July Challenge - another block

Posted by on 30 July 2021 | 0 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.

Are you following along? If you need to play catch up, pop back to the beginning of our challenge here: Week one of our July Challenge. We have a week between each set of instructions and they are not complicated so you could easily do them all rather quickly - it certainly won't take a week for each.

So this week we are making a greyscale block and here's how I got on....

blog challenge w4 deciding fabrics

I drew all the applique shapes onto fusible and choose the greyscale fabrics

blog challenge w4 making block

sections are fused onto the fabric and cut out, then block construction started

blog challenge w4 block

my greyscale block ready to stitch

and here are my two blocks thus far:

blog challenge w4 2blocks

Left: colored block; right: greyscale block

It's a bit hard to see the greyscale block but the stitching will enhance it... I wonder how Jennifer got on. You can find out here: Jennifer's greyscale block

Her guess at the end was correct, but perhaps not exactly how she might have thought!

Rules for Part 4

This week we are going to use the line drawing just one more time to make one more block - this will be the last. I want you to use the same size block as the last two weeks.... that's 4.5" for me and select a plain fabric as your background - you probably want a pale colored background to make it easy or dark will work if your threads are light but not a floral or heavily patterned fabric. I'll be using my white on white background that I've used for my blocks - just to give you an idea.

Once you have cut out your block, trace the line drawing onto it. This one is going to be created only with colored stitching. It can be free-motion or straight stitched or if you want to get a little more creative, a small zig zag or decorative stitch. Now to do this, you might want some stabilizer underneath so the fabric doesn't pucker up or you could put it in a hoop. I usually do mine layered with batting which works the same as a stabilize however I'll need to piece all the blocks together first.... therefore I will give the piecing instructions here too.

Piecing Your Blocks

You should have 4 blocks at this stage. Your original block and three smaller blocks. Figure out the size of the finished blocks. For example, my flower block is 10.5" so it will finish at 10" square. My small blocks are all 4.5" so they will finish at 4" square. If you can make it a whole number (remember we are working with finished measurements without seam allowance), it's a whole lot easier to do the calculations.

Place the larger block on one side and the three smaller blocks on the other.

setting calculations1

blocks and their heights

Looking at this, I can see I will need to add to my 10" block to get it to the height of the other three even if I just sew them together. But I don't want them all crammed up together so will add some space between them, say an inch or two. These amounts can vary or be the same - totally up to you, but to give you an idea, let's say I will add an inch between them plus above and below something like this.

setting calculations2a

adding an inch sashing between the blocks as well as either end

So I have 1" + 4" + 1" + 4" + 1" + 4" + 1" which equals 16" total. That will be how high I need to extend the larger block so they are equal size in height. 

Now the larger block is already 10" so I take that away from 16" which leaves me with 6". This amount can be spread evenly or unevenly above and below the block. To make it uneven I could put 2" below and 4" above.... or anything I think will look good.

setting calculations2

Extending the two sections so they are equal height

If you work this out on graph paper, you can get a good idea of how it might look in real. I'm all about auditioning before cutting... And BEFORE you start cutting, remember all the pieces need to have seam allowance added. This is a very important step. So the 1" strips above will all be cut at 1.5". The 2" strip will be 2.5" and the 4" at 4.5".

The strips will be cut the length of the blocks they are intended to go with..... so you will need four 1.5" strips the length of the small block = 4.5" and the 2.5" & 4.5" strips will be the length of the large block = 10.5"

setting calculations cutting measurements

Cutting measurements for each strip

Looking at the chart this way, you can see very clearly why we do our calculations before adding the seam allowance. You can see there are a lot more seams on the left section than there are on the right and if you added them up, the numbers wouldn't be even: 17.5 verse 19.5.

Make sense? If you need help, just drop me a note and I'll be glad to help with your calculations. I've tried to keep them as simple as possible. 

So piece your block sections together so you have two sections - one with the large block and another with the three smaller blocks. Determine if you want a strip between the two sections and add that too. Likewise on the sides so something like this:

settings vertical strips.

Adding vertical strips

I've added a 2" (finished) strip between the two sections, but you can do anything you like. It will look like this but I'll need to remember to add those seam allowances before cutting the vertical strips.

I've kept the instructions simple as I know many have problems when it comes to calculation. When I put mine together it will be quite different to that explained above. If you feel confident go for it.... do what you want to put the blocks together. If you're a beginner, keep it simple. You can always come back and make a second one like Jennifer has been doing and change it up once you have the hang of it.

If you like, you can add borders or further pieces, especially if you want to get to a particular shape then go ahead and layer your quilt with batting and backing fabric. If you haven't already, stitch in your line drawing on your third small block.... This is a big week, so I'm likely to give you two weeks before I come back with the last instructions. Watch for them then!

PS: I calculated and drew up all the images in free software. I used GIMP for photo editing and Inkscape for measuring. If you'd like to learn how, I teach how to use them both in my "Free Software for Quilters" online workshop.

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