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Can you guys believe it is already November?! I don’t know about you all but this year has flown by for me. And here we are, already working on month 4 for the Ruby BOM. Just think, after sewing these blocks, we will be 1/3 of the way done with this quilt!
This month may look a bit familiar to all of you, since it’s exactly the same as month 2. Surprise! For those with sharp memories, you may recall that we are making our 25 Irish Chain blocks in this quilt over the course of many months. This month we will be making another 5.
Since I previously did a blogpost with a tutorial for making the block, I won’t bore you again with the details. Please feel free to refer back to Ruby BOM month 2’s blogpost if you want a refresher.
This month I thought I would show you how I sew when I’m making multiples of the same block. Probably many of you already do this as well. It just makes things go so much faster!
Cutting and pinning.
I begin by cutting out everything for all 5 blocks and then get to work.
Whenever I’m piecing a quilt, I look at the entire pattern first. I try to see how much sewing I can do at the same time, even if that means skipping around a bit.
For these blocks, I know that I need to make the half-square triangles right off the bat, so I get those ready.
But I also know by looking ahead in step 3 where it says “Take the two remaining D strips and sew a C square to each end”, that I’ll need two of those C/D/C units for each of the 5 blocks. So I get all ten of those prepped and pinned for sewing too.
And then looking even FURTHER ahead in step 4, I see that each block also has two units with a C square being sewn to each end of an E strip, so I get all ten of those pinned as well.
Piecing Squares, Strips, and HSTs
Then I sit down at my sewing machine and get to work.
I always do chain piecing whenever possible. Below is a photo of my chain of half-square triangles after my first pass along one side. I don’t clip the strings, but just run the chain back through on the other side. I then clip everything when I’m done.
Once I have all that prep sewing done, I finish up my half-square triangles, square them up, and start making my pinwheel blocks.
This time I paid attention to the orientation of the pinwheels, and laid everything out from the start (to make sure I didn’t mess those up like last time)! If you want the nitty-gritty of putting these together, you can refer back to Ruby BOM Month 2.
I’ve included a photo of the pinwheels with one showing the back side so you can see how I pressed the center open. This allows the block to lay flat. If you carefully press the center open, it should naturally push one seam up and the other seam down. You should also end up with a tiny pinwheel in the center where you’ve pressed open!
After the pinwheels are finished, there is more assembly line pinning and sewing to get all the D strips to the sides of the pinwheel.
Sew strips to pinwheels
Now that the sides are pressed open, I can put those C/D/C strips I previously made on the top and bottom.I like to pin at each seam, especially when there is a seam I can’t see on the back side. The pins serve as a reminder, so that I can make sure my seams aren’t flipping up as I sew.
I usually don’t press things until I have both sides sewn on, as you see below.
Press and trim
After pressing everything, I like to go ahead and square up the units. Make sure they are all 8-1/2” square. As you can see from the photo, there isn’t much to trim off. I like having the edges all cleaned up for the next step.
Attach final strips
All that is left is to sew on the final E strips, along with the C/E unit’s I’d previously made. Sometimes I like to pin both sides at once, so I can stay at my machine and sew like crazy!
By sewing the blocks this way, I was able to get all 5 done in a matter of hours. I love it when things come together quickly! By the time we are done with this quilt, we will be able to make these blocks in a flash, right?!
I hope you all have a wonderful November, and I’ll catch you all next month for Ruby BOM Month 5! – Kristin
Hello friends! I’m excited to join you on this journey over the next twelve months while we sew up this not-so-little gem of a quilt called Ruby. I’ve always LOVED red and white quilts so I jumped at the chance to design one for Connecting Threads. I’m pretty happy with the results, and hope that you will be too, especially once it’s all finished.
In preparation for this BOM, I snagged a few extra supplies from Connecting Threads. I love their thread and use it all the time anyway, so lucky for me there is a thread set that goes PERFECTLY with this quilt. It’s the Hometown Americana Redwork Traditions Thread set. Of course, you don’t have to use this thread to make the quilt, but since all the colors are perfect for whatever blocks we’ll be making, I just decided I wanted it from the start.
I also got backing fabric, because, depending on the popularity of any given CT fabric collection, there is a chance that the backing fabric I want might not be available by the time I’m ready for quilting. And since we will spend 12 months making the top, I really wanted to make sure I could get what I wanted. So while you don’t have to buy backing fabric now, I would strongly suggest you do, especially if you want something that coordinates.
The pattern states that you’ll need 9.75 yards of standard 44″ wide fabric for the backing. You can also choose to get 3 yards of the 108″ backing fabric as I decided to do. If you go that route, you’ll want to get 3 yards. I picked Flower Bunch (#110582), which coordinates perfectly with this quilt. In fact, it’s so pretty it could be a whole cloth quilt on it’s own. I love it!
Before we begin cutting and sewing, I’d like to offer a few tips. I know many designers who write patterns in a way that has you cutting pieces slightly larger, and then trimming things down after sewing parts together, so that everything is just right when you are done. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I chose to write my patterns so that everything is mathematically correct and let customers make their own adaptations as they see fit.
