Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #21

Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #21

Here we are, ready to start the last row of our sampler quilt! As we near the end of this incredible journey, my co-host, Maureen Cracknell and I are looking to future collaborations together. The success of the Sewcial Bee Sampler (SBS) has been phenomenal and mostly because of your participation and the remarkable community you've created out of this sew along.  

To help us better understand what you're looking for in a future sew along, Maureen and I have prepared an 8 question survey. This quick questionnaire is completely anonymous and your answers will give us better insight into serving your needs as a quilter. To ensure the most accurate results, please only take the survey once. Many thanks to those who've participated in the SBS questionnaire already. If you've not yet had a chance to take the survey, please do, we're only keeping it open now through the end of the SBS sew along and then we'll close the survey. The link provided on both our blogs will link to the same survey. So, if you access the questionnaire from either Maureen's site or mine, your answers are compiled to the same place.  

We still have a few new Makers joining our sew along and Maureen and I couldn't be more proud of all the gorgeous blocks and the remarkable community that's being built from this sew along. Anyone just joining us may want to take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Pick up tips and block variations beginning with the first blog post The Start of Something Sewcial.

Time to get sewing this week's block #21--Hourglass. Download the free PDf for the blocks on my Sew Along page.

For the Hourglass block we use three different techniques. 2-at-a-time Half-Square Triangle (HSTs) units, No-Waste Flying Geese units, and Square in Square units. Today's tutorial will be about making Square in Square units. If you need a refresher on how to make the other units used in this block, use the links above to previous tutorials. You may also want to review working with directional prints when making different units.

Square in Square Units

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 2-1/2" square. Noting orientation, place a marked square right sides together on a corner of the 4-1/2" square. Sew just a needles worth outside the line on the corner side to keep the unit square. Press to set the seam. Trim 1/4" past the stitching. 

Press corner open. Noting orientation, repeat on the diagonally opposite corner. Press. Trim and press corner open. In the same manner, add squares to the remaining corners. Note: It's very important to only add one corner at a time, press to set seam, trim, and press corner open before adding more marked squares to the remaining corners. 

Because you're simply replacing the corners of the original 4-1/2" square with a second material, the Square in Square unit does not change size and should measure 4-1/2" square when the unit is completed. To better understand the sizes of the unfinished units (the size of unit before sewing into a block), look at how the individual units fit together. Since the center Square in Square is 4-1/2" square, we then can guess the size of the finished Flying Geese units to measure 4-1/2" long by 2-1/2" high. Same goes for the corner HST units. They should measure 2-1/2" square. The Hourglass block, once sewn together, will measure 8-1/2" square before adding the frames. To double check your piecing, you will always know the square size of the block (with frames) by looking at the smallest frame length listed on the instructions. Our sampler has 20 blocks with frames and the five without frames and all should measure 12-1/2" square (unfinished) once and before setting into the final sashing at the end. 

This sampler quilt is pieced using fabrics from my Bountiful collection and Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics. Find where to shop online for my prints by using the handy Shop Fabrics page on this blog. Right now, Llama Fabrics has a 30% off sale going on!

I liked this Square in Square unit so much that I went back to block #9-Wedding Ring and replaced the center with a Square in Square unit. It's the same size as we made for this week's block. Here you can see an example of a block with a frame and a block without a frame being the same 12-1/2" square (unfinished) size once assembled. 

It's very exciting to see projects popping up all over the interweb made from my Bountiful fabrics. I have made several quilts that will be featured in magazines over the next few months and love getting a copy of the magazine in the mail. This week I was so pleased to see my Staggered Tin Tiles quilt on the newsstands and part of the July/August 2017 issue of Modern Patchwork

Staggered Tin Tiles by Sharon Holland

Staggered Tin Tiles by Sharon Holland

Don't forget that this Friday's Giveaway Friday and this week I will be hosting the giveaway from this blog. We've got a great giveaway planned from Needle and Foot you won't want to miss!

Exploring Improv

This weekend I had the fabulous opportunity to attend a Heather Jones workshop. Heather and I live in the same area and I've been way too shy to introduce myself until the fall 2015 Quilt Market when she launched her first fabric line Color Dash with Robert Kaufman. Since then we try to fit a lunch date into our busy schedules and talk shop. 

I still have my fan girl crush on Heather and her talent for sublime quilts. Taking her recent Improvisational Linework and Design Workshop was just what I needed to start me on my journey into the world of modern quilt design and improv piecing. 

The workshop space at Divisible in Dayton, OH, is also home to her current exhibit of improv technique quilts and the cover quilt to her Quilt Local book. The beautiful space in itself was inspiring as well as all the creative energy Heather and the other workshop attendees brought on Saturday.  

I have to admit when we were sent the supply list for this workshop I agonized over the fabric selection and found it difficult to pack only solids to work with. I was the only one in class with some prints, but hey, I need to ease into this and still needed my print security blanket.

Here's a photo from the workshop. You can see a classmates beautiful improv squares above mine. I scissor cut all my pieces and this first batch I felt some of my blocks are a bit too skinny on the outside edges and will be lost in the seams. You can see I'm playing with orientations as well. During class I was just unsure of how I felt about my work. Maybe because mine was busier and different from my classmates I felt it wasn't right. Looking at it now as I post this picture I'm warming up to it more and more.

Here's another shot at the end of the day in which I started adding in larger pieced blocks to break up the business I felt was happening. I still hadn't committed to sewing an actual 16'' square block together because I wasn't feeling it yet. 

I've decided that this technique needs to be further explored and I call it the "Christmas tree syndrome" you know, you keep tweaking out where the ornaments are on the tree for that perfect balance! There's an infinite number of possibilities with this technique from fabric selection, cutting, piecing, and arranging. I was hoping that complete randomness would result in perfection but I think there needs to be something in between random and obsession.  

With my individual sections I thought I'd do a bit more playing around. What if I reduce the palette? What if I change the scale of the strips even more? What if I play more with orientations? Here's some possible looks exploring these variables in what could be a 16" finished block.

I know there's no right or wrong way to create. You need to create from the heart and gut. 

I've yet to commit on this but feel I may be getting closer to understand what I need to do to learn and grow from this experience. It's so exciting!

I have to put this all aside for the moment because other projects are calling my name but I promise there will be a follow up post when I finish this improv quilt. 

See more of Heather's work, workshop information, and quilts on her website. Her newest fabric line, Conservatory for Robert Kaufman and quilt patterns were part of our workshop goodie bag--what fun!