Thursday, November 6, 2014

My first block for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM!

I've had to cut myself off from signing up for sew-alongs in the blogosphere for a while -- how about you?  My eyes are always bigger than my time it seems.  So today when I went into my studio to make the first block for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM, I decided I better put the QCQAL from Alison at Little Bunny Quilts on the ready-to-quilt shelf first. 
Here's an aerial view of my top laying out on the patio before the rains arrived!
Love the border fabric -- there was just enough of it left from another project to get all the way around this top! 
I had a pile of leftovers from the piecing to use up for part of the backing and a full length of white from my mother's stash that was just 8" too narrow. 
It didn't take long to put together a band to insert and the best part is that I used the wrong size block and all the rest of the focus print which looked like a piece of Swiss cheese from all the fussy cutting for the blocks. 
This quilt has always been destined for one of my charity donations and now it's all ready to quilt when a need arises!
With all that cleared away, I could focus on starting a new quilt top!!  And this is the fabric I chose for my focus print.  It's not "sweet" like Jacquelynne's model but I just bought it and am eager to cut it up.  I did try to resist it, but the birds are so realistic and it's such an interesting selection of species.  All are native American species, some quite common and others rather uncommon.  Then right there in the middle is an English robin?
This is the assortment I pulled to begin -- no doubt I'll find more to add to it as I go.  The "blues" are actually periwinkle -- I have a few and they never get a chance because they don't play well with other blues, so I decided to give them center stage on this quilt and let the blues be the rejects. 
The BOM just began so if you want to jump on board, it's not too late -- just click on the Sew Sweet button to the right.  Jacquelynne's instructions are very thorough and include both an optional applique or embroidery motif to use in the center of each pieced block where I used the fussy cut bird.  I'll be using my Marti Michell Template Set A for as much of the cutting as possible!
Here's a closer view of my substitution notes.
The beauty of using the templates is that all the pieces needed can be cut from the same strip size -- 2" wide.
If you decide to follow my lead, remember to pair up strips for triangle right sides together so once they are cut, they are ready to pick up and piece -- no need to fumble around with matching edges.
And using a small mat on top of your large mat works like a rotating mat and makes it easier to trim all the corners of the pieces.  The trimming is a good habit even when you don't think you need to do it -- it eliminates bulk in your finished blocks and when you do need that trimmed corner, it will be ready and waiting for you. 
Jacquelynne's instructions lead me through the piecing of each unit needed for the block.  Every unit was perfect for size as I finished them.  Here's a tip -- I learned to piece snowball corners from Mary Ellen Hopkins and her caution to us was to just trim away the middle layer of fabric as show below leaving the base fabric intact.
Then if your corners aren't perfect when you press them out, you still have the perfect square corner of the base fabric to use when assembling the block.  Three of mine were fine, but on this one, the gold triangle hung off the corner and would have made it hard to keep things aligned. 
I made the flying geese units the traditional way instead of with snowball corners because I get better results. 
Then when I went to the ironing board, I kept the chain intact until after I pressed them -- it was easier to get them all laid out in the best orientation. 
Once the seams were set, it was quick to flip up the rectangles and press the seams to one side.
In about an hour, I had cut and pieced the block.  I like the way the layout of the block frames up the yellow-breasted chat -- that's the bird.  Our largest warbler, it nests in trees along the edges of old fields throughout rural areas in the East.  This spring, we were thrilled to discover them setting up territories in a large new park along the Lake Erie shoreline here in Northeast Ohio. 
 One block done, five to go!!  The pace is going to be leisurely it sounds like with the blocks being released over five months.  I don't know what the destiny of this quilt will be -- since there are birds involved, it might be a keeper!
Mary Huey



  1. I love your bird fabric. It's so you :-)

  2. What a glorious and colorful top - love it. That bird fabric is fun - wish I would find fabric like that.

    1. The bird fabric is current -- I just got it 2 weeks ago. It's Spring Symphony by Dan Morris by RJR Fabrics. Got it at a shop call Just Quilt It in Warren, Ohio -- they don't have a website but here is their phone # -- 330-469-6956

  3. Oh Mary, these are beautiful! The scrappiness of the first quilt is wonderful. The bird fabric on the second square is amazing. Looks like you're having a great time with these.

    1. Always having a good time when there is a sewing machine involved!!

  4. I gotta get going on my SSS as well but like you need to finish up a few others along the way. Your colors are beautiful in both blocks/quilts! I guess I better go and sew!

    1. Thanks, Helen -- the block didn't take long!! Was a nice little break from my hexie-mania.