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Last week I impulsively decided to join my first quilt-a-long. This one is being hosted by Katy over at I’m a Ginger Monkey, and it officially starts on Wednesday 9/12. Here were the barriers: I’d have to join Flickr (done). I’d have to find time to, you know, do the quilt (erm). And I’d have to find some fabric to use that I already have because, two reasons, one, we are busting out of the seams of this apartment, and two, we are trying to save money so that we can move all our busting-out crap into a real house. (Hear: Pinocchio’s “a real boy!” voice.)

And already I’m off-track with this little post here! Look, a picture of the baby!

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She looks so much like her father here, but that is BESIDE the point. Test block. Righto.

I chose some fabrics from my scrap heap. I function under the delusion that I buy fabrics only on a per-project basis. You can see below that this is a lie I tell myself. In order to live.

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The pile is mostly scrap from Violet Craft’s first line for Michael Miller, Peacock Lane. (I’m going to get my hands on a pile of her new line, Madrona Road, oh, so soon. I hope.) I badly want to make myself a quilt from this line, because I gave away the first one. There was some other stuff sitting next to the Peacock Lane pile that seemed to want to come along (a piece of Folk Heart, a piece of Lark, some Kaffe, oh la). And then I ordered some Kona Coal to help give an organized look to the quilt top, and to help bulk out my fabric choices. The Kona Coal has shipped, but…(drumming fingertips) isn’t due to arrive until Wednesday.

If there’s one thing I believe in it’s doing a test block. Especially when you’re cutting your own plastic templates–it’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve cut your templates correctly so that you don’t labor for hours and hours cutting little weird fabric pieces that won’t fit together and will need to be trashed. So I pulled some fabrics (the navy half-stack I got from the Pink Castle Fabrics Stash Stack Club, and the red Sandcastle Dot from Seaside that I will need to re-stash post-haste) and went to town.

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After I got the fabrics cut, I sallied forth, and was pretty confused at first. Once I figured out that I needed to flip the C piece over on EVERY OTHER right triangle unit, so I sewed skinny-side first (yeah, still confusing), the block made lots more sense and went together pretty well.

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If there’s another thing I believe in, it’s pinning. Pin pinnety pin pin. Even if you hate pinning. Because I bet you hate seam ripping MORE than you hate pinning. And chances are if you seam-rip these bias edges, your little pieces will go straight to heck and you’ll have to re-cut the block, and you DEFINITELY hate template cutting more than you hate pinning.

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Speaking of hate, can we talk about the bulky centers of these blocks? I had to forcibly drag my block through my craptastic cheapo Singer, and then coax the whole block into flatness with the iron. I’m going to function under the assumption that there’s not much we can do about seam bulk when 8 triangles meet in the center of a block like this, but if you know of something to make my life easier (besides buying the Juki I really want, which is not an option, see above re: “real home”) please holler.

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Aaand ta-dah! Test block complete. It’s taking a lot of self-control on my part not to rush out and buy a bunch of navy fabric and a big pile of this Seaside red cathedral dot so that I can do a whole quilt just like this. I am a big sucker for navy and red together. Maybe if I just take a peek over at Pink Castle and see what she’s got navy still…?

And that’s the test block. Not too many pratfalls. Start to finish time was about 1.75-2 hrs, including ironing, making the templates, cutting all the fiddly pieces, being a doofus about block layout, etc. Here’s hoping the block looks as cute in my Peacock Lane scraps!

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