Breaking News: Molli Sparkles Blogjacks Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Oh, that. is. right.–and it is about to get crazy, sexy, cool in this part of the Internets. For those that haven’t met me yet (such a rare breed you are), my name is Molli B. Sparkles, and it is such a pleasure to make your sparkly acquaintance. I normally blog around the corner at, but today I’ve blogjacked Freshly Pieced. Don’t worry, Lee is perfectly safe: I’ve got her tied up over at my place (velvet handcuffs, of course!) She’s entranced by the 37 mirrored disco balls I have rotating in my bedroom. She’ll be fiiiiine. I’ve left Ace of Base’s The Sign on repeat just so she doesn’t get bored. Well, now that she’s out of the way, I can show you what I’ve been working on? Ready? Good, I thought you’d never ask. (And I’ve got news about a quilt-along and a giveaway down below, so stick around until the end!)

Earlier this year, Lee hosted a quilt along called Bloom Bloom Pow (BBP). I think she got the name from some group called the Black Eye Sees? They are so 2011, so whatevs, what you need to know is that this was my first QAL, and I immediately knew I was going to use my rainbow, batik bundle for it. Batiks, don’t even get me started. I am an equal opportunity quilter, so all fabrics are welcome at my house.
I recently finished the front, but it was the back that set my hotpants on fire. You see, the BBP left quite a few scraps behind. Now, I’m not a total Greeny, but I just could not throw these pieces of fabric deliciousness away, so I saved them for the back. From the outset I knew the back would be as important as the front and it has been slowly and improvisationally evolving. I got the main back panel piece finished this past week (before I left for Tokyo–now that’s a whole other story), so I guess it’s time to follow the rainbow.
It is all scraps. My goal was for it to look like that last, explosive bloom of fireworks that comes right at the end of the celebration. There’s still some additions to be made, but this is the hard yards. Here you have a detail of that scrappy craziness. Bias-wha!? Ain’t no bias gonna stop Molli B. Sparkles! Mmm hmmm. Check!


You might say I am a Rainbow Queen. I like high volume, turn those speakers out, type of situations. (The Sign must be on its 17th repeat by now, I’m sure Lee is loving it). This piece was also assembled from the Bloom Bloom Pow scraps, and it will be attached to the bottom of that giant plume of colour. I’m thinking reflections on the river, embers falling into the darkness. You dig?
Oh, dear, I haven’t even showed you the actual Bloom Bloom Pow quilt TOP yet. Well, now you can really see the fireworks inspiration, as I tried to use every bright piece of that rainbow, batik bundle, combined with dark outer pieces that make a collage of blacks for the night sky. I owe Lee a debt of gratitude for hosting this QAL because it allowed me a jumping off point to stretch my glittery, fairy wings.
What kind of quilter would I be if I was only working on one thing though? I mean, really, who does that? Not me, that’s for damn sure! To assist, I’ve put my Quilt Bee minions to work on assembling Union Jack blocks. Hopefully by the end of the year these will be a quilt for my soon-to-be thirteen year old daughter. (Hey, Lee, while you’ve got your jam on, can you just whip me up a few of these as well?) I created the tutorial to make these blocks and you can find it on my blog. It’s an anatomically correct, non-paper pieced Union Jack block. Yes, the tutorial is thirteen pages long, but I promise you, if you follow the instructions, it is easy, peasy, cheesy Cover Girl! Pose!

Okay, now I wasn’t going to show you this, because it goes against everything I believe in, and my whole high volume philosophy. For the regular readers of my blog, you would know about The Quilt That Never Was, where I basically costed the production of a quilt for a work colleague and realized it would break her bank, and my fingers if I did it for that cost. The initial design concept was a scrappy Trip Around the World, done in all tone-on-tone whites. The complete opposite of high volume, one might even call it “no volume.” (Thanks, Anne!)
I made a few test blocks for the client, but after determining the cost, I shut the project down. Except, I couldn’t. These blocks enthralled me, called my name (“Oooh, Mollllliiiiii…”), and left me begging for more. Hell, it left my readers begging for more. (“Please Molli, can I have some more?”) I can’t deny it, this is a quilt that needs to be made. And so, I’ve committed, and I’ve made two more blocks. If anyone has any white tone-on-tone 2.5” x 16” strips they’d like to send me, or trade for something else, I’d gladly accept! (Now who’s asking for more?!)
To take this concept one Louboutin heel further, I am keeping track of the entire production cost of this quilt. Each and every fabric and thread, every minute worked, including travel and design times, as well as shipping, and long arm fees. I’m scaling it down to a lap sized quilt, and once complete it will be available to purchase: for it’s actual cost, plus margin. No, it won’t be expensive, it will be true. If no one wants to purchase, I’m totally fine with that, and I will love it to death. If they do, maybe I’ll start a new trend in quilt costing and us quilters can finally be paid what we are bloody worth. Can I get an “Amen!”?!?