That being said, whenever I’m personally making a quilt, I generally cut all my pieces just a scant bigger (like about 1/16” at most), and I also sew everything just a scant under the ¼” seam allowance. This always gives me great results, and allows for me to square things up as needed.
Here is a photo of about how much bigger I cut my pieces, just to give you an idea. If you look closely at the ruler, you can see this piece is just a bit bigger than the 5-1/4″ measurement that is stated in the pattern.
Of course, feel free to cut and sew as you see fit, I’m just letting you know what I do that helps me to get the results I’m after. And don’t worry about having enough fabric if you want to cut things a bit bigger with this kit. I’ve allowed for AMPLE fabric with this BOM, so you should be all good!
This Month’s Blocks
Okay, let’s get started with this month’s blocks! Here are the first four we will be making:
If any of you have made previous quilts of mine, you probably know that I LOVE the no-waste method for making flying geese. I think mostly because it bothers me to cut those triangles off with the traditional method and throw them away. I know there are those super talented quilters who can magically come up with something amazing out of those tiny triangles, but I’m not one of them. I used to always save them, thinking that someday I would create a masterpiece, but I would inevitably throw them away sometime later, always feeling a bit guilty. Dumb, I know, but using the no-waste method I don’t have any guilt haha!
Below are some photographs of steps 1 and 2 for block 14, just so you can see what this looks like in ‘real life’.
When I’m all done pressing my flying geese, they always need a good trim, and I use the Bloc-Loc flying geese tool to square up my units. This is another tool that is entirely optional. They aren’t cheap but I really like how all my flying geese end up absolutely perfect when I use this to trim them.
After making the first set of flying geese, you’ll attach them to the A square, along with the B squares, to make the center portion of the block.
Next we will make some more flying geese in steps 4 and 5, followed by 8 half-square triangles in step 6. These flying geese are the same as above, and half-square triangles are pretty straight forward.
Somehow, while sewing and trimming, I didn’t snap a pic of the completed half-square triangles, but you can see them below all trimmed up and ready to go. In step 7, we will sew these units together like so:
Now it’s time to sew all the components together. Pay attention to the pressing arrows so that all the units will nest together. If all goes according to plan, the block should measure 12-1/2” square.
This block is traditionally called the Ohio Star block, and it’s one of my favorites, probably because it’s pretty easy!
We will begin by making some quarter-square triangle blocks. You’ll start by making two sets of half-square triangles: Two will be with the A and C fabrics, and two will be with the D and C fabrics. Usually at this point I would trim these up, but when making quarter-square triangle blocks, I always wait until the very end to square everything up, because with these blocks, it doesn’t really matter until the end. Plus it gives me some extra wiggle room in case I need it later.
Next, we will pair a C/A square (from step 1) with C/D square (step 2), and place them so the C triangles are on opposites sides, like so:
Draw a line across the square, and then stitch on either side of the marked line.
After you cut ON the marked line, you’ll end up with two quarter-square triangle units. You’ll repeat this so that you’ll have a total of 4 of these squares. Trim them up to be 4-1/2” square.
Now it’s time to assemble the block. This block is pretty simple, but you’ll just want to make sure that all of your Corsage II Ivory triangles (A) are framing the center B square. I always lay out all my pieces before sewing so that I make sure everything is oriented correctly.
This block is also pretty straightforward. Again, you’ll want to pay attention to the pressing arrows so that when the block is all sewn together you’ll have those seams in the right direction.
You’ll start by making a modified 9-patch like so:
Next you’ll move on to making some more of those no-waste flying geese. This is the same drill as before with the previous block. And once those are finished you’ll add some of the background F and G pieces to the ends of them like you see here:
Now all you have to do is attach those completed flying geese units to sides, and top and bottom of the center unit, and you are good to go!
Before we begin the instructions for these blocks, I have to apologize for a silly mistake in the cutting instructions. You’ll notice that the last fabric is labeled “Background (White)”, which is obviously not correct, since there is no White fabric in this pattern. This is a generic term I use when writing patterns, which gets changed to the actual fabric name for the final edit. The dumb thing is, I MARKED THIS IN RED PEN to change it, and then somehow didn’t. Ugh. Anyway, please know that “Background White” is really Solid, Ivory.
Now on to sewing! We’ll start by making a simple 9-patch and then make, you guessed it, even more no-waste flying geese. (Gee, this sounds kinda similar to the last block…)
Then we’ll make a few easy 4-patch units – Four of them to be exact.
The only thing to worry about when assembling this block is the orientation of the corner 4-patch units. As you can see from the picture, the Ivory F squares should be in the outer corners. At least, that’s how I’ve done it. That being said, since this is YOUR quilt, you can switch up the orientation if you so desire, and put those red squares in the corners instead. It’s entirely up to you, just make sure that whatever you do, it’s on purpose. That advice probably applies to more than just quilt blocks, haha!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these first few blocks. Next month we’ll get started on some of those Irish Chain pinwheels. Stay tuned!