Emily – I am so excited to have finally gotten started on my blocks. Honestly I could hardly wait! I’m still waiting on the arrival of my Acadia fabric so I decided to pull scraps from my stash to start my blocks. I planned on throwing in other fabrics anyway so the blocks will blend right in with the others. I used at least one print from some of Tula’s previous collections in each block.
Hey sewists! I hope you are ready to start sewing your blocks together or are busy cutting away! I have been sneaking in most of my sewing these days late at night. For me it is best to cut fabric in the day when I have plenty of light, but at night it is easy to put your pieces together here and there as you have time. I also have been chain piecing my blocks together when possible, to save time. Tula does a great job of laying out in her illustration the easiest order to put your blocks together. If you look closely you can notice the illustration kind of ‘breaks apart’ at certain points. These are her construction suggestions. I found I like having the book out and open right in front of me to make sure I am getting the layout right. It may be a good idea to lay out the entire block before sewing it to make sure it is right, especially if you have fussy cut pieces. I myself have been trying not to handle the little pieces too much so that the edges don’t fray.
This is an example of how I like to “chain cut” my block pieces. I spray starch and iron pieces bigger than the piece I need to cut. Then I clean the edges to the precise measurement, flip and clean the edge again and then cut the exact measurement again using a grid ruler. Some people do not like to starch, I say try it and see for yourself. After the initial starching I never starch it again. I want to stress always iron your fabric before you cut it, not after.
Here are my first three blocks! So far they have been quick blocks to put together. I like to have an ironing board right next to me while I am at the machine to make assembly even quicker. A squirt bottle with
water is great for steaming without having to fill up the iron a lot. I press after each seam, but I typically do not press my seams open. Every now and then if there is a bulky seam I will press it open, but for the most part that is not for me. I am not going to worry about cleaning up the sides of my blocks until I get closer to sewing them all together. I have a 6.5″ grid ruler that I can use to true them up.
I actually did not end up completely in love with my Block #3. I decided I should make one that I love a lot. I could have saved myself some time by laying it all out before sewing it together and double checking how I felt, but sometimes it is better to just jump in and try something and decide later when you are done how you feel. I am so glad I made a second block because the new version i LOVE! This Lazy Stripe from the Birds & Bees collection is one of my favorite prints and I love to highlight how it radiates out from the center. I added a dark orange shot cotton, Persimmon instead of the wine Kona that was there before. The dark orange wasn’t nearly as dark and so the contrast isn’t as high, but still passable.
This is an example of how I like to look at fabrics. I always step back and give fabrics “the 10 foot rule” that is, “how does this look from 10 feet away? Do I still see the shape and or the color I am going for?” I like to take my glasses off and look at fabric. You may not have the benefit of needing glasses, but taking a picture and looking at the small version gives the same reducing effect. I also love to use iphones and cameras to take black & white photographs of fabric to show the value and contrast to each other. Tula does a lot of this work for you naturally in her book and I am so glad to have the color illustrations to follow along with. I already have my little pile of next week’s blocks ready to sew and I can’t wait to see the new blocks everyone is coming up with!
So, if you are sewing along at home, be sure to link up ONLY blocks 1, 2, and 3 in this post (you will have time to link up your other blocks in future posts). Please link up separately for each block. As a reminder, you can link to your blog post, Flickr, or wherever else you are hosting your pictures. You must link up here on this post in order to be eligible for the monthy prize! The linky will be left open for 1 year (although the monthly prize for these blocks will be drawn on June 30, 2013).