Finally–oh, don’t even act like your WiP list isn’t longer than this–I’ve got a little event called the Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along (MSBHQAL, for short) that started on Monday.  Us, MSBHQAL-ers are using Anne from Play-Crafts Broken Herringbone tutorial to make all sorts of fabulousness. This is a fly by the seat of your pants QAL, so make sure your booty is well supported because we’re gonna shimmy-shimmy shake-shake til we can’t make-make no more. And well, here are some blocks I have made.
To kick off the first week of the QAL, I’m giving away a Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along Bundle (MSBHQALB, for short). To enter to win this fabric deliciousness (3.33 yards!), simply make a broken herringbone block, send me a photo to prove you’ve done so, and then comment on the QAL announcement post. I’ll be randomly picking a winner on Monday, so you’ve still got some major time. If you love the block, why don’t you make a few more and join us on our MSBHQAL? You’ll end up with something along the lines of this baby quilt I made earlier in the year.

Okay, so that’s it. I mean, for sure I have a few other WiPs hiding in closets and under the bed, but unless Lee has broken free and put herself to work on them, we’re gonna pretend they don’t exist … for now. To recap: Sparkleworks, Union Jacks, No Volume Scrappy Trips, and Broken Herringbones is what I’ve got cookin’ up in my sparkly studio.

Now it’s your turn. You know the rules, link up below.
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).

2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)


3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

What is that manic screaming I hear? Oh Lourdes of the Madonna, that is definitely Lee coming down the street, and she doesn’t sound so, um, happy to see me! I better skedaddle! I hope you enjoyed this hijacking, and make sure to check me out in my own ‘hood Sparkles and love always–Molli.


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Bloom Bloom Pow: Finished Quilt!

It’s time! Time to finish your Bloom Bloom Pow quilt and show it off! : )
Bloom Bloom Pow - doneI’m so pleased with how this quilt turned out! It really did come out exactly how I pictured it. That doesn’t happen all that often. : )
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And I want to thank everyone who quilted along with me! It made it even more fun than it would have been. And I am SO very impressed with the Bloom Bloom Pow quilts you guys have come up with! Here are just a few of the gorgeous quilts that have popped up in my Flickr group recently:
Butterfly Bloom Bloom Pow!
Top done
Top is pieced

Close up of my quilt

As always, I love seeing how a pattern of mine served as a jumping off point for others’ creativity. : )

Thank you again for making this quilt-along so much fun. Enjoy your Bloom Bloom Pow quilts!

Quilt-Along Posts:



Bloom Bloom Pow: Almost There!

I can’t believe we’re already on the last step of the BBP quilt-along. It went crazy fast, didn’t it? But that means it’s time to quilt! You’ll have a finished BBP in no time!

The first step is trimming the excess from the edges in order to square up the top.
Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing

To do this, I took my longest ruler (24″) and lined it up along the edge of each block. I just made sure the edge of the ruler intersected with the narrowest point of each block along the edge of the quilt, while the bottom raw edge of the quilt top remained perpendicular to the edge I was trimming (as shown). If your piecing was accurate, this method should give you a nice square quilt top, but you will probably want to square up again after quilting either way.

Once the top is trimmed, it’s time to make your quilt back. This is a great opportunity to use some of the scraps from your Bloom Bloom Pow bundle! (Although I think the Pearl Bracelet prints are great scrappy additions to other projects as well, so they might be worth saving and stashing for future use.)

