Even though you probably didn’t notice – I took a little break over the holidays. In part, because it recent years I’ve put off my Christmas shopping until closer (read: dangerously close) to Christmas, so I had lots of shopping to do! But also because I think the holidays are a time to regroup, reset and lay out a plan for the New Year. Which I did…okay…am still doing, but it’s fine – I’m FINE!
My point is that in taking a little break over the holidays – my catchup schedule has been more than a little insane! That means especially, that until late last week (yes the beginning of FEBRUARY) – I have sewn a just a little, but have effectively completed a big fat NOTHING in terms of finished projects since before Christmas.
Back in what sometimes feels like the olden days, when my family was young and growing, I remember feeling like there was always tons of planning and organizing going on. In those days, we went the grocery store once a week with a detailed list. We organized that list by section from back of the store to the front, because that’s the order in which my ducklings and I proceeded throughout the store.
Whew – What a weekend! I’m thrilled to report that among other things, I got to watch my #4 play college lacrosse and I also sewed LOTS. Most importantly, I got a few more blocks ahead of my Be My Neighbor sew along piecing so I don’t fall behind as I did for my LAME-O Block 4 post, when I literally didn’t get my block done in time for the Monday blueprints release. Ack. Nobody likes to be behind the 8 ball like that.
My block turned out like this:
Before you ask – I’m not a fan of it. I sort of got stuck for a while on the fact that roofs are historically certain colors or shades of earthy tones and I’m annoyed that I chose the color Wren which frankly I love – just not up against New Russet Orange, also a perfectly happy Grunge shade. My slightly imperfect diamond shapes are created from Juniper Berry Aqua Blue, which is one of my MOST favorites!
As mentioned, I’m several blocks ahead of this one and can confidently say I’ve gotten over the idea that my roof colors need to be earthy. I learn, by golly…every day I learn 🙂
This week’s BMN block blueprints are below. If you’re following along – I hope you’ll tag me at Instagram! @serendipitywoods, so I can see how your blocks are coming along!
“Use a scant 1/4.” I’ve read this in multiple patterns and though it’s not necessarily a difficult concept to get my arms around, knowing why – or more importantly when – to use it has always escaped me for some reason, until yesterday.
First, let me show you the current view from my desk at any given time during my day (when I’m not cutting fabric or living life, in general).
Add to this to my growing love affair with Bella Solids in general, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to create a quilt with Moda’s Sampler Shuffle – a series of 30 – 6″ blocks designed by Moda designers – which were released to quilt shops last November at Quilt Market, Houston. I can’t say I’ve seen them created with Bellas, but as I’ve spent the last week or so staring longingly at the above image, The Sweetwater Bellas became an obvious choice.
So far so good…
All was going well until I made the 4th block, which had an awful lot of pieces (equating to an awful lot of seams)
Needless to say, I made it once, but decided to remake it. Here’s why:
Meh. 5/8″ isn’t all that big of a deal, right? Actually, it’s not the end of the world, until you’re trying to put a bunch of blocks together that are supposed to be the same size. 5/8″ can be a lot and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to have to stretch my seams that much to make them line up comfortably. This is where the proverbial ‘scant 1/4 inch’ comes into play and why it is sometimes a pretty handy and necessary process for making our blocks the right size.
A scant 1/4″ is really nothing more than this:
Essentially, it all boils down to just how many seams we’re incorporating into any given block. Think of it this way – the more seams, the more seam allowances; the more rows, the smaller each block has the propensity to become as we go along, depending on how much attention we pay to seam allowance with each seam we create.
ALSO! In case you wondered – the fineness of the thread we use can make a difference as well. It’s why when I first tried Aurifil 50wt , I switched to it without even passing Go or collecting $200 (Monopoly never really leaves your psyche once you play it as a kid, ya know? But lest I degress…). Anyway, while you wouldn’t think the density of thread would matter much, I find that it makes my seams less bulky, which can make a sizable different across the span of a quilt, not to mention – a bunny outfit.
“What did you do with the poor, little too-small block?”
In the end, the question begs: is it really critical to pay so much attention to precision at the tiniest level with respect to seam allowances and thread density? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to two things – the longer we’ve been quilting, I think, the more it begins to matter to us that our work reflects our level of experience. Secondarily, every little seam, whether attentive to exactness of seam allowance or what kind of thread we use, adds up. For the purpose of this post – I’m just giving you a little food for thought 🙂
I feel like it was forever ago that we announced our first ever Block of the Month featuring blocks from Amy Ellis’ newly released Modern Heritage Quilts.
I’m happy to announce, first kits shipped on Thursday and I say – let the BOMING begin!
Our first block is a simple Cross block, and we’ll be making 13.
I love most that we started with this particular block because indeed cross blocks signify to me a community of people coming together for common goals. In our case – there are 22 of us participating in this project, and it’s really a remarkable gathering of women from almost every corner of the US!
One of the things I most realized as I started these blocks is how many fabrics are, in some capacity, directional. Some of us can throw caution to the wind and not give two hoots whether our prints are going in the same direction. Some of us, on the other hand, are not so lucky and we need a little directional semblance…might I suggest:
If you’re receiving your BOM kits and haven’t quite made it over to our BOM Group Page, I hope you’ll head on over and introduce yourself – it’s getting to be a pretty lively gathering for Q & A and just some great quilting chatter!