Monday, July 11, 2011

We Can Do It! Skillbuilder Sampler blocks

I realized this weekend that it had been a month since the We Can Do It! Skillbuilder Sampler quiltalong had started... and not only had I not made any of the blocks, I hadn't even picked out fabric! Oops.
Not wanting to buy new fabric specifically for this quiltalong (and knowing just how much fabric I've bought this summer already...) I looked at my stash. Then it jumped out at me.
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I bought this fabric a couple of weeks ago from Connecting Threads--they've been having a huge sale on a variety of their fabrics, including clearance on last year's Christmas fabrics. I bought a half-yard each of 14 different Christmassy prints, anticipating that some sort of inspiration would strike. And what do you know, it did!
I LOVE Connecting Threads. I've been ordering from their sister company Knitpicks since I started knitting about 6 years ago and loved the great prices and customer service. I'm similarly thrilled with Connecting Threads. They may not be as trendy as some of the other fabric companies out there, but I can pretty much always find something I like there. That said, I wasn't knocked out with all of this fabric--the blue fabrics, in particular, appeared a little faded, or maybe my monitor was just misleading and I expected more saturated colors. But when I take into account that I got 7 yards of fabric for about 20 bucks, I'm satisfied. I also noticed that a half yard of one fabric was NOT the same length as a half yard of another--there was never less than half a yard, but in some cases there were up to 4 inches more. I'm not going to complain about getting extra fabric, but it was something that caught my eye (pressing fabrics and thinking "wow, why is this fabric so much longer than the last one??").
I was able to knock out all three of these blocks in just a couple of hours yesterday and today, and now I'm all caught up!
Block 1: Log Cabin
I love the way log cabin quilts look, and I have no idea why I haven't done anything with them yet. The only thing I dislike about this block (and I disliked it when the tutorial was posted, but I see that there's no way around it) is that the block is asymmetrical. In knitting when I do log cabin blankets, I do the same number of stripes on every side, around a central square. Here the central square is not actually in the center of the block. If I were making a log cabin quilt and not just a block, what I probably would do is take the center block and the first set of strips (bottom and right-hand side) and make that all one square, and that would make it symmetrical. It bothers me the way it is. But not enough to go back and redo it. I also am glad I didn't do all green on one side and all red on the other, but that central square really blends in with the green above and to the left of it, and I'm not thrilled with that either.
Block 2: Value Nine-Patch
I had my doubts about this one, but as it turns out, I REALLY like it! The blues were the only fabrics in which I really had lights and darks (so my complaint about the fabrics not being saturated enough for my liking actually worked out to benefit me!) so that's what I chose. I'll have to figure out how to make the different colors come together in the final quilt layout, but of course I have a while till I have to figure that out (this quiltalong lasts a whole year!) I also am happy that I got to use the Christmas trees, which are going to be a challenge throughout due to the directional nature of that print.
The main challenge I had with this block is keeping a constant 1/4" seam allowance. You can see in both the pictures below that there are places where it gets bigger or smaller than 1/4" and as a result, my seams don't match up perfectly in the nine-patches.
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Block 3: Churn Dash
I LOVE this block. Unfortunately it doesn't love me. :(
I made so many mistakes in this one! First, I've never made half-square triangles before. So I used the option of cutting squares a little bigger than called for, then sewing and trimming them down to the correct size. My squares were 5 inches, and my half-square triangles needed to be trimmed to 4.5 inches.
The first one was fine...
The second one was... not. About 1/8" too small. What the heck happened? I have no idea. It probably has something to do with me being incapable of sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance. The same thing happened on both sets I sewed.
Then, once all the HSTs were made, I started putting the block together, and this happened...
Yeah. That was wrong. Rip it out, try it again. And then I finally got a completed block, which I actually really love the look of, and you can ALMOST barely notice the fact that the edges are not straight.
I haven't done the bonus block yet but it's going to have more HSTs in it (just because I'm a glutton for punishment). I'm thinking a broken dishes block, like this one,only obviously just one block, not a whole quilt! The block would probably be 4 broken dish pieces.
Other Fabric News
I got my fabric for the Spoonflower Swap in the mail--it was delivered while we were on vacation, and it's now cut into charms and on its way!
The non-math one is the one for the swap. The print was bigger than I was expecting, but still totally doable for 5-inch charms. The math one I just thought was awesome! No idea what I will possibly do with it, but I had to have it.
I was also a winner of a giveaway I entered--for the first time EVER!! Lee from Freshly Pieced gave away several pieces of her Spoonflower Swap fabric--she actually designed this one herself! I was randomly selected to win a fat quarter of it.
Thanks, Lee! It will be put to good use... eventually!
Linking up this week with Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday.
Giveaways I'm entering this week: Everyone in blogland is giving away an Accuquilt Go! Baby cutter!
Here's one at All Things Vintage Sheets...
And another one at Bugglebee Handmade...
And still another one at Threadgather! Who knows, maybe I'll win one! That would be awesome. :)
It's Melissa's blogiversary, and she's giving away a fat quarter pack in honor of the occasion!

Have a great week!


  1. Lizzie, love the blocks, love the're doing great!!

  2. I love that 9 patch set!

    Don't feel bad, I'm not that great at a 1/4in seam either. And I've not even braved half square triangles yet. lol

  3. Modern Christmas...I love those blocks! Keep us posted on the progress as I bet this will be one fantastic holiday quilt!


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