Spectrum QAL 2020 Block 9: Blue Stitch collection by Riley Blake Designs

WOW – we’re working on Block 9 today! Only three more blocks and we can start sewing the quilt top together. I can hardly wait!

The more I use the fabrics in the Blue Stitch collection by Riley Blake Designs, the more I love them! The shades of the different blues are so clear.

QAL 2020 Block 9

Let’s get started with cutting the components of the blocks.

Please note how my fabrics are labeled by individual blocks, not for the entire quilt. So, if I have labeled something Fabric D, it might not be the same Fabric D as in another block. I’m picking the fabrics individually for each block as I go.

Fabric A Background (white with blue squares)

  • Cut four (4) 3″ squares (half-square triangles)
  • Cut eight (8) 2½” squares (flying geese units)
  • Cut four (4) 2½” squares

Fabric B Dark Blue with words

  • Cut four (4) 2½” squares

Fabric C Dark blue with white dots

  • Cut one (1) 31516 square (center)

Fabric D Medium Blue with blue flowers

  • Cut four (4) rectangles at 2½” x 4½” (flying geese units)
  • Cut two (2) 2” squares (cut in half to yield four triangles)

Fabric E Light Blue with squares

  • Cut eight (8) 2½” squares (flying geese units)
  • Cut four (4) rectangles at 2½” x 4½” (flying geese units)

Fabric F Medium blue with white flower

  • Cut four (4) 3″ squares (half-square triangles)

As I cut the components, I lay them out on my mini design board to verify the placement and the value contrast.

The fabric for Block 9 for the Spectrum QAL

Let’s make those flying geese and half-square triangle units. You should be a pro at them by now, so I won’t go into detail.

Flying Geese units

  • Using Fabric D (rectangles) and Fabric E (squares), make four flying geese units. Trim the units to 2½” x 4½”.
  • Using Fabric E (rectangles) and Fabric A (squares), make four flying geese units. Trim the units to 2½” x 4½”.

Half Square Triangle units

  • Using the 3″ squares of Fabric A and F, make eight half-square triangles. Trim the units to 2½”.

Don’t forget to put the units on the design board as you make them, as it’ll help avoid confusion when you sew the block together. It also allows you to check one more time if you’re happy with the color and value contrasts.

In the photo below, I’ve started to sew some of the units together. And I want to talk about pressing in just a moment.

The components of Block 9 on the design board

The last component to make is the center square. You’ll be sewing a Fabric D triangle to each side of the Fabric C square. To line the two pieces up, find the center of one side of the square and the center of one triangle’s long side and mark the center with a pinch press. Match the centers and sew a triangle to one side of the square. The ends of the triangles will be longer than the square. That’s okay. That’s what creates the seam allowances beyond the points on the center square.

Pinch presses to match the centers.

Sew a triangle to the opposite side of the square. You’ll have dog ears hanging over the edges, so trim those off. And now, sew the remaining two triangles onto the center unit using the pinch press method to center the triangles.

The center unit with half the triangles stitched in place

You know me – I love to twirl the seams on my blocks to make them lie flat. I’m obsessed with it because I love the block’s final look and feel. So, we’ll start sewing the components together and need to pay attention to the direction of pressing.

Start by sewing the flying geese units together. Press two of them away from the Fabric DE flying geese unit and press two of them towards the Fabric DE flying geese unit. Remember to use your fingers to manipulate the bulk and apply steam to make the seam lie flat.

The seam on the flying geese unit is pressed up.

Next up are the four-patches in the corners. Sew the units together, and to get the seams to nest with the flying geese units, you’ll have to press the seams on two units clockwise, and counterclockwise on the remaining two units.

The seams pressed in a counterclockwise direction on the back of the corner four-patch.

Lay out the components, making sure the seams in the flying geese units and the four patches are opposite each other so the seams nest. Here’s the back of my finished block so you can see how I laid it out and still have all the seams nesting to each other.

The pressing plan for Block 9 of the Spectrum QAL

This method of pressing the seams results in a very symmetrical look on the back, which helps distribute the bulk. Manipulating the bulk at the intersections with your fingers helps to ensure the bulky seams are evenly distributed.

And here’s my completed Block 9.

QAL 2020 Block 9

I couldn’t help myself, I laid out all the blocks, and I’m so excited that I want to share what they look like so far.

I’ve just randomly positioned them for the moment. Once all 12 blocks are completed, I’ll be auditioning their position in the quilt.

Blocks 1 to 9 of the Spectrum QAL

And that’s it for this week!

I’m thrilled with the look of the Blue Stitch collection from Riley Blake Designs. The blue and white color combination is so classic! Be sure to check out Claire’s version of these same blocks using batiks and Paul’s version too, with his warm color palette. All three quilts are looking different, and that’s the fun of a quilt a long – each person makes the quilt their own. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Have a great day!


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