Thursday, January 26, 2012
"Octo-Swirl" Quilt Block Tutorial
When I made my first block, I had a specific fabric that I wanted to use (the pink "Fandango" hearts), but only a small scrap of it, and the block needed to be 12.5 inches square. I looked all through my "5500 Quilt Block" book, and didn't see what I wanted, so I looked at what I had. I had some 2.5 inch jelly strips that I had collected on a local shop hop, and thought it'd be fun to wrap them around the block like a log cabin block, but I wanted something a little more challenging. I decided to chop off the corners of my square block to make it an octagon. I did a lot of experimenting, and even more while I made the blocks for this tutorial, and came up with these instruction.
They do include a partial seam, but don't let that scare you away, it's easy to do!
The blocks with pink in them use larger squares, 6.5 inches, and the block on the upper right uses a 5 inch square, the standard charm square size. You could easily make up a bunch of these blocks with a pack of charm squares and a "jelly roll" of 2.5 inch strips.
Either way, you need 1 square (5 inch by 5 inch or 6.5 inch by 6.5 inch), and 2 jelly roll strips (2.5 by 42 inches,or width of fabric) that are cut from 2 different colors. You could also make this block with all sorts of combinations of different sized squares and strips...
Then I flip it and do the same to the top and bottom.
The 2 most important steps come right at the beginning:
1: Make sure you leave a 5 inch "tail" that extends on both sides of the first seam. This is critical, as you will see later.
2. Start the first seam in the middle of the side, or seam, making a "partial seam". You only have to do this on the first one.
Sew right sides together. DO NOT trim the strip yet!!
Cut the first strip on this line.
Take the first color strip, and sew your next seam, starting again at the top of the previous jelly roll strip.
Here's what the block with the 5 inch center square looks like:
Next, you need to trim up the sides. Be really careful which sides you trim. Remember that there are 8!!! I learned this the hard way with the 5 inch square. Put the colors you want to be "straight" on the right, with the corner you want as the triangle on the upper right. Here's your 2 choices. See the difference?
I wanted the purple as the triangle though, but didn't realize my mistake until it was too late. I may play around some more with this one (and take better notes this time).
You can add white borders around the 8.5 inch square, as I did with my block for the breast cancer quilt, to make it a larger block. Remember that with quilting, you can always take away, you can't add, meaning cut the wider borders a bit wider than you think you may need. You can always trim it down smaller.
I sure hope I made sense. Please ask if you have any question (or let me know if I made any mistakes)!! Feel free to share, but please give me credit, as I now have a much better understanding of just how much time goes into these free tutorials!! I've benefited from them a lot though, thanks to other bloggers, so I wanted to give a little back myself!! Enjoy!