcrf.org/give/31404/#!/donation/checkout


Did you know?
If you haven't yet, please make an appointment for a breast cancer screening!








62 comments:

  1. So glad you are okay and the hearts are so cute. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Twenty-three years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had two lumpectomies and radiation treatment followed by five years of tamoxifen. Still here to tell the tale and keep on quilting! Mom had a mastectomy at age 80 and now our DIL will be having a double mastectomy in the next week or so. The heart blocks are adorable, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful block and your story. Keep up the fight! Spread the word - and GET CHECKED!!! Ten minutes of discomfort could save your life.

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  4. Thanks for sharing! So important. Love the hearts!

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  5. Beautiful block!!! I’m fairly new to FPP but this definitely looks like something I could do. Thank you for sharing your story and this tutorial!

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  6. This is such a cute block. Thank you for the tutorial and download. I love paper piecing.

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  7. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year during a routine mammogram. After a lumpectomy and radiation I am cancer free. This cute heart is a reminder to get that mammogram. It hurts a little but it could save your life!

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  8. Wonderful looking block. Thank you for sharing you are courageous.
    lspiegel.corp@me.com

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  9. Your heart pattern has come at just the right time. My dear neighbor lost her mother to cancer when she was five and she has been diagnosed with two different cancers herself. She has always contributed quilts for and helped with the Race for Life events in our community and I want to honor her for her commitment to the cause. Thank you so much.

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  10. First of all, congratulations on being cancer free for 5 years! I know from experience that it is a significant milestone. This is a sweet block and you are wonderful for sharing.

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  11. Congrats on five years of being cancer free! Thank you for sharing this beautiful block!

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  12. This looks so fun! I’m hoping to make a small top and have my Bible study friends write verses/encouragement on the plain heart half for one of the hurting ladies in our group. Thank you! maggiemae1914(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. Wow -- I feel for you. That was quite an ordeal to go through. I am glad you are 5 years beyond it now. This is such a sweet looking block. Thank you so much for inspiring us and providing the free tutorial :)

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  14. I found your blog through the Sew Pink blog hop. I love the heart block! My husband lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 19, so I appreciate seeing awareness brought to this horrible disease!

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  15. This is a great block! It's lovely in pink, but I'm thinking of trying a scrappy version because I have a bin of donated strips for charity quilts. But how does this zig-zag applique hold up to being washed? Thanks for the pattern.

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    1. I've done a zigzag finish on other applique quilts and it holds up just fine. I prefer a tighter zigzag and I think that helps. Also - I love your idea of a scrappy version of this!

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    2. Thanks to the quilter who asked this question, and to you, Andy! I was wondering the same thing. This would make a wonderful charity project - I have been making baby/child size quilts for project Linus. Knowing that the zig-zag holds up in the wash is very important for baby quilts.

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  16. My mother and her sister both had bilateral breast cancer so it’s an area near to my heart. I love the pink hearts- they look like fun to make.
    Carol S.
    Sandyzoo45@comcast.net

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  17. I follow you on Instagram. Congratulations on your recovery! The heart you made is such a lovely tribute. Thank you for the tutorial! Goldeglo@gmail.com

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  18. Breast cancer has always been important to me. I spent years in cancer research. We have made so much progress but we have so far to go.

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  19. Love this! Thanks for being a warrior! You truly are an inspiration.

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  20. So nice you have reached the 5 year mark. Both my MIL and SIL have survived breast cancer- one is a 40 year survivor and the other 10! Thank you for a very pretty block.

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  21. Love it gailbobhorvath@gmail.com

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  22. So happy you have past the 5 year mark and going strong. Thankyou for the very cute block.

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  23. Love the block. I just learned this week that a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I will be using your design to make her a small quilt. Thank you. So happy you've reached the five year mark. I have another friend who just reached fifteen years since her treatment. Dianne

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  24. Too many people touched by breast cancer... my mother, my sister, her daughter, my best friend. this block is wonderful. thanks for sharing. congrats on the five year mark💗

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  25. Love the block! In December I will be a 21 year survivor! Here's to good health to you and a big THANK YOU for the block!

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  26. This would be a great quilt to make for a dear friend who is a breast cancer survivor now for 5 years!

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  27. Love these cute heart blocks, Andy!

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  28. Love the simplicity of the paper piecing. I am looking forward to making small wall hangings for several breast cancer survivor friends. As a survivor myself I wish all the best to fellow survivors.

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  29. Hiya Andy!
    Boy oh boy did this tutorial come at the perfect time.
    A dear friend moved all the way across the country 2 years ago, leaving family and friends behind here on the West coast of Canada. Her daughter HERE tried to kill herself early this week and my friend is so distraught as she can't come here to be with her daughter. This will be something I CAN do for her to let her know I'm thinking about her. Thank you so much!

