Thursday, May 22, 2014

One Block Wonder, AKA: What to do with some fabric I loved...

So, I had this really gorgeous fabric that I really loved, but I just didn't know what to do with it. I loved all the colors in it... but nothing (beyond perhaps some place mats) came to me.  Then... I saw a One Block Wonder at the Quilter's Symposium we had at the Monadnock Center and I did a bit of research.

This was my first time trying a One Block Wonder.  I'd done some Stack and Whack in the past, but this was just a wee bit different.  And I liked it.

So... I found the repeat, cut out six identical pieces and then lined them up by marking through all 6 layers with a pin, connecting at the same point in each piece.

Then I cut out three 3 3/4" strips of fabric.

Then I had a bit of a geometry struggle.  Okay.  Let's just put it out there: Geometry is a weakness for me.  There.  Okay. Let's move on.  

I wrestled with how to do it, but finally found a way, not the easiest, but the ruler and a pin were involved and I made equilateral triangles.  After a bit of conversation after dinner with hubby, the math man, we realized my only mistake was turning my mat the wrong way.  It will be easier next time, knowing that!

As I cut the sets, I pinned each one together and made a BIG pile of about 50. 

Then, it started getting fun!  One of the things I discovered (which also makes the process REALLY appeal to me) is that no two quilts, even made with the same fabric, would be identical.  It's both crazy fun and a bit scary.  

Since each triangle is equilateral (whoo hooo... big math word there!), you can rotate them three different ways, each creating a different kaleidoscope hexagon block.  Here's two options from the same triangles: (third one was blurry, sorry!)

Once you decide, you start sewing.

It's VERY important to FINGER PRESS the seams as you go along.  It is crucial for this quilt to have ALL open seams.  Finger pressing was a new method for me with this project.  Not only did it work, but I got pretty good at it. 

Here's where this one is a bit different than Stack and Whack, you sew two sets three of each together - IE: you don't fully sew the block.  You pin the two parts together for now.  I made a BIG stack and then went and did the ironing.  Later, when I needed to move around a bit more, I would do one, then go press it.

I also sorted them at this point, into four stacks based on the dominant color in each.  Then... I took them to the table and started the next VERY cool part: designing the quilt.

My color thought process was to start in the far left corner with the darkest, solidest purple/blue and work to the right introducing the teal, like water at the ocean.  I tied the yellow in as sunlight shining in from the upper right and the light purple like the sky in the upper left.

This is another part that is SO artistic!  You get to decide what goes where and what you are trying to create.  It was both freeing and frightening.  In the end, it was fun, as well.

The next step is why you only pinned the hexagons: you actually sew them in horizontal strips!  WHAT?  YAH!!

This image is the first two strips sewed together - you can see the next one on the right.

Yup... match seams, pin, sew, press seams open and top side flat and repeat... again and again.

Here's what you get:


Now, I have to audition borders and quilt this puppy. I think this was a good choice for this fabric.  Wicked good choice!

  Have you tried One Block Wonders?  I'd LOVE to see the results if you try it.  Check back in a bit to see how I finish it.  Here's a link to check out the book:
One-Block Wonders: One Fabric, One Shape, One-of-a-kind Quilts
As an Amazon Associate, a wee bit of money comes our way if you decide to try it via the link.  Thanks ahead of time if you do!  :)

Have a creative day,


  1. This is great!! So, how long would say it took to get from fabric to quilt top? (and do you consider yourself a fast, average or slow sewer? ;-) I am getting ready to make a OBW myself :-) I'm so intrigued by them, and am eager to get started, but I have no clue what to expect.
    Finger pressing ~ is this just because it's faster than pressing with the iron, and the point is to open the seam before sewing the next one? or is there another reason that finger pressing is a better choice?
    I'm excited to see this finished (the borders look good! I came over from Sewing Saturdays)
    Happy sewing ~ Tracy

  2. Hi, Tracy...
    Let's see...
    It was the only project I worked on for a couple of days. I found it went together WAY faster than I expected! I consider myself an average sewer - let's just say I worked fairly UN-interrupted for a couple days. My kids are grown and when my grandsons came up, I stopped!!
    The "finger pressing" thing was definitely to keep things rolling. I was surprised that it actually worked! Yes, you are opening the seam so that nothing gets folded and sewn under. It's crucial that all the seams are open, as you continue.
    Thanks! I'm taking a couple days off to work on something else, but come on back (or stop by my FB page at and you'll see it finished... I HOPE! LOL!
    Thanks and feel free to message me with any other questions.
    I'd LOVE to see what you do - it's an incredibly fun process!