Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hive 10 - September Block Tutorial

Hello ladies of Hive 10!  

I've been looking forward to my month as Queen for what seems like ages!  But let's break the ice . . .build the block anticipation. . . and start with those interview questions, eh?

My name is Caroline and I live in sunny San Diego with my handsome husband, our two gorgeous children and our noisy four legged first born Zapka the Wonder Dog.  

When I was about 5 months pregnant with our first I got it into my head to make her a quilt.  To my knowledge, no one in our family had ever created a quilt - but by this point I had already knitted more hats and sockies then our daughter would ever be able to wear, I wasn't working full time and I needed a new challenge.  Armed with a book, rotary cutter and rough idea I started cutting fabric.  I had no clue.  So it got pushed aside and instead I finished a number of maternity shirts, and some bedding for our little girl.

Fast forward 3 years and two children, I started again and I've now been serious about strengthening my sewing and quilting skills for a year and a half.

I really do wish there was some rhyme or reason to my fabric stash storage. . .except for the cubbies devoted to Keiko Goke, Tula Pink, AMH and Sarah Fielke. . .I try to go by colour.  As you can see below I get a lot of help:

I do have some blocks from the first projects I had started, I dug them out recently and I can really see how far I've come in a year and half.  Even though the importance of an accurate quarter inch seam is stressed, I see it took me a while to achieve that.  Now with my new machine, I see I need to adjust my style again, but what took me a year and half to achieve the first time, I'm glad to report that I managed to get back into the groove by my 3rd block ;)

I'm sitting here trying to decide what my favorite quilting tool is and I can't pick just one, but I know which tool I won't work without, The Gypsy Gripper. . .

I'm horrified each and every time I see a cutting injury on IG or Flickr.  I cringe just thinking about it and quickly look away even when it's just a bandaged finger.  I took a large chunk out of my thumb a number of years ago and I refuse to do anything like that again and I find the ruler grippers keep my left hand safely out of the way.

Because unlike Superman, if you cut me I not only bleed, I squeal, whimper and once the blood starts flowing - faint. . .not worth the drama  :)

So now, the moment you have been waiting for:

September Bee Block:

To prepare for this block, please pick your colour, any colour.  It can be your favorite colour or a colour that you have 16 different fabric scraps in.  You will also need to pull 16 different low volume fabric scraps.  All fabric scraps will need to be 2" wide and from 2" to 6.5" long.

I love purple and was able to make this first block entirely from my scrap bin.  This was also the first sewing I did with my new machine and you can see I had some issues with that 1/4" seam:

As I had just finished making a few little things for a friend of mine in yellow, the yellow block was put together half from my scrap bin and the other from FQs in my stash.

The navy block, used for this tutorial, was mainly pulled from stashed fabric FQs.

Block cutting requirements for your favorite colour fabrics, using 16 different fabrics in your chosen colour please cut the following:
             4 different fabrics at 2"x 2"
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 3.5
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 5
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 6.5

Block cutting requirements for your 16 different low volume  fabrics are the same as above, please cut the following:
             4 different fabrics at 2"x 2"
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 3.5
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 5
             4 different fabrics at 2" x 6.5

We will be using a quarter inch seam and when making the 4 strips for each quadrant (16 strips), you can press your seams open or to the dark side - please finish reading this entire post for the quadrant seaming directions and you can decide which you would prefer.

Pull your fabrics, narrow down to 16 different fabrics in your chosen colour and 16 different low volume prints.

Once cut, I like to arrange into 4 quadrants as pictured below:

I like to sew one quadrant at a time and press the seams of the left side quadrants down and the right side quadrant seams up.  This allows me to nest my seams when pinning, and the seam will feed into the machine flat also allowing the machine's feed dogs to pull and lock the bottom seam into the top.

I now have my four quadrants sewn and am ready to sew the top left side to the top right side and the bottom left side to the bottom right.  Each quadrant should measure 8 x 6 1/4 (6.25).

My top half seam I like to press to the left and the bottom half to the right following the reasoning expressed above.

Please line up the center, pin and sew.  This final seam I press open to avoid any 'smiling'.  Because of the scrappiness of this quilt, I am less concerned that the 6.5" coloured strip top/bottom line up - like my purple block above.  I would rather your block complete at 15.5 x 12 or larger.  Please don't worry about trimming your block, I would like to in case I need to accommodate some of the other seams.

A few little notes:

1)  I've been collecting low volume fabrics for ages!  If you do not have enough (or any), please do not hesitate to contact me and I can send you as many as you need - honest, not an issue.

2) After an afternoon talking fabrics with a quilty girlfriend, I now know how subjective the classification of low volume can be.  You'll notice I've used coloured low volume prints as well as black on white and white on white and grey fabrics.  Variety really is the spice of life, but if you are unsure please contact me.  I believe the collaboration is half the fun.

3) I love open dialogue, any questions about what I've put together can be answered through email, IG, Flickr or phone.

Ladies I can not thank you enough for taking the time to complete this block for me - I am so excited, it is really quite embarrassing xx

Caroline aka lalinsocal


Ruth said...

Very cool block - will have to have a proper rummage to find different prints but I'm looking forward to it!

Cyndi said...

Before I trim my quadrants to sew together, I want to double check. In your post you say you want them to measure 8" x 6 1/4". But if the strips are sewn together with an accurate 1/4" seam, they should be 8" x 6 1/2". To make them 6 1/4", I'll have to trim 1/8" off each side. Let me know what you want done here.