Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bloom Bloom Pow: Let's Start Piecing!

Welcome back to the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! Are you all ready to do some piecing? This week we're going to be piecing large rectangular-ish sections. Next week, we'll be cutting triangles from these large sections.

This week is going to be sooooo easy, you'll have plenty time on your hands to work on your other WIPs! So let's get started—I'm going to give two sets of instructions here. One set of instructions is for when you are making full blocks from 25" long petal strips. The other set of instructions is for when you're using 18" strips, or if you're making a half-block from 25" strips.

I recommend doing your piecing block-by-block, just like you did with the cutting, rather than assembly-line style, so you don't get confused about color placement or anything.

Piecing full blocks with 25" strips

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing
1. Start with three 4.5" x 5.5" background pieces, two 4.5" x 5.5" white pieces, and two 3.25" x 5.5" white pieces. Lay out your pieces in the following order, as shown in the photo. The order of the pieces is very important! Don't mix them up!

2. Sew these pieces together with 1/4" seams, in order, to create one long strip that measures about 26" long. Press seams open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing 3. Now grab one of the two 25" long strips that will make the petals. Lay the petal strip out along the pieced background strip as shown, right sides together, with the petal strip aligned with the top edge and offset about 1.5" to the left. (This offset is important in order to get enough triangles out of the completed block. And the top strip must always be offset to the left and bottom strip must always be offset to the right!)

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing 4. Sew with a 1/4" seam, pressing open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - Piecing 5. Lay the other 25" petal strip out along the bottom edge of the pieced background strip. Again, these should be right sides together and offset about 1.5" to the right.

Bloom Bloom Pow - Piecing 6. Sew with a 1/4" seam, pressing open. I know, it looks crazy, but this is exactly what you want—don't trim or square up! Keep it just like this!

That's it! You now have the basis for one Bloom Bloom Pow block. In the next step, you'll be cutting 6 triangles out of this one block, and those 6 triangles will form one Bloom Bloom Pow hexagon.

So keep going—piece one of these units for each full block in the quilt. You'll need 14 of these units for the baby size quilt, 25 of them for the throw size. (If you weren't able to cut enough 25" strips for all your full blocks, follow the instructions below to make two half blocks, which equals one full block.)

Piecing with 18" strips (full or half-blocks)

If you are using 18" strips, you'll use these instructions to make sections from which you can cut 3 triangles. A full Bloom Bloom Pow hexagon block requires 6 triangles. So if you're making a full hexagon, you'll need to piece two identical sections from the instructions below in order to cut 6 triangles. If you're making a hexagon half-block, you'll only need one of the pieced sections from the instructions below, because you'll only need three triangles. Clear as mud? : )

 Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing 1. Start with two 4.5" x 5.5" background pieces, one 4.5" x 5.5" white piece, and one 3.25" x 5.5" white piece. Lay out your pieces in the following order, as shown in the photo. (The order is very important, so don't mix it up! All of your pieced sections must start with a colored background piece and end with a narrower white piece!)

2. Sew these pieces together with 1/4" seams, in order, to create one long strip that measures about 15" long. Press seams open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing 3. Now grab one of the two 18" long strips that will make the petals. Lay one 18" petal strip out along the bottom edge of the pieced background strip as shown, right sides together. Align the petal strip with the left side of the pieced strip, but you should have at least 1" of overhang on the right side (maybe more).

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing 4. Sew with a 1/4" seam, pressing open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing 5. Take another 18" petal strip and cut it in half, so that you have two strips about 9" long. Set one of those 9" strips aside for the other half of the block (assuming you're making a full block). Lay out the 9" strip long the top of the pieced background strip, again with right sides together. This time, the 9" strip should be centered above the two middle background pieces, as shown in the photo.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing 6. Sew with a 1/4" seam, pressing open. This one looks really crazy and wrong, doesn't it? It's not, it's perfect!

7. If you're making a full block, repeat the instructions above so that you have two identical pieced sections. You will cut 3 triangles out of each of these pieced sections.

Piecing half-blocks with 25" strips
Follow the 18" instructions above, but cut your 25" strips into two pieces—16" long and 9" long. Use the 16" strip in place of the 18" strip (16" will be long enough—I used a 16" strip in the photos above). One pieced section from the instructions above will yield 3 triangles.

Cutting instructions update
One final note, there was an error in last week's cutting instructions post—for the throw size, I asked people to cut 8 strips 4.5" wide and 8 strips 3.25" wide from the white fabric, but that should actually have been 7 strips 4.5" wide and 7 strips 3.25" wide, not 8. You should be able to get eight 5.5" pieces from each strip (without much room for error, so be careful cutting off the selvage), which equals 56 pieces of each size (one extra, since you need only 55 pieces of each size). The error is now corrected on the cutting instructions page. I apologize for that mistake!

