New Block Blog Hop: Berry Icy Ice Bar

Hello, and welcome to all those on the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop. Today I’m sharing a tutorial for a Berry Icy Ice Bar block.

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This blog hop features Cloud9 Fabric’s Cirrus Solids. Cirrus solids are organic, yarn-dye fabrics — very soft and pretty. Cloud9 kindly donated a fat quarter bundle in these five colors to all the participants:

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This block was inspired by all the delightful ice creams and ice bars of summer. Sometimes the ice bars get a little too icy, and crystals form on the outsides. Maybe not so tasty, but distractingly pretty. This block uses a simple improv technique to cast a few crystals across the ice bar (or at least an impression of ice crystals, stylized).

We’ll use all five colors of Cirrus Solids for this block: amazon, iris, lilac, sky and shadow.

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Let’s get started. First, some cutting:

Amazon is our background color. Cut these pieces and lay them aside for now:

A – 2 pieces 6.5″ X 2″

B – 1 piece 2″ X 12.5″

C – 1 piece 5.5″ X 12.5″

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Next, cut one 8″ X 4″ piece from each of Iris, Lilac and Sky.

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Finally, cut 5 or more strips from Shadow. These can be any width you like, but fairly narrow, and about 10 inches long. I cut one-inch and 3/4-inch strips.

We will be using a scant quarter inch seam throughout.

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Now for the fun part – the section pictured above. The ice bar portion of this block uses a basic improv technique, in which a strip of one fabric is inserted into another fabric. It’s pretty simple, and if you’ve ever wondered “hmm, what would happen if I cut this up….” you may have stumbled onto this technique. I will show how it works below, but if you are interested in more, Pinterest is your friend, or here are a few other resources:

Recently, a bee I’m in referred to this free pattern for a double cross.

Debbie at A Quilter’s Table recently hosted a popular sew-a-long which used a similar technique in her crosscut tutorial, and this one might help too.

Start with your 8 X 4 rectangle in Sky. Move your ruler to a pleasing angle, any angle, and cut along the ruler.

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Place one of the Shadow strips along one side of these pieces, making sure to let part of the strip overhang on both ends. Sew and press seams open.

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Place the piece with the strip attached next to the other piece of the rectangle. It is not important to be precise in lining up these pieces, just put them fairly close to the way they were before being cut. We are going to trim later. Sew back together and press open.

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Pretty! Repeat these steps with the lilac rectangle, but try putting the strip at a different angle or placement.

Once you’ve got both pieces, sew the lilac piece to the sky piece, along the long sides. Use a ruler to straighten up the sides that you want to sew together. Don’t worry about the ragged edges of the rest yet. Sew together.

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Now we want to insert a strip that will cross both the sky and lilac. Use your ruler to find a nice angle that crosses one of the other strips, and cut along the ruler.

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In the same way as before, attach the strip to one side of this cut. Press.

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We want to have a nice, straight line between each of the three color rectangles, so that this block really looks like an ice bar. This is honestly the only really fiddly part of this block. You may not get the color blocks to line up straight on your first try. May I suggest a seam ripper? Oh look, mine matches the project.

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Anyway, try lining up the colors, fold back about a quarter inch from the seam and peek under to see if it looks like things are in fact lining up. I suggest a pin or clip at this point to keep things in the right spot. And you might have to try a couple times. Below, you can see that the important line between lilac and sky does indeed look straight.

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Now we are going to trim this piece of the ice bar. This section needs to finish at 6.5″ X 6.5″. Trim the long sides of each color first. Use your ruler to see that the middle line is straight, and at 3.25″ from the edge. Trim all sides, making sure to keep the middle line straight.

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Now we will use the same techniques to insert some strips into the iris piece, the top of the ice bar. The first strip is done in the same way as above. Then, I want the second strip to cross at a jaunty angle, so I’m not going to line up the cross.

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You could do this any way you like though — a perfect cross, no cross, or several crossing pieces. Up to you! Just make sure that you will still get a 6.5″ long block. If you move the pieces too much, it could become too short. If you want to put lots more strips into any of these sections, start with a bigger rectangle.

Now, trim this piece to 6.5″ wide by 3.5″ tall. Note this piece is 3.5″ because it hasn’t been attached to the others yet.

