This month's challenge is to make a new quilt from an old block. Since I consider myself a traditional quilter I use traditional blocks all the time for my patterns. I thought about using one of my patterns, but then I realized that since this is a challenge, I should do something different.
I want to congratulate the winners of my last blog. The first name I pulled was Anita Skjellanger. I found out that she lives in Norway!
Since shipping is so expensive to send this overseas I offered her one
of my patterns instead and pulled another name. The second winner
is Peggy True. She won my Binding Minder and 4 fat eighths from
I want everyone to see how my brain works when I am designing a quilt so there will be several blogs related to this challenge. Plus, I am working on other quilts at the same time (nothing unusual) so these posts will be intermittent through the month of April.
I have always liked the house block. There are many versions of the block, especially in EQ8. Some easy, some more complicated. I ended up using this one that was in the block library. It is called The Old Homestead. Electric Quilt has a fantastic product. I use it to design all of my quilts. They now have a mini version if you do not want to purchase the full EQ8 version.
With EQ8 (or any version) it is very simple to make changes to the blocks so I did some revisions and ended up with this square block. (I always seem to want to make revisions to blocks to make them more my own!)
I liked this version but of course I had to make one more change. Instead of a square block I wanted to make it a rectangle, so I changed it from a 9" block to a 8" x 6" block.
Now the challenge was to find which fabrics I wanted to work with from the ones that Island Batik sent me. I thought about doing bright summer colors, but this block makes me think of being in the woods, so I decided to go with more "woodsy" colors and ended up with these fabrics. They are part of the Autumn's Grace collection. They have wonderful textures, some look like wood.
The next challenge was to see if there was enough fabric (they were fat eighths) to make each block. I always tell my students that you should make a test block before tackling your good fabrics. That way you can make any corrections ahead of time.
I thought the best way to make this block is to paper piece it so I printed out the paper pieced sections from EQ8 and measured all of the sections to see what size pieces to cut out. I don't like a lot of waste in my fabric (especially since I only had a fat eighth). I wrote down all of the sizes on my foundation paper. These were the pre-cut sizes.
I then added 1" (the 1/2" seam plus an extra 1/2") to each measurement and wrote them down on a sheet of paper as to how many I needed to cut out. That way if they were the same width I could cut out a strip and cut multiple pieces from the strip. Tip: Always cut out the longest strips first, then use the remainder for cutting out smaller strips. It makes the best use of the fabric.
The next step was to cut out the pieces. The foundation sections were tinted so I knew which patches were for the dark fabric and which were for the light fabric. I didn't want to cut into the actual fabrics I chose, so I picked a different fat eighth.. I also labeled each piece with the corresponding section and measurement. I go lucky! I was able to get all of the pieces I needed from that fat eighth with just a tiny bit left over. Good thing I didn't do a bigger block.
The biggest challenge with paper piecing is sewing on triangles. It doesn't work well when you use a square or rectangle so the best thing to do is cut out a triangle that matches the one on the paper plus your 1" extra. I realized I hadn't done that so my rectangles I cut for the triangle patches had to be re-cut into oversized triangles.
I then made the four sections. I use a freezer paper method of paper piecing so I don't have to tear off paper when I am done and can reuse the paper. I will show how I to do this in the next blog. Some of the seams I had to trim to 1/8" (the thin section of light fabric). Here are the four sections trimmed after sewing.
At this point the freezer paper is still on the fabric so I will take it off. Then I can see if some of my final seams need to be pressed in a different direction to make it go together easier. (Another good reason to use freezer paper.)
Now you know how my brain works. Sometimes I don't really know how it works! Be sure to come back for the next installment.
Check out the Island Batik Facebook page for more great quilters' challenges.
As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading a feel free to share.
Clever Curves: Piecing Techniques - $19.99