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Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along: Cutting Your Fabric

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Welcome to post #3 of the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! Are you guys ready to cut into some fabric? Let’s dive right in!

Note: If you’re using fat-quarters, look for the note about cutting fat-quarters at the bottom of this post.

First, remember those value stacks that we made in last week’s post? Take all your dark-value and medium-value prints and cut the width of fabric into two sections, a 25″ wide section and an 18″ wide section (see diagrams below). Light-value prints can stay whole for now.

BBP Quilt-along: Cutting diagram 1

 

BBP Quilt-along: Cutting diagram 2

Done with that? Great! Now, before we do anything else, we need to start thinking about how to pair up the colors for each block. If you cut first and then think about color pairings, you might waste fabric. So here’s the method I recommend following for each block:

1. Start by choosing a dark- or medium-value print for the “petals.” Once you’ve decided on a petal color, take the 25″ wide section of that print and cut 2 strips 2.75″ x 25″ (for a full block), or 1 strip 2.75″ x 25″ (for a half-block).

2. Select a background color that looks good with the petal color chosen in step 1. If you selected a dark-value print in step 1, choose a medium or light value for the background. If you chose a medium-value print in step 1, stick with a light value for the background.

3. Once you’ve selected your background color, cut 3 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″ (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″ (for a half-block). If you’re cutting from a medium-value print, be sure to cut these pieces from the 18″ wide section! Reserve the 25″ wide section for cutting the long strips for the petals.

4. Keep the petal strips and background pieces for each block grouped together, so that you’re all ready for piecing next week. One way to stay organized is to safety-pin the pieces together, or keep them in ziploc bags.

Repeat this process until you’ve cut pieces for all the blocks in the quilt. Block totals are as follows:

Baby size – you will need: 
• 14 full blocks
• 4 half-blocks

Throw size – you will need:
• 25 full blocks
• 5 half-blocks

If you run out of 2.75″ x 25″ strips for petals: You can cut your remaining petal strips from the 18″ wide sections of dark- or medium-value prints (although I recommend sticking with the dark-value prints, so that the medium values will still be available for cutting background pieces). You will need 3 strips 2.75″ x 18″ for each full block, 2 strips for each half-block.

Now that you have your colored fabric cut, you can move on to the solid white.


Cutting the solid white fabric:
Start by folding the width of your white fabric in half, bringing the side selvage edges together. The folded size should now be 22″ x 36″ (baby size) or 22″ x 54″ (throw size).

Next, cut strips perpendicular to the folded edge (so after cutting, the strips will be 22″ long while still folded, 44″ long when unfolded).

BBP quilt-along: Cutting diagram 3

For the baby-size quilt, cut:
• 4 strips 4.5″ wide, then sub-cut 32 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″
• 4 strips 3.25″ wide, then sub-cut 32 pieces 3.25″ x 5.5″

For the throw-size quilt, cut:
• 7 strips 4.5″ wide, then sub-cut 55 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″
• 7 strips 3.25″ wide, then sub-cut 55 pieces 3.25″ x 5.5″


Note about using fat quarters:
Yes, you can use fat quarters to make this quilt! Follow the same process outlined above for cutting out each block, but of course, you will not be able to cut 25″ long strips for the petals. Instead, cut your strips 2.75″ x 18″. You will need 3 strips for each full flower block, and 2 strips for each half-block.


For the background pieces, you will need 4 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″ to make a full block, and 2 pieces 4.5″ x 5.5″ to make a half-block.


Well, that’s it! You’re now officially done with cutting. Next week we’ll start piecing. You won’t believe how fast these blocks come together, and how much fun they are. : )

Thanks again to all you wonderful people for quilting along with me! If you’re still interested in joining in, it’s not too late! You can still order bundles from Westwood Acres—the baby-size bundle can be found here, and the throw-size bundle is here. Amanda is great about shipping super quickly, so you’ll have your fabric in hand before you know it!

Don’t forget to post pictures of your progress in my Flickr group. If you have any questions about the QA, you can post here in the comments or in the discussion forum on Flickr. Have a wonderful week!

Quilt-Along Schedule
March 28Design strategy (we’ll just be talking about the big picture here, so you won’t need your fabric yet for this post)
36 replies
  1. Kelly Vetch
    Kelly Vetch says:

    Yay! 3 blocks down and 22 to go! Thanks for the fat-quarter instructions as well. I have to use my stash which means small pieces and larger yardage all mixed. The extra instructions are keeping me straight. 🙂

    Reply
  2. anna
    anna says:

    Probably a silly question, but why would you do a half block vs a full block? New-ish to quilting and still getting a grip on the lingo.

    Reply
  3. Anita
    Anita says:

    Hi Lee. My fabric came in today from Westwood Acres. I am so happy! I just wanted to say thank you for the button for the Bloom Bloom Pow QAL. 🙂 I was going to ask if you would make one and then here it is!

