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Saturday, August 27, 2016


Moose Jr. and Ginger

Now that I have your attention (everyone loves pictures of cats) ... I know I have been extremely negligent about writing my blog. I keep making promises to myself that I will post at least once and week and life just seems to get in the way. So..... I have decided to do something that will force me to write in it once a week. A FREE STATE BLOCK OF THE WEEK CHALLENGE!

Most of you know that I love to fussy cut ANYTHING! I have seen many weekly and monthly challenges with different themes. So I was brainstorming and thought about state quilt blocks. I looked on a variety of blogs and websites and saw that there were some that had free state blocks listed. My thought is, I will do a weekly free state block pattern once a week for 50 weeks. But there is a twist (you know how twisted I am). I want to challenge you to fussy cut some part of the block. What I will do, is once a week post two different blocks of a state. (I found these in some of my block books and on line.) One will be fairly easy and the other a little more challenging. You will get step by step photo and written directions to piece them together and my wonderful quilting tips and tools that I will use with many of them. I will even start out by showing you how to get that "perfect" 1/4" seam allowance and the tool that I had made to do it with.

Here are the fabrics that I chose to make my state blocks. I picked an overall fabric design that comes in two different color ways (one black background and one cream). Then I chose 2 to 3 coordinating prints (mostly tone on tones or small prints) in each color that I found in the fabrics plus a very dark (black) and very light (cream). I wanted a print to fussy cut that had lots of colors in it so I could have a large variety of fabrics to pick from. I tried to find a dark, medium, and light of each colorway. The main print also has to have some large and smaller designs in it so I can cut a variety of sizes to fit the blocks. You will want to have at least 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 yards of one print to fussy cut or 1 to 1-1/2 yards of two different coordinating prints. I carry lots of prints for fussy cutting on my website if you are having trouble finding something. Then choose 1/2 to 3/4 yards of the coordinating prints. I also carry a wide variety of blenders. You can find them by color on the website. Since this is somewhat of a scrappy quilt, if you run out of a fabric you can always pick another coordinating print.

I don't know how big my project will, be but the blocks will be 12" finished. So if I make it 6 x 8 blocks (I know it only equals 48 blocks) the minimum it would be is 72" x 96" without borders. I could choose just some of the blocks that I like to put in the quilt or use all 48 and then the extra two to make into pillows. I am leaving the creative choices up to you. I will simply give you the directions, show you my samples, and you have the option to do what you want with them and how many you want to make. The more creative the better! There are no requirements to complete all of the blocks so if you miss one that is not a problem.

Now here is the great thing about this challenge. Anyone who participates (and I hope we get a lot of people to join the fun) will be eligible to be in a drawing for a weekly prize. Even those who live overseas can be eligible (there will be no postage involved). I will not be picking the winner. It will be your fellow quilters who will be voting. They do not have to be participating in the challenge to vote. So get your friends to follow along to vote for your block. The quilters' names will not be listed with the blocks (but you are free to tell them which one is yours).

To get your juices flowing here are my first two blocks. I will be doing the states alphabetically so these are blocks of Alabama. (The second one I modified slightly to make it easier to piece.)

I will begin this challenge on September 4 and each Sunday I will post two new blocks. You have a week to make the block and send me images to post on my blog, along with my other social media (Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram). People will have a week to vote and I will announce the winner on the following Sunday when I post the next set of blocks. So if I post the first 2 blocks on September 4, then you have until the 11th to get me the image(s) of your block(s). Voting will take place that week and I will announce a winner on the 18th. The whole process will take 2 weeks.

Please, please, please share this with your quilting friends! The more that participate the more interesting the blocks will be. If you have any questions about how to send your images or don't understand the directions feel free to email me or post a message on my blog. I know we all have busy lives, especially before the holidays, but I hope you will find a few minutes a day in your schedule to make a block.

Since this is a new endeavor for me there may be some glitches, so be patient with me while I work through this process and figure out the best way to vote that doesn't involve too much confusion.

As always, do what you love and love what you do!!! Gather your fabrics for this challenge and come back next Sunday, September 4 for directions on these first two blocks. Thanks for reading, Toby.