    Congrats for being a cancer survivor!
    Quilty Huggs,

    Jacqueline in Canada, snausages 22 @ yahoo dot ca

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  30. Thia heart is adorable! You can use it for so many things, too, and make it in many different color ways. Thank you for sharing this pattern with us.
    Carole

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  31. What a clever idea with the pieced hearts. I can see a dozen quilts/table runners/throws/napkins/totes, etc. thank you for this idea 💡

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  32. thank you for sharing your story and the cute block. Congrats to being a cancer survivor!
    Annette in Denver, akrelle52@gmail.com

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  33. Thank you for sharing your story and the quilt block. Both are beautiful. Jackiestills@msn.com

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  34. Love this quilt block and your story. Thanks for sharing both.

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  35. Really enjoyed your methods on making the heart. I especially like the different stripes of fabric and how to use more than 1 fabric. Once block alone with additional embellishments will make a wonderful framed gift to give someone any time of year. Thank you.

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  36. Thanks for the adorable heart pattern. I saw it on Instagram first! This awareness is a wonderful message. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  37. I just had my yearly mammogram. My sister had a double mastectomy this past spring. Congratulations on making it to the 5 year mark. Also, thanks for the nice pattern. I can see many possibilities for its use.

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  38. I am so glad you are a survivor! Bless your heart! I love you block! Is there a way to save your directions? I on an iPad and it won’t let me save it?

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    1. Hi Robin - For me, the best way to save a blog post I want to find again is to pin it to one of my quilting boards on Pinterest. I have a Pinterest board specifically for any quilting tutorial that I find (and want to be able to find again).

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  39. I love this idea. I am starting now and I have a friend who is now with brest cancer and she just had 50, so I will send this a present for her. Thanjs. Aurora

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  40. Hugs and well wishes to all the ladies battling breast cancer disease. Stay strong. lilschlender@gmail.com glad this pattern is applique so no curves to sew.

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  41. This is a great block - thanks for sharing the block and your personal story. I was moved by reading others' comments about experiencing cancer themselves or with someone very dear. Stay strong!

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  42. I'm looking forward to using this block in a quilt!

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  43. Just the cutest pattern
    I want to keep it on case a friend or family member needs it
    Thanks for sharing

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  44. Your heart blocks are so lovely. A throw full of them will be beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us!!

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  45. This is a beautiful block! Thank you so much and I can't wait to try it. This is my first visit to your site and I find it very appealing.

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  46. Lovely block! I am going to try this! Blessings.

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  47. Thanks for sharing your story and you made the paper piecing look doable for a beginner. I just have been diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer and you give me hope as I see the oncologist on the 20th. Blessings to you and all on this cancer journey!

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  48. Thank you for sharing your creativity and your experience. The links to the other sites are also appreciated.
    Jane

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  49. Beautiful, simple quilt to make for someone undergoing treatment. I hesitate to make things with the pink ribbon emblem as not sure everyone wants to be reminded of their diagnosis. Thank you for sharing your skills.
    Jeanne

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. Oh my gosh... I love this block! I was participating in a project for a friend (I'll call her "L"), who has an incurable kidney cancer that has spread to her hip and leg bones. I participated in a video her sister set up where friends and loved ones took a heart from the right of the screen and passed it to the left of the screen... she put all the videos together to make it look like we were all passing a heart to the next person. Each person's heart was different and personal, some were quite creative. (Sadly, one of my best friend's who participated in the video project, Rich, passed away from a heart attack 3 days after making his part of the video). :(
    We were all encouraged to make hearts for the video, so I made a heart shaped pillow that I and my family "passed" in the video. I will be gifting that pillow to "L" when she and her husband get back from her bucket list trip they are currently on. I made the pillow with a small pocket in the back, and our circle of friends has gathered quotes and word of encouragement that I'll print out on business card sized card stock, laminating and tucking in that pillow pocket. Well, the video project was a huge hit with "L"... she messaged me to tell me that her sister, and their entire immediate family did an online watch party to watch the completed video project all together a week ago. "L" told me that she was crying through the entire thing, but really lost it when she saw Rich in the video. It meant the world to her to see him in the video, knowing he is no longer with us. I had to tell her the story behind the heart he made, because he was no longer able to do so...

    Anyways... I plan to make your amazing heartstrings quilt block and use it in the making of a bag to put the heart pillow in for gifting to "L". I love it so much! But I will be making it in the color of orange to represent kidney cancer. I already have kidney cancer fabric leftover that I purchased on Spoonflower for use in the heart pillow that I can use.
    Forgive me for the long story of a comment. I just really wanted to explain why your heartstrings block hits a chord in my heart.
    THANK YOU!

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    1. Oops, forgot to add this in my comment... my email address is ginascustomcreations@yahoo.com

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    2. Gina - I really love that video idea - what an amazing give to give your friend! Thank for sharing the idea!

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  52. Sweet block for a heartfelt sentiment!

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  53. Thank you for the beautiful heart pattern.
    Oktbear65@yahoo.com

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  54. I think your measurement for the half background block is incorrect. It should be 6.5" by 12.5" - should it not? You have it written as 6 1/2" x 12 1/5". It's a great block and can be used in so many different ways.

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    1. Good catch Dolores! I've changed that measurement so it's correct now, thank you!

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