Several readers have inquired about this particular block that I am working on. The pattern is from a book by Kim Brackett, called Scrap Basket Surprises, and is called Past and Present. Kim's books are terrific. I believe she has three of them out, and each is full of wonderful easy to cut and sew quilt projects. And, yes, most of them can be used with scraps.
So, to make this block, you must cut out a large number of squares and rectangles. You attach squares to the rectangles using the sew and flip method. I am changing that up a bit by using the Folded Corner Clipper Ruler, which I posted on a week or so ago.
Here's what I have set out before I start to stitch the block units together:
See how cool the results of using the Corner Clipper Ruler are? You just line up the square on one end of the rectangle and cut through both layers of fabric, using the ruler as your guide and the pieces stay together nicely enough for stitching your quarter inch seam allowance. Stitch, flip and press.
Each block is made up of two rectangle units, one half square triangle unit, and a dark square and a light square. Five units, eight pieces of fabric.
Make four of these smaller blocks and combine to make one large block unit, as shown in my top photo.
Check out all the left over triangle pieces I have from clipping all those corners!
I got an idea for the perfect way to use them in Jayne's blog post.
Have a wonderful weekend eveyone.
I admit it, I tend to be a prepper. I like to get my things lined up and ready to go for faster and less interrupted stitching. If I am hopping up every five minutes to cut out fabric for another block, or press a couple of half square triangles, I don't find sewing such a relaxing experience.
I like to prep my block units ahead of time. The little basket above has my block units all ready to sew for the Civil War Stars project Barbara Brackman is hosting. There must be three or four dozen blocks ready to sew in that little container.
And when I sew, I usually make a large number of block units that need pressing all at one time. For instance, the star blocks all have flying geese units. I will make dozens of them and then get up and press all at one time. I think it is a more efficient use of time to do it that way, rather than hop up and down to press the flying geese for one block at a time.
Make one side of the of flying geese, press, make the other half of the geese, press, then sew the blocks together and press. The end result is that I have a dozen or so finished blocks all at one time.
Works for me anyway!
This is how I work on the Past and Present blocks I posted on yesterday. Each stack has the segments for the four block units required for one larger block. What you see in the photo above is the units for sixteen block quadrants or four full sized blocks.
Another advantage of having your block units prepped and ready to sew is that if you have fifteen or twenty minutes you can sit down and actually accomplish something without too much dithering around. You are all set to go.
It was so fun to get so much feedback yesterday on what quilt project you all would have me work on. I have to laugh at myself and tell you a bit about me.
Back in the day when I was in high school and college and had to study, I was pretty disciplined with myself. I had a set time when I studied or worked on my term projects. However, if my room was untidy, I had to clean it up first before I allowed myself to sit down and do my work. I was OCD enough that anything amiss in my environment was a distraction and I had to take care of it before buckling down to anything else. Forget about skipping out on my study session to hang out with friends or otherwise fool around. Responsibilities first, then I could focus on the next thing.
My daughter's quilt for her friend is kind of like that. I have other things I want/need to be working on, but I just have to get this one out of the way before I move on. Don't misunderstand: I really am enjoying making this quilt, which is a bit different than the things I usually work on. And I will be thrilled to have participated in making something that someone special will enjoy. I have just over half the blocks done and hope to finish all of them this week. Then she can help me sew the rows together and cut out the border fabric. This project will be finished over the next week or so and then...
I will move on to Jacob's Ladder!
Oh dear. I believe I may have too many things going on just at the moment. What to work on? I have been trying to work on them all, and make a block or two each day or so. This can't keep up. I need to clear off the design walls, except for one project, work on it until it is done, then move on to the next.
The problem is, I am excited about all four of these projects and can't decide which to finish first. Bear with me while I try to figure out which one should have priority.
The little star blocks on the left are a year long project, so I should just make a couple whenever the mood strikes me and it will get done over time.
The three blocks just below the stars are the Single Wedding RIng block Fatquarter Shop recently did a video on. That is really the project calling to me the loudest. I love the dreamy soft Japanese fabrics and the blocks are fun to make. I am thinking of doing a diagonal set, and my mind is just dancing with images of the blocks I want to make with these pretty pastel fabrics.
The quilt on the lower right is technically not my project, it is my daughter's, however the level of difficulty might be too much for her at this point, so I kind of took over. I know she wants it done so she can give it to her friend and I feel obligated to work on it. It takes forever to construct a block, as each larger block is comprised of four small blocks. What looks like ten blocks up here is actually 40. And I need to make a total of 25/100.
