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Awesome Ocean Kelp blocks - tips for our Block of the Month makers

Awesome Ocean Kelp blocks - tips for our Block of the Month makers

Supply isn't always easy here in Australia, but the finally the last of the outstanding fabrics have arrived and we're kicking off our Awesome Ocean block of the month program

Each month, for nine months we will be making on one of the the blocks from Elizabeth Hartman's Awesome Ocean pattern, and I'm so excited about getting stuck into this project.  You can join in the BOM and make the large quilt with us any time here  I have a number of places left, though spots are limited and when they're gone, they're gone. 

I'm stitching along and hope to blog each month, sharing any tips or shortcuts that I figure out along the way. 

So lets get started.

Familiarise yourself with the pattern

There is a lot of detail to navigate in Elizabeth Hartman's sampler patterns, but if you take your time her designs come together beautifully. 

Don't be like me and charge right in boots and all.  Make yourself a cuppa and read through the pattern.  If you're super keen, at least make the time to read pages 1-4 before you start cutting.   

Cutting and cross cutting

Kelp is perfect place to start Awesome Ocean,  as there is only one feature fabric used in each block. 

You will need to refer back  to the details on  page 3 for the total number of strips you need to cut of  the Essex Homespun background fabric to make the LARGE quilt. 

The kelp block is pretty straight forward to construct, but the pieces are small which means that its crucial that your seams are an accurate 1/4". 

Once you have your strip set pieced is a good time to.check your seam allowance.  Your strip set should be the same width as the unfinished block.

Careful cross cutting is also important and here is my first tip to make sure those cuts are nice and straight.

I usually measure my cuts under my ruler, but not this time.  When cutting strip sets like these, it is more accurate to follow the measurements on the board . This lets you align the markings on your ruler with the seam line, rather than using either of the cut edges. See how I've positioned those dashed lines on my ruler over the seams?

Cutting this way will help you achieve little rectangular units instead of parallelograms.  

And I know what you're thinking.  Yes, my cutting mat is pretty battered.  Its a shop thing. That horrible groove you see is at the 20" mark and bears the scars from cutting many, many fat quarters.

Making the Kelp block

I chain pieced the units for all of the blocks at the same time.  Some people might find it repetitive - I thought it was pretty relaxing actually.  And it definitely speeds things up: like, a LOT.

Even if you don't have time to make all of your kelp blocks in one sitting, I recommend doing the same step for all of them at once as it saves a lot of trips to the iron.  

As you piece those small strip set units, make sure they are lined up nice and straight with the kelp branches.  If your seam allowance was a little out, you can correct things a smidge now by making sure your pieced units are centred over piece B.  

I didn't do any fancy chalk marks, or even pin for that matter.  As I sewed mine together I just did a visual check they were lined up like this:

As you can see, I press my seams open, but closed is fine if that's your preference.  Pressing them open takes a bit more patience, but I really like the way I can get my  blocks to sit perfectly flat without having to starch it into submission.  I've been doing this for a few years now and I've never had any problem with batting fibres migrating through to the top.

Happy stitching everyone and don't forget to show off your happy mail and kelp block progress on social media. 

Dont forget to add  #mynextstitch so I can find you, and you will also go in the draw for a chance to win $30 off your next order.



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Carolynne - November 10, 2017

Thanks for all your tips ! Finished my Kelp Blocks yesterday – looking forward to the next instalment – eek Octopi!!!!!

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