Friday, January 06, 2006
Playing With Birds In The Air Blocks
I decided to play around making some Birds In The Air blocks this morning - and here are my results - 16 perfect little 4.5" blocks, using just 3 strips of fabric! I know it looks a bit boring with just 2 colors, so please imagine a scrappy effect for the settings... I am waiting for the mailman to bring me another big package of fabric and then I will have some more options!
And, now for the photos just so you can see just how easy it is...
First you cut 3 strips of fabric - 2 dark and 1 light (I used blue and tan). 1 dark strip you cut into squares and then sub-cut into triangles and set aside. Strip piece 1 light strip and 1 dark strip together. Sub-cut. Piece into off-centered 4 patches. Easy so far, right?
OK - I purposly leave off exact measurements here because I am recommending anyone who is interested to actually go buy the book - Scraps To You, Too by Debbie Cafrey. I used this book for my Broken Dishes quilt top I shared a few posts back, and following the directions - it came out so nicely! The book has lots of different setting options, ideas, block sketches, great patterns, inspiration, sewing tips for getting perfect points, info on math, etc. Also - there are directions for bigger blocks too if the 4.5" size seems tiny to you! I am happy to recommend this great technique from a wonderful designer, but am not giving her secrets away - she has to make a living after all!
Here you see the off-centered 4 patches before I make the diagonal cut to create the little triangles...
Ready to slice - see how those little triangles are made? I have a small piece of masking tape on the ruler from making my Broken Dishes quilt top, in which the blocks were slightly larger. I find that putting a little piece of tape for a marker is a great time saver by giving me an instant visual reference!
One more thing - I FLIP my cutting mat over to cut when I don't need the cutting lines - keeps the mat in better shape for a longer period of time!
Sew your big triangle that you set aside earlier to the one you just sliced and there you have it - a perfect little 4.5" block - a Birds In The Air block. Actually 16 of them because remember - we were strip piecing them.
Believe it or not, this is almost the same block I used on my Broken Dishes top which looks totally different due to a clever sashing treatment. On the Broken Dishes top the blue square is a 4 patch unit so there are a few more pieces to it, but same idea. You can also use this block as a basis for many other blocks - similar to Churn Dash, Grandmother's Choice, etc. Many different options are diagramed out in the book. I think I am going to go ahead and set some of these blocks into new block lay-outs and will post those photos when I get them done.