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Spectrum QAL 2020 Block 3: Riley Blake Designs Blue Stitch

by Elaine Theriault

I’m back with Block 3 of the Spectrum Quilt-A-Long (QAL) 2020. I’m loving working with the Blue Stitch collection designed by Christopher Thompson by Riley Blake Designs. How did you make out with my version of this exciting Spectrum QAL 2020 Block 2 from two weeks ago?

Block 3 is equally as exciting, let’s get right to it!

Cutting Instructions

Fabric A Background (white with blue dot): 

Cut eight (8) squares 2½” for flying geese

Cut two (2) squares 5″ for the corner units – cut in half to get four (4) triangles

Fabric B Flying geese units (blue with white writing): Cut four (4) rectangles measuring 2½” x 4½”

Fabric C Half-square triangles (dark blue with white dot): Cut six (6) squares measuring 3″ square

Fabric D Half-square triangles (medium blue with dot): Cut four (4) squares measuring 3″ square

Fabric E Half-square triangles (medium blue with flower): Cut two (2) squares measuring 3″ square

Fabric F Small triangles for corner unit (second medium blue with flower):

Cut four (4) squares measuring 3″ square – cut in half to get eight (8) triangles

Fabric G Center (light blue): cut one (1) square measuring 35/16

Fabric H Triangles for the center unit (white with blue crosshatch): Cut two (2) squares measuring 3″ – cut in half to get four (4) triangles

Block 3

Cutting a square that measures 3 5/16” might be something that you’ve never done before. Most quilting rulers have ⅛” markings, but not 16th. Place your ruler on your fabric using the space between the ¼” and ⅝” to get 5/16“.

Using the lines on the ruler to cut 3 5/16″.

I positioned all the pieces on my small design board, but it looks like a mess. Let’s get a bit more organized.

The bits and pieces for Block 3.

Let’s start by making the half-square triangles.

Using four squares of Fabric D and four of the Fabric C squares, make a total of eight (8) half-square triangles. Press six of the units to Fabric D – medium blue and two units to Fabric C – dark blue.

Using two squares of Fabric E and two squares of Fabric C, make four (4) half-square triangles. Press two units to the dark and two to the medium.

Trim all units to 2½”.

Trimming the half-square triangle units to 2½”.

Next up, let’s make the flying geese units. Using the eight squares of Fabric A and the four rectangles of Fabric B, make flying geese units. These units should measure 2½” x 4½”.

When sewing the squares to the rectangles, be sure to start on the rectangle’s long edge, not at the corner. I forget to take a picture before I sewed this seam! If you need more instructions on sewing the flying geese units, check out my QAL 2020 Block 2 post.

Sewing the square to the flying geese unit.

Trim the flying geese units if necessary. They should measure 2½” x 4½”.

Trimming the flying geese unit to 2½” x 4½”.

Once I got the half-square triangles sewn, I looked at my block, and I realized that I wasn’t too fond of the blue fabrics surrounding the center square. I switched out the light and medium blue around the center squares.

A preview of what Block 3 will look like.

AH – much better! My cutting instructions reflect this version!

White triangles surround the center square

The half-square triangles and the flying geese units are together, so it’s time to focus on those corner blocks. Start by flipping one of the Fabric F triangles onto the half-square triangle and sew them together. Press away from the half-square triangle. Trim off the dog ear and add the second Fabric F triangle. Repeat to make four units.

TIP Use the half-square triangles from Fabrics C and D that were pressed towards the medium blue fabric.

Sewing the triangle to the half-square triangle.

You’ll notice that I cut the Fabric F triangles a wee bit larger to allow for trimming. How can you tell? There’s more than ¼” in the seam allowance area along the long side of the triangle.

Half of the pieced corner unit

Position the 45° line on the ruler on one of the short edges of the triangle unit. Position the ¼” horizontal line on the ruler at the intersection on the block. Trim the excess away. You won’t be trimming much, but it needs to be trimmed, and the bonus is that you get a nice straight edge to join the other half of the unit.

Trimming up the pieced triangle.

When you add the white triangle it’ll be slightly larger than the pieced triangle. Don’t stretch it to fit. Sew it on and press towards the background fabric.

The white triangle is slightly larger than the pieced blue triangle.

Trim the excess of the white triangle away, ensuring the unit measures 4½” square. The 2¼” intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines on the ruler should be at the corner of the inner corner of the half-square triangle.

Using a square quilting ruler to square up the corner unit.

Time to sew the block together. Sew the two half-square triangles together to form the second flying geese unit. Make sure for each pair that you use half-square triangles that go in opposite directions. Because the two units’ seams are pressed in opposite directions, we’re able to get these perfect points on our flying geese. I hate pressing seams open, but I had no choice because of the bulk. Press this seam OPEN.

A sharp point on the flying geese unit

Sew the two flying geese units together and press towards the pieced flying geese unit. You’ll have to manipulate the bulk with your thumb before you iron it.

Manipulate the bulk at the intersection before pressing.

And now onto the center unit. Find the center of the side triangles and each side of the center square. Match the centers and sew two triangles to opposite sides. Trim away the dog ears. Sew the other two sides. The unit should measure 4½”. Trim if necessary.

The first two seams of the center unit.

Now all the components are pieced and it’s easy to sew them together as you would a nine-patch block.

The block components are ready for the final stitching.

Here’s the finished Block 3, and it’s gorgeous. I love the white surrounding the center square. Don’t be afraid to change the colors up and position the fabrics to showcase your fabrics.

Block 3 completed

Here’s the back of my Block 3. I was figuring out the pressing plan as I went along, and some of my half-square triangles didn’t get pressed in the right direction! But the back of your block should look neat if you press correctly. I twirled the seams on the four main intersections. If you’re unsure how to twirl the seams, I discussed in my directions for my Block 2.

The back of Block 3

Thanks for joining me this week for the Spectrum QAL 2020. It’s been so much fun! And I can’t wait to get all the blocks done and start sewing the quilt together.

Speaking of which, I didn’t provide the total fabric requirements for the large quilt. Oops – I shall do that in my next post. I’m still on the fence about the size of borders and sashings, so I’ll have to commit soon. I must confess that I like to wait until the end to see what the quilt tells me, but I promise to get you that information.

See the progress for all quilt blocks pertaining to the Spectrum QAL 2020. Be sure to check out Claire and Paul‘s version of Block 3. They all look so different, but there’s nothing like classic blue and white for me!

Remember to hashtag your photos with #TheSewGoesOn if you’re quilting along. We’d love to see your QAL 2020 blocks.

Have a great day!!

Ciao!

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