Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Brown

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Intricate Stitches quilt!  This month's color is brown.  Brown is not my favorite color, and I don't have a lot of it, but I chose to use it along with pink in this month's block:

I like it! This is a block called Steps to the Garden, a Nancy Cabot block from the 1930s. Do you think there's just enough brown to qualify it for a brown block?  I like the liberal dose of pink, and I  thought about switching the colors but decided that I like it better this way.  It would also work with any other colors as long as there is enough contrast.  A light green instead of pink would look fantastic.

This block is deceptively simple. All of the squares and strips finish to 1 inch wide.  The challenge comes in the precision piecing of the little bits to end up with a 12 inch block.  I tried to make it as easy as possible using one main strip set.  I used a shorter stitch length for making this block and also moved the speed control on my machine to half speed.  I think it really helped with controlling the narrow pieces.

Okay, let's make a pretty block!


From the brown, cut:

     8 1-1/2 inch strips at least 9-1/2 inches long (see note below)


     8 1-1/2 inch squares
     8  1-1/2 inch by 2-1/2 inch rectangles


     4 2-1/2 inch strips at least 9-1/2 inches long (see note below)
     8 1-1/2 inch squares
     8 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 inch rectangles

Note:  I used 9-1/2 inch strips because they fit my fabric.  You will need to cut 1-1/2 inch sections, so use any lengths that will allow you to cut 24 1-1/2 inch sections from the pink and brown strips.

That's it for the cutting!


Stitch one of the brown strips to the top and bottom of each of the 2-1/2 inch pink strips:

Mmmm, strawberry ice cream sandwiches!

Either press the seams open or toward the brown.

Cut each of the pink and brown sections into 1-1/2 inch pieces.  You will need 24 1-1/2 inch pieces total.

Anybody else remember a licorice-type candy that looked like this?

Next, take all of the white rectangles and stitch them to the brown/pink pieces as shown.  Make 8 total:

Do the same with the 8 pink rectangles and 8 separate pink and brown sections:

Take the pink and white squares and the remaining pink and brown pieces.  Stitch a white square to one end and a pink square to the other end of each strip.  You should have 8 of these pieces.


All the pieces are made!  Arrange two of each of the units as shown to make one "left-side" block section:

Make 2 of these sections.  Fuss with the block sections and your seam allowances as much as you have to to make them 6-1/2 inches square without any trimming.  (Don't trim! Really!  It will make your block the wrong size.)

Take two more of each of the units and arrange them as shown to make two "right side" block sections.  Notice that these are the mirror image of first two block sections. Fuss with these until they are the right size. Make two of these sections as well.

Once you have all four sections made, press well and arrange the sections as shown and stitch. Some starch or Magic Sizing helps keep all the seams from stretching out.

Most of the block sections have very few seams to match, but the final assembly of the block requires matching all 11 seams.  Use lots of pins, and make sure that you have each half of the block oriented correctly.  It's very helpful to mark which seam the block sections should be stitched along so that everything turns out correctly in the final block.

Congratulations--you have a fabulous block! Your block should measure 12-1/2 inches square to finish at 12 inches in the quilt.

Now that this second block is finished, gather up your scraps and save them with the blocks for the center block at the end, then be sure to come back March 1 for another exciting block.  Happy sewing!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday,  Let's Bee Social and soscrappy for RSC16.


andrea @ tideline quilts said...

It is so pretty! I can just picture the whole quilt - gorgeous! I say that "brown is in the eye of the beholder", and yes, I think it qualifies!!! Looking forward to seeing more...

lalaluu said...

I have brown fabric, but I don't usually think of using it. However, it usually looks great in a block, and you continue to prove it! I agree green would look pretty in place of the pink, too. Thanks for the tip about stitch length and speed. For those little pieces, we need to take extra time and care!

Anonymous said...

This block looks so cool. Thankyou so much for adding in some instructions too. I'm currently in the middle of a block craze!

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Great block and how neat to see it on the tree trunk!

gayle said...

What a great block! (And why am I suddenly craving chocolate-covered cherries?)
Of course, I'm now picturing this block done scrappy... Hmmm...

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Your pinks and browns blended perfectly together!!

Jennifer said...

good job! those many, many (small!) pieces in a block are deceptively hard to do accurately- you did well!

PaulaB quilts said...

The brown and pink seem to be nicely proportioned, not too brown. Checked out your houses. That free piecing appeals to me. The paper pieced I've been considering seems intimidating. Think I will give this a try. Thanks!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Thanks for the tutorial. Your BROWN and PINK block turned out beautifully!!

scraphappy said...

Fabulous balance of colors in your block. Love how it turned out.

Nell's Quilts said...

I like the white to balance the block.

Alison V. said...

I like it a lot! I could have used a lot more pink in my RSC16 blocks but I had to restrain myself!