The quilt just above it, the Jacob's Ladder is the one I should probably focus on. It is a current American Patchwork and Quilting magazine sew along, and it would be super nice to finish it soon and have it quilted so I can use it as the Spring/Summer quilt on my bed in the master bedroom.
So, if you were me, which of these projects would you focus on until it is finished?
And now that I look at this photo, I am thinking what I should do before I tackle one single thing is make a new ironing board cover. That thing is gross.
Have you seen this block before? It is called Single Wedding Ring, and is really quite lovely. Fat Quarter Shop does this very cool thing called Classic and Vintage every now and then, and they feature an old fashioned (classic) quilt block made up in modern fabrics. It is actually quite fun to see the juxtaposition of modern colorful fabrics with classic old quilt blocks. They really do work.
In the past, in their Classic and Vintage Series, FQS has featured the Sister's Choice quilt block (yay), and the Bear Paw block. Both awesome classic blocks that continue to rock today in our brighter modern fabrics. You should really view their videos on construction and download their free block patterns if you so choose. If you go to their Jolly Jabber site, you will see all the links to free patterns and others who are participating in the current sew along. Their Bear Paw quilt done in red and white Minick and Simpson fabrics is something everyone would love to have. Seriously, I am going to do both the Sister's Choice and Bear Paw projects.
I happened to see their most recent video on the Single Wedding Ring block and was entranced. The block has 41 pieces, and 25 units. Fairly complex in number of pieces, but simple in contstruction. There are a lot of cool people participating in the sew along, and I really enjoyed checking out their links to their projects. Gorgeous blocks, wonderful inspiration.
I just had to try out making a block. It is such an old fashioned quilt block and I heard the call to make it, not in bright modern fabrics, but in muted years ago vintage colors. I have had in my stash a cherished bundle of Sono Kanae (Yuwa) Japanese fabrics that I just have not been able to cut into. They are just the most beautiful fabrics I have ever had. Made in Japan, silky soft to touch, soft muted colors, just too heavenly to use. I probably would be hoarding these into eternity, but I think I finally found something worthy to use them in. Pale lavenders, pastel pinks, minty greens, butter yellows... I swear I have had them for five or six years. There are not too many drool marks on them. Honestly, I have had them on display on a prominent shelf in the stash closet and would pass by regularly and say "Hello Beautiful". These fabrics deserve respect.
So. I decided to actually cut into them and make a test block. I chose a dreamy lavender piece and had at it. I am making my block to finish at 10 inches (smaller than the FQS pattern) to make better use of the fabric I have. I do not want to waste a smidgen. Instead of 3 inch units, I made mine 2 1/2. I can get two ten and half inch blocks out of a 6 by 42 inch width of fabric.
Here are my first blocks. Aren't the colors dreamy? Let's see where this goes! I wonder how these would look in a diagonal set?
Do you hate making quilt labels? I do. I used to be fairly good about labeling the quilts I made, and still am, but only the ones I give away. It seems such a bother, such a last minute after thought. I know how important it is, so for me, it's one more thing to feel guilty about, like not flossing before bedtime, or neglecting to recycle properly.
So, recently I discovered a couple of quilt labels that were made in this very clever manner. I tried it out on the baby quilt Sara made and think this will be my new "go to" method of putting on a label.
So, here's what I did. I cut out a four inch square of white cotton fabric, and a four inch square of freezer paper. I ironed the freezer paper to the fabric and folded the two layers to form a triangle. The purpose of the freezer paper is to make a firm surface to write on. You know how when you try to write on a piece of fabric, it is kind of all over the place? Well, this keeps it all firm and steady and easy to write on without messing up.
Not the neatest printing job, but there you have it, I have written my label. I should have squeezed in the town and state where the quilt was made, but I forgot. When you try this, you will do a much better job than I did.
Now, whip off that piece of freezer paper and discard it.
Place the folded triangle right up to the edge of the back of your quilt, snugging it into the corner. Using your sewing machine, sew a couple of inches along the two short sides of the triangle. Keep back from your quarter inch seam allowance. I think I did a 1/8" seam. Don't bother going all around the triangle, just do the two sides. You can do this before or after you have sewn on the binding (but before you hand sew the edge of the binding down).
The idea is to affix the raw edges of the label to the quilt. Your stitching lines will be under the binding and will not show. The folded edge is now on the outside edge, forming a little pocket in the corner on the back of the quilt. I suppose if the pocket aspect bugs you, you could hand stitch down the folded edge to the backing, but it didn't bother me.
I had already sewn the binding to the quilt, so all I had to do was flip my binding over and hand sew down as usual.
This could not have been faster or easier. Took three times longer to explain than to do it. No more excuses not to attach a label to your quilts!