Tag Archives: Block of the Month

Scrappy Block-of-the-Month Marathon

Well, it feels like a marathon because I’ve decided to make up all the rest of the blocks so they won’t interrupt other projects as the year progresses. (I had had that thought once before, but managed to get only three made up–link to that attempt with ‘red’ below.) This pattern is a great one for using up 2-inch squares (finish at 1 1/2 inches). Or you could modify it and make other than 12 1/2 by 12 1/2 blocks.

ETA correction to measurements: These are 12 1/2 inch blocks made from 2 1/2 inch squares of color fabric and 4 1/2 of white.  Two-inch squares would make 9 1/2-inch square blocks with 3 1/2 inch white squares. Of course you all figured that out already, right? 2/14/16.

So, my blocks are now completed from January through July.

I prefer the more mixed palettes like the first month’s block. We have had single color twice ( blue, red ) besides the pink above. Not only do I like the look of more variety, but it would be easier to find enough fabrics to make a whole quilt from my scraps. The block in the larger photo, limiting choice to brights, provides a nice mix of control and variety.

July is the last month for this pattern. I’ll wait to see what the next one is before I decide whether to play along or not. Maybe if I were to win the batch one of the months I’d be more eager to try again.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!  (Button in Sidebar)


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Fall Retreat Projects

This weekend was the local guild fall retreat. I’d planned photos of the grounds and workroom, but was busy sewing and kept saying, “Tomorrow.” Today, the last tomorrow, it was raining.  (Here is the link to some official photos–it is a lovely setting.) In spite of all that focus, I brought home four untouched projects and another that was only partially completed.  I knew I was preparing more than I needed, but not that much more. If the projects didn’t have due dates, I’d keep the kits for the next retreat!

Alas if you are tired of the leader-ender 65 blocks. Here is a baby sized quilt top  made from 12 of them.

9-patch cornerstone setting

33 x 33

The original pattern I saw showed one-inch sashing; however, I needed more width, so I thought I’d try this setting. It was a little more fiddly than I was expecting. I’d wondered if it would be too busy; I don’t think so. The blocks are made from leaders and enders; however, the cornerstones were made in a day to get them finished. This will become an infant quilt for Toy and Joy when finished. Yep, it is that time of year again.

I worked on my three F2F blocks, but won’t show them till they make it to France.  They did win me the “International Belle Fabrique” award, however–the awards being a retreat tradition. The retreat leaders must have a great time coming up with the award topics!

Also I’d planned to make 10 doll quilts for the Toy and Joy project. One was already made up except for binding, so I took parts for 9 more. I had a bunch of 3 1/2 solid squares left over from last year’s Urban Chicken quilt. I had to work around the fact that squares came in sets of 4. I devised a 25 square checkerboard with a diagonal setting and used one or two additional squares in a “near” color for the line of five.

There is a fourth, an oops.

the oops

15 x15

When I realized I’d sewn two strips on the wrong side, I pondered the result and decided that it didn’t look bad enough to do any unsewing. The dot fabric was a fat quarter–I think one I had gotten as door prize at a previous retreat; it was enough for two small quilts.

I had some left over fabric from a backing, a Very. Large. Print. I’d ordered it online from a site that didn’t give a sense of scale with their photos, thinking it much smaller. It prompted the new minimal design–as few pieces as possible.

That setting was perfect for the amount left over from other backings. I love that animal-band print! Although once before I’d done some meticulous cutting to feature various instruments and animals, it was difficult given how close the figures were. So it too was a great candidate for this setting.

And finally an  alternating 4-patch setting.

Four-patch setting

24 x 24

This one helped use more of the squares than the strip setting, and I had two coordinating sets, so it could look planned.

Another plan was to finish up a year’s worth of BOMs; I finished three.

Since I was concentrating on time sensitive projects, this one got set aside as soon as November (earth tones) was finished. I pulled it out again at the end when there wasn’t time for another big project.

While it is great to get so much finished, that isn’t the main purpose of a quilt retreat. Meeting new guild members and getting to know others better, swapping stories while sewing–that is what it is about. And did I mention eating. The food was unbelievably good. It has always been good at Tilikum, but was much better this year. The guild plans three retreats a year–I usually make only the fall one.

