Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vol 2 - Project 11 - Harriet's Navajo Dreams - MAKING

I've been busy making blocks................

these are some of them....there are more.

This is a very tricky block to make and while I try to be as precise as I can, fabric is a malleable thing - it moves, it stretches, it flops around.  Harriet says that as long as seams finish at a precise 1/4" the block will be square. 

so here is the block with a 1/4" seam marked all the way around.  Those seams look pretty good....

see what happens when a 6 1/2" template is set on top of it.  Those seams are slightly off, and you can see instantly the block isn't square.

I've made 61 blocks so far and the result is the same on every one of them, not one a perfect fit.   Admittedly I've been working rather quickly and getting tired and errors happen when working in haste!  But as a quilter I still have a long way to go.  I decided to cut the blocks square and sacrifice the prettiness of the points hitting the seam line exactly.

So why have I made so many blocks when the quilt only need 30?  I should first explain the reason I bumped this project forward.  I'd earmarked it for my brother Ian - the fabrics are perfect for him.  When he informed me he had a serious illness, everything else went on hold and I immediately got started on this project.  I wanted to make the quilt larger, as it would be of more use as a bed cover than as a throw.

Also, I could get 3 blocks from a half fat quarter, instead of just 2.  An Australian FQ, being cut from a metre of fabric rather than a yard, is a tad larger than an American FQ.

surprisingly that extra little bit allows me a whole extra block

the 3rd blocks from the large Fat Quarter's - and more fabrics!

What I found interesting also, was that I cut my strips 10" long, instead of the 9" suggested in the pattern.  Simply because half an Aust. FQ is 10" and it was just faster to do it that way.  The template barely fits in there.

that 6 1/2" diagonal square only just fits into this 10" block.

I decided to double the size of the quilt and have 2 blocks of 30 different fabrics.  Sadly, the news came that the illness was untreatable and my time frame to finish shrunk dramatically. Even with the blocks made, there are still the triangles to do, not to mention basting, quilting and binding.  The quilt needs to be complete in about 10 days, so when I travel up north to see my brother, I can give it to him personally. 

Now the decision on which blocks to use.  I'll put the rest of the blocks aside and make another quilt with them, when time allows.  The fabric I'd chosen for the side triangles wasn't working for me, so it's back to the shop tomorrow to audition something else. 


  1. I think your quilt is going to be lovely!

  2. This will be perfect - what a thoughtful quilt to present your brother - God bless you and yours!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother's illness. I think the quilt will be lovely when done and a wonderful gift for him.


  4. your quilt will be beautiful, I'm so sorry your brother is ill. He will love seeing the quilt and you.

  5. Hi Leslie,
    It has been ages since I have been in contact with you. I am sorry to hear about your brother. About these blocks, don't worry so much about the squareness. It is slight, and will be able to be corrected once they are added to the side setting triangles. The magic of starch! The same thing happens with the traditional method of sewing small triangles around the edge. Make sure you cut 1/4" beyond the points. Don't use the square ruler, as you will loose your points - which are the most important part. Just make sure each edge is the correct length. Once sewn, spray fairly heavily with starch and straighten the blocks that need it. Hope this helps.
    Blessings to your family

  6. Leslie,
    Your blocks are looking beautiful,a nice range of colours there for you to play with the layout...did you decide on the aborginal black with small scale circles afer all or is that not good after all?
    I'm sure your brother won't mind if one or two of the blocks aren't perfect, he'll just love that you made him a quilt and went to visit.
    Sending a big hug to you all.

  7. Hi Harriet - thanks for the advice, which I'll keep in mind for the next one, as I want to make this one again, taking it more slowly.

    Hi Stephanie, nice to see you the other day! I went with the black - details on the next posting.