Friday, August 1, 2014

Hive 3 - August Block Tutorial

Hola, Hive 3!

What is your name? My name is Sarah Nunes and I blog at Berry Barn Designs.

Where do you live? Currently living in Portland, Maine, but originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We travel there frequently, so we still really consider it "home." 

Tell us about your family.... My husband is in the Army; we’ve been married for seven years and have lived in eight places! We’re in Maine now and then next year we’re moving to Kansas. I used to teach middle school, but currently work from home. I've been piecing and quilting on my domestic machine, but recently purchased a longarm and plan to begin offering custom longarm quilting this winter. We have two daughters, ages 3 and 5, and we’re a waiting family hoping to welcome our next child soon through adoption.

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.... My mom has sewn and quilted my entire life. As a child, I despised wearing the dorky things she created for me and railed against the idea of ever needing to be very domestic… fast forward to adulthood and the realization that I’m a good cook, decent baker, and have a knack for quilting and crafting. My own kids now wear things I’ve created for them (though hopefully while looking slightly less dorky ; ) If it wasn’t for the recent surge of modern quilting fabrics and layouts, though, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten as excited about jumping back in after a long hiatus. Until all things color and scrappy exploded, I wasn’t as enthused about quilting as I am now!

How do you organize your fabric stash? I rainbowtize! Actually, I rainbowtize anything and everything I can – my closet, my kids’ closets, the linen closet, all my crafting supplies. But most of the time there are a lot of piles of still-need-to-be-put-away and gonna-get-to-it-any-day-now*.

*Disclaimer: The accompanying photo was taken six months ago when I had just super-duper reorganized my then much smaller stash, and therefore may or may not honestly portray the current state of affairs.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers? The two designers that I consistently find myself unintentionally picking up fabric from, admiring, and then not surprisingly finding the names of on the selvage are Dear Stella and Alexander Henry. I also love Art Gallery, Joel Dewberry, Riley Blake, Sarah Jane, Sweetwater and Tula Pink. I tend to like bright, geometric and polka dots for me and colorful/whimsical for my kids.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? To square up my blocks as I go - never used to, but I've learned my lesson and love the improvement!

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? 
Q-Tools Sewing Edge strips for achieving a great scant 1/4". There are lots of similar work arounds (sticky notes, layered painter's tape, etc) but I like the length of these, the opacity when I don't want to take them off while doing a quick in between project, and that they can be repositioned and reused. 

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I honestly don't know. This, "who is your hero?" and "who would you have dinner with if you could invite two people?" are the three interview questions that cause my mind to go blank. I've had seven months to prepare and I'm still not even going to venture an "in my top ten." But I'll give you some other fun facts: I love to hike, I wish I owned a bike, and I have a bad habit of reading dystopian novels and then getting depressed because I have zero life skills for living in a Mad Max-ian futurescape. I'm not much of a hand quilter, so without electricity, how will I sew stuff?! And I don't think bartering adorable doll quilts is going to glean me very much water or food. (Can you tell I just finished Edan Lepucki's Colbert-bumped California?)  

On to the block... I usually don't pair these colors. We're pretty patriotic at heart thanks to a rich family heritage of military service, but I have avoided actually decorating our house with any Americana, save for the holiday door hanger on the 4th of July. But then I asked my husband if he liked any of the possibilities I had pinned on my idea board, since I planned to use it as a family quilt for our living room couch and ventured he might have an opinion. And he did: limit the color palette down from rainbow like I had envisioned, and include red and blue. Seeing as he liked the same light/dark HST block as much as I did, and wanted red and blue in there, I figured I might as well just bow to the patriotic undercurrent and go red, white and blue.

I don't know it's official name, so I'm calling this block American HSTs. We'll be using a scrappy mix of bright, medium/cooler red and blue prints along with solid white or low volume white (feel free to include low volume with bits of red, blue or grey) to create an incomplete 12.5" block**. Anything goes as far as prints/solids, but I want to omit tones that feel country/primitive or read tan/beige rather than white. The picture below shows a bunch of suggestions for each color that I pulled from my stash. In addition to the picture here, I've also put together a Pinterest board with more examples that you can reference. If you don't have enough of any of these in your stash, please let me know and I will happily send you some asap in order to keep with the hues requested - as you can see, I have plenty on hand! 

I'm going to keep the tutorial simple because I'm confident we all know how to make wonderful HSTs : ) If you do want a refresher or tips on squaring off as you go, here's a great HST tutorial from Karen at Sew Many Ways that includes trimming with a square ruler, and here's another great HST tutorial from Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter that includes trimming with a right square triangle ruler made for that specific purpose. Both tutorials are for creating two-at-a-time HSTs, which is perfect for saving a little time but still getting a lot of fabrics into the block so it stays scrappy.


What you'll need to create the incomplete 12.5" block**:
  • (8) 4" squares of red & blue (doesn't have to be 4 of each - a little more of one or the other is fine)
  • (8) 4" squares of white/low volume

1. Pair (8) sets of 4" squares either red & white or blue & white and sew together following the two-at-a-time HST method from one of the above tutorial links to create (16) 3.5" squares.

2. Please square off and press to the dark side. 

3. Sew resulting (16) 3.5" squares together to create (4) 6.5" squares similar to the dark/light pattern example below. You can mix red and blue however you want as long as it alternates in diagonal stripes of dark/light.
4. Please square off and press to the dark side as you go.

And... stop! **If the four pieces were joined, they'd create a 12.5" finished block, but you can send them to me separately so I can mix them up with everyone else's to get the scrappiest look possible.

Thank you so much for your help! I'm really looking forward to having a bright, cozy quilt for us to all snuggle under on family movie nights,
and the fact it'll be patriotic is a bonus in light of my husband's career.

P.S. I know this month will be busy for most with enjoying the end of summer and possibly getting kids off to school - no worries about last minute blocks because I'm not on a deadline to finish this one : )

~ Sarah


Francine said...

Looks great Sara! I am excited to see your finished quilt.

Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs said...

Thanks! This is not at all what I had been envisioning, Francine, but the marital harmony it will afford is worth sacrificing all the other colors I wanted in there for lol