Linking with Oh Scrap! and next month with Leaders and Enders Tuesday. Buttons in the sidebar.


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Problem with the Best Laid BOM Plans

Well, I thought I had a good plan; I would make up the BOMs for the rest of the year at the guild retreat. Since I have the fabrics all cut, selected, and sorted, it seemed a quick retreat project. And it still is except for one. The October BOM is due before retreat.

So I got to work and stitched it up.

purple and orange

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

As you can see, this month’s colors are purple and orange. I think I prefer the blocks with  more than one color.  I could have fun with this batch if I were to win it. Every block is an entry. I think there were about a dozen and a half last month. Not bad odds.

Previous months: Totally scrappy and blue

Linking with Oh Scrap! and BOMs Away (buttons in the sidebar).


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BOM Blue

It is almost time for the September guild meeting, so my  block of the month (BOM) of “Scrappy Byways” in blue is finished. (Info about the guild BOM is here. BTW, I didn’t win the pool of blocks last month.)

blue block

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

Blue being one of my favorite colors, I had no trouble finding 20 different squares.  I love that the squares range from very old to modern. And that I had enough value variety to get some pattern out of a single color. The center ones photograph as black, but they are really dark navy.

Since I need to make space for working uninterruptedly on a big project and some quilting soon, I had thought of making up all the blocks that I have 20 squares for (all but 4 or 5), but I have to get more white. Maybe by the time I have the white, I’ll have found enough red, pink, pastel to do them all.

Meanwhile, back to the other scrap project (previous post)

Linking with Oh Scrap! (Button in the sidebar)


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A Well-Timed, Scrappy Block of the Month (BOM)

Recently I swore off of Block-of-the-Month projects because they take time from my big projects. But they are so much fun and so tempting that I am back. My local guild sponsors a BOM that appeals to me more this year than they usually do, and you’ll see why in a minute. Every year one pattern is selected that is varied somehow each month. Last year it was by modifying the pattern in the center of the Variable Star block as well as color. This year it is a very scrappy block. (Do you begin to see the appeal?) And each month the blocks one makes are entries into a raffle for all that month’s blocks. Could be fun to win!

So I made two for August–two chances to win.

August BOM

The BOM chair found the pattern, “Scrappy Byways,” on Corey Yoder’s blog Little Miss Shabby, and obtained permission to use it. (The blog is licensed under Creative Commons for non-commercial, no derivatives.) I tried to find the page to link to her discussion of the block, but can direct you only to her blog–her search feature wasn’t cooperating.

As you know, I’ve been working on scrap control. I had quite a few 2 1/2-inch squares, plus I knew there were some from previous spurts of scrap control and mini-charm packs I’d gotten in various SWAG bags. I decided to sort the pile I had accumulated, put them away and at the same time pull what I had for the whole year’s color selections. Then I’d know what I needed to look for in the scrap bin to fill out the 20 needed for each block.

August and two other months are totally scrappy. September is blues, October is oranges and purples, and December is reds, etc. I made a pile for each month and started. The months with single colors got first choice when their color showed up; the squares that didn’t resolve to one color went to the totally-scrappy pile as did three of each when I had multiples of a color that had gone to a specific-color month. I didn’t want duplication in a single block, though chances are there would be some in the whole quilt.

I would never take the time to go digging through my fabrics each month and cut 20 single squares to make a block; however, with the pile of squares already cut, and the list for the year, it was just one afternoon of sorting and selecting. So it was quite timely, my spurt of scrap energy and the BOM announcement. I have all but two or three for most months. Pinks and pastels are sparse, so I’ll be concentrating on them as I cut more scraps.

Because it is a raffle and one person will assemble all, there are some rules, one is to “spin” the seams. I’d heard of that technique before to make flatter blocks, but hadn’t thought of the second advantage: The seams will be right for assembling the blocks in an allover design if everyone spins them all clockwise. So the four-patch blocks are spun and the outer edge seams are also.  It seems just as fiddly as pressing seams open to accomplish the same thing. However, it does allow for the technique of nesting to make corners meet. I will, of course, do it this way for this project; time will tell if I am a convert.

Linking with Oh Scrap! (button in sidebar).


