Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hive 3 April Tutorial - Jewel Tone Square-in-a-Square Block

Hello fellow hive-mates! 

These are certainly unprecedented times we are living in! I hope this post finds everyone safe and healthy at home. If you are a front line or essential worker who is required to continue working, THANK YOU for everything you are doing to keep the rest of us safe and able to remain at home! You truly are heroes, and I pray that you and your families will be safe through this crisis.

I am a teacher (my husband is, too) and we live in Ontario, Canada. We have two kids (both teenagers as of yesterday!) that we are in the process of adopting, and two rescue cats (Q and Jyn). Although it is tough to be cooped up in the house, we are finding that this time has been a blessing in disguise, as it gives us more time to bond as a family. We've been watching movies, doing creative activities, playing board games, and (of course) schoolwork! Since I teach elementary school and my husband teaches high school, we have ALL the bases covered (much to the kids' chagrin!). 

For my block this month, I've decided to ask for the same blocks as last year. I'm hoping to make a bright and cheerful quilt just for me :) and I appreciate your help in creating some bright, colourful blocks! I love bold colours, (my favourite colours are orange and bright green) and rich, saturated tones. I've chosen a block that I'm hoping will come together fairly quickly and that will allow everyone to use a little improv (if they wish!) to make each of their blocks unique.

I am asking for square-in-a-square blocks - with an improv twist. I'm looking for blocks that have a variety of squares and rectangles within the block itself. If the improv makes you nervous, feel free to make all of your cuts at 2 or 2.5 inches in order to keep things simple!

Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew has a fabulous tutorial for creating these improv square blocks (the first section of her tutorial shows traditional blocks, improv blocks are farther along):

In the tutorial, Allison uses prints with white fabric. I would like my quilt to be bright prints (jewel-tones) paired with low volume contrasts - preferably in grey or black & white. Please avoid large florals, solids, and pastels. Tone on tone fabrics work well, or prints with very few colours - for example, a green background with a yellow or a green or a blue pattern, but not all those colours at the same time. 

I'm asking that you make me four blocks with two different colours. Feel free to create blocks with any sized rectangle / square in the middle - they can be all the same, or a variety. I love the random spirit of these squares! 

Designers like Libs Elliot, Allison Glass, and Rebecca Bryan tend to use the types of tones and colours I am hoping for:

Some Tula fabrics work, too, although I find that most of her prints are too busy for these blocks. Please don't worry about having to use these designers in your blocks - I just seem to have a lot of their prints in my stash!

I hesitated about the mice on the green and orange prints, but since they are simply grey on a bright colour, I think they would be a lot of fun! 

I pulled these fabrics from my general stash (I don't know what line they are from, or who designed them). They are not quite jewel tones, and they are a little washed out in the picture, but they are still bright and cheerful!

Here are some of my low-volume pulls. I would prefer monochromatic (grey, black & white) prints, but trust you to chose low-volumes that work with your colour choices. Text fabrics are fabulous, too!

You will need four 8.5 inch blocks to start - 2 low volume (these can be the same for all the blocks if you wish), and 2 different colour prints. Your blocks should finish at 7.5 inches (7 inches once I sew them together).


Making the blocks:

1. Stack one 8.5 colour block and one 8.5 low volume block on top of each other, right sides up.


2. Make two horizontal cuts through both squares at least 1 1/2 inches from the outside edge. Please don't cut closer than this, as I'd like to have a minimum of a one inch border around each centre print.

I made these first two blocks by making each cut 2.5 inches from the edge for a symmetrical block. I used a variety of measurements for my next blocks!


3. Make two vertical cuts in the middle piece only, again at least 1 1/2 inches from the edge. The top and bottom pieces should not be cut again in this step. Somehow, I forgot to take a picture of this step - sorry!

4. You should now have four strips and one centre square / rectangle for two blocks. Rearrange the pieces so that one square has a colour centre with low volume frame, and the other has a low volume centre with a colour frame.


5. Sew the blocks together. Trim to 7.5 inches


6. Repeat for two more blocks.

Once again, here is the link to a very clear tutorial by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew:

It took me about an hour to finish six blocks - I hope you find them as fun to make as I did! 

Here are some of the amazing blocks I received last year!

If you have any questions, please send me a message through Instagram @sewgeekcanada

I'd like to make the throw sized quilt, so I'll need 80 blocks in total - with my blocks from last year, I should have enough! Thank you so much for contributing to my quilt 😀

Tanya (like lasagna).

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