Cotton & Steel Economy Blocks

This week I managed to finish up my Cotton and Steel Economy block quilt…and I am very pleased with myself.

cotton steel economy block quilt

You see I signed this week for the 2nd Quarter of the 2016 Finish Along and I am determined to get more done than I did last quarter.  I am finding having a bit of accountability in my quilting a good thing… it really is making me conscious of finishing things up instead of just adding them to the large pile of works in progress.

cs quilt detail

This quilt is such a fun one to start with.  I really had a blast fussy cutting up my Cotton and Steel stash.  I had been collecting bits and pieces of the C&S since the line first came out but it was not until I started this project that I realized how well it all works together.

economy block detail

I have used prints from just about every Cotton & Steel line (including some of their new Garland line which has just come out).

quilt detail 2

And definitely have a piece of fabric for all the Cotton & Steel designers.  I must admit for a brief little bit I was thinking that I might hold onto the blocks and wait till the next line comes out and add more to the quilt, but in the spirit of getting things finished, I just put what I had together and called it good.

 

quilt detail

I kept the quilting simple… lots of straightish lines using the lines in the block as the guide for my walking foot.

cotton steel quilt detail

 

For the back of the quilt I used some larger pieces of my stash…

quilt back

And to finish it all off I used a navy blue scrappy binding…

binding

So my first finish of quarter two is done and dusted…. now to get another quilt out of my WIP pile and finish it up.  I am highly motivated at the moment…I just hope it lasts.

Quilt Details:

Name:  A Cotton and Steel Economy
Pattern:  7 1/2 inch Economy blocks
Fabric:  Cotton & Steel collections
Finished size:  45 x 60 inches

 

Enlarging Paper Patterns

Over the last week or so I have been slowly putting together another Economy block quilt, this time using my stash of Cotton and Steel fabric…

part of my cotton and steel stash

As Cotton and Steel releases more lines, my stash has grown, as has my love for the modern fabric line.  While I was at Quilt Con I managed to snag and huge bag of scraps, which the Cotton and Steel ladies wrapped in a darling canvas tote bag.    It was as I was unpacking the scrap bag that I realised I just HAD to make an economy block quilt using all the fabulous fussy cutable prints.  I had made a small version last year for a swap…

Economy block mini quilt copy

…but my three inch block pattern was not going to be enough to capture some of the prints I wanted to highlight, so I enlarged the pattern to 7 1/2 inches… and got to work…

enlarged economy block

Now I have the luxury of being able to pull the pattern from my EQ program and just select “Print at 7 1/2 inches” but that is not the only way you can enlarge paper piecing patterns.  Before I had EQ I would enlarge my patterns by:

  1.  Cutting out the block pattern I wanted to enlarge, putting it on the photocopier and selecting enlarge pattern X percent.
  2. Dragging a JPEG of the image into either word or Photoshop, opening a new clean letter or A4 sized document and scaling the pattern using to fit the sheet of paper.

pretty print

Now with all these tried and tested techniques getting accurately sized blocks can be tricky, particularly if math is not your strong suit.  Luckily for us there are some tools out there that can help like this Enlargements/Reductions chart...

favorite block

Now I must admit when I am doing an all over block, like I did in this quilt, I do not worry about the exact size of the block.  I am not trying to match the block to anything other than an exact replica of itself so if the block is 7.689 inches wide it does not matter.  I just scale the block to get it as big as I can on a page.

block detail

Actually many of my finished paper pieced quilts are really weird sizes because my blocks fitted on a Letter or A4 sheet at a unconventional size.    Now if you want to try this yourself with this block you can download my 3 inch version or play with the jpeg in my first Economy block post which you can find here

my design wall

But remember when you reduce or enlarge a pattern you should always maintain a 1/4 inch seam allowance around your pattern pieces…. remember to trim your blocks with a ruler and rotary cutter for accuracy…

trimming block

So now you can go forth and shrink patterns for that mini quilt swap or enlarge them to make a cushion cover….

 

Cushion addicton…

I have recently become slightly obsessed with quilted cushions.  It all began when I started making class sample for Modern Domestic (my local quilt shop)…and it has not stopped yet.

economy block pillowAfter making my tiny Economy block mini quilt I wanted to do a bigger version of the block, just for fun.  Using a 5 inch block I made this easy cushion in no time…

economy blockI used more of my Cotton and Steel stash and just loved fussy cutting the little bunnies in particular…they are so darling.  What I love about the Economy block is it is so easy to pick three colours – with this pillow it was pink, navy and yellow… and just go.

pillow detailYour colourway guides your fabric choices as you rummage through your scraps and stash.  As I was pulling fabric I made sure I had a variety of tones – lights and darks in the three colours.  The rest is as easy…make the blocks and sew them together.  Because you have a coherent colour scheme you can lay out the blocks randomly and get beautiful results.

The cushion top took twenty 5 inch blocks or if you are more adventurous you can do a baby quilt with just sixty three (63) blocks..

This cushion gave me my first opportunity to test out the walking foot on the Bernina 550… and oh what fun it was…

walking foot funIt was so easy to attach the foot (unlike my old machine which involved screw drivers and painters tape!) and the sewing was a breeze.    I can not wait to try a bigger quilt with this foot.  Hopefully next week I will have quilt done and dusted!