    Reply
  4. Kira
    Kira says:

    I have a question – it says for the background "cut 3 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a half-block)" but in the fat-quarter instructions it says you will need 4 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a full block, and 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a half-block". I can't wrap my head around it, but maybe once I start cutting it will sorry if I am asking a silly question.

    Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      I know, it's weird, but that's the way it has to be. It's because of the way it's strip-pieced and then cut into triangles. If you're not strip-piecing a full block all together, you have to use more background fabric. You'll understand it better when we get to the post where we cut out the triangles. For now, just trust me and cut more background pieces if you're using FQs. : ) If you're using a mix of full yardage and FQs, you only need to cut the extra background pieces for the blocks with petals cut from FQs. (This is where it gets REALLY confusing! Sorry!) Let me know if you have any further questions about that and I can try to go into more detail.

      Thanks for asking, it's a good question! : )

      Reply
  5. Mishi Kichi
    Mishi Kichi says:

    hi…just wondering would i be able to make this out of a jellyroll and charm squares in my stash? (which is 2.5" strips and 5" squares) and how would the measurements of the 4.5"x 5.5" cuts change to accomodate this? is this a possability?? i have a rainbow jellyroll n rainbow charm pack i would love to use.

    Reply
  6. Mishi Kichi
    Mishi Kichi says:

    hi..my last comment seems to have dissapeared, but i was wondering could these measurements be adjusted to accomodate using a jellyroll n charm pack?? i have some rainbows i would love to use but not sure how the measurements would translate being 2.5" jellyroll and 5" charm pack….is it possible????

    Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Hi Mishi,

      I think it would be possible, but it might be tricky! We'll be strip-piecing large rectangular blocks in the next step, and then cutting triangles from those rectangular blocks. I had to do a lot of trial and error to get the seams in exactly the right spots for the triangles, plus enough fabric on the bottom/sides to make complete triangles. You'll have to cut smaller triangles, but I'm not sure how much smaller, and your quilt will obviously turn out smaller, but again I'm not sure how much smaller. : ) You may have to do some math and/or test blocks to figure out the answers to those questions. Hope this helps!

      Also, FYI, for some reason Blogger tagged both of your comments as Spam. They came into my email, but they didn't show up on the blog because they were in my Spam Comments folder, I had to go in and remove them from Spam to get them to show up. You might want to check your settings to see if you can figure out why Blogger thinks you're a spammer! You are also a no-reply blogger, so I am not able to email you to reply directly to your comment. If you'd like to change your settings to fix that and receive replies to your blog comments, check out these posts: http://happyhourprojects.com/blog-tips-are-you-noreply-commentblogger-com/
      http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html

      Reply
  7. Franziska
    Franziska says:

    I think I'll do a test block and then adjust to the size I'd like to have. I won't make a quilt but want to make a little tote out of it. I imagine the blocks are too big for that purpose. I'm excited 'though.

    Reply
  8. Monika Kinner-Whalen (MySweetPrairie)
    Monika Kinner-Whalen (MySweetPrairie) says:

    Hello Lee! I haven't been here in a long time (remember me!?) I just had to say a big fat congrats on the QuiltCon ribbons!! You have worked SO hard into building a career for yourself wince we started blogging. I am SO proud of you.

    That's all… just wanted to say that : )

    Monika K / My Sweet Prairie
    fibre artist
    Saskatoon, SK

    Reply
  9. Kathy Grom
    Kathy Grom says:

    I have the throw size fabric bundle and I cut my eight 4.5" white strips and when I went to cut my eight 3.25" strips, I only got six. So I went back to your instructions and they do say the fabric should be 22" x 54" however when I did the math, I really needed 62" of white, not 54". So now I am short 2 white strips. Not sure what to do about that.

    Reply
  10. 2sew4fun
    2sew4fun says:

    thanks for your question Kathy – i hadn't cut my white yet and because of your question did some recalculating for myself….it won't help you but maybe others. If you cut the strips 5.5" instead and then do your sub cuts at 4.5" and 3.25" it should use less fabric and still give you the number of pieces needed. Unless Lee gives us different directions.

    Reply
    • Kathy Grom
      Kathy Grom says:

      When I sub cut what I have, I am 13 short on the 3.25" pieces and the leftovers from the wider strips are just not big enough to get any more smaller pieces. Glad I could help you make it work.

      Reply
  11. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Hi ladies – according to my calculations, if you cut 4.5" and 3.25" wide strips, you should be able to get 7 strips 4.5" wide and 7 strips 3.25" wide from 1.5 yards of fabric, correct? And then you should be able to subcut 8 5.5" pieces from each strip, which gives you 56 pieces of each size (one extra of each size). Granted, this leaves practically no room for error, and now that I'm thinking about it, if you pre-wash your fabric you may end up not having quite enough of the white? : ( I'm so sorry about that, that's my bad – I don't ever pre-wash so I wasn't thinking about it. I probably should have asked Amanda to cut an extra 1/8 of a yard or something to make up the difference. If anybody is short a few strips of Kona White because of my mistake, send me an email and I will mail you some – I've got a whole bolt! : )

    Reply
    • Marci Girl
      Marci Girl says:

      This is what I did, and your math is correct, but you have to be sure to only cut 7 strips of each instead of 8. Also take off only the necessary selvedge (don't be generous) otherwise those last two that are cut will be slightly short.

