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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

STATE BLOCK CHALLENGE....Basic directions.

Now that you have all of your fabrics ready (or not), let me go over the basics. (You can click on any of the yellow highlighted links to take you to the product, except this one.)

Fussy cutting

You will need some heavy template plastic to cut out the pieces needed for both fussy cutting and any odd pieced  patches in the blocks. Copy the template image, cut out around it and place it on the template plastic. Cut on the outside lines. Using a ruler, draw in the 1/4" seam allowance. Then place some rolled up tape on the back of the template so that it will stick to the fabric. Use that template to place on your fabric to determine which design you want to use. Once you have determined where you want to place it, use a smaller rotary cutter (I sell the 18mm and 28mm cutters on my website) and cut out around the template. If you want perfect repeats, leave the fabric on the template, find that same design, line up your template so that the background fabric disappears into the design. Then cut out your next repeat. I did this with Block 1b. Continue to cut out the number of repeats that you need. I cut out different designs for Block 1a.

If you would like to see what your design would look like when pieced together, you can use a set of mirrors. I use Marty Michell's Magic Mirrors. Place your template in the mirrors, close the sides of the mirrors around the template and put a piece of tape over the top of the mirrors to set the angle. (The tape is difficult to see but it is towards the folded end.)

Then place the mirror on your fabric and move it around until you find a design that you like. If the fabric is an overall print, this will give you an idea of what it will look like, but you are seeing a mirror image so it might not look exactly like the images in the mirrors once you sew them together. If you are using a symmetrical fabric (one that has a center line and is exactly the same on both sides) and line up the mirror on the center line, what you see in the mirror is what you will get when you sew the patches together.

Overall print
Symmetrical print

Once you find a design you like, make sure your design is within the seam allowances of the template so you don't lose the design you found. Then follow the instructions above for cutting out your repeats.

1/4" seam allowance

When I first started quilting, I had difficulty with consistency of my seam allowance plus I was not sure exactly what a "scant" 1/4" was. Everyone has their own definition of a scant 1/4" so if you ever do blocks with other quilters, none of the blocks end up the same size. After taking some classes from Sharyn Craig and Sally Collins, who showed how to get a consistent seam, I devise my own method. I have designed a seam guide that is used just for this purpose. It has a hole at 'exactly' 1/4".

If your sewing machine has a needle right position, use your regular sewing foot and move your needle over to the furthest right position. Place the needle in the small template hole. Using a small piece of molefoam (I use Dr. Scholls Molefoam Foot pads), place it snug against the ruler. Now you have a guide for the edge of your fabric. If it is touching the foam, your seams will always be at 1/4". If your machine does not have a needle right position, place the foam in front of your foot along the edge of the guide.


Now you are ready to begin!!!!! The next blog will give you fabric requirements, cutting instructions, and piecing instructions for the next two blocks. 

SPECIAL.....If you do purchase something on my website for this challenge, I will include a FREE seam guide with every purchase of $25 or more. Just mention that your purchase is for this challenge in the comment box to receive the guide.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading, Toby Lischko (Please share and forward to your friends.)


I hope by now some of you have been thinking of whether or not you want to participate in my State Block Challenge.  Here are the fabrics I chose for my blocks in case you did not catch my last blog. The main fabrics for fussy cutting are the same print, one with a light background and one with a dark. The rest of the fabrics are chosen from all of the colors in the main print (the more the merrier) in different shades of the color for more variety. If you have problems picking out the main print and are not sure if it will work, feel free to contact me and send me an image of it. I also have plenty of main fabrics and blenders by color on my website in case you can't find something.

Here again are the first two blocks. This one is the easier (obviously) of the two. I fussy cut the cornerstones of the sections.

The second one requires curved piecing, but I will do a tutorial of how I sew curves for those that are willing to try something a little more difficult. I don't find curves difficult and I teach these classes to a of quilters who are afraid of curves.

I will start the challenge by showing how I get perfect repeats every time when I fussy cut; how to use mirrors to see how your block will look; how to get that perfect and consistent 1/4" seam allowance; and other tips to make the process easier for you. All of the blocks will include cutting instructions, piecing instructions along with photos of each step I used to sew the blocks. This challenge should appeal to both beginner and more advanced quilters.

I do have a request. Please let me know if you plan on participating. I would just like to have an estimate of how many are interested. As we go through the blocks, if at anytime you think that I am going too fast and that maybe I ought to do 2 blocks every 2 weeks instead of a week, please let me know. I want this to work for everyone. I know that we are all working on more than one project at a time and I don't want to overwhelm anyone to think that they can't keep up. I also might hold off on posting blocks during the holiday season since we will all need a break at that time! I WANT YOUR INPUT TO MAKE THIS ENJOYABLE FOR YOU. This is my first internet challenge so it will be a learning curve for me too! 

Don' forget, there will be a prize drawing for each set of blocks (a prize for each block) so after you complete them you will need to send me an image so I can post it on my social media sites along with some type of survey email.

As always; Do what you love and love what you do. Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin' (link on side) so that you do not miss any of my posts. I will also be posting it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,  and Tumbler to get the word out. Thanks for reading. Toby

P.S. I will be participating in the Fabric Shop Hop in September. I will have lots of fabric specials and clearance sales.