Trip Around the Garden
Hi everyone! I can’t believe it is October already. Time seems to be flying by this year. It’s already fall. Fall is really my favorite season of the year because it is such a huge relief after the heat of the summer to have cool weather. I love the crisp air and the changes in color and light during this season. The evenings seem cozier because the sun is going down earlier. I start to think about baking things all the time because the house is finally cool enough to turn on the oven. However, that did not happen last week. Last week, we had a heat wave in which temps around here in New England reached almost to the nineties and we had our air conditioners on every day. That wasn’t very fall-like weather! I think the heat got to me because when I remembered that October is the month for me to plan the quilt for my charity quilt, I turned to bright summery-springy colors instead of autumn.
This month, I really wanted to keep things simple because I just don’t have a lot of time right now to do anything too complicated. I also wanted to try this technique of making trip around the world blocks. Basically, you sew strips of fabric together in a tube, slice them, and then rip out one seam in each slice to create a block that has a diagonal pattern to it. When you put them all together, they can make a nice all over repeating pattern. If that didn’t make sense, I’ll show you step by step.
First, you will need 7 strips of fabric, each 2.5 inch by 18 inches long. For my Aspire Circle friends, I am requesting:
1 strip of white
2 strips of pink
2 strips of green
2 strips of yellow
Arrange them like this: Pink, green, yellow, white, pink, green, yellow
Using a Scant 1/4 inch seam sew them together along their length. The last seam, you will sew the first and last strips together to get a fabric tube. Pay attention to your scant. If you are off a little, the accumulation of all the seams will make your block too big or small if the seam allowance is not just shy of 1/4 inch. Ask me how I know.
Now, line up a bottom seam with a line on your cutting mat and trim a little off the edge to make it nice and straight. Then, you want to cut 2.5 inch strips. You should end up with 7 identical strips, each in a tube and two little trimmings to just throw away.
Now, here’s where it can get a little tricky. You’ll need to make sure you go in the same direction when opening up the seams for each strip. Pick one strip and open up a seam next to the white block. Lay it on your work surface so that the white block is at the top. Then, look at color at the bottom of the strip (pink). Rip the seam that will make that color the top of your next strip (between the pink and green).
Continue in this way until you have 7 nice strips making a diagonal pattern on your table.
Next, you should iron all your strips, one at a time, with seams alternating directions. This is important for creating those nice nesting seams. Basically, I took every other strip to my ironing board, ironed them all at once in the same direction, and then put them back in the proper sequence. Next, I took the remaining strips and ironed them in the opposite direction. Nesting seams are not only nicer for quilting. They also make it easier to sew the strips together because your machine doesn’t have to sew through 4 layers at once.
Lastly, sew the strips together in the same order as your layout. You should a have a nice diagonal sequence of white blocks on the center, with other colors forming diagonals on either side. The block should measure 14.5 inches square.
The white blocks will create a nice diagonal effect when they are all together. Friends in my sewing circle should make at least 2, but 3 would be awesome! I think this will be a cheerful quilt and hope that it will brighten up the day of the person who gets it!