Monday, March 9, 2015

My Leaders & Enders Project

I'm using this project as my Leaders & Enders, but that's not the real story. I could have titled this post any of the following:
 
The Elusive 1/4" Seam
Inspiration
Bee Blocks
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Dancing Plus Blocks

A friend and I were recently lamenting the inconsistent 1/4" seams in bee blocks we've received. We found blocks with seam allowances ranging from 1/8" to 3/8", which dramatically affects the finished size of the blocks. I actually took apart and resewed a couple of my blocks from last year's go-round. My friend has one block with such heavy seams that it measures nearly 2" smaller than it should.
 
For this year's go-round, I want to hand out something foolproof. I want the block to be slightly oversized so it can be trimmed down to the correct size without sacrificing points or any other design element. That way it won't matter what size seam allowances everyone takes.
 
I'm inspired by 6" Plus blocks over at Shauna's World that her bee mates are making for her. Bright plus signs on light low volume backgrounds - so cute. So I cut a few from scraps and I've been using them as my Leaders & Enders. Here are my blocks on my wall.

Plus Blocks on my Design Wall
 
 
What if I make the outsides of these little Plus blocks slightly larger? Then I can trim them down to 6-1/2" unfinished and they'll all be the right size.

But wait - I don't have to trim them all straight on square! I can trim some of then tilted to the left, some tilted to the right, some straight on, and when I put them all together they'll be wonky and dancing. Even better to hide the differences if varied seam allowances make the actual plus shape a little undersized or oversized.  So here's an oversized block and I've drawn lines showing how it can be trimmed down to make the blocks dance.

Oversized Block Concept
 
If you want to make Dancing Plus Blocks like mine, you can use scraps or one 5" charm for the colored Plus.
 
Cutting, for each block
  • Colored Plus:  Cut one piece 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" and cut two pieces 1-1/2" by 2-1/2"
    • Note, if cutting from a charm, cut the charm in half (two 2-1/2" strips). Trim one of these pieces to 4-1/2" long.  Then from the other piece cut a strip 1-1/2" wide running the length of the charm (5") and sub-cut it into two 2-1/2" pieces. This will keep your print going all in the same direction, like my striped blocks above.
  • Background: Cut four 3" squares.  Cut four pieces 2" by 2-1/2". 
Block Assembly:
  • Sew a 2" by 2-1/2" background piece to each small colored piece and to each end of the larger colored piece. Press seam allowances toward the color.
  • Sew a 3" background square to each side of the small unit. Press seams toward the outside.
  • Sew rows together. Press seams toward the center.
Oversized Block Assembly


Trim:
  • Unfinished block will measure about 7-1/2" square.
  • Use any 6-1/2" ruler and place it any way you like on the block. Trim around all four sides to yield a 6-1/2" unfinished block.
  • Vary the angle of trimming for the "dancing" effect. The orange Plus below will tilt to the right when the quilt is assembled.
Trimming to Create the Dancing Effect
 
You'll notice that in my first photo I haven't trimmed the blocks down yet. I think I'll wait until I have them all, lay them out for best color placement, then decide how each one should be trimmed.

So this is the story of how The Elusive 1/4" Seam and Inspiration for Bee Blocks combined, by Necessity, to Invent my Dancing Plus Blocks, which I'm using for Leaders and Enders. .

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.
 



8 comments:

  1. What a great idea! What a bummer to have such inconsistent work in bee blocks, but a bit of planning ahead on this and I think you are going to wind up with a really fun and spectacular quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great plan, and I love your blocks. I have had a ton of fun making mine. I can't wait to see yours cut on the angle, I think that will be awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great idea! I LOVE the wonky blocks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love your bright header! What a fun tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Super cute! I'm working on Plus blocks right now, and it feels like a bazillion of them!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonky plus block! Very interesting! Thank you for sharing.
    Keep us updated on the progress: I'd love to see a quilt top based on that idea.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just found your blog from a link at Patchwork Times, and I LOVE this block design, plus the fact that it works as a Leaders/Enders project! I've got all sorts of charm squares left over from other projects, AND an ever-growing scrap collection, so these blocks will hopefully work to get rid of some of those fabrics, right?!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just found your blog from a link at Patchwork Times, and I LOVE this block design, plus the fact that it works as a Leaders/Enders project! I've got all sorts of charm squares left over from other projects, AND an ever-growing scrap collection, so these blocks will hopefully work to get rid of some of those fabrics, right?!

    ReplyDelete

So sorry to have to use word verification, but the spam has gotten unbearable lately.