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting
You could also incorporate into the back any extra blocks you may have made, or maybe even the zig-zaggy waste scraps that were created when you cut out your triangles (shown above). They would probably have to be appliqued onto the back, but it is an option for the really ambitious. : )

Now you’re ready to baste and quilt.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing
When it comes to quilting a top made up entirely of triangles, I don’t think anything can beat the look of straight-line quilting that follows the angles created by the triangle seams. And with the busyness of the piecing in this design, I thought simpler would be best. So I quilted straight lines about a quarter-inch out from each side of the triangle seams—just like I did with my triangle baby quilt a few months back.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing
For straight-line quilting, you’ll want a walking foot, and I think the quilting gloves normally used for free-motion quilting are very helpful for straight lines as well. Straight lines also require a good grasp on the quilt, and the gloves make that a lot more comfortable!

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing

I started by quilting along the horizontal seams created when the rows were joined. Roll each side of your quilt up toward the center, so that you can start quilting in the center and work your way out toward each edge.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing

Once you’re done with those horizontal rows, quilting from the center out isn’t quite as important, since you already have evenly distributed quilting that holds all the layers in place. So when quilting the angled seams, roll the quilt from one corner, following the angle you’ll be sewing. Re-roll the quilt each time you start a new seam.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing
From the back, this quilting makes a very cool hexagon/honeycomb pattern.

If you like a more densely-quilted look, another option can be found today on Lady Harvatine’s blog. She’s currently running her own Log Pyramid quilt-along and is showing another great way to echo the triangle piecing, which would work just as well for Bloom Bloom Pow as it does for her Log Pyramid design. Check it out!

The final step, of course, is to bind. I haven’t made it that far yet, but I’m currently trying to decide between a scrappy binding (made up of my Pearl Bracelet leftovers), or white to match the background.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Quilting and finishing

Next week I’m going to do one final round-up post, featuring a few pictures of some finished Bloom Bloom Pows from the quilt-along, and a linky so that you can explore all of each others’ creations! That will be next week, Thursday, May 9—and no, you don’t have to have a finished quilt to link up. Feel free to link up whatever stage of completion you’ve reached by then. Or wait and link up later, whenever your quilt is done. Whatevs, it’s your call! And hopefully I’ll have better, completely finished shots of my quilt by that time. It’s another windy, gray day around here today, not at all conducive to quilt photo shoots, but maybe springtime will make it’s return by linky day. : )

And thank you, everyone, for quilting along with me, it’s been so much fun! Can’t wait to see all of your finished (or almost finished) quilts next 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)

Bloom Bloom Pow: Finishing the Top

Welcome back to the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! Today’s an exciting day, because we’re going to take all those triangles we cut last time and sew them together into a finished quilt top! You’ll finally get to see some results after all this work, which is always a good moment. : )


Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing

The very first thing we’re going to do is sew like-colored triangles together into groups of three. We’re going to do this before we worry about our layout, which is unusual, of course. But like colors will be together in the final quilt layout anyway, so by piecing them into groups of three first, we’ll have fewer pieces to worry about when we put the quilt up on the design board (or down on the design floor, in my case).
Piecing equilateral triangles really isn’t hard once you get the hang of it, and if you know a few tricks, which fortunately I’m about to share with you today. : ) So grab a group of three same-colored triangles and let’s jump right in.
Piecing the half-hexagons:
IMG_21Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing00
1. Arrange the three triangles so that the darker “petals” radiate out like spokes, as shown.
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
2. Working from left to right, pair up the triangle on the far left with the middle triangle, right sides together, as shown. Just line up these first two triangles neatly, corners matched.

Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing

Any time you’re matching up a pointed corner with a notched corner, it should look like the picture above. The sides of the pieces should still line up—the pointed corner should just look like a continuation of the notched corner.
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
3. Sew a 1/4″ seam along the right-hand side of the matched-up triangles, as shown.
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
4. Press seam allowances open. Now it should look like this. You’ve sewn your first two triangles together!
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
Hey, see these little triangles that are sticking out, now that you’ve sewn the first seam? They’re called dog ears. Don’t trim them off! I know it’s tempting, but you’re going to use them as a guide when you add the next triangle.
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
5. Next, add the third triangle by laying it on top of the middle triangle, right sides together, as shown. You’re going to line up the bottom corner of this triangle with that lower dog ear.
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
6. Sew a 1/4″ seam along that right-hand side, just like we did for the first seam. If everything was cut and aligned correctly, your 1/4″ seam should go right through the intersection where the dog ear meets the straight edge of the first triangle, as shown above. See that? If your seam hits right at that sweet spot, your triangles will line up perfectly. (If your seam didn’t quite make it to that spot, no worries. This is actually a pretty forgiving block, since there are so few seams that actually need to line up. Close enough is good enough!)
Bloom Bloom Pow Triangle Piecing
7. You should now have a half-hexagon that looks very much like this. These half-hexagons will be sewn together in straight horizontal rows to make up the quilt top. So whatever you do, do not piece these triangles together into full hexagon groups of 6! You’ll make things a whole lot harder on yourself if you do—half-hexagons allow you to piece the top together in rows, while making full hexagons would require Y seams. Nobody wants that. LOL.

So just keep sewing those triangles together into groups of three until all the triangles have been turned into half-hexagons. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to actually lay out your quilt top!
Piecing the rows:
Bloom Bloom Pow: Piecing the Triangles
This is the fun part! You’re going to take all those half-hexagons and come up with a final layout. This part is really up to you—if you’re using Pearl Bracelets, you can follow my color scheme above, or you can do your own thing. It’s up to you!
Whatever you do, here are a few guidelines for deciding on a layout:- There’s no wrong answer! Much like the light and dark value/color pairings that you decided on earlier in the quilt-along, this part of the quilt-along is entirely personal preference. The ideal layout is the one that you like. : )
– I tried to distribute light/dark values and warm/cool colors as evenly as possible across the quilt. I also tried to keep like colors from touching each other. That’s not always possible, but I tried my best!
– Take a picture and convert it to black and white to check value placement—much like we did in the design strategy post when we were deciding on our light/dark value pairings. Darker and lighter blocks should be scattered evenly across the quilt top.
1. Once you’re satisfied with your layout, it’s time to sew the top together! (You might want to snap a picture of your layout before you start, just in case the layout gets mixed up, your dog walks across it, etc.) You’re going to work your way across the quilt, piecing straight horizontal rows.
Bloom Bloom Pow: Piecing the Triangles
2. To piece two half-hexagons together horizontally, it works very much the same way as piecing the triangles did earlier. Grab your first two half-hexies from the top row.

Bloom Bloom Pow: Piecing the Triangles
3. Lay them out, right sides together, along the seam to be sewn, as shown. Again, align the corners of the triangles and sew a 1/4″ seam along the raw edges (where the pins are in the photo above).


Bloom Bloom Pow: Piecing the Triangles
Again, your seam should hit right where the straight triangle edge meets the dog ear. Sometimes, if you’re dealing with a notched triangle edge (as is the case in the photo above), there won’t be two dog ears to line up, but it still should be fairly obvious where the dog ear would have been if it weren’t for that notch. That spot is where the seam should go through.


Bloom Bloom Pow: Piecing the Triangles
4. The pair of pieced half-hexagons should look something like this when you’re done. Keep on piecing those half-hexagons together to create the horizontal rows.


Putting the rows together

Bloom Bloom Pow: Sewing the rows together

Now that your rows are pieced, all you have to do is put the horizontal rows together to create the top.


Bloom Bloom Pow: Sewing the rows together

1. Put two rows together, raw edges aligned, right sides together. When the two rows are neatly lined up, I pull back the top layer just a bit at each place where seams come together in a point, as shown above. I do this to make sure points are matched up, as shown above. Ideally, you want your points to touch, and when you sew the seam, your seam should go right through the point. Pin right through the points when everything is lined up the way you want it.


Bloom Bloom Pow: Sewing the rows together

2. I highly recommend using a walking foot or dual-feed foot to sew your rows together. There are two reasons for this. One is that you’ll find there is a lot of seam bulk in certain spots along the rows, so a walking foot or dual-feed foot will help you get over that bulk. The other reason is that a walking foot doesn’t push the fabric as you sew, which makes it easier to force seams to line up in certain places along a long seam like this. I have the quarter-inch dual-feed foot for my Janome 7700 and use it for piecing in situations like this all the time. Another hint is to leave the pins in place as you are sewing, taking them out at the last minute (or don’t take them out at all—I sew right over pins and have never had a problem with it).


