I love all these fabrics together, and instead of doing a one to one substitution with the fabrics in the original pattern, I’ll select fabrics each month that I like for that block. GASP! I know – I hate following a pattern, and I think this method will work just fine.
However, I set aside the fabrics for the border, binding, sashing, and the backing so they don’t inadvertently get used.
I’ll admit that I’m a technical quilter. What the heck does that mean? I like to provide tips on how to make it easier to sew the block together. So that’s what I’ll do. I can’t help myself – it’s the teacher in me coming out.
You might remember my version of the Spectrum quilt is square, measuring 92” x 92”.
And now onto Block 1.
I started by selecting five fabrics for the block.
The fabrics are chosen and now onto the cutting. OK – I confess that I added a wee bit to some of the pieces so I could trim down. It’s a disease!
- Background (Fabric A & B) – white with the blue dot. I cut one square at 7¼”. And four squares at 3½”.
- Star Points (Fabric C) – dark blue with white. I cut four squares at 4″. (slightly larger than the original instructions)
- Half-square triangles (Fabrics D) – the dark blue with white dot and the medium blue with flowers. I cut two squares of each at 3″.
- Corners for the pinwheel block (Fabric E) – the light blue with flowers. I cut two squares at 4″ (slightly larger than the original instructions)
I made the half-square triangles for the center pinwheel in the traditional way. I cut 3″ squares and sewed a scant ¼” on either side of the diagonal line.
Then I trimmed those dog ears off. I love ears on a dog, but not dog ears on my quilt blocks! I trimmed my squares to 2⅝”.
There are loads of different ways to make and trim half-square triangles, but honestly, I love this traditional method, and I use my regular ruler to trim the units. Make sure you use the diagonal line on the ruler to match up with the diagonal seam. Easy peasy!
As I’m sewing and pressing, I keep all the block components on my little design board. I carry this board back and forth from the cutting table to the sewing machine and the ironing station. I don’t lose block components and it helps to keep the pieces lined up.
I also chain piece wherever I can. So, I was sewing the half-square triangles together at the same time I sewed the flying geese.
You can see the two halves of the pinwheel block are attached because they were chain pieced. The block components stay in the correct orientation when you leave that little thread between the two halves of the pinwheel. Oh my – the coloring is awful in that picture. Trust me – those blues are so vibrant.
As Claire Haillot did with her Block 1, I love to twirl the seams on the back to reduce bulk in the center. Before you can twirl the seams, you NEED to clip that thread that joined the two halves together. Then take your seam ripper and release the vertical stitches in the seam allowance, which allows the seam allowance to be split and twirled on the back.
To help position the corner triangles onto the pinwheel block, I gave each one a pinch press on the longest side and lined that mark up with the seam line on each side of the pinwheel block.
After sewing two of the triangles to opposite corners of the pinwheel, I trimmed the dog ears on both sides of the block and then added the last two triangles.
Next up was to trim the flying geese units. I know, I just can’t let anything go without trimming. Notice how I’m using the diagonal lines on a regular ruler to trim the flying geese unit.
Now all my components are pieced (and trimmed), and it’s time to sew the block together.
I’ve got one more tip for you. There’s a LOT of bulk where the points meet along the seam. Your sewing machine will want to push that bulk out of the way, and your seam allowance will go wonky.
I use my quilter’s awl or stiletto to keep the fabric where it’s supposed to be, and thus, I get a straight seam over that heavy intersection. It’s OK to be somewhat aggressive with your fabric to keep that seam straight.
One last tip for today about pressing those bulky seams, I prefer not to press the seams open. I manipulate those seams with my fingers BEFORE I press them. Then I add a little bit of steam.
I’m sharing the back of the quilt block as well, so you can see how I pressed all the seam.
Thanks again to Riley Blake Designs and Christopher Thompson for making my version of the Spectrum QAL2020 possible. Show me your version of the QAL 2020 Block 1, by commenting below or sharing it on #TheSewGoesOn.
I promise that the remaining blocks will be timelier as I now have all the fabrics. Join me for Block 2 in two weeks.
Have a great day!