Monday, June 16, 2014

Block Construction

Welcome to week 3 of the Scrap Basket Quilt Along! It's finally cutting and sewing time!

I apologize that I'm posting so late in the day. I was away on a quilt retreat all weekend (yay!) and I spent most of the day driving home. The good news is I had time to make my blocks for the quilt along over the weekend. It was FUN! (AND the perfect retreat project.)
For today's installment of the quilt along, I will show you two simple ways to make a rail fence block.
First, gather your fabrics based on the color scheme you chose last week. I've added a few more navy fabrics to my stack and I'm much happier with it. Sometimes you need to tweak as you go along...and that's ok!

Fabric requirements and cutting:

If you are using yardage, you will need 3.75 yards. Or 15 fat quarters. Cut 99 strips 2.5" x 21" from various colors, prints and solids.

If you are using scraps, cut 297 pieces that measure 2.5" x 6.5".

To construct a block from scraps:
 Layout 3 scraps that measure 2.5" x 6.5" each.
Sew strips together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams toward the dark fabrics. The block should measure 6.5" square. Make 99 blocks.

To make blocks from yardage:
Layout 3 strips 21" x 2.5".
 Sew the strips together with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Make sure that your stitch length is dialed down, so your stitches are on the short side. All sewing machines are different, but on my JUKI I have it set on one click less than #2 stitch length. You will be cutting the strip sets apart and if your stitches are too large, the pieces will start to separate during layout and construction. That is the number one reason why I hated strip piecing for years. Split seams are a huge pain in the hinder, and they should be avoided at all costs! :) A short stitch length helps a LOT.
Press the strip set well. They are prone to curving, so I find it best to hold the strip down on one end (with the iron) and gently tug with the other hand, pulling the strip set taut. Press from left to right. Use a bit of spray starch if desired.
Trim the strip set into 3 6.5" squares. Set the scraps aside or discard.

Make 33 strip sets. Cut into 99 blocks.
I did a combination of both techniques for my blocks, because I used some yardage and some scraps.

Next week we will lay out the quilt and talk about construction and quilting. If you are on a roll and you want to work ahead, the layout is 9 blocks across by 11 blocks down.

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments. Otherwise, have fun making your quilt blocks! (I had so much fun making these, I'm kind of considering making another!!!)

Happy Monday to you!


Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

Thanks Amanda! I can't wait to start cutting.

Lisa H. said...

I'm going to get started on this - it looks like fun! Should we place the darkest of the three fabrics in the center?

Unknown said...

Very excited! I have been swapping fabric with facebook friends for 2 weeks, to get the masculine fabric i need!

Rozina D. said...

Looks great, but I did a double take when you suggested to DISCARD the scraps frm the strip sets. Lol!

Donna J said...

Just stopped in to say I hope you and your family survived the horrible weather. I live in norhtern WI, we have a lot of trees down and power outages, but apparantly the southern part of the state was hit a lot harder.
I so follow your blog always enjoy all the tips you give.
Thanks so much.

Judy said...

Thank you, Thank you! I have always wanted to make this pattern. And, thank you for the stitch tip. I only worry about having to remove the stitches if I mess up sewing! jlblvn at gmail dot com

Crafty Ashley B said...

So glad to have the instructions! I was a little hesitant picking out my fabrics and feel more comfortable with the "how-to" in place! So excited to start this!

Unknown said...

Iron, iron, iron. Cut -- Oops, need a new rotary blade - much better! Cut, cut, cut. Cut cut cut. How many pieces?? Cut, cut, cut. Thanks very much, I really AM having fun! Great to use scraps for a worthwhile cause.

SarahZ said...

What a wonderful stack of blocks! This will look great!

margaret said...

lots of cutting going on here, will see if I can russell up enough fabric or maybe I will do a mini one

Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket said...

It looks like these are going to be a lot of fun. I've been following along, but haven't done any of the project, because I've got a pretty big quilt going right now. But thanks for all the tips. It will give me a project when I'm done.

Amanda Jean said...

Lisa H,

No, you don't need to put the dark fabric in the center of each block. You CAN, and it would make the layout a little bit easier, but you can also put the darks in any position of the block, and it will create a more random look. It's your choice!

Hope that helps!


Lisa H. said...

Thanks for answering my question, I'm definitely a more random-type design gal. Time to start sewing!

Unknown said...

YAY for quilt retreats!
YAY for these quilt along blocks because they come together very quickly. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm very new to sewing and although I have made a few patchwork cushion covers I am yet to make a quilt. However, I have been and brought my fabric this week to start my very first quilt. I love your blog, ideas and tips and will be following closely. I can't wait to get started! Wish me luck. Emma x :0)