Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hive 10 May Block Tutorial

Hi everyone, happy May day!  Traditionally according to the Gaelic calendar the 1st of May is the start of summer but I think those of us in the Northern hemisphere are a bit away from that yet!   To get us in the mood for summer when it gets here, I've picked a flower block that I hope you will like.  There are a lot of photos in this post and it's probably the longest post I've ever written!

To start with here's the interview:

What is your name?
My name is Ruth and I blog over at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner

Where do you live?
I live in Limerick, Ireland which is in the mid west of the country surrounded by rich dairy land, woodland and not too far from the Atlantic ocean. Limerick is my hometown and while I have worked in the USA, Germany and other parts of Ireland I love living in Limerick. It's a hard working town, founded by the Vikings on the banks of the Shannon river and famous for Richard Harris and Munster Rugby!

Mum, Gordon & the dogs at the beach, West coast of Ireland

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I live with Gordon and our two dogs, Charly (Jack Russell Terrier) and Wilbur (Basset Hound) just outside Limerick city. Charly & Wilbur make regular appearances on the blog and are great company in the sewing room, ahem Kitchen! I sew at the dining room table and have pretty much taken over that whole room. I do have to clear up once in a while when we have people over for dinner!

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
It all started with Ben our previous Basset Hound that we had from a puppy. He liked to sleep in an old shop bought baby quilt I had. He also liked to chew on it! Puppy teeth are lethal and there were multiple holes. Figuring it was un-repairable I decided to try making my own quilt to replace it.

I've always liked crafts , knitting and embroidery in particular and tried, every now and again in the past, to do some patchwork. For some reason I could never get on with scissors and a template and it wasn't until I saw a Craftsy class using charm squares and a rotary cutter that I thought I could do this.

How do you organize your fabric stash? 
There is an Irish department store called Dunne's that has storage boxes intended for shoes. They sell 3 of them at a time for about 6 dollars and they are perfect for fat quarters or charm packs. The few layer cakes I have are in a 12.5" art bin, backing and sashing fabric in a tub that Charly sleeps on (she likes to be up high off the ground!) and jelly rolls and scraps I keep in glass jars.   So kind of spread out all over the place at the moment!

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?
I love Valori Wells. Her elephant print for Karavan made me totally obsessed with buying it. I also love Sweetwater and Me and My Sister for their bright prints . The designer I buy all the time though is Kate Spain. Her colour palette really suits the quilts I like to make.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
When I first started quilting I had no confidence in choosing colours or buying prints. Trying to save money I bought the cheapest fat quarters I could find and it was always a struggle to get the look I wanted from my first blocks. Now I think just buy the fabric you really like and don't be afraid to use it!

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
I love my Creative Grids 14" x 4" ruler. I got it as part of a beginner kit from the Sewing Shed in Kerry and the kit ruler was sold out so they upgraded me to this one. I use it all the time, It sticks like glue and never slips.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)
Gosh there are tons - I love Daffy Duck because he isn't as smarmy as Bugs but is still funny! I love Batman (dark & broody) and my guilty pleasure is watching Supernatural when sewing but my most favourite of all time (so far!) is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

So now for the block!

I've chosen a Drunkards path block from Charise Creates Vintage Quilt-a-long. I love all the blocks in the series but this one really caught my eye for how so many different colours can really work well in this block, so, it should give plenty of choice for using up scraps as well as stash fabrics. The colour palette is a low volume background and centre circle and a bright flower in the middle. Any rainbow colour for the flower, I'm going for a bright, happy feeling with this one!  If you don't have low volume fabrics then any version of white or cream will work as well.
I used 4 prints of the same colour for the flower, a fat quarter for the background fabric and scraps at least 3" square of the 4 prints (the same colour as the background fabric) for the centre. I cut my pieces from layer cake squares and low volume fat quarters.

The templates can be downloaded here and if you want to use template plastic that's recommended by Charise that is an option (I just used cartridge paper!)

To start with, print the template with no scaling and measure the little 1" square to make sure the print out has the right sizing.
There are 2 templates, an outer squarish piece and an inner quadrant.
Using the template trace around the shape with a fabric marker.
For each coloured piece of fabric you will need 1 outer piece and 2 inner quadrants.
I cut the straight edges with my ruler and rotary cutter.
For the curves I cut them by hand with a scissors.
For the block you will also need 4 inner quadrants of similar fabric to the background for the centre of the flower and 8 outer pieces of back ground fabric.
Finally you will need 4 in total of 3.5" squares for the corners.  I laid mine out as below to begin matching inner and outer template pieces for sewing.
To make the curved squares take an inner and outer piece and fold in half as below to find the centre lines.
Match up pieces right sides together along the centre lines and put a pin in to secure at this point.
Bend the outer piece as shown below so that the straight edge matches up with the straight edge of the inner piece and place a pin to secure.
Do the same for the other side with a third pin.
Easing the pieces together add two more pins between the centre pin and outside pins.
Sew along this edge with a 1/4" seam and the outer template piece facing up wards towards you.  Sew slowly removing the pins as you go.  I used the needle down and stopped on each square 2 or 3 times to ease the top piece back to avoid any puckers.
Press the seam towards the smaller piece, the inner quadrant template coloured yellow here.
Repeat to make the remaining pieces and you should end up with set in quarter circles like this one.
Arrange the pieces as below and sew in rows.
I pressed my seams to the side but if you prefer to press open that's perfectly fine.  To match up the curved pieces I used a lot of pins!
And the final block should look like this, a happy bright summery flower!
Don't fret it if you get puckers on the curved seams, a few are inevitable!
And not all the seams lining up exactly to the nearest thread is ok too!
Trim to 12.5" if you wish. 
Any questions or difficulties please let me know.  Charise's Tutorial is very helpful and will give ideas for colour combinations and if you want videos showing how to put the curved blocks together Craftsy's free 2012 block of the month with Amy Gibson is great for explaining this method.

I think these flowers will look lovely in a quilt top and bring some summery feeling into the sewing room.  I hope you have fun with this block!


Caroline said...

Looking forward to giving this block a try :)

Ruth said...

Great - I've opened a Flickr discussion thread for May Hive #10 if there are any questiosn or if I can help in any way!

Louise Mullane said...

Gorgeous Ruth