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!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rainbow Charm Swap (Open for Sign Ups)

I was UBER bummed when I realized I had set my alarm for the wrong time on March 1st, and missed out on the color wheel charm swap being hosted by from the blue chair. The sign up filed in 7 minutes! I don't know if it is a record, but it is certainly impressive!

I know I am not the only one who was disappointed, 
but the good news is there is an opportunity for us (and even those who DID make Kati's)
to do a similar swap!

Here are the details from Sara's Blog:

This swap is open for 28 participants - US only
Each person will purchase 3 yards of fabric.  They will be assigned a color along with 1-2 other people.  The colors are red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, aqua, black and grey.
You need to cut your fabric into 5x5" squares.  Each yard should yield 56 squares or "charms".  Each person will send in 168 charms and receive 168 charms.
 Sara has started a flickr group and will use that so people can coordinate with their fellow group members so fabric is not duplicated.
You can find the flickr group here flickr group link.

Thanks, Sara for putting this together!
 I am excited to hop on board for what is sure to be a great swap!!