As always, don't forget to post pictures of your progress in my Flickr group! You can join the Bloom Bloom Pow group on Threadbias as well, for another place to discuss the QA and post pictures. Next week is the really fun part—cutting the triangles! See you back here for that next week.


Alexandra Eckert said...

I'm so excited about this! Like a little kid goes "what's next, what's next...." :-) Thanks for the post and I will finally start cutting next weekend and hopfully get some sewing done next week! I waited with cutting for the sewing part, cause I was a bit afraid of cutting wrong. But now that I understand the technique, it will be easier to cut!

Kelly Vetch said...

:-) Am I a nerd if I am starting to piece my strips right now? Lol Quilt-alongs are fun!

Artsy-Craftsy Ivy said...

This looks like so much fun! I'm giddy! Total nerd, I know :)

Marci Girl said...

So excited, already started piecing, but here is my question. On the whole blocks, I pieced together the center part, which measures 26.25" (maybe because I used a scant seam?) When I lay the 25" part on top and extend it 1.5" over towards the left on the top, per your instructions, my 25" strip doesn't extend onto the last white piece like yours does on the right. It is short like .25" from even making it to that last white piece, where as yours looks like it extends almost an inch over. Is that going to matter? I just don't want to sew on those top and bottom strips if something is wrong at this point. I hope this makes sense, if not I can send you a photo! Thanks Lee!

Marci Girl said...

I think I figured out my own problem. It just so happens the one strip I picked up first only measured 24.75" instead of 25" and once it is sewn on it goes right up to the seam, doesn't extend over. My other strips that measure correctly at 25" extend over .25" onto the white. From my calculations it appears this should work. I also discovered in this process that I don't own a 60 degree ruler that I thought I did, but rather it is an odd size, so I'm glad I discovered that before I cut anything! Woo Hoo!

Lee just let me know at this point if the strips (on the top) extend 1.5" to the left and only .25" onto the last white piece, if this should work out ok. And if my 26.25" center needs to be 26" exactly. Thanks and sorry, I know this is a pain.

Lee said...

Marci, I think as long as it's about even with the seam, you should be good—I'm not sure you really need anything extra into the last white piece. I just made sure to leave extra so that we're not cutting it too close to the seams, but if your strip is even with the seam I think you'll be fine! : ) Glad you figured out the issue.

Lee said...

NERD! LOL, just kidding! I love this stuff too (of course)! I'm glad you're excited! : )

capitolaquilter said...

oh I want to join in so BAD - supernova QAL was a blast and this looks great. I had no idea it was strip pieced by looking at the finished quilt design.

krista said...

Awesome. I so want to make this! But I think I'll wait until all the steps are posted. Plus there's just too much going on at the moment :D

Marci Girl said...

I wanted to come back and respond for those making the quilt in the future. Some of my strips were not 25", but I went ahead like Lee said and as long as it lines up or is even with the seam, it does work out just fine. Actually when I was cutting, nothing overlapped at all and no corners were clipped off of triangles or anything, so I was able to cut full triangles, no problem! Thanks!

Marci Girl said...

Oh and one more thing, when piecing with the 18" strips (either making the quilt with FQ or the half blocks) my strips were not long enough to overhang by 1" it was maybe 3/4" and that worked out fine too. Lee's pattern is really forgiving, and at least for me, there was plenty of space when cutting the triangles.

Natalie said...

I'm wondering if it is really important to press the seams open when making the large sections. when pressing open toward the center pieces the seams are having a hard time lying flat. does that make sense?

Lee said...

Hi Natalie,

It's really entirely your choice—if you prefer to press to the side, that's fine too! I chose to press seams open because in my experience, open seams lie flatter than seams pressed to the side. So I'm not sure I'm following why your seams are not as flat as if they were pressed to the side, but feel free to experiment and use whatever method works best for you. If you do press to the side, I would think it will be crucial for you to plan ahead a bit and make sure seams are always pressed to opposite sides wherever they meet up. Because if you end up with seams pressed to the same side lying on top of each other, that will be a large amount of seam bulk that will be difficult to quilt through. Hope that helps! : )

Mom said...

Brilliant piecing trick! I love efficient shortcuts like this one. Never seen it before and I have seen a lot!

Chris of said...

Brilliant piecing trick. I have never seen that shortcut. Do you have more? Are you going to make this into a pattern to sell?

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