Thursday, July 14, 2016

And it's another "start"!!

It all starts innocently enough, doesn't it?
You see something cute on Instagram or Pinterest or while reading a blog.
Your brain assures you that "this will be easy" -- look, it's just that simple little block!?!

This is the second step of Eye Candy Quilts' #smorgasblocks that I first saw on Instagram and followed the links to her blog -- check it out HERE if you want to join me.
12 weeks of a bit of this and that -- free patterns from a variety of designers.
Anneliese knows where it's going but it's a surprise to the rest of us!

The stack of 10" squares from a Denyse Schmidt collection singing it's siren song from a shelf in the fabric stash didn't help . . . so what the heck, I'll start it!
That was a pleasant evening's work and it was time to track down the first step in the series.
Uh-oh -- paper piecing!?
But I love, love, love feathered stars and the results that others were posting was captivating.  So I forged ahead.  That cute print with the woman ironing is something from the end of my shop-keeping era, so I know it's at least 12 years old.
I did a bit of "cheating" and used triangle paper to create the necessary triangle sets.
Felt faster even though each one had to be trimmed down. 
I took this sequence of pictures to show how I was taught to use the "add-a-quarter" tool many years ago.  I've just stitched this line and now I line up a stiff card against the line.
Then I fold back that section of paper against the card. 
The tool is positioned with the raised lip against the edge of the card. 
And I trim along the edge of the tool leaving 1/4" of the fabric. 
Now the paper is flipped back out and the next piece is easier to position along the trimmed edge. 
If you search on YouTube for videos about using the Add-A-Quarter tool, you'll find several. 

I had one small set back -- can you see what I did?
Cut off the seam allowance during the trimming of the sections -- twice!?! -- grrrrr.
Fortunately, it was an easy fix and I didn't have to make to entire unit over from scratch.
The result of several evenings work is this stunning 12" block which has gotten rave reviews on Instagram! 
Okay, so paper piecing has it's advantages.
The third pattern for the series is a pyramid and also uses paper piecing. 
One of the things that I don't like about paper piecing is the challenge of keeping grain lines straight.  So I made an extra copy of the pattern and cut it apart with my rotary cutter as you see.
Now I can use that as a pattern but it only works if its laid on the backside of the fabric. 
I rough cut with scissors and add generous seam allowances -- about 3/8".
And here are two of the four -- love the fussy cut motifs -- everything is straight and the grain lines are "right".  I was all caught up and anxiously waiting for the fourth part and hoping it would be regular piecing?!?
Not exactly, but it's an interesting block. There was some paper piecing and the curves were gentle -- I can do curves!!
Plus at this point, I'm pulling fabric from all over my stash doing my favorite thing about piecing -- auditioning fabrics!!  I'm pushing the envelope trying to make current prints work with prints from my 35 year stash of fabric -- blending various "styles".
And there's the block??  I would never have attempted this block but it's works!
And here they all are living harmoniously on my design wall!  Still no idea where this is going but taking the risk of following a mystery type project always leads to discoveries -- even the frustrating bits teach us something about our preferences and skills.
Can't wait for part 5 (though I do hope there is no paper piecing this week)!

To see other quilters' version, check it out on Instagram -- #smorgasblocks is the hashtag!
If you don't have a smart phone, you can view Instagram at

Mary Huey


  1. Love the use of the fussy cut fabric! And I especially like the block with the circle in it!!! Looking good!!!

  2. Cute blocks. Love the vintage look of the sewing fabric!

  3. This sounds like how I started making splendid sampler blocks. It does all start innocently enough ...
    I too am a stickler for grain direction in foundation paper piecing. I often trace the design onto freezer paper, which I can then cut up. Like you, I find three-eighths of an inch is a good guide.