Back with a block…

After a flurry of online activity, life once again got in the way of blogging but I am back again, this time with a block pattern for my Do Good Stitches circle.  You see in June I am the designated quilter which means I pick the colour scheme and block for my fellow DGS peeps to work with…

I never make this decision easily… I always ‘um and ah’ between a couple of block options… sometimes making test blocks to see what my idea looks like.   This month I settled on the colour scheme quickly…

CW_MoodBoardMonday_BluesGreens

and pulled these fabrics to match from my stash….

fabric pull

but struggled to pin down what sort of block I wanted to make.  I finally settled on a simple 12 inch block which Is called a Double T and dates back to 1882 I believe e…

finished T block

To make one block you will need to cut:

cutting instructions

This 12 inch block uses two different types of block components – flying geese and half square triangles (HST).  So lets start with the HST…

For these components you will need the two white 5 inch squares and the two green 5 inch squares.

mark down center

Using a fabric marker (I use my trusty Frixon marker) mark a diagonal line down the center of both the white squares..

Place one white square and one green square pattern side together and then sew down both sides of the center line using a scant quarter inch…

sew down each side

Then cut down that center line using your rotary cutter…

cut down drawn line

You now have two half square triangle pieces….  iron the HSTs with the seams open.

trim block

Then trim your ironed HST to 4 1/2 inches square.  For each block you will need 4 half square triangle components.

Next component is the flying geese…and you can make these one of two ways – either using traditional piecing or paper piecing…  the cutting instructions above are for the traditional pieced version.  If you are paper piecing you can cut a little more generously – say about 1/4 inch more on all the geese pieces.

Lets start with the traditional version…. first mark up all of the 2 1/2 inch squares with the same diagonal line you used in the HSTs.

geese corners

Place the small green squares pattern side down on the corner of your white triangle pieces.  Sew down your diagonal line…

Trim the excess corner fabric off your rectangle and press the green corner up on your block, pressing your seams open…

geese corner 2

Place the second 2 1/2 inch square on the opposite side of your rectangle piece and again sew down the marked line, trim and press seams open.  You will need to make two of these geese blocks for each flying geese component…

flying geese unit

If you would like to use paper piecing to make these components you can download the pattern for these 4 1/2 inch flying geese here… Flying Geese components

paper piecing option

Once you have made your block components lay your block out like this….

block components

I then sew the components together in rows…. and press the seams to the side, making sure that the bulky side of the geese is laying flat.

block rows

I then sew the rows together and viola you have a block…. and in a month or so I should have a collection of blocks from my fellow Do Good Stitches peeps which will become a pretty quilt top.

Back with some Bee blocks

This week I managed to get some Bee blocks done in between work and another cold.  I must admit I love making Bee blocks like this one…

bee-block-2

 

Blocks that are more complex and use small 2 inch squares and lots of scrap pieces…. blocks that I would love to see a quilt made out of but do not have the patience to make 20 or 30 of them for a whole quilt.

bee-block-1

These blocks are perfect for a quilting Bee because you share the quilting load… making two blocks each makes the quilt manageable.  This block is called Scrap Jar Star and you can find the free pattern on A Little Bit Biased’s website.  It was just what I needed to kick start my creativity this month.

Arkansas Traveller Quilt

This week I managed to get another quilt off my WIP list….

arkansas traveller quilt

This quilt is a Do Good Stitches quilt from a long time ago.  I actually finished piecing the top in October 2014 and first posted the block pattern in July 2014… actually feeling very guilty about how long this one has been sitting unfinished…

quilt detail

The block is a paper pieced pattern by Lee at Freshly Pieced called Arkansas Traveller.  In setting a paper pieced block for your Bee, you are usually helping your odds of getting block the right size,…. unless some of your fellow Bee members, who are new to paper piecing, print the pattern out a little too small…

sashed blocks

This usually happens when you either print the PDF of the pattern straight from the computer, without saving it to the desktop or if you print the pattern with “scale to fit” box ticked on in the Print dialogue box.

quilt detail 2

When I first got the Bee blocks in and realised some of them were a little small I thought I might have to remake them… but my darling husband suggested sashing and it worked a treat.

arkansas traveller quilt detail

I fully embraced the scrappy feel of this quilt by adding a wonderfully scrappy binding, that used 8 different coloured fabrics…. I ended up attaching the binding, by hand,  with the same variegated yellow thread that I quilted with.

scrappy binding

So another old Work in Progress is done… I was feeling so virtuous about my finishes that I decided to start a new project but more about that next week.

Wonky Circles tutorial

February is my month again to set the block for my Do Good Stitches Circle.  After setting some more precision based blocks for my last two times out, I decided to go the wonky route this month…

finished wonky circle block

Yep I am asking my fellow Bee mates to make some wonky circles using a low volume palette.  To help out I am taking them (and you) step by step through the process to make two 12 inch blocks, starting with fabric selection.

