A while back we brainstormed for an engaging, low stress project we could get QM’s readers on board with, and that’s how QM’s Bitty Blocks were born.
We are so excited about this new free quilt blocks project! Here’s how it will work. On the first Monday of each month during 2015, we’ll present you with a Bitty Block. Most will be 3″ or 4″ square and all will be easy to make. They’ll be hashtagged as #qmbittyblocks.
The idea will be to make Bitty Blocks during the month and then sew them together into a row. We’ll give you more specific instructions as we go along, but the general idea will be to create an amazing throw-size row quilt made from lots of Bitty Blocks.
As far as fabric, you can do anything you’d like, but we highly recommend a scrappy approach. The more the merrier!
We’re also going to teach you many new tricks, especially if you’re an early quilter. We’ll have quilt video tutorials to help you with things like triangle-squares, pressing, fabric considerations and more during the year. We’ll have photo tutorials, too. I think you’ll learn a lot.
Now let’s get to our first QM Bitty Block. January’s block is a little 3″ Bow Tie. (Printer friendly version here.)
Each Bow Tie takes two fabrics. Just be sure there is enough contrast between them. In other words, you should be able to clearly see a difference in the two. One should be lighter and the other should be darker.
You can choose just one fabric for all of the background patches, or you can mix it up. It’s more fun to mix it up! Each Bow Tie takes these patches:
Bow Tie fabric: 2 squares (A) 2″ x 2″ and 2 squares (B) 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″
Background fabric: 2 squares (A) 2″ x 2″
I know what you’re thinking. “Eeek! Those B patches are frighteningly small!” But I’m here to tell you that it’s no more difficult to sew across a tiny patch than it is to sew across a large patch. Trust me.
We’re going to use Stitch & Flip, and here’s how it’s done. Place a B patch on the corner of an A patch of background fabric as shown above. (I drew red lines at the edges of B because I wasn’t sure the B patch would show up.) You’re going to sew on that diagonal red line.
You can either mark it as shown, or you can eyeball it without marking. I always mark but these patches are so tiny, I was able to eyeball it easily. Try it and see! I used dark thread for visibility in the photos, but you’ll want to use neutral thread.
Now trim away just the B patch as shown above, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Press the B patches open as shown. Notice that on the top sample, the blue doesn’t totally cover the background. That is why you don’t cut the background away. It serves as a benchmark for you. When you sew the patches together going forward, use the edge of the background patch as your standard.
Please see this related post for tips on how to Stitch & Flip successfully. I hated Stitch & Flip until I learned how to make it work.
Arrange the patches as shown above. Join them in pairs.
Sew the pairs together as shown below.
Measure your block and be sure it is 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. If not, adjust accordingly.
During January (or whenever you get to it!), make 16 Bow Tie blocks. We’re shooting for a nice throw-size quilt, and you’ll be off to a great start! If you love making these, go ahead and make another row of them.
Coming 1/12/15: QM Bitty Blocks, Things to Consider: Helpful tips on choosing fabrics and more.
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Please help us spread the word about #qmbittyblocks. Use the hashtag, share this post on social media and tell your friends. Maybe your small group would like to make Bitty Blocks together. Whatever you do, we’d love to hear about it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
February’s Bitty Block goes up Monday, Feb. 2. Ready, set, sew!