Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tutorial: Bee Simple Block

You probably already know this, but online quilting bees are alot of fun. You get to try a bunch of different blocks, new techniques, meet new people, the works.   

One of the parts that I get so excited about is choosing a block for my bee-mates to sew.

I am always looking for blocks that are easy to cut in advance and are beginner friendly

This block fits the bill. 

Sure, it looks pretty tame.  But check out the digital quilt Sandy Kayser made from it.

Cool right?
Simple, modern, and looks harder than it is. Love it.

Wanna make one yourself? 
Or, better yet, wanna get your bee to make some for you? 

Here are the particulars-

I always give credit to where it is due- so you should know that this block is originally from a pattern from Quilt magazine June/July 2011 page 45, Deep Blue Seas by Nancy Rink. I am not taking credit for the block design. This tutorial is meant to be a helpful reference if you are making this block for personal use/bees. Because, let's face it. Most of us ignore the text directions and just look for photos anyway, right?

Materials:  For one 9” block (9.5” unfinished) 

1.      Place one Color 1 3x3” square and the Color 2 3x3” square right sides together. Line up edges.

2.      Sew along one edge, using a scant ¼” seam. (I recommend sewing off of a scrap, so that stitches on the edge don’t come loose)

 3.      Press the seam open.

 4.      Place the second Color 1 3x3” square right sides together to the Color 2 3x3” square. 
Line up edges.
*NOTE: If you are using a directional print, make sure the direction is the same on both sides

5.      Sew along one edge, using a scant ¼” seam. Press the seam open (not pictured). This is the center of the block.

6.      Place one of the long (3x8”) Color 1 pieces right sides together on to the pieced center.

7.      Sew along one edge, using a scant ¼” seam.

8.      Press the seam open.

 9.      You know what to do! Place the second long (3x8”) Color 1 piece right side together. 

10.  Sew along the edge using a scant ¼” seam (not pictured).  Press the seam open. You’re almost done!

11.  Now if you have been using a good scant ¼” seam you will have a little trimming to do before the last steps. We will be trimming to a perfect 8” square. This just makes it nice and neat in the end, and easier to add the sashing.  If you have used closer to a true ¼” seam, it should be exactly 8” square, and you can go to the next step.

To square my block to 8”, I place an 8.5” or 12.5” ruler on the block. Then Iine up the corner of the center square to near 2.75” and 5.25” along the diagonal (red arrows).  You can fudge it one way or the other to make sure you have at least 8” each direction, but this gives you a guide as far as where ‘center’ is.

12.  Sew the 2x8” sashing strip along the top (not along the long strip) using a scant ¼” seam.

13.  Press seam open

14.  Sew the 2x9.5” sashing strip along the side (along the long color 1 strip), using a scant ¼” seam.

15.  Press seam open

Flip you block over to the front, and enjoy your modern simple block!

Happy Sewing!