Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tulip Block Tutorial

I woke up one morning with this quilt in my head, and thought it would be amazing for my design for the March quilt for do. Good Stitches! We're going to be using nice bright, clear pastels--so bubblegum pink instead of mauve, etc., and using either solids or near solids or tone-on-tone prints and white or white-on-white (like I used) for the background.

After searching the interwebs for a while, I found this great block from Angela. I haven't been able to find a free tutorial for exactly what I was looking for, and so I decided to make one! As always, my husband helped me with the maths, because without him I'd never be able to sew anything. My brain just does not like math.

First we're going to piece the actual bloom part of the flower, then the stem/leaves section, then sash it up to make a 12.5" unfinished (12" finished) block. All instructions use 1/4" seam unless otherwise noted.

Choose which size you'd like to do:




**If you want, you can vary the above, like doing 1 Medium & 1 Small in a block, or just 1 Small, or 3 Smalls, or whatever. While not exactly "wonky", I'm going for a very organic, random look--like a happy spring garden!

(6) 1.5" x 1.5" white squares
(2) 1.5" x 4.5" color rectangles
(1) 2.5" x 4.5" color rectangle

(6) 1.25" x 1.25" white squares
(2) 1.25" x 3.5" color rectangles
(1) 2" x 3.5" color rectangle

(6) 1" x 1" white squares
(2) 1" x 2.5" color rectangles
(1) 1.5" x 2.5" color rectangle

You'll also need a bunch of white for all the sashing and the bottom "stem" section of the block, and several long skinny pieces of green. Leftover binding strips work great!

After you cut out your pieces, lay 5 of your squares on top of the rectangles, right sides together, as shown. Using the 45 degree line on your ruler, draw a line from corner to corner as shown: on the left rectangle from top left to bottom right, and on the center and right rectangles from top right to bottom left.

Sew directly on your line.

Trim seam allowances to 1/4" with your ruler & rotary cutter.

Press toward the color fabric on the side rectangles and toward the white on the center triangle. Or you can press open, if you really want.

Place your last square right sides together on the top right of the center rectangle, draw a diagonal line from top left to bottom right, sew, trim, and press. Sew your three sections together.

OK! Now for the stem! This is where it gets all kinds of improv! This part is very much like the Wonky Cross blocks we did a few months ago! You need a little bit of planning for these, but don't worry about super-precise measurements. I made my stems a little bit narrower than my finished flower center, because they looked too fat & weird the same size. So, things to consider:
--You'll probably want to have at least some white added to the top and bottom of your flower, so it's not right up against another block
--Keep in mind how many flowers you'll have in your block. My Large had 1 flower in the center, my Medium had 2 side-by-side, and my Small had 4 flowers, 1 in each quadrant

For my 1 Large, I cut a white piece about 10" wide by 7" tall, my Mediums were both about 4.5" wide by 6" tall, and my Smalls were each about 3" wide by 5" tall. The purple tulip I'm using in the photos is one of my Mediums. I cut my stem and two leaves the same size, because it was just easier!
Cut your white piece in half lengthwise, as shown above.

Sew one white piece to each side of your green "stem," press.

Cut at an angle.  If you cut a little bit of your stem off (which I think looks better!) use your seam ripper to remove that little green piece.

Sew one of your "leaf" pieces onto your stem and press. You can then cut just a little bit of an angle into your leaf (which I forgot to do for the photos--oops!). 

Then sew that white triangle-type piece back on and press. Since the leaves are very thin (especially the small size) I just pressed each part "down." If you tried to press towards or away from the leaf or open, your seam allowances would get in each other's way. It's OK to sew over your seam allowance as you add layers--you can see I did that in the picture below at the very bottom of the stem.

Repeat with the other side, then trim your stem section so it's "squared up." The measurements don't matter (as long as it's not giagantically too big), you just want it to have square corners & straight edges so you can sew it to the bloom part and the sashing easily. My mother-in-law did a test block for me, and she trimmed her stem section to the same width as the bloom. This works fine too!

Now it's time to build your block up with white sashing! This part involves some math, so I marked my 14.5" ruler with painter's tape so I could have a visual of the flower placement and how big it needed to be.

To build mine, first I added the white to the tops of the blooms, then the sides of the blooms. You can see that little part I added on the right side of the orange one because I didn't factor in the seam allowances! If in doubt, always add an extra 1/2"! Then I added white to the bottoms of my stem, then the sides.

Attach bloom to stem.

Add white to bottom, then sides of the other one.

Sew bloom to stem, then sew together the two flowers.

If you're making these for the do. Good Stitches group, you can send them to me untrimmed, otherwise trim to 12.5" and you're done!

Summer "Bucket List"

Melissa & Hilary & I were talking about fun things to do this summer (because, you know, February is the best time to do that) so I decided to start keeping a list. This was on our fridge last year:

Castle Golfland (in Roseville)
Moss Beach Tide Pools and awesome playground
San Jose Giants game
This awesome park and this one too
See an IMAX movie (maybe--this might not be great with so many small kids)
Children's Discovery Museum
San Jose Museum of Art
The Tech Museum
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Beach (lots)
The Woods/Pescadero
Find Tadpoles
Happy Hollow
Monterey Bay Aquarium & Dennis the Menace park & Carmel beach

We only did a handful of those things, and it's a great list, so I'll keep it up for this year, and try to think of things to add to it!