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Supernova Quilt-Along: Block Planning and Cutting Instructions

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Welcome to the first Supernova Quilt-Along weekly post! Let me just say that I am blown away by all of your interest in this quilt-along. I really was not expecting this kind of turn-out. But I have so enjoyed seeing the pictures of the fabric everybody is using, and I can hardly wait for all of your quilts come together.

Anyway, I hope you’re ready to give those rotary cutters a workout. But before we cut a single scrap, we have to do a little planning and strategizing. Don’t worry, it’s more fun than it sounds like it is. : )

Planning Your Blocks

Start by cutting some strips from each of your prints, 3″ wide by the width of fabric. At this point, the length of the strips doesn’t matter, so we can leave them at the width of fabric for now. You’ll cut them down to the correct sizes after you use them to plan out your blocks.

For each of your nine Supernova blocks, lay out your strips to create a progression of color from top to bottom, like I did in the photo above. Your strips could be all one color, progressing from light to dark or dark to light, or you could have more than one color per block. The progression can blend gradually or in more abrupt steps—the choice is yours. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just play around with your strips until you come up with a progression that you like. I decided I liked this one, ranging from a golden yellow at the top to a plummy pink at the bottom.

You want to use a minimum of five prints and a maximum of seven prints for each block. The top print will be in the center of your block and the bottom print will be at the outer edge of the block. Edited to add: You do NOT need to have the same number of prints in each block. I happen to have six in all of my blocks, but there’s no need to be consistent. It won’t be noticeable in the finished quilt.

Repeat this process until you have nine sets of strips that you like—one set for each block. Once I had all nine of my sets, I took pictures of each set. These pictures will serve as my visual record of the prints I’m using in each block. That means I won’t have to keep my strips laid out and in order. I also used the photos to help decide on the block layout (see above).

You now have a detailed plan for your Supernova quilt! Great job! You’re ready to start cutting!

Cutting instructions – prints:
We’re going to cut the prints on a block-by-block basis, so grab the 3″ strips you laid out for your first block, and let’s get cutting.

If you have seven prints in your set:
1. From the top strip in the set, cut (1) 3″ square. This will be the center of the block.
2. From the bottom strip in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″.
3. From one of the middle strips in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″. (I almost always used the strip that was three from the bottom.)
4. From each strip in the set except the top strip, cut (4) 3″ squares.

You should now have (25) 3″ squares and (8) rectangles 3″ x 5.5.” Keep these pieces grouped together and labeled as “Block 1.” (I use ziploc bags to store my pieces, one ziploc for each block). Repeat the cutting process for each of your other eight sets.

If you have six prints in your set:
1. From the top print in the set, cut (1) 3″ square. This will be the center of the block.
2. From the bottom print in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″.
3. From one of the middle prints in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″. (I almost always use the strip three from the bottom.)
4. From each print in the set, including the ones you’ve already cut from, cut (4) 3″ squares.

You should now have (25) 3″ squares and (8) rectangles 3″ x 5.5.” Keep these pieces grouped together and labeled as “Block 1.” (I use ziploc bags to store my pieces, one ziploc for each block). Repeat the cutting process for each of your other eight sets.

If you have five prints in your set:
1. From the top strip in the set, cut (1) 3″ square. This will be the center of the block.
2. From the bottom strip in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″.
3. From one of the middle strips in the set, cut (4) rectangles, 3″ x 5.5″. (I almost always used the strip three from the bottom.)
4. From each strip in the set, including the ones you’ve already cut from, cut (4) 3″ squares.
5. Choose one print from the middle of the set and cut an additional (4) 3″ squares.

You should now have (25) 3″ squares and (8) rectangles 3″ x 5.5.” Keep these pieces grouped together and labeled as “Block 1.” (I use ziploc bags to store my pieces, one ziploc for each block). Repeat the cutting process for each of your other eight sets.

Cutting instructions – background solid:
• Cut 5 strips measuring 5″ by 44″ (width of fabric). From one of these 5″ strips, cut 4 pieces 5″ by 8.” From each of the other 5″ strips, cut 2 pieces that are 5″ by 15.5″, and 1 piece 5″ by 13.” (So you should have a total of 8 pieces 5″ by 15.5,” and 4 pieces 5″ by 13.”)
• Cut 14 strips measuring 3″ by 44″ (width of fabric). From those strips, cut (72) 3″ by 5.5,” and (72) 3″ by 3″ squares.

Cutting instructions – contrasting solid for borders:
• Cut 12 pieces 3″ by 5.”

That’s it! Hopefully this post didn’t scare you off—believe it or not, I think this is the most complicated part of the quilt-along. Next week, we’ll be piecing the sub-units that start to make up the blocks. Happy cutting, and don’t forget to post your progress in the Supernova Flickr group!

P.S. If you are using a jelly roll, I’ve posted modified cutting instructions in the Flickr group.

22 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    After one trip already to the fabric store and a whole lot of time looking at the flickr group, I'm FINALLY going to buy some fabrics today! Can't wait to sit down and get started on cutting, although it probably won't happen until Monday.

    Reply
  2. capitolaquilter
    capitolaquilter says:

    Can we all call in sick today to stay home and play??? It's going to kill me to wait for the next step to post I'm so excited to get going.
    I was all sad when I went to the flickr site this morning and didn't see the cutting link live but then came here and here it is, yippy!

    Reply
  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    Thank you so much for doing this QAL! And thank you for modifying the pattern for the jellyroll users. I can't wait to get off work today and begin!

    Reply
  4. Marci Girl
    Marci Girl says:

    I want to join in, because this quilt is so pretty, but I just can't seem to make any of the fabrics I have work (and I gave up fabric purchases for lent.) Maybe once I see people putting theirs together I'll be able to figure something out!

    Reply
  5. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I took the day off work today to celebrate my birthday. This will be an extra treat! But I still might have to go to the fabric store and get some more fabrics. I don't think I have enough grey or white for my blocks. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Staci
    Staci says:

    Oh my goodness, you weren't kidding that this was the worst part! Not that it is actually *bad*, just time consuming. I have spent hours and hours playing with fabric strips! Finally have them arranged and am ready to cut things up. Well, maybe. . . Maybe I'll re-arrange the strips a few more times. . . .

    Reply
  7. Hilary Hertzoff
    Hilary Hertzoff says:

    If I were going to expand this by one row of starbursts (so it was 4×3 to fit on a full size bed), what extra border fabric would I need to cut? It looks like it would take two more strips of the background contrast, but I can't tell which of the background main color 5" wide fabric strips I would need to cut more of. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  8. bionic robinson
    bionic robinson says:

    Hi! This is AWESOME! Is it too late to join in the fun? I didn't have a crafting blog already, so I just started one! And I am just finishing my first quilt (need to bind it), so I'm new to the game entirely. If it's too late to get in the QAL officially, I'll just be here, lurking. By the way, here's my new joint: http://makingstuffs.blogspot.com

    Reply
  9. VickiT
    VickiT says:

    I just found your blog yesterday afternoon and sadly, I don't recall where I saw it. I love the Supernova quilt. I just wanted to say hi. I don't know if I'll do this one but, I will be following along to see them all. I don't have a blog so I can't post any updates I have done if I did do this quilt. I did join the Flickr group so if I do get started on this hopefully it's ok to post any pics there.

    Thanks for going to all the work in setting up the quilt along. That's awesome of you.

    Reply
  10. Debbie Bailey
    Debbie Bailey says:

    I am making my first quilt and decided to start with this one!!! I got an electric sewing machine for free and tons of materials from a neighbor for $20. Spent 6 hours today cutting all of my pieces. Looking forward to the next step!

    Reply
  11. Debbie Bailey
    Debbie Bailey says:

    I am making my first quilt and decided to start with this one!!! I got an electric sewing machine for free and tons of materials from a neighbor for $20. Spent 6 hours today cutting all of my pieces. Looking forward to the next step!

    Reply
  12. Debbie Bailey
    Debbie Bailey says:

    I am making my first quilt and decided to start with this one!!! I got an electric sewing machine for free and tons of materials from a neighbor for $20. Spent 6 hours today cutting all of my pieces. Looking forward to the next step!

    Reply
  13. Modern Pioneer Quilter
    Modern Pioneer Quilter says:

    I love this block. I've made a couple of mini quilts using this block, albeit without your more concise cutting & piecing instructions (I used half square triangles). Do I need special permission to use this block to make our quilt guild's Opportunity Quilt as long as I credit you as the pattern source? Thank you.

    Reply

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