For each block segment you will need two fabrics that have a small amount of contrast in them.   My colour scheme for this quilt is warm so I am using yellow, apricot, pink and a touch of grey.  For my fabric pull I went with predominantly cream and white background fabrics…

low volume background fabrics

and for the contrasting fabric I choose more solid low volume fabrics…

darker lv fabric pull

For each block you need 8 different fabric – four light and four darker (note: you actually get two different finished blocks from this process).  I selected my eight fabrics in pairs, making sure that there was a contrast between each pair.  If you are not sure how the fabrics are reading against each other you can always use the black and white setting on your camera or phone to see how things look…

bw block

Now for the fun part…making the blocks.

Step 1.  Cut out eight 7 1/2 inch squares from each selected fabric…  Take two of your contrasting fabric squares and align them on top of each other.

align two squares

Step 2.  Using your rotary cutter, cut a curve shape out of your squares… making sure that you leave at least an inch or so between your curve and the edge of your block.

wonky curve cut

Step 3.  Because you cut the two pieces of fabric together your background and center curve pieces should match exactly, no matter how wonky the curve you cut is.

Put together one of your fabrics as the background and the other as the center curve, making sure that they are as closely aligned on your cutting mat as you can get them.

Take a ruler and place it corner to corner across your block pieces.

find center of block

Step 4.  Using a chalk pencil or Frixon marker, mark the center of the block, making sure your mark across both pieces of fabric.

mark center of block

Step 5.  Place your pieces of fabric face together, using the center mark to align the pieces…

center mark

Step 6.  Pin your two pieces of fabric together at this center point… your fabrics should still be face together and the bottom corners of the block should be roughly aligned.

pin center of block

Step 7.  To sew the pieces together, begin at the center part of the block… where you have pinned.  I put my machine foot down on pin, remove the pin, lower my needle manually and I am ready to sew.

start of curved piecing

Step 8.  Slowly sew from the center point out to one edge of the circle block, nudging fabric into alignment as you go.  The fabric may not want to lay flat and that is okay… just try to avoid sewing creases into the block.

Note:  I always sew with my machine in the needle down position, as it allows me to stop and adjust the block pieces as needed, without the risk of anything slipping or moving.

 

sew curve

Step 9.  As you are sewing you will notice the block ends do not align, this is okay…do not panic.

finishing the curve

Step 10.  When you have come to the end of the block, lift your needle, cut your thread and re-position your block back in the center, this time sewing the half of the block you have not done.

center of curve

Step 11.  Your block segment is now ready for pressing… an important step because it will not be laying flat at all and you will have to iron it into submission…

sewn block piece

Step 12.    When pressing my block I press my seams first from the back side of the block…… and then press the front side of the block, making sure that my curve is sitting as flat as I can get it.

Note:  When pressing the block I always use starch as it helps persuade the fabric to do what I need it to do.

press block piece

Step 13.  The block piece is now ready to trim down 6 1/2 inches… you should have a bit of wiggle room with this block to trim a little off kilter, or with more background or more circle, depending on what you want to do.

trim block

Step 14.  Repeat the process until you have all segments of your blocks done.  For each colour pairing you make you will end up with two blocks….

block pieces

For my Bee blocks I am asking for two (2) 12 1/2 inch unfinished blocks…. laid out with alternating light and dark circle pieces.

blocks layout

What I love about this colour palette is that it compliments the wonky so well… the mismatch, strange curves are subtle, there are no stark contrasts drawing your attention to the off kilter shapes.   I think this is going to be a charming quilt when done.

Finish Along 2016

A week or so ago I signed up for the first quarter of the 2016 Finish Along.  This is a online project that is run every 3 months… basically you sign up at the beginning of a quarter and say what you want to finish over the next couple of months.  I am using the program to keep myself on track to finish up things before I start anything new.

If you are interested you can check out what people are doing there is an Instagram account – @finishalong and She Can Quilt is hosting the link up at http://www.shecanquilt.ca.

Anyway the goals I set myself for the next four months are…

IMG_4533

Now I understand I may have over committed but I thought I might as well shot for the stars.  But so far I have one of my Do Good Stitches quilts done…

finished DG star quilt

This was such a fun quilt to finish up… I originally set this block for the Hope Circle of Do Good Stitches to do back in June last year.  The block pattern is from Clover and Violet and you can find the directions here scrappy christmas star.

scrappy star block

I was a little nervous about setting a Bee block that needed to be pretty accurately pieced to align, but it all worked out fabulously.  I was able to coerce all the seams into alignment without too much effort…

quilt detail 3

One of the things I love about doing these scrappy blocks is seeing everyone’s fabric choices and extra love the wonderful selection of low volume novelty prints that were used…

low volume novelty fabrics

There is so much happening in the quilt as far as print variation but the overall quilt is so quiet and gentle.

quilt detail 2

For the quilting I went of course with straight lines, which was perfect for this pattern.  I used a cream Aurifil for the quilting (No 2309), which blended nicely between the teal, yellow and white/cream background.

quilt backing

For the backing I found the perfect Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman piece in my stash – and I had enough to do the whole back!

quilt binding

For the binding I used two different teal Kona Solids I had in my stash and of course hand bound it while watching the Australian Open Tennis.  I am going to make the most of the last couple of matches to get another Do Good finish bound…..

So one finish down… at least 5 more to go….