Saturday, May 4, 2013

bee blocks + st louis 16 patch

I figure I ought to share my April STS! bee blocks since it's May already. They are for Deb of Life on the Selvage Edge and were a lot of fun to make. She asked for a scrappy, low volume background with a pop of color for the cross. 
low volume charm plus blocks


This month it's my turn to be queen bee. I decided on my block yesterday, sewed up a couple and will be revealing them along with a tutorial of sorts as soon as possible. Probably tomorrow. They're a variation on a project I started recently, which I'll now tell you about!

I've wanted to make a strip-pieced 16 patch quilt for months now, I'd even thought about making one with my Liberty stash for the Give Me Liberty sew-along, but once Steffani's St. Louis sixteen patch hit Instagram, I was all over it. Think scrappy trip along with bigger strips and no seam rippers! 
charleston farmhouse by felicity miller


Two weeks ago I got this Charleston Farmhouse fat quarter bundle in the mail from Pink Castle Fabrics. It was an impulse buy! I'd never seen or heard of this line before, there was a bundle sale going on, I loved the colors and bought it from my iphone without really knowing what it looked like up close! I immediately pulled ten coordinating prints from my stash to give me a total of 30 fat quarters, which will yield 30 blocks for a 5x6 layout. 
with ten stash pulls mixed in


A few nights later I spent roughly 2.5 hours working on it. First I sorted my fabrics into four values: darks, medium darks, medium lights, and lights. I then used a black and white photo to check to see if there were any outliers and adjusted accordingly. A couple of these prints were hard to do considering the print, but I made sure to pair them with something that had color contrast as well just to be safe.
sorted into four values


Then I paired the darks with medium lights and the lights with medium darks in order to get the most contrast in each of my blocks. Again, I double checked with the black and white photo.
contrasting pairs (i swapped middle row, far left with bottom row, second from left after this photo was taken!)
All that might have taken a half hour, maybe less. The real time suck was pressing and cutting! It's one of my favorite parts, though. I did it in a very methodical way, pressing each pairing right sides together so they'd be pressed together and ready to sew after cutting. I use Magic Sizing to stiffen my fabric up, I find it makes the whole process of piecing a quilt a lot easier than using nothing at all.
sub-cutting 4.25" strips


I even upped my strips to 4.25" by 17" in order to get the most out of my fabric and increase the size of the unfinished blocks from 14.5" to 15.5".  The tutorial calls for 4" by 16" strips but you can comfortably squeeze in an extra 1/4" and I even saw someone on IG doing 4.5" by 18" but that leaves you no wiggle room if your fat quarters aren't the right size or perfectly square, or if you just wanna be able to work fast and trim down later. 
a strip-piecing pile-up


At any rate, 2.5 hours of mad crazy strip piecing on the following Friday morning yielded 16 blocks. I finished the remaining 14 a day or two later, which would yield a 75" by 90" quilt. I spent a day or two deliberating how I could manage to make 6 more blocks so it can be big enough for our bed. 
the first 16 blocks, not the final layout


I called numerous local quilt shops (anything within 2 hours driving distance) to see if they had some Charleston Farmhouse so I could get it immediately but had no luck. I tried my stash too, but I'd already pulled as much as I had that would work with this. I ended up ordering more fabric online and if it comes in the next week or so, we might just have a wedding quilt after all! 
Also, don't forget about the Give Me Liberty! sew-along, we'll be linking up our projects over at Bold Goods on Tuesday, May 7th. Can't wait to see you there :D

8 comments:

  1. Wow, its going to be huge! And it looks amazing. When is the wedding?

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  2. Man, that's some sewing there!! Looking mighty fine. I am all set to link up xxx

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  3. Wow, so much going on Krista!

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  4. Nice work! Looking good, when is your wedding?

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  5. I LOVE those plus blocks! Must. Make. Soon.

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  6. Love the impulse buy on the cell phone - they're the best ones! Your 16 patch looks amazing!!

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  7. First - EEP YOUR WEDDING!!!!

    Second - what a great quilt! I don't think I am familiar with that fabric, but it's pretty yummy. Nice job!

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  8. That is beautiful fabric and good for you for getting a bundle. Can't believe how well you multi-task. It's getting close! Happy days.... I had great intentions with my Liberty project but changed gears and helped my Mom with her quilt during her last week here. I may do a post anyway and link up of my half finished project!! :-) I am glad for the motivation you gave me to get started on something made with Liberty.

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