April block lotto – scrappy strips, warm and cool

Kristin Gumbinger shared this block idea w/ me shortly before the last meeting. I didn’t have a block yet for April, so it worked perfectly!  You can chose to make scrappy strips in a warm palette (reds, oranges, pinks, golds) or a cool palette (blues, greens, purples).  The block is 18″ finished, so 18.5″ unfinished.  You can make the strips as wide or as narrow as you like, I’d aim for somewhere between 10 and 15 strips total.











Here’s Kristin’s cool ‘cool’ block:


















There is a quick and dirty tutorial out there for the block here, along w/ a pic of the finished product…gorgeous!): http://antstosugar.com/2015/03/05/woven-strings/

I also know that scrappy, improv type blocks are not everyone’s forte, so if you’re a person that likes a little more tutoring in your tutorial, I’ve gone into a bit more detail below.

General Block Lotto guidelines:
1. Make one quilt block (or more) following the pattern and color scheme outlined in this post.  For every block you make and bring to that month’s meeting, you will get one entry in the lotto.  If you are unable to attend the meeting or forget your block on meeting day, but really want to participate in the lotto, you can still enter your block but you must be willing to mail, drive, or otherwise get your block to the winner 🙂

2. The winner gets ALL THE BLOCKS to make a quilted project from them (guild reserves the right to vote on splitting up the blocks between more than one winner if there are enough entries).  If you win, the blocks become yours and you can use them in any way you choose, but must use (at least part of) each block you receive in your final creation.

3. We would like to see your finished project, either in person or pictures, within a year of winning the blocks.  You may continue to participate in and win subsequent block lottos during that time (at least for now…the old rule was that you could not win again until you finished your project and we may elect to return to that method in the future if this doesn’t work).  After the year is up, you cannot participate or win again until the original project is finished.

4. Have fun!  Keep in mind that (most likely) someone else will be taking home your block to incorporate into a larger piece and things must fit together (literally…so keeping your block true to size is probably the most important thing), but you should also make it yours and enjoy the process!

Tutorial time!

I started out w/ this tangle of scraps:


 I pulled out some pieces and worked them into strips to cover about 22″ square (you can go larger or smaller, depending on how much play you want in the end when you cut it down to 18.5″).  I wasn’t worried about strip placement in terms of arranging them how they would end up in the final layout, just that there was enough length and height total to give me the overall dimensions I wanted.  I ended up w/ this (cat in the corner doing quality control…):


 Then I started sewing the pieces together to make strips.  You’ll want to be mindful that you sew your strips so that you get a continuous length of the width you want.  If your edges aren’t square, you can end up w/ something wonky that veers off at one end.  I sewed the narrower pieces to the middle of the wider pieces so that when I cut them down I would be sure of a full-length strip.  The photo below shows right sides together, narrow strip will be sewn in the center of the wider strip on the right side:


Most of my scraps happened to have nice edges that met each other to form 90 degree angles w/ the strip, but some required planning to sew ‘square’ compared to the rest of the strip.  You can trim them square beforehand or sew and then trim to get a 1/4″ clean seam to square up w/ the rest:


So, here are all the strips made, laid out in all their untrimmed glory:


The first stage of trimming is mostly just to get the uneven edges taken care of and the strips squared up (though you can also cut them all the way down at this point if you know the widths you want…I’m still playing w/ the design at this point so until I have my final layout I want to wait to decide on width).  I cut them down to the maximum size that the different widths of pieces will allow.  I used the horizontal seam(s) that joined the pieces together as a reference for my ruler when squaring it up lengthwise:



Then I decide on the arrangement for the strips, reduce width as necessary (I’m trimming to get closer to that 18.5″ square final goal, but leave a little extra if you can…more on that later!).  This is getting a bit into the weeds concerning my approach, but I found it helpful to line up the ‘bottom’ of each strip w/ a line on the cutting mat, then slice through them all to get a clean edge to work from when sewing the strips together in the next step.  Totally not required (I didn’t do it on the first ‘warm’ block I made), but I think it helped to get all of my pieces arranged the way I envisioned the final product would look on each end, and also when sewing because I had one straight edge:


And then I sewed all the strips together!  Only when I got done, I realized that I had miscalculated somewhere along the way because it was only 18″ from top to bottom (left to right was fine).  Sad face.  But only briefly, because the nice thing about this block is all I had to do was add another strip (dark green) to one end.  Disaster averted.  Then I worked on trimming up the rest of the block to 18.5″:


And the final product: