Thursday, November 10, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along: Modern Selvage Snowflake Block

Welcome!  Today it's my turn to show my block and tutorial for the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along.  You can join the Quilt Along at any time.  More information and the master list of all the bloggers participating is here.
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So, I thought a lot about what to make, and in the end I couldn't resist a selvage creation.  It's just what I do.  And a sampler is a sampler right?  The more variety the better I figure.  But I know that using selvages isn't for everyone, so I compromised by making a block with just a wee bit of subtle selvage flair ...
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So here we go.  You will need a pile o' scraps, white thread, and a single selvage strip about 1 1/4 yards long.
 Choose your centre fabric.  This is what you will be putting the snowflake on, so a solid is a good choice.  Something with a small or subtle pattern would also work.  Cut a 6 inch square.
 Grab a pencil, pen, or whatever you usually use to mark fabric with.  Draw a line down the center of the block.  Then measure one inch down from the top and one inch up from the bottom on each side edge and make a mark.  Join the lines across the centre of the block to create an X with all lines intersecting in the middle. 
 Measure 2 inches out from the centre on each line and make a mark.
 Then measure 1 1/4 inches from the centre onto each line and make marks again.
 Join the centre marks with lines as shown.  Then draw 1 inch lines on each of the outer marks as shown.  This is your snowflake pattern.
 Next grab your selvage.  I am using a plain white piece here so you actually don't even know it's a selvage.  Feel free to use the parts with words.  Christmas fabric selvages with words like "Snow" and "Christmas" etc. would be fun to use.  Trim the selvage so just 1/4 inch of fabric is showing above the white part.
 Fold the 1/4 inch of fabric to the back so just the white part is showing on the front.  Press.
 Cut 12 pieces of selvage measuring 1 1/2 inches each.  Cut 2 pieces measuring 8 inches each and 1 piece measuring 7 inches.
 Take 6 of the 1 1/2 inch pieces and fold 1/4 inch on each end to the back.  Press the fold into place.  Each piece will now be 1 inch long.  Set these aside.
 Take the other 6 pieces that are 1 1/2 inches long and place them over the middle lines of the snowflake as shown above.  Use scissors to trim each edge at an angle.  Don't worry about raw edges here as these will be eventually covered over and won't show.
 Time to sew the pieces down.  Use white thread.  Sew very close to the edge of the selvage the whole way around.  Since these are small pieces you can just hold them in place to sew, or if you want, use a touch of adhesive, or a pin to hold them in place.  Sometimes now I use a touch of glue stick, but it really is fine to just hold it -- no fancy supplies needed.
 This photo shows how close I sew to the edge.  (Click to enlarge the photo if you like)
 Sew all the centre pieces into place.  Then sew all the pieces with the folded edges over the little lines near the edge of the snowflake spokes.
 Take one of the 8 inch selvage pieces and sew across the diagonal.  This will start to cover raw edges in the middle.  Make sure they are under this selvage piece.  Then, sew the other diagonal.  Then finally, use the 7 inch selvage piece to sew down the middle.
 Ta da!  Trim the extra selvage bits off.
 Cut 4 pieces of fabric that are 1 1/4 inches wide.  Two should be at least 6 inches long and two should be at least 9 inches long.  I prefer (and especially when using scraps) to cut pieces a little bigger and then trim back to size at the end.   Oh, and notice I got some orange into my block, hee, hee.  (For those who are stopping by the blog for the first time, I sometimes get teased about my use of orange)
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Sew these pieces around your snowflake block using a 1/4 inch seam as shown in the photo below.
 Now, once sewn, tilt your block at a slight angle as shown in the photo above.  Then trim the block to 7 inches square.  Your framed pieces will be cut at an angle.  This makes the snowflake look a bit more like it is falling I think.
 Next cut 4 more pieces that are 1 1/4 inches wide.  Two should be at least 7 inches long and two should be at least 11 inches long.  Sew this frame around the block using a 1/4 inch seam.  Then, this time, tilt your block slightly the other way, and then trim it back to 7 3/4 inches square.  (See the angled pieces in the photo below).
 Finally, cut 4 pieces that are 3 inches wide.  Two should be at least 8 inches long and two should be at least 14 inches long.  Sew around the block using a 1/4 inch seam.  Trim the finished block back to 12 1/2 inches square ... aaaaaannd  you're done! 
Variations: 
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The snowflake doesn't have to look like mine.  The same technique can be used for a simpler or more detailed flake.  This tutorial I wrote last year may give you some ideas. 
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Those frames don't have to be at an angle.  I think it makes the block a bit more interesting but they certainly could just be straight ahead frames.
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The eight pieces making up the frames in the middle section could be eight different fabrics which I think would look cool.
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I am so excited to see the blocks everyone makes.  Share yours in the Flickr pool for the Quilt Along if you'd like.  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll answer right in the comments too so everyone can see the answer.
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Thanks for stopping by!
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Posted by Riel Nason on The Q and the U
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14 comments:

The Cozy Quilter said...

What a fun snowflake! I will need to make at least one of those sometime soon! Thanks for the tutorial. Gail

LynCC said...

Love this block!

Jean said...

What a clever block! that would be a great stand-alone block for a winter mug rug! love it!

Live a Colorful Life said...

Fun fun fun. I have a whole bag full of Christmas selvages.

Kristie said...

Cute block! Love that you used selvages :)

Teje said...

Hi Riel! Thank you for showing how you make the snowflake! It's beautiful and so much You!
xxx Teje

beth said...

Love this!

Linda said...

Great block Riel! I love it. I just finished making mine and posted to Flickr. I had a great time making your block.

Kritta22 said...

Awesome! I'm gonna catch up this weekend!

Laura said...

Wonderful! Thanks.

mPaula said...

I just came to your blog from CraftGossip. I never heard of Quispamsis. I am Canadian and have mostly lived in Ontario - although not at the centre of the world (Toronto). I am happy to learn of a way to use selvedges, some of mine have been striking in their own right. I don't know if I kept any - I recently rearranged my sewing corner so I don't know where anything is and haven't started sewing again.

Jo Ann 3 said...

Love the salvage quilts especially the Mummy guy. Cleaver idea. You have posted a quilt on your blog of a quilt that won Best of Show called Rising Star by Joyce Curran. I love the quilt and would love to know where I could find the pattern. Have done a google search to no avail. Do you know who has published the pattern. Thanks for any info you can give me.

Kim said...

I love snowflakes!!!!! This is a great block!

Val said...

Great idea. Thanks.