Monday, January 23, 2012

Pick up Sticks block tutorial

NOTE:  It's just come to my attention that this block, and even the name I chose for it, is strikingly similar to one designed by Ali of asquaredw and published in Quilter's Home magazine.  I honestly thought I'd come up with an original block variation and had no intention at all of plagiarizing.  I've sent an apology to Ali and would also like to apologize to everyone who reads my blog.  I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes here, I'm just trying to share the fun I have with my quilting.  I'm still deciding whether or not to remove my tutorial and will make that decision in the next day or so.  C

I've had a few requests for a tutorial on my recent 4 by 5 bee blocks, and I figured what the heck! I based this block on one by Amandajean at Crazy Mom Quilts and I thought she had a tutorial up, but no such luck, so here we go...

Start with a square of fabric about an inch bigger than you want your finished block to be. I wanted a finished 12" block so I cut my square 13". We'll be trimming our blocks later so nothing needs to be precise at this point. I then cut 3 strips of freezer paper 1" wide by about 14" long. Again, the length doesn't need to be precise, it just needs to be bigger than the square.

The pieces of freezer paper will act as templates for the strips of scraps in the block. Take one of the pieces of freezer paper and iron one end of it to a scrap. Now fold the freezer paper back on itself, exposing about 1/4" of fabric. Using the folded edge of the freezer paper as a sewing guide, add a second piece of fabric. Iron the second piece of fabric down then continue adding scraps in this manner until all 3 of your freezer paper pieces are covered. At this point I like to remove the freezer paper then iron it back down since it sometimes gets distorted with all that stitching.

Now trim your strips so they are 1 1/2" wide, using the edge of the freezer paper as a guide.

Ok, time to start inserting those strips! Make a random, angled cut in the fabric square.

And sew in your first strip! Use the edge of the freezer paper as a guide and don't worry if your square isn't perfect after inserting the first strip - remember, we're trimming!

Repeat for the second strip. Now flip the block over and pull off the freezer paper pieces. If you're making lots of blocks, save them and reuse them.

Now it's time to tackle the cross strip. Make a cut that goes through the 2 inserted pieces. Sew one edge of your 3rd strip to one side of the cut.

This is the hardest part, sewing the second seam so that it looks like the inserted strips are interwoven. I like to put my thumb nail along the 1/4" seam allowance where the stitching crosses, then flip over the fabric so I can judge if my placement is good. Because I can't take photos with one hand, I've used a pin in the photos above to show this step. Keep moving the pieces around and checking until you get a good match, then hold it or pin it in place. Then sew!

Your block is finished! Or almost, it just needs a good trim!

Add some quilting, and voila. xox, c

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  1. Awesome tutorial! I didn't realize this type of block could be so easy to make. If you wanted to line up your scrappy strips in your subsequent blocks, so that they continued seamlessly, how would you recommend getting the angles and positioning right?

  2. Oh that is so fun! I'd love to make a block like that. Thank you for the tutorial :-)

  3. Oh the quilting makes it even more perfect!

  4. They do look similar but don't worry.
    You're an honest person.
    The greatest ideas are sometimes thought of by two people at different places on the globe ...
    Don't worry. Ali is also cool!

  5. They look similar, but are not the same what so ever. Please don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
    It's like making blocks with log cabins, there's not so many ways to put a 4x4 grid of log cabins together. I can't tell you how many I have seen that make stars or stripes.
    Love this quilt by the way :)

  6. I agree with Betty and Sharon. Keep the tutorial because you've done nothing wrong. If you had copied and attempted to make money, that'd be an entirely different matter.

  7. Hmm, I didn't take them to be the same, although, yes, the idea is similar. I agree with the others--similarity doesn't necessarily mean plagarism. You came up with your own idea, your own instructions and design--it is your own, just like Ali's is her own. Great minds think alike!

  8. I agree! You've done nothing wrong....tutorial isn't being sold, you haven't copied anything. Keep up the awesome work!

  9. What's the old saying.."there's nothing new under the sun"? I love your's different in the way you have pieced your "sticks". (which I think looks great!)

  10. Glad to meet our Canadian quilters. Thanks. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com