Friday 27 March 2015

Making new from the old

I've been looking at vintage blocks a lot lately, thanks to a friend and her inspiration for scrap reduction, and thanks to the amazing book Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman, published in 1993.  A historic record of over 4000 patterns. It doesn't give you any measurements, cutting instructions, just a picture of a pattern, any alternative names, and its origins. Fascinating!

All that eye candy got me thinking how some of these blocks are so easy to make using the quilting dies and my Big Shot machine!

So I started with Lucky Clover, a block that dates back to the early 1930's and Aunt Martha Studios that published kits, patterns and booklets.

The block needs the following:

Big Shot machine
Bigz Trapezoid Die (657615) (2"x 4" finished)
Bigz 2 1/2" Square Die (657607)

I used an Art Gallery Fabrics Scrap bag for piecing this block.

A basic Four Patch layout of the block would seem easy enough, however, this block does require the mastering of Y Seams.  Fear not, I'll show you how!

I cut my fabrics with the Big Shot, and when layering the fabrics to cut the trapezoids I made sure I had fabrics layered so they were in pairs right sides together to give me lefts and rights.  

It's always useful to lay out your block pieces in the final block layout to keep you on track for the piecing.

The block is made up of four patches of the same unit, so we will start with piecing one unit.  
Piece one of the patterned and one background trapezoid along the angled seam. 

Mark the 1/4" seam for both the angled side and the shorter side.  This will give you your starting point for this seam.  Stitch along to the pointed end.  It is worth doing a couple of stitches, then back stitch to secure the seam at each end.  (It is important to know how your sewing machine behaves when backstitching so you do not stitch into the seam allowance at the marked point.)

You can then lay the center square onto the trapezoids.  Mark the 1/4" point on the square so that when you stitch from the top edge, you stop just at the point marked.  This will be right at the join of the trapezoids.  Be careful not to sew over their seams.   

Re-position the pieces to sew the other side of the square, sewing from the outside edge to the centre 1/4" seam point.  

Your block will look like this above

This process needs to be repeated with the remaining pieces of the unit, with the addition of the outside squares on each end. 

When you join the second trapezoid pieces to the center square, start from the outside edge and work inwards stopping 1/4" from the bottom edge of the center square.

be sure to fold areas of the block you are not sewing out of the way of your sewing path.  

I pressed the diagonal seams open and ensured the center square was pressed to the outer edges of the block

Repeat this for the remaining 3 units to make up the block. 
Piece into pairs, join the pairs together to complete your Lucky Clover block.

This block is 12" finished, but you could easily make a larger block by using the next size up in dies (657628 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" trapezoid and 657608 3 1/2" square) would give you and 18" finished block.

I love this block, and can see a whole quilt of them.  I'm not so sure I will do a whole quilt of the same fabrics, like this

but a more controlled scrappy layout.  

I hope you will have a go at piecing the block, and seeing that the Y seam is nothing to be apprehensive about.

If you don't fancy the Y seams, I'll be back next month with another block that uses the same dies, with the addition of one other and not a Y seam in sight!

Happy Spring!

1 comment: