A Year with Miss Lizzy kicks of with Block 1: Hydrangea. It’s a super simple block to get you back into the creative swing after the festive season. If you’ve spent any time with the colouring sheet provided in the Introduction Document you may have picked up that we’re spending a year working on variations of the humble 9 patch block.
Every block we’ll be working consists of 9 “squares” that are then joined to complete the block. We’ll be using different shapes to make these squares, but the foundation is still the same for every block. It’s this repetition and simplicity that I really love about patchwork.
Every month I’ll provide you with a tutorial for completing that month’s block. The format will stay the same for the tutorial so you can get accustomed to how I work and you’ll be able to skim to the parts you need. If at any time you have any questions or you want to see or know more, please leave a comment below and we’ll work through it together.
A Word About My Approach
As you’ll see in the pattern I like to work in units. Each block is made up of simple and repeated unit types such as a half square triangle (HST). When I work in pieced patchwork I like to break the block down into it’s units and make these first and then assemble the block.
I do this because it allows me to batch process (a term borrowed from computing that just means to repeat the same action) the cutting, sewing and pressing. Another way to think of it is like chain piecing. You’re repeating the same actions multiple times to cut down on effort and save time. (I’m all about time saving!)
This approach is reflected in how I write my patterns. I’ll show you how to make the units contained within each block and then we’ll do the block construction.
You’ll need the following to complete this block:
- Block 1 Hydrangea Pattern
- Sewing Machine
- Basic Sewing Supplies
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat
- Fabric marker
- Seam Ripper
- Optional: From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template Set A (For Miss Lizzy’s Garden)
- Optional: From Marti Michell Multi-Size Half Square Triangle Ruler (For Miss Lizzy’s Blooms)
A Note on Pressing
Pressing is like deciding which sporting team to follow – we all have our own opinions and in the end it really doesn’t matter which one you follow as long as you’re having fun.
To help you out though I’ll provide a photograph of the back of my block so you can see how I’ve pressed. I’m sharing this with you now so that you can keep this in mind as you work through your block assembly.
Over the course of this year you’ll notice that my pressing direction changes depending on the situation. Sometimes I’ll press open to help the block lay flat, some times I’ll press to one side to help nest my seams for greater accuracy and sometimes I’ll press to the lazy.
Further down in the tutorial I’ll show you how I pin to help all the seams play nicely together. Pinning is a little like pressing – it’s up to you how you do it. I like to pin a lot, whereas other like to hold together with their fingers. For me, my sewing style requires the extra support that pins provide. Do what works best for you – this is a judgement free zone!
Block Unit Construction
While I use, recommend and couldn’t live without the From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates and Rulers I know that not everyone has these in their collections so the pattern and tutorials will show you how to make your blocks using either the “Traditional” Method or “From Marti Michell” Method.
The Traditional Method will require the standard patchwork supplies everyone should have (rotary cutter and ruler), whereas the From Marti Michell Method will show you how to use the templates and rulers to construct the block. Use the method that corresponds to your working style, your budget and what helps you be most accurate.
Traditional Half Square Triangle Assembly
The following method allows you to make two at a time half square triangles. I like to make mine a little bigger and then trim to size as I find this helps if you seams aren’t as accurate as they need to be. It does mean that there is a sliver of fabric waste. If you’re finding that ever with the fudge factor (trimming) your blocks are not coming out to size make sure you’re sewing with an scant quarter inch seam.
FMM Half Square Triangle Assembly
I adore using the From Marti Michell templates and rulers for my work and this is a great example of why:
- Make only the half square triangles you need.
- Spend less time cutting as you don’t need to trim when done.
- Easy to fussy cut with as you can see exactly what fabric will show in your half square triangle.
- Less fabric waste as you’re not trimming to size.
- Engineered corners make it easy to line up when assembling the block which increases your accuracy.
Please note: The above photos show the From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template Set A, if you’re using the From Marti Michell Multi-sized Half Square Triangle Ruler it works in exactly the same way. There’s no need to measure, just use the ruler like a template and cut around the edge.
If you’re using the From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates and Rulers I highly recommend reading the information that comes contained in your packaging. It’s a great resource on how to cut with the templates, how to understand the grain-line on the template, how to know which template to use when using patterns and in some cases gives additional patterns for blocks you can make with them.
Trio Rectangle Assembly
The Trio Rectangle Unit is a great unit to have fun with directional print. Just make sure that you have a system in place to keep your pieces in the order you intend or it could mean you’ll be spending time with the seam ripper.
This is the fun bit – seeing all your hard work come together in a block you’ll love.
My Versions of this Block
I’m addicted to making patchwork blocks and so it should come as no surprise that I have 4 versions of A Year with Miss Lizzy on the go at the moment:
- An all Lizzy House version in the Miss Lizzy’s Garden layout.
- A Tula Pink print from Zuma and solids version in the Miss Lizzy’s Blooms layout.
- A version using Alexander Henry’s “zocalo” fabric and solids which will be a bonus layout for those that are working from both Miss Lizzy’s Garden and Miss Lizzy’s Blooms patterns. (You can buy both patterns for a discounted price by clicking here.)
- A version using Anna Maria Horner fabrics in a modified version of Miss Lizzy’s Garden for those looking to make a version with only 16 9″ blocks, instead of the 48 in the provided layout.
When You’ll Get to See Them
I’ll reveal my Lizzy House version on 14 February. I’ll be sharing the blocks from the other versions each month as we sew together.
THE BONUS LAYOUTS
If you’re currently in possession of both patterns all you have to do to make the combined version is sew one of each size block per month. (So that’s one of the 9″ finished size blocks (Miss Lizzy’s Garden) and one of the 18″ finished size blocks (Miss Lizzy’s Blooms).)
If you’ve bought one of the patterns and now you’re thinking you’d like the other pattern to complete the set and sew a mixed size block quilt then simply buy the missing pattern to your set and I’ll refund you AUD$10 (which is the discount you get if you buy them together).
Important: You’ll need to leave me a note when you go through the checkout process and let me know that you’ve got the other one so that I know to do the refund.
If you think you’ll want to make a smaller version of Miss Lizzy’s Garden then simply use your colouring sheet in the Introduction Document to work out which blocks you’d like to use in your finished quilt top. You’ll need 16 in total and the quilt top will finish at 60″ square. I’ll reveal a little more about how this version will look in February. But here’s a hint for now – it pays tribute to simple patchwork quilts. (Have a closer look at my Anna Maria Horner version of this month’s block!)
A Word on Fabric Selection
There is no right or wrong when it comes to fabric selection. It’s all about what fabrics, colours and prints make YOU happy. However, I know that it can be a thing that strikes fear into a quilter’s heart so each month you’ll get a colouring sheet with that month’s block on it (four of them so you can really play) that will help you decide what to use. And if that still doesn’t help I’ll be running monthly webinar’s where we talk about fabric so be sure to sign up to the newsletter so you can find out more.
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