Monday, January 4, 2010

Jessica's Block - A Real Journey

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year's!

This block has been a real journey and learning experience for me. I have done a little bit of paper piecing in the past so I thought, I'm fine I don't need to do up a test block. Boy was I wrong; I won't be making that mistake again!

Had I done a test block I would have abandoned this block half way but as I had already used up some of the fabric and I thought it would look awesome on-point, I forged on. Near the end of sewing all the quadrants I ran out of the light fabric so I substituted a bit of mine. Once I had all the quadrants done, after much pulling out and redoing, I thought they looked pretty awesome.

Little did I know the most challenging part was yet to come, joining the quadrants! Should be easy right? What I didn't think about is that there are 16 seams meeting in the center. Try as I might, I could not get the center right, so needless to say, I'm not happy with how this block turned out.

The above block is from 100 Quilt Blocks Magazine. I adjusted it from a 12.5 unfinished block to a 9.5 unfinished block. It is a gorgeous block; I'm sure the problem was me.

Anyways, I decided that I had to do right by Jessica, so off I went to my stash and picked out some fabrics that went with Jessica's coffee, cream and sugar theme and started again. This block turned out much better. On this one I used my own fabrics, all except the center. Hope you like it Jessica.

This block is a mix of Woven Rails, Cactus Star-the center, and Heaven's Ablaze- the corners, from Quilter's Cache. Below it's on point.

I hope one of these blocks works for you Jessica, I'm going to send them both just in case you want to use the first one I did on the back of the quilt or something (no hurt feelings if you don't use it at all). I'm sending some little scraps from the second block I made using my fabrics, just so you can tie them in a bit if you want! These will be going in the mail tomorrow.


  1. 16 seams? What a nightmare! I agree, the block is gorgeous, but how could anyone get 16 seams to line up and lie flat? Mind you, I think it still passes the galloping horse test. I like the second block, too.

  2. Love the first block because it has such awesome movement to it!

    I will try to find out where I read about getting that many seams together to's a technique where you cut the seams and iron them down flat...give me a few days and I'll see what I come up with!

    I like the second block as well! You did a great job picking out complimentary fabrics!

  3. I like both blocks. The first is truly gorgeous and you can't really tell it doesn't lie flat. I think you could try only sewing to 1/4" to the end of the seam and they might lie flatter.

  4. I think the first block is where the phrase, "It will quilt out" came from :) Each of the blocks is just beautiful!


  5. marianne~
    the first block is so striking! i love it and I see the 16 seams together like 16 friends crowding around the appetizers at a dinner party. Sure, not everybody fits exactly, but we all play nice and get along. I love it, thank you. the second block is great too. I'm excited to see your fabrics up close.

  6. On the first block my machine just didn't want to go over the center so I ended up handstitching the final seam just to get it together,

    Thanks for giving me that word pic I feel a little better about it now.

  7. Both blocks are beautiful! And thanks to Marianne for sharing her experience with block number one, and who prompted me to think of an alternate way of assembling it. In case this would help anyone who would otherwise be scared off...

    You know those corner pieces where the teal points in? I'd leave out that piece and only stitch the 2nd-4th pieces onto the corner foundation and onto its mirror image. Then I'd join the 2 corner sections and lastly, sew on the teal pieces as triangles across the joined pair. That way there's be "just" 8 seams to join in the middle.

  8. Suzanna, that is a great suggestion, I'm going to try it!