Tag Archives: Leslie Edwards

African Block Swap #1

As a member of ‘The Patchworkers and Quilters Guild of Victoria’, Leslie Edwards – a contemporary quilter – has organised a ‘block swap’ with a patchwork group in Africa. The brief included a block between 6″ and 12″, and ‘see what you can come up with’.

What to do? I thought I’d document the thoughts behind this block as part of the ‘Process Pledge’, so …

  • what size to make …
  • which method of construction …
  • what pattern to use …
  • which fabrics to select …
  • what colours would be suitable …

So for the first block – let’s keep it simple. A 12″ block, pieced by machine, some Australian fabrics including a medium value burnt orange, a light aboriginal patterned fabric for the background, and a darker Leesa Chandler floral fabric as the feature.

Which pattern? It needed to be reasonably large pieces in the block to show the fabric designs, and I came across ‘Kentucky Chain’ by Maggie Malone in her book. Although I can do Y seams by hand, I thought I’d have a go at doing this one by machine instead.

African Block Swap #1

‘500 Full-Size Patchwork Patterns’ by Maggie Malone

African Block Swap #1

‘Kentucky Chain’ block.

African Block Swap #1

Next was to draft the pattern up to a 12″ size.

So, the measurements came out to be an awkward size, and rather than cut out to within an 1/8th of an inch,  … there must be an easier way to make sure it remained accurate.

African Block Swap #1

Get out the Freezer Paper

African Block Swap #1

Clip a sheet over the pattern and start tracing.

African Block Swap #1

After tracing the pattern, number and mark the pieces, and cut them apart.

African Block Swap #1

Iron the freezer paper to the wrong side of the plain and background fabrics, cut them out and draw in the 1/4″ seam line ready for sewing.

I wanted to fussy cut the feature fabric, so …

African Block Swap #1

Freezer paper ironed to the front of the feature fabric.

African Block Swap #1

Fussy cutting wastes fabric and makes holes in it like ‘Swiss Cheese’!

African Block Swap #1

Laying out the prepared pieces.

Time to sew. I used one of my favourite threads – Aurafil – for the piecing. As there was a significant amount of orange in two of the fabrics, my usual medium grey piecing threads showed up a tad more than was usual , so I did something I normally don’t do, I used a coloured thread instead. The challenge was to work out what pieces to sew into patches, and the order of sewing the patches, to keep the number of Y seams to a minimum.

African Block Swap #1

A minimum of 8 Y seams in the block as seen from the back – there could have been as many as 20!

African Block Swap #1

Circling the centre seam keeps the bulk of the fabric evenly distributed and flatter than ironing to one side.

African Block Swap #1

The first block for the ‘African Block Swap’.

Now for the next one …

RobynsPatch