The Splendid Sampler™: Block 57

2016_08_31

The 57th block of The Splendid Sampler is called Starting point, by Lissa Alexander. It was an easy, quick pieced block, and if it hadn’t been for a little error, it would have been put together in one hour.

That little error: I carried a slightly off seam from the original four patch, so at the end the block was bigger than 6 ½”. And yes, I took off all the seams until the central four patch and rebuilt the whole thing. The final block is slightly off at its margins due a first intent of fixing things by cutting (!!), but nothing that can’t be fixed with the sashing.

The reason I didn’t want to remake the block from scratch was that I built it from scraps (and I’m starting to run short of big pieces of fabric! So using scraps is turning essential!). I played with lighter fabrics for this one, and I love the result. Hence my perseverance in rebuilding it.

This block would make for a gorgeous quilt on its own, either scrappy or playing with the diagonals to join the blocks in an Irish-chain style. Lots of possibilities, as it can be seen at the link party (with the block’s info) here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 56

2016_08_28

The 56th block of The Splendid Sampler is called At Home Anywhere, by Jennifer Keltner. This was an easy block, especially thanks to the tips by Jennifer Keltner herself. I’m still getting the hang of using the zig-zag stitch to appliqué, but I’m happy with the progress. I also found that using the satin-stitch foot helped a lot (it’s all transparent, which makes things a lot easier!).

Talking fabrics, I’m starting to have a serious problem to find pieces big enough to act as a background. I’m saving the lighter ones for future embroidery blocks, but it’s getting more challenging to make the most of the initial bundle of fabrics (posted about here) while keeping the colour scheme consistent (I know, I could always buy more fabric…). On another matter, I couldn’t resist to fussy-cut the fabric to add an actual door to the house…

The pattern and link party for this 56th block can be found here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 55

2016_08_26

Block n. 55 for The Splendid SamplerDedication Roseis designed by Lisa Bongean (Primitive Gatherings), and is a 19-pieces appliqué block. Despite this number, it was not a difficult one, but it took its time. I doubted between needle-turn appliqué or using fusible web; but the amount of sharp points made me decide for the second, combining the fusible web with a backstitch to secure the fabric without altering the cleanness of the lines.

I’m not sure about my fabric selection for this one, though. There isn’t enough contrast between the background and the leaves; I tried to highlight them using variegated floss. Also, I tried to add more interest using two colours: the green fabric and yellow floss for the little flowers. I think the black centers help to atract attention too.

Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 54

2016_08_23

The 54th block of The Splendid Sampler is calledShellby Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane – Want it, Need it, Quilt), and was not, by any means, an easy one. Theoretically, foundation paper-piecing should make complex patterns possible, and easy. Theoretically.

Piecing the different parts took some seam-ripper as I was sewing from scraps and sometimes the seam allowances ended too thin. Not really a big deal. But sewing the partial blocks together… that was a different history! I tried this tip from Kristy at Quiet Play, and it really helps: to baste the different parts using a bigger stitch length. So, yes, I had to unpick lots of basting stitches, and I don’t know why, it has been impossible to get all the points to match. At the end I decided that the slightly disadjustment on the lower part of the block  was the minor of  my problems and that’s fixable when sewing the quilt together, so I’m leaving it as it is.

The pattern and link party are found here.

Cotton&Color BoM 2016: August

2016_08_21

August‘s block from the Cotton & Color BoM depicts a cute little book, reminding those books and magazines into which we look for inspiration and ideas. It was not a difficult block, but… why do it easy, when you can get things complicated?

I was determined to use this specific fabric for the background (this month we were given the fabric for the book cover), for which I had only a piece. I made lots of measurements, and although it didn’t allow for errors, there was enough fabric. Well, from the picture above anyone can tell that I did do a cutting error. The two added lateral strips was all that remained from the original piece! Someday I will really learn to measure twice before cutting.

The ribbon marker is a scrap of bias binding I kept for no particular reason… it had just the right colour and the right dimensions.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 53

2016_08_16

My seam ripper was quite happy with block n. 53 of The Splendid Sampler. Called Whirling in circles” and designed by Deb Roberts, it features lots of pointy intersections which my seam ripper just love. But, to its disappointment, I must say I was able to piece it with far less help from it as I had expected at the beginning.

The block was surprisingly quick to piece, even with the collaboration of the seam ripper in between and the presence of some bias seams. The method used for constructing the flying geese units was new to me (I had seen it before, but never actually used it), and it’s really comfortable to work with given the cutting dimensions. It does save lots of fabric and cutting time!

Pattern, info and link party for this block are found here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 52

2016_08_14

The 52th block of The Splendid Sampler“Coneflowers” is designed by Pat Sloan, and is an appliqué block. I must say the timing is perfect, as around here the coneflowers are at their best!

Pretty straightforward block, I used fusible web to keep everything in place and secured the pieces with a blanket stitch for the flower and a backstitch for the stem, trying to play with the textures of both stitches. I’ve become a fan of variegated floss, I think it adds a wonderful touch to the finished work. In this case I used Cosmo variegated floss n. 5008 for the petals. The flower centre is stitched with DMC floss n. 844 and the stem with DMC n. 645.

A field of coneflowers, the pattern and more info are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 51

2016_08_10

The 51th block of The Splendid Sampler is called BEE Happy, by Katja Marek, and it’s a wonderful use of English Paper Piecing. I love to EPP, I find it, although slow, a solid technique to construct complex patterns with less fabric waste than foundation paper-piecing. What I don’t specially like are hexagons…

I followed the instructions as they are my own way of working with EPP, that is: basting on cardboard (with thread), whipstitching, starching, removing the cardboard. I don’t use glue at all. The only thing for this particular block is that I should have cut the templates following the inner part of the line, as the block ended a little bigger than expected (and I think it’s due to the thickness of the cardboard used). This can be noticed as I had to replace the hexagon-flower to keep it within the block limits.

A two – three afternoons work, and a cute addition to the sampler. The pattern and link party can be found here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 50

2016_08_08

So here it is, the halfway milestone itself... Block n. 50 (out of 100! Sometimes it’s worth to remember that!) for The Splendid Sampler is calledFlights of Fancy, by Joanna Figueroa (Fig Tree & Co). It falls into the category of “lots-of-tiny-pieces” pieced block, and needed some seam-ripper to get matching points. However, my main problem with this one is that I’m not sure about the colour scheme, so I will revisit it at the end of the journey. I’m starting to run out of some prints, so I prefer to revisit blocks at the end with the overall picture and the overall remaining fabric.

In case I should do so, I must remind myself to accurately place the flip triangles, to carefully press (not iron) and to pin a lot! This kind of block needs anything but calm; with these little pieces any minor misplacement, stretching and/or fraying means a whole difference in the final result.

The pattern and link party are here.