Week #1- Churn Dash Blocks
Welcome to the first block of my Star Cluster quilt-a-long! I'm really excited to make this quilt again in a new colorway, and hosting a quilt-a-long has made me stick to it instead of putting it off. I chose my new Sweet Holly Christmas collection, coming in June, for the second time around. I appreciate all of you holding me to a schedule.
This week, we're starting at the beginning of the pattern with 5 1/2" churn dash blocks. There are (12) in the quilt in assorted colors. With Sweet Holly, I'm making (3) each of gold, green, red and black. Here are my fabric choices. Find the Sweet Holly fabric chart HERE
and print one for reference, if you wish.
Technically, the half square triangles (HST) for the churn dash blocks
2 3/8" for a 1 1/2" finished block, but I usually add an 1/8" to
the cutting dimensions to allow for trimming. To cut the dark squares, I cut a 2 1/2" strip off of the short end of the fat 1/8's and subcut (3) 2 1/2" squares - one for the center and two for the HST.
For the tan background fabrics of the churn dash blocks, I cut (2) 2 1/2" strips from the short width of the fat 1/8's, then subcut the squares and rectangles needed.
To make the HST, I drew a chalk line diagonally on the wrong side of the dark squares and layered it right sides together with the selected tan squares. Then, I stitched on both sides of the chalk line. I let my 1/4" presser foot run on on the edge of the chalk line in both directions for a scant 1/4" seam allowance for more room to trim.
Press the center seam open, spray with sizing, Flatter, or the potion of your choice. My current favorite is Joy's homemade brew with potato vodka that she concocted for our retreat last summer. It spritzs on lightly, takes out creases well and adds a nice crispness to the fabric. Good stuff! I'm running low, so will get the recipe from her and share with you next week.
For trimming HST, I'm a huge fan of Quilter's Select tools - rotary cutter, mat and rulers. The rotary cutter glides through fabric like a dream. If you have wrist issues after cutting alot, try this unique cutter. The rulers are great, too, with fine black lines that are easy to read and a film on the back that keeps them from slipping. After I line up my 45 degree line on the block and cut the right side, the square ruler stays put and doesn't move when I cut across the top.
Here's my Churn Dash block in three rows with top and bottom row seams pressed away from the HST, and the center seams pressed toward the tan rectangles. Some quilters press all their seams open, but I like to nest my seams in a block where the intersections need to be accurate. It just works better for me. I spray my rows with sizing as I'm pressing.
My finished Churn Dash measures 5 1/2" square - Woohoo! I love it when a block comes together. Honestly, I only made 8 today, but plan to catch up tomorrow.
My piecer extraordinaire, Kathy Limpic, is also quilting along with us and is sharing her blocks made from On Meadowlark Pond. She sent this great picture of her (12) completed blocks. Thanks, Kathy!
Please post your blocks as you complete them. It's always inspirational (and motivational) for me to see your progress. We need to keep each other moving forward and encourage progress. Knowing you're all out there stitching with me is awesome!
See you next week for the next blocks!