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Classic Meets Modern–April

Double Z is the block Erin gave us for the Classic Meets Modern Block of the Month. It took a while to adapt it.  I could shift the halves for an asymmetrical look, but though that has been my favorite modern feature, it isn’t the only one, and I was ready for a change.

My first thought was to make the triangles irregular. (I refuse to use the word “womky.”) But as you can see from the instructions, this pattern needs the tips to meet to get the Z effect.  I considered making the 16 half-square-triangles and looking at them to see if it just might work, and if not using them elsewhere.

Meanwhile, a new idea was forming–this one had two sources. I was reading Vintage Quilt Revival Yes, they have a quilt made on this pattern, but I needed my own modification. I was intrigued by their “Dancing Squares” quilt and discussion where the modernization is to add negative space by alternating blocks made traditionally with blocks following the same pattern but substituting background color for pattern in a couple strategic places. As I was looking at the block, pondering what would be an effective place to substitute background for print, I remembered another BOM, the Vice Versa BOM. I had been intrigued as people posted their pairs of blocks with color reversals.

[ETA link to a sample of one of those blog entries ]

So my negative space became the figure as I eliminated print in one of the “Zs” and made the background from a second print, the second print reflecting Erin’s two-print sample. My block does not follow either idea exactly, but you can see how it is related to both. I really enjoy tracing an idea backwards to its source(s) when possible.

First try at Double Z block

For the second try, I experimented with using only two fabrics.

Second try

I haven’t decided which I like better or if one is more modern than the other.

You will find the book, Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs From Classic Blocks interesting if you like patterns, if you want to see samples of modernization(and ponder a set of features), and if you want a small taste of quilt history.

Not only am I linking with Classic Meets Modern, but also since it isn’t midnight yet, with Needle and Thread Thursday–button in the sidebar.


ETA: So long as I keep up with BOMs, I’ll have at least one NewFO to share at the end of the month. I am not making the BOMs as parts of a sampler–each is the beginning of a quilt. Not the usual approach, but it works for me.


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More Thoughts on Modern Quilting

ETA: Linking with Val’s archives. And no, I haven’t decided how to proceed with it. 4/26/16

I started blogging about modern here when I started the Classic Meets Modern Block of the month (BOM).  And then I missed working on February’s  BOM.  But I’m back in the swing for March. Besides the features I listed for modern quilts, friends added more in their comments. So the list grows. And my thinking continues.

I have enjoyed Barbara Brackman’s Historically Modern blog and the irony that modern WAS approximately 1870-1970. She too lists asymmetry as a feature but adds others, like use of simple shapes and flatness–not even trying for 3D effects. Here is her post on asymmetry. Interesting, her observation that as we tire of either asymmetry or symmetry, styles shift to the other.

When I was listing features, I forgot  the lack of frames/borders. And even more extremely, use of facing instead of binding to avoid framing the quilt completely. Brackman had several posts on this: here, here and here.

Of course, eliminating borders would be a whole quilt design more than a block design. I’m still working with asymmetry, wondering how many traditional blocks will remain  recognizable when made askew. This month’s classic block was the Drunkard’s Path two-piece unit in one of its variations.  I decided to modify the Fool’s Puzzle variant. (Image of the traditional quilt here.)

door prize fabricIn addition to asymmetry, I had modern fabric to use, Over a year ago I won this fabric, and it has been patiently waiting for a project.  (ETA the fabric line is Crazy Love by Jennifer Paganelli–glad I finally found the tag.)  And that is another feature of many modern quilts, using one line for the whole quilt. I don’t usually because the hunting and gathering phase is the most fun for me. But since I have it, this month’s block is modern in three ways. Maybe four. The 2-piece blocks are 4 inches, larger than usual. Though maybe not oversized enough to be a modern feature.

Oh, you wanted to see the block?

fool's puzzle --my versionThe top four units are like the upper right of the traditional Fool’s Puzzle blocks shown in the link (several variations exist–some color differences, some shape differences). The lower four are my modification. I have enough fabric to make  a lap quilt.  Haven’t decided whether to repeat this block or to keep improvising, whether to vary the size or keep it the same. No hurry. I can think on it.



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