Monday, June 1, 2015

Hive 2 June Tutorial: Love Letters

When I was notified that I had been accepted into Hive 2 this year, I knew what my design inspiration for my month was going to be: the envelopes from the notes, love letters, and cards that my husband has given me over the years.

As you can see from a sample of the envelopes in the image above, the envelopes are handmade and typically made from maps or other found / recycled materials. When I read the Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s Color Issue of the Mod Block magazine, I knew that the Noted quilt was going to be perfect!

The instructions in this tutorial are not the same as those in the magazine; I created this tutorial using my typical piecing methods and I have changed the dimensions slightly to create the love letters block.

Love Letters: A 16.5-inch Unfinished Block

Colors / Fabrics

Please select either blue, orange, teal, or grey as the color for your love letter block. You will need to select two fabrics in the color of your choice: a darker tone and a lighter tone. The image above has 8 different pairings that I pulled from my stash. I would really like the fabrics to have a geometric pattern, but that is not a requirement. Floral prints and animal prints are OK as long as the print reads as blue, orange, teal or grey.

For the background fabric, low volume prints that contrast with the main fabrics you selected in a Kona White to Kona Bone color range would be appreciated. If you would like to use solid fabrics, that is OK. White on white prints are OK, too.

Fabric Needed
  • Two 9.5-inch squares for the body of the envelope 
  • One 9.5-inch square for the top of the envelope
  • Three 9.5-inch squares of background fabric (does not need to be the same material)
*The blocks are generously sized for making 2 HSTs at once. If you love HSTs and are confident with the method that I outline below, you can use 9-inch squares instead of 9.5-inch squares for less waste. Personally, I only used 9-inch squares for my blocks when I was using a fat quarter and wanted to get 2 blocks from the short width of the fat quarter.

Piecing Instructions

The love letter block is made from (4) 8.5-inch unfinished half-square triangles (HSTs). You may chose to create your HSTs using any method you are familiar and comfortable with. I prefer to create oversize units and trim them back to their exact unfinished size. I have found this allows me much higher piecing accuracy during block construction. The method I am going to describe creates (2) HSTs of one color combination at once and is the basis for the cutting instructions above.

HST Step 1
Place (2) 9.5-inch squares right sides together with the background fabric on top. On the wrong side of the background fabric, mark one diagonal line from corner to corner.

HST Step 2
Sew a quarter inch seam allowance on either side of the marked diagonal line.

Tip: Check to see if moving your needle all the way to the right and sewing with the marked line centered creates a scant quarter inch seam allowance. Other HST seam allowance tips can be found on my blog: HST Piecing Tip (be sure to check the comments, too!)

HST Step 3
Cut into (2) triangles along the marked diagonal line.

Tip: Iron the blocks to set your seams prior to Step 3.

HST Step 4
Press the HST seams open. Trim to 8.5-inches square.

Tip: Use a square grid ruler with 1/2″ grid increments to make trimming HSTs to size quick and easy.

Block Assembly

The (6) 9.5-inch squares will yield (6) 8.5-inch HSTs. From the (6) HSTs, select (3) of the primary fabric and background and (1) from the secondary fabric and background. 

Following the layout shown above, sew together the rows.

Then sew the rows together to complete the block. The block should measure 16.5-inches square.

Thank you so much for helping me create a special quilt for my husband! I am looking forward to seeing what you make, and please let me know if you have any questions along the way.

Question for June

What is your favorite season and why?
I love the summer for its warmth, and longer periods of daylight. My husband and I try to go for a walk each evening, and I appreciate that we can take our walks with the sun up after he gets off work in the summer.

No comments: