Better Blocks

If you recall the rather ugly attempt at quilting I wrote about last week, I hope you’ll agree with me that today’s effort is much, much better. After seeing how easily a few simple squares can go wrong, I went back to the drawing board and started from absolute basics. Simple squares, in a pre-selected range of fabrics (so that I didn’t have to think about that oh so confusing issue of matching) and the results, I think, speak for themselves.

four blocks

This morning, after a bit of advice from my mum and some tutorials (thank you You Tube!) I set about making what’s commonly known as a Nine Patch block. The tutorials I read advised about placement of dark versus light fabrics and the all important bit about getting the seams to meet up neatly in the middle.

block - 4

Over several hours I made four different 12″ blocks and I feel like taking a bit of care over it really helped restore my confidence. After the first one turned out so well, I kept going with the little bundle of pre-cut Moda fabric squares and made three more.

block 1

For the Quilts For Queensland project I was going to only make a block or two and send them off, but I’m thinking I might try my hand again at putting it all together into a small lap quilt, with a border to make it a bit larger. Or I might just send the blocks off safe in the knowledge that one of the quilters helping Corrie out with her project will quilt it in a much better way than I can. I’ll have think about it.

block 2

Either way, I think I’ll stick for a while to variations on this simple approach, perfecting the basic skills I’m building up before I launch into more complex pieces. I said I wasn’t going to become a quilter and I still really see no massive projects in my future, but there’s something so very soothing in putting squares and simple lines together in small pieces. I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would so perhaps I’ll just go with the flow and see where it leads me. The need for precision is quite good for me I think. It makes me slow down and focus. That’s a good thing.

block 3

On the doily in the last post, a few questions answered. The finished size is 14″ and I used 2mm bamboo needles for it. My mum has decided she’d like to get it framed. I think that’s lovely.



25 thoughts on “Better Blocks

  1. Ah lovely work – and the egg fabric is beautiful.

    I like that there’s something very absorbing about learning new crafts that does want us to slow down – many of my sewing issues come from trying to do it at the same rate I attack knitting – as if because I can do one my brain must get the other! I’m going to a crochet workshop on Saturday to start to learn that and I’m so looking forward to being totally immersed in the early stages of a new skill.

  2. The fabric is lovely and I think it makes total sense to start with a bundle of squares, it’s like a new knitter buying a kit. Nothing wrong with that, it takes a lot of the design pressure off and lets you concentrate on technique. I agree with your Mum, simple is often best and most beautiful.

    Interweave has a quilting magazine (also a sewing one, Stitches), did you know?

  3. I love 9 patch squares. They have such a pleasing geometry and you can play around with them so much – dividing them into triangles or tinier squares, and manipulating light and dark to achieve an extra layer of pattern. Maybe this is the beginning of a great adventure!

  4. there’s something very satisfying about sewing a quilt. I love having to move slowly and taking time to be precise. it’s like a complicated piece of lace where you have to concentrate and boy is it worth it.

    your colors are sophisticated and the fabrics seem more carefree, a lovely balance. Learning a new craft stretches the brain cells.

  5. I like very much! The colour combos are great, good work lovely!

    I dont know if you have heard of Anna Maria Horner ( my apologies if you have) but she is awesome!!

    I love her blog, the colours she uses and her fabrics are amazing (she also has an online shop, check out the scarf kits, I can see you wearing one!). She also has free quilting patterns, for when you are feeling more adventurous.

    Hope you like her as much as I do!

  6. Bravo! Masterful sewing skills, and charming color choices. If you want to make a larger quilt, try putting sashing between each 9 patch and then add a matching border. And continue to have fun!!

  7. That does look lovely – and I can appreciate the precision required to get the corners to meet absolutely right. But I must not linger too long, lest I start thinking of playing with blocks too….

  8. Helen, you have done a wonderful job of matching up the blocks. Even after all these years I still think the simple blocks are the best. I must introduce you to Crazy quilting one day, I just love it. Once again congratulations. Love Mum xox

  9. Heh heh, I knew you’d become a quilter! Maybe not a Quilter, but a quilter nonetheless!

    These look lovely together. I guess that they are kind of like the garter stitch scarf for the knitter – what you start with to learn the basics, and then you can progress to the fancier patterns.

    (although sometimes I think the simple designs really are the best!) Go you!

  10. oh now those look great! ive said before and ill say it again, i have no patience for sewing, so can only imagine how hard it must be to get these all lined up properly. the colour matching looks great too. im really impressed at how you’ve persevered, i know i wouldnt have. and at the risk of stating the obvious, you are now a quilter. ‘not that theres anything wrong with that’! 🙂

  11. I think you are very smart to buy one of those little packs of already co-ordinated fabrics. Your squares are just gorgeous, I love the pebble/eggy print. It has some lovely greens. Sometimes the simple things make the most impact. Someone will be delighted and lucky to receive your little quilt

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