i am once again plugging away at my wonky stacked coins blocks for s1's quilt. since i redesigned the quilt, i now need less of these blocks (but more of some others). i've got 11 down, 3 to go! while i was making block #11 this morning i decided to photograph the process. i tried to be pretty meticulous in my photography of steps. consequently, there are about 40 photos in this post of a pretty straight forward block. having once been a beginner that always felt information was missing, i tend to over do my instructions. i hope it helps someone, somewhere.
here we go . . .
well, first, a few specifications:
- i'm making a 12.5" x 15.5" (unfinished) block
- each block contains roughly 10 "coins"/different printed fabrics per block
- kona "windsor" blue is my background fabric. i believe i started with around 3yds.
- this is a scrappy quilt. i started out with 1/4yd of several fabrics that fit my color scheme and theme, as well as a few scraps from previous projects. then i just started cutting. i have no specific fabric requirements to give and i certainly wont be using all the fabric i started with. you could just as easily make this block entirely out of strip scraps from your scrap stash.
- i did not use any standard sizes for my coin height or length, i just worked within a range, deciding as i went how big to make each coin. my lengths vary from 4"- 9", the heights fall somewhere between 1.5"- 4". or somewhere thereabouts.
- i got my inspiration for this block from block party: the modern quilting bee
- warning - my method makes scraps and even some outright fabric waste. you can take the time to do all the maths and make everything precise to minimize your waste, but that was too mind numbing and tedious for me. this is an organic process, not an exact science.
- that said, a happy medium would be to pick 3 or 4 standard sizes for cutting your coins. this would allow you to use the background fabric more efficiently.
- now that i think about it, this quilt block could easily be made with jelly rolls of printed and solid fabrics. that would be pretty easy! it wouldn't be as wonky looking unless you intentionally cut on the diagonal, but it could be done. (hmm, the wheels are turning here. maybe another quilt idea just got born. i'm sure it's been done before somewhere but it'd be fun to try.)
making a coin strip
you can easily make 4 - 5 coin strips of the same printed fabric at a time from just one width of fabric (wof - selvage to selvage) strip and a bit of chain piecing.
press your fabric then fold it selvage to selvage, wrong sides together, and square off.
now let's cut your background pieces for your coin strip.
note - since i was making lots of strips at the same time and each strip used some background fabric, i just kept the piece of "windsor" on the side of my cutting mat and pulled it over into action whenever it was needed.
remember to "set the seam" by first giving a quick press to the closed seams as sewn together.
if you make all your strips sets before assembly, you can line up piles of your strip sets and get ready to sew your blocks.
all my seams were pressed to the side but i wasn't particular about which side i pressed toward. none of my fabrics were excessively light, so i wasn't worried about show-thru. mostly, i pressed toward the new strip.
this was the point where i remembered that i own a 12.5" square ruler and i could use it to square my blocks. genius. of course one isn't necessary, but since i own one it was stupid not to use it.
that can be fixed, but it's better to avoid it up front.
how to make a coin strip with scraps
here i have a green coin piece that's about 8" long and 2" high. i selected background scraps that were 2" x 2.5" and 2" x 4.5". don't forget to account for the seam allowances! the pieces will loose a collective 1/2" at each seam when sewn together so make sure before sewing that they equal a minimum of 13.5".
and this is the point where my iron's bladder leaks water everywhere because i unwittingly ruined it by leaving the water in the iron between uses. apparently it's not suppose to be stored that way. who knew? (well, after i read the manual to see what the problem might be, i did.)
add some wonky to the block
so far with this block my seams are pretty straight. but if you have a piece that isn't straight or if you just want to add in some slanting wonkiness, go for it! you do this by trimming the top of the most recently added strip at an angle before you add the next strip. since the green fern scrap-pieced strip i had added was not even along the edges, i decided to trim it at an angle.
it's not lying exactly flat, so it doesn't look straight, but it is. you can see that it's definitely at an angle now. go ahead and add the next strip, making sure that all edges of the new strip surpass the edges of the wonky cut strip. after you add the next strip, square off the top of the block as well as the sides.
finishing the block
pairing my 12.5" square ruler with my 3" x 18" ruler gave me exactly 15.5" along one side, which made seeing what size strip i needed to add really easy. you could just measure with whatever you've got, but this was pretty convenient since i had the rulers.
you may notice my scrap patch doesn't extend all the way to meet the top edge. i probably could have avoided that by angling the patch piece a little better, but that will be sewn into the seam allowance when this block is attached to another on top of it. or it will be sewn into the binding. either way, it doesn't matter.
and there you have a 12.5" x 15.5" wonky stacked coins block.
you can either group several of these blocks together for a quilt (my original plan) with wobbly columns of stacked coins. or you can use them in conjunction with other types of blocks for a more varied quilt (plan b). whatever you choose, have fun with it.
linking up with lee's wip wednesday at freshly pieced
and lorna's let's bee social at sew fresh quilts