Category Archives: Exchange Blocks

The weekend of the exchange block

Sonja Koch from NWA Modern Quilt Guild brings us exchange blocks to make at least once a year. Most of us make one or more blocks, putting our names in the hat for each block we make. Last year we made wonky stars (using green, orange, and grey), made one quilt for charity and then there were enough blocks for three lucky winners to make their own quilts. Here they are, as shown at our first ever quilt show, held last month. (Top left) NWA MQG Wonky Star Galaxy, Hazel McFall; (Top right) Wonky Starry Night, Leeanna Walker and members of NWA MQG (quilted by Brenda Bell); (bottom)Wonky Stars, Debbie Wheeler (quilted by Sonja Koch).

This is Wonky Churndash by Sonja Koch; the guild also did this as a block exchange using these colors.

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This time, our block uses a pieced-curve technique and is also a great block for using up scrap strips. For the center of the block, sew together strips (approximately 5-1/2 inches long, any width) to make a strip set that’s about 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches. Make sure the strips on the ends are wider than the other strips so that you don’t end up with a tiny strip near the seam allowance. Then cut two sides with gentle curves. I placed my ruler on top of the strip set to hold it in place and to keep my fingers away from the rotary cutter. Keep the curve gentle, or it will be difficult to sew. Strips do not necessarily have to be trimmed (see below).

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Next, place a black strip (approximately 3-inches wide) underneath the curve and cut the black fabric, following your original curve. Note that the black fabric is even with a line on the mat and both pieces should be even at the top. I switched to my smaller rotary cutter, which made cutting the curves a little easier.

P1120607Match the points of the two fabrics and sew the two pieces together with an 1/8-in seam. Sew slowly and keep matching the edges as you go, turning in order to follow the curves. Press to the black. (I used a letter block instead of a strip set here.)

Square up to 8 x 8-inches. I marked the 8-inch marks on my ruler.

There were all kinds of leftovers in my scrap box. This was a 23-inch strip set that was supposed to be water in another project. I cut it up and sewed it back together. I was patient today–it took me several tries to get this to 8-1/4 inches.

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Here, I used a directional fabric left over from donation quilts. The fabric came from a program in Minnesota for at-risk babies and children.

http://www.abcquilts.org

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I made a total of 11 blocks and alternated the direction, since some of the pieces were directional just to see how it looked. Elvis has entered the building (block 3). By the way, I did not make an appreciable dent in my scrap box, but I have an idea. That extra strip set? I had made a wide strip set and cut it in half. Each half was 4-7/8 inches wide–I was barely able to make a 8×8 block, which is why I suggest starting with 5-1/2 inch long strips.

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Yo, Sonja. I said this would be addictive–I used up my black fabric, so I’m moving on now. See you in June! Thanks for the 10-minute tip and video.

LAST OF THE DOGWOODS. My dogwood is finally blooming. The leaves look curly and wilted, as do the ones at Crystal Bridges (last photo). Dogwoods make me happy.

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