Wednesday 8 October 2014

Stash Bee Improv block tutorial kind of!

So Karen @ Sew Hub set us a bit of a challenge for Stash Bee Hive #10's October block.  Karen wanted us to make a strip block 16" to 18" square, cut it up any which way we wanted and then sew it back together again! Oh and the colour palette was grey, plum and duck egg blue!

Now those that have been reading about my quilt exploits for some time know I'm drawn to brights and warm colours with a bit of a text print and blue addiction.  Plums, pastels and prints with a lot of grey tints to them don't live in great numbers in my stash!  But I am a big fan of Lynnette Anderson

I made my mini quilt for Schnitzel & Boo's 2013 swap using 2 of her panels for the A Dog's Life Quilt and when she released her Quilters Garden collection, I did buy a jelly roll and 2 charm squares.  Turned out to be perfect for this month's block!
When I first read the intro to this block I thought how cool, this will be great fun, and then very quickly reality set in and it was how am I going to do this?  Karen had given us a breakdown of how she had made her block and we could copy her if we liked or do our own thing.  I was tempted to follow Karen's lead but then in the doing, got brave and sliced into the strips quite happily!

I chose 9 Jelly roll strips I thought would give a nice variety and cut to 18" long and chain pieced them together.

Next step was to cut the 18" square into quarters.  I just folded the block in half and finger pressed to find the centre and cut along that line.

Karen had cut 2 of her quarters into triangles, I decided to cut all 4 and play around with them to see what I could get.  I didn't get the variety I wanted in just cutting them in half on the diagonal once so I quartered them again by cutting on the other diagonal into 4 triangles each square.

Then it was play with layout which was great fun! 

Because of the way I had cut up the triangles I had a lot of bias edges so used lots of pins sewing the triangles back together again!  Next time if I was to do this I would use starch as well as I did get a bit of bowing in the blocks.  Each of the 4 blocks I put back together came in at just over 8" so I trimmed to 8" square to make the final block.

I managed to get an hour glass shape and a wonky x shape out of the triangles and when turned on point I quite like this block.  I'm calling it Bow Ties!

So this on the way to Karen, I hope she likes it and I'm looking forward to seeing what my hive mates do with this, this month on the Flickr group!

Linking up to

Sew Fresh QuiltsWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
My Quilt Infatuation


  1. Congratulations: in spite of your aversion to the colours you made something of it; it's dynamic and it's sure to match the other blocks.

  2. I really like this concept and almost did this to a quilt back. . . yup, almost cut up the entire backing once I had it pieced. . . cooler heads prevailed and I didn't do it. . . mainly because I decided cutting and sewing pieces that big would be a nightmare :) I still might do it some day!

    Your blocks turned out fab! It wouldn't be a common color pallet for me either but your blocks are very soothing :)

  3. Looks like you had a lot of fun with this process, Ruth. Your finished block is so pretty! Maybe you will consider doing this type of improv again? You're a natural!

  4. I really like how your block turned out, Ruth! Also, fantastic name. :)

  5. Cool block and good job with matching all points!

  6. I like the faded colour of those fabric. Very nice indeed!

  7. I love this block! Thanks for sharing.

  8. This block is pretty neat! I really like the 'x' shapes that it makes. Great innovation!

  9. Interesting block! I had to make an improv block for a bee and I was a bit lost. Thinking for myself rather than following a pattern is hard!

  10. Very nice block! It is very interesting and I love the colors.


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