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Sew it to the top of the lilac piece. This finished ice bar should measure 6.5″ wide by 9.5″ tall.

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Now we’ll finish off the block. Sew A pieces to the top and bottom of the ice bar section. Press. Then sew B to the right of the ice bar.

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Finally, sew C onto the left of the ice bar. You should have a 12.5 inch block. If you used a scant quarter inch seam, you may have a tiny bit of space to square up if necessary. Use your ruler’s marks to make sure that the straight parts of the ice bar are straight.

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So there you have it. A simple bit of improv with lots of space to keep everything orderly.

You could try this block in different colors. Neapolitan? (Oh yes, I did try that. Couldn’t resist. Might share that on Instagram one of these days…)

To make a quilt of this block, you could keep the blocks all in the same arrangement or rotate the squares for variety. You could put crystals on all or only some of the blocks. I might be tempted to let some of the crystals spike out into the background fabrics.

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Well, I believe I’m off to get some ice cream now. But you can be off to find lots more blocks —

Today’s blog hop is hosted by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Head over there for all the info and some fun. Here are today’s other participants:

Kathy @Kathys Kwilts and More
Paige @Quilted Blooms
Mary @Strip Quilts Pass it On
Allison @Woodberry Way
Seven @The Concerned Craft
Olusola @Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co.
Ann @Brown Paws Quilting
Jodie @Persimmon + Pear
Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
Kitty @Night Quilter
Francine @Mochawildchild
Shelley @The Carpenter’s Daughter who Quilts
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal
Geraldine @Living Water Quilter
Shannon @Shannon Fraser Designs
Lisa @Sunlight In Winter Quilts
Jessica @Quilty Habit
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Deanna @Stitches Quilting
Denise @Craft Traditions

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll make some icy ice bars soon!

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(Nearly) No-sew Summer Vacation

I haven’t posted much this summer because I’ve been off watching the sunset. And chasing fireflies. And splashing in the waves, looking for stones at the beach, and finding lots of ice cream shops. And eating s’mores with old friends, just like it was 1994 and nothing had happened in between.

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I didn’t sew much. Just a bit, like the block-a-day. Here’s one that I like:

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And to be honest, I recently had a kind of odd, off feeling towards quilting. Not sure quite what was. But…I needed a break. I still feel that, while I’m ready to get back to making things, I might need a longer break from social media and the Internet in general. There are just so many things. I’m easily overwhelmed and distracted, and I feel a need for some space to just focus on what I am making and thinking without regard to anything else. Maybe. I’m still thinking about it.

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Anyway, in other news — there is a blog hop next week featuring Cloud9’s Cirrus Solids (in the pretty colors pictured above). You’ll find tutorials for some 70 blocks along the way. You can find all the information by visiting hosts Quilting Jetgirl, Meadowmist Designs, or Late Night Quilter. I will be sharing my block on September 14. It should be interesting, since I generally don’t do this type of thing!

100 Blocks

I’ve joined the fun over on Instagram, where some lovely sewists are hosting a 100-day sew-a-long. Each day, participants are making the block of the day and posting in the hashtag #100days100blocks

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We will be making all 100 blocks in Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I’ve had the book for some time, so I’m happy to have the chance to use it. The cover quilt uses all 100 blocks, and as shown below, features a spectrum of colors. I’ve seen some other pretty ones finished as well. I’m not planning to use the rainbow color scheme – instead I’ve selected two recent collections from Sarah Watson for Cloud 9 (organic fabric collections Biology and Garden Secrets). I’ve been drooling over these fabrics for awhile (virtually, of course, the fabrics are fine, computer maybe not), and my mom recently gave me a nice, plump, fat quarter bundle as a gift. Yay! Putting them straight to work.

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The sew-a-long started last week, and I’ve enjoyed the first blocks. They are even cute on the back – don’t they look like little packages or envelopes?

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I am not quite sure this fabric pull is going to give me enough diversity to make 100 blocks. I probably at least need to add in some solids. I’m fussy cutting the panel from Biology, butterflies and flowers and things. It is a great panel. I might need more.

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This one with the cutie butterfly is my favorite so far:IMG_2981

Head over to Instagram to see more (there’s a link to my feed on the sidebar, or use the hashtag above).