And that’s it! Keep sewing those rows together until you have a completed top. Next week, I’ll show you how to trim the top so that it has straight edges, and we’ll talk about different quilting, finishing, and binding options. And that’s it for this QA! I can hardly believe we’re already almost done already!


It’s been so much fun quilting along with you lovely people, and I can’t wait to see all of your finished creations. In fact, I’m planning to feature some of your projects here on my blog—I may run photos of finished tops and quilts, or I’ll host a linky so that people can show off their work and check out others’. I haven’t decided exactly how to do it just yet, so if you have any thoughts, please share! In the meantime, enjoy piecing your triangles, and I can’t wait to see you all back here next week for the final QA post! : )


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)

WIP Wednesday: My Colorful Week

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What I’ve been working on this week:Bloom Bloom Pow in progress

Still lots of triangles to cut in time for tomorrow’s Bloom Bloom Pow QA post.

Quilting in progress

Doing a little straight-line quilting on my Diamond Tread quilt.

New fabric pull

And I’m thinking this fabric pull will need to become something very soon.

Is there something you would like to share with the rest of the class? Here’s how:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP). 2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links.

And have a fabulous week!



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Bloom Bloom Pow: Cutting the Triangles

Aaaand we’re back to the Bloom Bloom Pow quilt-along—it’s time to cut your triangles!

Bloom Bloom Pow blocks
This is the fun part (I think). : )

First, you will need either a 60-degree equilateral triangle ruler or this template. I highly recommend investing in a ruler—any 60-degree triangle ruler with finished triangles up to 7″ and a vertical center line will work (but I love this one right here). You’ll be cutting a lot of these triangles, so if you use the template, edges may get shaved off as you cut, eventually distorting the triangle shape. And I promise you will use a triangle ruler for plenty of other things, not just this quilt-along! Triangle quilts are very popular right now, after all. So think about picking up a ruler before you start.

If you are going to use the template, click here to download the template. Download it to your computer from Google Docs before you print it. Open the file in Adobe Acrobat and print out the template with no scaling. (Make sure “Actual size” is checked or “Fit to Page” is unchecked, or set scaling to 100%—and don’t print the PDF directly from Google Docs, as the size may not print accurately). Cut out the printed template and adhere it to cardboard, or trace it onto template plastic and cut out the template plastic. (One advantage of template plastic—and, of course, a ruler—is that it is transparent, which will come into play in just a moment when we start cutting.)

Bloom Bloom Pow - Piecing
Okay, now we’re ready to start cutting! Get out one of your pieced blocks.

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting
Place your ruler or template on the far right side of the block, as shown above.
• The 7″ mark of your ruler (or the bottom edge of your template) should be aligned with the bottom raw edge of the block.
• The center vertical line that goes down the middle of the triangle ruler or template should be aligned with the vertical seam in the block—a colored background piece should be to the left of that center line, and a white piece should be to the right of the line. (This is where a transparent template, such as a ruler or template plastic, becomes very helpful!)
• As you can see from the photo above, the tip of your triangle ruler or template does not need to touch the darker petal strip at the top of the block.

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting
Now take a deep breath and cut around your ruler or template. : ) Yes, it’s an awkward angle for cutting, but there’s really no way around that. You can always turn the whole thing (both the pieced block and your ruler or template) in whatever direction works best for you.

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting
When you’re done cutting that first triangle, simply turn your ruler or template upside down and move it to the left, to the next vertical seam over. Place the ruler or template on the fabric, this time aligning the 7″ mark on your triangle ruler with the top raw edge of the block, and the center vertical line on the ruler or template with the vertical seam.

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting

And turn your ruler/template over again to cut the third triangle. Continue in this way, working your way across the strip-pieced block, from right to left. From a full pieced block (made from 25″ strips), you should be able to cut 6 triangles (which together will make one full Bloom Bloom Pow block).

