Here we are! The last block in my 2021 BOW. These 9 weeks have gone fast. I hope you have enjoyed making the first 8 blocks and you will like this one too. If you are just finding this BOW project, you can access the previous block instructions and blog posts by clicking on each week: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6 , Week 7, Week 8. This weeks tip of the week will actually be many mini tips for quilters based on some of the things I like to do to make my quilting experience relaxing and fun. Hopefully you will find a tip or two helpful to you too! As with the last 8 weeks, there will be a drawing for one of my patterns. The winner will be chosen from the comments and questions you leave below. So now that all that is out of the way, lets see the last block!
Block 9 – Bloom
Find the PDF instructions for the block here: 2021 BOW Block 9.
This block has a lot of elements in it that previous blocks in this series had, so you should be able to make this one using the knowledge you have gained making the others. So now onto the time saving tips for quilters.
Time Saving Tips for Quilters
Tip #1 – Always Buy Extra
My quilt patterns use the assumption of 40″ usable width of fabric (as I discussed in last week’s post), but some patterns may not. If you are not sure if the pattern you are buying allows for selvage, cutting errors or pre-washing fabric (if you do that), always buy a bit more than recommended. I usually ad about 1/8 of a yard to what is needed. I don’t pre-wash my fabric, but I have made cutting errors… a lot! You do not want to get to the end of your piece of fabric and still have pieces you need cut from it.
Tip #2 – Test Blocks
One of the things I recommend as a time saver is to read through the pattern you are planning to work on and create a “test” block out of scrap fabric. This is a great way to find out if you understand the instructions! It’s also a way to “audition” color choices.
Here’s one of my test blocks:
After the test block has served it’s purpose in helping me understand the pattern and make color choices, what can I do with it? I decided to take these blocks and rummage through my scrap stash to make mini quilts for friends and family! Here’s a candle mat I made from the test block:
This is a great way to make a gift for the non-quilter in your life. They will love their little gift and you will not let a scrap of fabric go to waste!
Tip #3 – Label Cut Pieces
This may seem like a no brainer but to keep yourself organized, you should label the pieces you cut and organize them in stacks based on which part of the quilt they construct. This is especially helpful if you cut all the pieces for your project in the beginning. I like to get all the cutting done at once and it allows me to make sure I have enough fabric. If I cut in stages, by the time I figure out I’m short of fabric, it may be sold out!
Above is an example of a project cut out and ready to go. Each stack represents a group of blocks made from the same color prints. This keeps me organized and I avoid picking up the wrong piece and stitching it into a unit. The less “unsewing” I have to do, the better!
Tip #4 – Stitch Ripping
Speaking of “unsewing”, I have a tip on ripping out stitches in a way to hopefully avoid damaging your fabric. Here’s how I do it:
I cut a stitch every 4 or 5 stitches in the middle of the seam and then gently pull apart the pieces.
The seam comes apart fairly easy and then all you have to do is finish cutting the threads on each end of the unit.
Tip #5 – Backstitching
This may seem like a simple tip, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it. Back stitch to lock your stitched seam at the beginning and end of a seam.
The unit on the left has back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam. The one on the right does not. The next photo shows how the seam can easily separate, which can cause your quilt to come apart at the seams … literally!
The unit that has the back stitching is nice and secure, even with seams pressed open.
Backstitching can be done whether you are just stitching one unit at a time or you are stitching a chain of units. It only takes a brief second to backstitch at the beginning and end of each unit in a chain.
So that’s it! Those are some of my favorite tips to share. I hope you learned something. Share a tip with me in the comments below and your name will be entered into a drawing for my pattern, Twinkling Log Cabin.
This is one of my older scrappy quilt patterns, but it’s still one of my favorites! The drawing will be on Monday, June 14th. That is also the day that I will reveal the wall hanging I made from these blocks and share those instructions. **We have a winner! Congrats, Gail S.!**
So, until next week,