      Reply
  12. Rebekah
    Rebekah says:

    Hi Lee – very new quilter question. How often do you square up your fabric when you're cutting these blocks?

    Thanks for such a gorgeous quilt along!

    Rebekah

    Reply
  13. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Hey Lee, thanks for hosting such a fabo QAL! I'm using fat quarters for the whole quilt, even for the designated white pieces. My head is trying to figure out why I would need some pieces 4.5" x 5.5" and some 3.25" x 5.5" because when I look at your illustration all of the white pieces look the same size. I just wanted to confirm for those white sections I need 55 of each? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Hi Molli – I know, it's weird – my advice is, don't try to get your head around it just yet. : ) It will all become clear in time, LOL. It's because of the way we're strip-piecing rectangular blocks and then cutting triangles from those rectangles. They'll all end up the same size triangles, but having some pieces 4.5" wide and some 3.25" saves fabric.

      As far as the number of pieces, the number of white doesn't change whether you're doing FQs or not. You still need 55 pieces of each size no matter what. Using FQs changes the number of the colored background pieces, but not the white. Again, I know that seems weird, but it will all make sense in time. Hopefully. : )

      Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Oops, I replied to Three Sisterz via email but forgot to post it here! The info about the light-value prints is in the cutting post from last week. Maybe you missed it – here's what the cutting post says:

      1. Start by choosing a dark- or medium-value print for the "petals." Once you've decided on a petal color, take the 25" wide section of that print and cut 2 strips 2.75" x 25" (for a full block), or 1 strip 2.75" x 25" (for a half-block).

      2. Select a background color that looks good with the petal color chosen in step 1. If you selected a dark-value print in step 1, choose a medium or light value for the background. If you chose a medium-value print in step 1, stick with a light value for the background.

      3. Once you've selected your background color, cut 3 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a half-block). If you're cutting from a medium-value print, be sure to cut these pieces from the 18" wide section! Reserve the 25" wide section for cutting the long strips for the petals.

      4. Keep the petal strips and background pieces for each block grouped together, so that you're all ready for piecing next week. One way to stay organized is to safety-pin the pieces together, or keep them in ziploc bags.

      So as you can see, you're choosing dark and medium values for the petal strips, medium or light values for the colored background pieces. Let me know if you have any further questions, and you can find the rest of the cutting post at http://www.freshlypieced.com/2013/04/bloom-bloom-pow-quilt-along-cutting.html.

      Reply
  14. Heather S.
    Heather S. says:

    I got halfway through cutting and realized that I am a genius, and cut 24 inch strips instead of 25 inch strips. I know there is some fabric waste due to the way the triangles are cut, but do you think there is enough to cover my strips that are 1 inch too short? I would hate to waste all the work I've done so far and would prefer to avoid piecing in 1 inch sections!

    Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Hi Heather – I did build a small amount of extra into those strips, so you might be able to get away with it, but if so, it's going to be REALLY close! I would recommend trying out one block and seeing if it works. If it doesn't, than I would suggest cutting each triangle maybe a half-inch shorter than what I recommend – so you would cut on the 6.5" line on your triangle ruler instead of the 7" line. Or if you're using the template, slice 1/2" off the bottom of the template. By doing that, you'll get a slightly smaller quilt, but I think everything will work out anyway. One person in the quilt-along accidentally cut her triangles an inch short and her quilt still worked out (although it was smaller). Good luck!

      Reply
    • Heather S.
      Heather S. says:

      In case anyone else has the same issue, I was able to get the full 7" triangles even with the 24" strips. I found I just had to be careful where I placed the strips when sewing the strip units together. Instead of following the directions and sewing with about 1.5" offset, I had to use exactly a 1.25 inch offset on the right side and was able to make it work.

      Reply
  15. Marci Girl
    Marci Girl says:

    I just laid out my quilt before I stitch the whole top together and I had a half block left over, I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I came here and see that it says for a Throw Quilt you need 6 half blocks, but in reality you only need 5….I think. Three for one end and two for the other. I looked at some finished quilts and I think that is what I counted. Thanks Lee, if I'm wrong you can just delete this comment! LOL

    Reply
    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Oh wow, you're absolutely right! I don't know how that happened. I must have typed it in wrong in the blog post, because I didn't have a half-block left over when I made my version! LOL. I'll fix it right now. Thanks for catching that! : )

      Reply

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