Friday, January 29, 2016

February do.Good Stitches blocks

February is my next month as quilter for the EMERGE circle of the do.Good Stitches charity bee, so I've put together a little tutorial for the quilt I'd like us to make. The block is based on the Scrap Plus quilt designed by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts. The original quilt is super cute, but I wasn't sure how well it would work for a bee quilt, so I'm taking the block and changing things up a bit.
I'm requesting two blocks from my beemates, one the reverse of the other, so one block has a scrappy plus and white background, and the other will have a white plus and scrappy background.
I'm using a fun color scheme of lighter to mid-range blues and cornflower and mustard yellows based on this fabric pull.
Most of the prints are from Carolyn Friedlander lines, and her colors are exactly what I'm going for. I want to avoid pastel colors, bright or lemony yellows, and darker blues. The blues should be truer blues, avoiding anything moving toward aqua. The white should be a solid white or just slightly off-white; please no prints for that part. The scrappy parts should be mainly prints, but incorporating a few solids would be fine. Some suggestions for solids (to use on their own or to help you match prints) include Kona Snow, White, Yarrow, Curry, maybe Buttercup or Sunflower? (I don't have a color card, and I'm having trouble matching up the lighter yellow exactly), Sky, Fog, Astral, and Lake or Moda Bella 97 or 98 (whites), Chrome, Mustard, Saffron, Blue Raspberry, Frost, Bright Sky, and Little Boy Blue. This fabulous triangle quilt by Erin (@quiltbystarlight) provided much of the color inspiration.

Faith made her original blocks super scrappy, and you're welcome to do that as well (just follow her tutorial), but I'm also offering a quicker version that lets you make both blocks at once using strip piecing. (Beemates will only choose one of the colorways unless you're feeling generous and want to make four blocks. Please make your blocks monochromatic (either all blue or all yellow); do not combine the colors in your blocks.) Here's what you need:

1. From your white solid, cut the following:
(4) 5.5” x 5.5” squares
(1) 2.5” x 2.5” square
(4) 2.5” x 5.5” rectangles

Set these aside for now.

2. Choose 4-5 fabrics in one of the colorways (yellow or blue). You may want to audition your strip placement by laying some of the white squares around a small section, like below.
3. Once you're satisfied with your pull, you need to cut a 33" long strip from each fabric. If you want to use 5 fabrics, three should be cut 1.5" wide, and two should be cut 1.75" wide. If you want to use 4 fabrics, two should be cut 2" wide, and two should be cut 1.75" wide. These widths will give you a little wiggle room for trimming later. You also need to cut (1) 2.5” x 2.5” square from one of the fabrics (set it aside for now).
4. Piece the strips using a 1/4" seam allowance and a smaller stitch width (since we'll be cutting this strip up in a minute). I used 2.0 on my Janome.
5. Press all seams open.
6. Using a rotary cutter, cut your strip into the following pieces:
(4) 5.5” x 5.5” squares
(4) 2.5” x 5.5” rectangles

You should now have pieces that look like this.
7. Lay out your pieces in two blocks as shown. Sew each row together, pressing seams open, then sew all of your rows together.
8. Press your seams open one more time, and voila! You have two beautiful blocks ready to go.
Please let me know if you have any questions. These blocks are super easy and go together in no time. Hope you enjoy this one!

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