Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Found The Neatest Way to Make a Block

I was over at Stash Manicure the other day, just browsing, as I do, and was Gobstopped!  Truly.  I read a post by Cheryl at Sew Many Quilts Sew Little Time and it made this HUGE impact on me.  I had NEVER thought to put a block together like that.  So I thought about it and how I could use it (like I *need* another project to start, right?).  After some quiet contemplation I realized that I had some fabric that would be perfect to use for this technique.  Last night I was running really, really late so grabbed up the strips I had cut, my sewing machine, cutter, mat and ruler and headed off to try it.  I thought maybe you would like to see it too.  Although you can go to Stash and see it, I was so excited, I took (read had QQ take) some photos in a little tutorial.  Again, not my original technique but one you can try.  I bet it would look great with leftover strips too.  Let's get started, KK?

I used some coordinated FQ's on the Oz line for mine but you choose what works for you.  The strips are cut between 1.5-3.5 inches (I didn't cut any over 3") by 21" in length.  The length is the important part and why a FQ works perfectly.  A little longer is ok but shorter is not, so when I sewed my strips together I didn't trim to 21".  Here is what my work area looked like.  Messy huh?
 I randomly pulled strips and sewed them together using a quarter inch seam, until I had a strip set that was ~10.5" wide.

Here is what it looked like all sewn.  Then I pressed the seams in one direction.  Now it was all ready to cut. 
 First I trimmed up an end so I had a straight edge to measure from.
 Next up was to cut the strip into two 10" squares.

Here you see two 10 inch squares.  You will need to turn one so the strips are vertical and keep one horizontal.  It's like stack and slash rails isn't it?
Right sides together, layer your two 10" squares together, keeping one with the strips horizontal and one vertical (take a peek).
 I am not usually much of a pinner but I didn't have any spray starch to stabilize my fabrics so I pinned the squares together before taking it to the sewing machine.

 Now the fun really begins!  Sew all the way around the block using a 1/4" seam allowance.  I started on a side and pivoted at the corners so it was sewn in one continuous seam.  Yep, all the way around!

The real cutting fun begins now.  Cut through both layers corner to corner.  Then cut corner to corner again.  So you will have cut your block into 4 quarter square triangles.( except they are sewn together so they end up being your squares, and how cool is that??)

I opened the blocks up and pressed them then laid them out so I could show you!  I just chose a random layout for the first photo and then rotated all the blocks one turn to get the other 3. Oh and don't worry, the lines are not supposed to meet up, that's why you use diferent widths of strips!! Which one do you like the best? 

 I liked the very first one best so that's the one I sewed.  Did you choose that one too?  This is the other block I ended up making while at quilting.  I love how the orange looks like check marks!  How fun are these blocks???  Thanks Cheryl for showing this old dog a new trick!  I am having a blast making these. 

I managed to make 9 strip sets and 2 blocks in about 3 hours (loads of talking, LOL).  It would be a nice leader ender project too!  So if you have some coordinated fabrics you don't know what to do with or have lots of strip scraps, give this a try.  I promise you that you will find yourself excited to see how each block is going to turn out!  I am not in any particular hurry to finish this so you may see more blocks for awhile before you actually see me do anything with them.  I'm strangely OK with that.  I have so much going on at the moment!

I am out the door to QQ's house for a little more sewing.  We agreed to send some blocks for a baby project for a sweet woman having her first baby.  (I can't reveal it at the moment, I know, I know) but I think we are allowed to show the blocks so I will be sure to take some photos tonight!  One set of our blocks go in the mail tomorrow and the other set stay with us because I volunteered to put the quilt together (what?  when did I do that and what was I thinking? ).  Seriously I am honored that the group is allowing me to assemble it, LTW to quilt it and QQ to bind and label it.

Have a wonderful evening!!   ~XOP~


Laura said...

I saw this too, and thought "how clever, I will have to try that." You got further than I did!

Lynda said...

definitely marking for future. right now have too much going on and won't be able to go back to sewing until May....I like your new look, robin egg blue

Mary said...

Wow! I LOVE this! What a great idea - I can't wait to give it a whirl. Thank you so much for sharing :)

Kathy said...

I loved that idea, too, and made a couple blocks the other day. Really quick and a great way to use up some of my leftover strips. Thanks for showing it - reminds me I need to go up and sew for awhile now!

~Laurie~ said...

I love, love, love this! Thank you for showing us - I will try this over the weekend with some strips I've been saving for a strip quilt. YAY!

Karen said...

I saw that one and was interested, but your testimonial puts it on the to-do list. I have an assortment of coordinated fat quarters left over from bundles.

ytsmom said...

Really cute! Your fabrics look great in the blocks. Makes me want to try it!!

The Sunflower Patch said...

I am Inspired! Love how your blocks turned out!

JariJari said...

pretty!..I like ! i have been wanting to try out those awesome tutes and tricks on SM blog...always LOL

Ale jc said...

Now how cool is that..I had to look twice as I thought your curvy fabric was a ruffle lol...silly I know you and ruffles..nah right lol...well I do love that idea for a block...amazing isn't it....we all learn sew much from one another...when I come back someday...I want 38 hours in my days lol

dianne said...

really cool, that's how cool that is ... i think i like the second one best ... how big are they when you are finished? yeah, i could do the math, but my brain is tired this morning (so tired that, if you already SAID how big they are, i can't find it)

Elaine Adair said...

I'm a strip lover and have frequently been amazed at how gorgeous seemingly humble fabrics can look, when stripped with others. This is cool, and I'm going to try it out. This is a possibile border idea, using the leftovers from the quilt center.

I'm keeping this post "Unread" so I don't forget. Thanks!

Deb said...

I've never seen this before, but really like it! I'll have to give it a try.

Crispy said...

They all came out great but I kinda like the bottom two best. This may even be a project I could do on a sewing machine....nothing has to match :0)



I didn't realize that you sewed it all the way around. Thanks for the tutorial I will take it to camp in Oct. Question what is doinferent? Re read your tutorial


Pam how can I send my friend this tutorial in Maryland?

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Great pix....great ideas....thanks :)


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