This post is a part of the I am Enough quilt along that starts September 28, 2018 and ends February 1, 2019.
If this is the first time you are learning about this quilt along then please read this post to find out the intentions behind the quilt along and more details.
To view all the posts concerning this quilt along, click here.
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My how time flies! We are about to begin pattern 4 of the I am Enough Quilt: The Hourglass blocks.
This is such a traditional quilt block and there are a gazillion ways to make this block, but I’ve got a really simple way to show you today. This happens to make two at a time and it’s my favorite way. Hourglass blocks seem so basic and “old” I guess, but I tell you when put together with other hourglass blocks they are quite showstopping or I happen to think so. See this board if you need a visual. If you happen to enjoy your own way of making hourglass blocks, don’t let me hold you back! This quilt has no rules! Feel free to always do as you please. 🙂
We’ve got seven of these scattered about our quilt. Let’s get going!
You are Enough
I wanted to talk about perfection and failure today.
I could sit here and tell you all day that I don’t care if my blocks are perfect, but I really like it when they are. I particularly like it when my points line up just so. Every time there is a point to line up, I give it my all, put the pin into the seam in exactly the right place, and do all that I can to insure that I end up with the best block I can have. I’m all about the precision and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care. If there is a new trick that I can learn or teach myself to make sewing points better, I’ll adapt my methods and do whatever I need to do to get a better quilt block or points that line up. This is important to me. I can’t change this about myself. If it’s not important to you that is absolutely just fine. Be you!
After almost ten years of quilting, I am still not perfect. I’m never going to be. I’m just a human after all. Sometimes I do all the right steps, take my time, and still get a block where I’m just off the line (proof of this is in the block to the right of my picture). Unlike my beginning years, I no longer curse myself, throw my hands in the air or even get frustrated. I have found that I just need to make a decision: Can I live with the block “off” or do I need to grab a seam ripper and redo? I make this decision based on my mood or how bad my “off” is. If I don’t want to unpick, I don’t. I leave it be and don’t criticise myself at all for it.
It took me a long time to get to this place of peace. And yes, I’m using quilting as my example, but this can translate to many different aspects (hello, motherhood!). You are going to have points off, you are going to have entire blocks the wrong size. You are going to make hundreds of mistakes, especially in the beginning. Expect and accept these facts. These “failures” or “mistakes” or whatever you want to call them, you NEED them. You need to make the mistakes. Without them you don’t learn anything. Without them you don’t grow.
Words of wisdom to say out loud:
- Strive for progress, not perfection.
- Don’t wait for your quilting to be perfect before you enjoy it.
- Forget it enough to get over it, remember it enough so it doesn’t happen again.
- And this is the MOST important one: DO NOT point out somebody else’s mistakes. Say something kind instead.
Today’s lesson is on precision. Not the kind you let yourself get frustrated over and makes you push away from your sewing machine and give up. Never that! Just the effort will do and the effort alone is enough. If you get it great, if you don’t shrug your shoulders and move on. It doesn’t calculate your worth and it’s not the end all of everything. In finished quilts it’s rarely even noticeable. Most of the time only YOU know it’s there. We are making quilts for enjoyment and to explore our creative side, not to harass ourselves. Make the effort and let the result be
The other part of our lesson is contrast. Hourglass blocks are made with two different fabrics. To be able to see the shape you need to have two fabrics that contrast well.
When it comes to any shape that features a triangle, I like to press my seams open and use starch. These two things help me get my quilt block flatter. If you are working with a crisp, flat quilt block, you’ll find it much easier to align those seams. Here’s a recipe for homemade starch.
Another tip, when working with triangles or even very small pieces of fabric, press and starch your fabric before you even make your first cut. Just like I mentioned before, when working with a crisp piece of fabric every step along the way (cutting, sewing, etc.) will be easier for you to get things just so.
On the Hourglass blocks, align your seams together and place a pin exactly in the seam. Only remove the pin when you are about to sew over it and mind that you don’t move the fabric as you do.
Here’s a few thoughts to mull over:
- Set your two fabrics together before you cut them and give them a lookover.
- Do they mesh well?
- Do each of the fabrics stand out or do they mix together and lose the shape of the hourglass?
- Are you using two busy fabrics? One busy fabric and one tonal might be a better choice.
- Solids really pop in this block, especially against a print.
Pattern 4 – Hourglass Blocks
These are go pretty quick! Perfect timing if you are still working on your embroidery blocks from pattern 3, but also because we are going to be doing a little section building as well. We are four patterns in and instead of waiting til the very end and putting all our blocks together, we will be doing that bit by bit.
There are some things that need to be thought about though, like fabric placement. Our blocks are all scattered all over and it’s hard to see which fabric should not go where. I made the hourglass blocks above, but when I moved on to the section building part of the Pattern 4 PDF, I found that I had made my big hourglass the same color as my Maker’s Hand and those two are touching in the quilt. I had to remake my big hourglass because of this. Luckily it’s an easy block, so no worries, but I just wanted to remind you to be mindful of this. Placing your blocks on a design wall or even your floor and looking at the overall quilt design can help.
Onto the pattern!
Click here to download the pattern and get started. I cannot wait to see what you make!
Note: The video teaches you how to make the hourglass blocks, it does not go into section building.
- This week’s fabrics and supply details
- Introduction PDF
- Pattern #4 PDF
- Hourglass video tutorial
- Sign up for the I am Enough newsletter
- Personalized I am Enough quilt label
Havel’s Tools I use in the video
- X-Large reversible cutting mat
- Smaller cutting mat (helped for rotating the block without having to move the ruler)
- Aqua rotary cutter
- Fabric ruler
I am loving getting to know you and connecting with you on Instagram. Isn’t the quilting community over there encouraging and supportive? Be sure to join in the fun by posting pictures of your progress using the #IamEnoughQuiltAlong. Comment on the posts of other participants and spread the love. We all need it sometimes.