Bloom Bloom Pow - cutting the triangles

One thing to note—see that little notch cut out of the lower right corner of the triangle behind the ruler? You will get that as you cut these triangles—but don’t worry, that little notch is completely fine. As long as it’s not much bigger than what you see in the photo above, the notch will be caught in your seam allowances later and you’ll never even know that it’s there. It’s similar to the tip of the triangle being cut off on the ruler. No worries!

Bloom Bloom Pow: Cutting the triangles
But this is something to worry about. As you’re cutting your triangles, do NOT continue the cut straight across the block and off the other edge. Go completely around the ruler or template with no excess cuts, as I did in the orange blocks above. I didn’t do that in the picture of the blue block here, and you can see that the results are problematic! If you cut them that way, when you turn the ruler around and try to cut the next triangle, you will end up with a big chunk missing from a lower corner of the triangle (as shown in the photo above). Which means you won’t get enough triangles out of your block sets.

Bloom Bloom Pow triangle cutting
If you have the shorter fat-quarter-friendly pieced blocks, the cutting works the same way, except that you will only get three triangles from each pieced block instead of 6. As you can see, once again you’ll get a bit of a notch cut out of the lower left corners of some of the triangles you’re cutting. This is fine—the notch will be caught in the seam allowances later.

I think that’s it! From each full block set, cut 6 triangles, and from each shorter block set, cut three triangles. Be sure to keep your triangle sets together and organized, since they’ll be sewn together into blocks next week. So exciting! Be back here same time next week. : )

And don’t forget, you can post pictures of your progress and check out everybody else’s Bloom Bloom Pow quilts in my Flickr group! It’s a big part of the fun of a quilt-along, so get over there! : )

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)

Bloom Bloom Pow: Let’s Start Piecing!

Welcome back to the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! Are you all ready to do some piecing? This week we’re going to be piecing large rectangular-ish sections. Next week, we’ll be cutting triangles from these large sections.

This week is going to be sooooo easy, you’ll have plenty time on your hands to work on your other WIPs! So let’s get started—I’m going to give two sets of instructions here. One set of instructions is for when you are making full blocks from 25″ long petal strips. The other set of instructions is for when you’re using 18″ strips, or if you’re making a half-block from 25″ strips.

I recommend doing your piecing block-by-block, just like you did with the cutting, rather than assembly-line style, so you don’t get confused about color placement or anything.

Piecing full blocks with 25″ strips

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing

1. Start with three 4.5″ x 5.5″ background pieces, two 4.5″ x 5.5″ white pieces, and two 3.25″ x 5.5″ white pieces. Lay out your pieces in the following order, as shown in the photo. The order of the pieces is very important! Don’t mix them up!

2. Sew these pieces together with 1/4″ seams, in order, to create one long strip that measures about 26″ long. Press seams open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing
3. Now grab one of the two 25″ long strips that will make the petals. Lay the petal strip out along the pieced background strip as shown, right sides together, with the petal strip aligned with the top edge and offset about 1.5″ to the left. (This offset is important in order to get enough triangles out of the completed block. And the top strip must always be offset to the left and bottom strip must always be offset to the right!)

Bloom Bloom Pow - piecing
4. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, pressing open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - Piecing
5. Lay the other 25″ petal strip out along the bottom edge of the pieced background strip. Again, these should be right sides together and offset about 1.5″ to the right.

Bloom Bloom Pow - Piecing
6. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, pressing open. I know, it looks crazy, but this is exactly what you want—don’t trim or square up! Keep it just like this!

That’s it! You now have the basis for one Bloom Bloom Pow block. In the next step, you’ll be cutting 6 triangles out of this one block, and those 6 triangles will form one Bloom Bloom Pow hexagon.

So keep going—piece one of these units for each full block in the quilt. You’ll need 14 of these units for the baby size quilt, 25 of them for the throw size. (If you weren’t able to cut enough 25″ strips for all your full blocks, follow the instructions below to make two half blocks, which equals one full block.)

Piecing with 18″ strips (full or half-blocks)

If you are using 18″ strips, you’ll use these instructions to make sections from which you can cut 3 triangles. A full Bloom Bloom Pow hexagon block requires 6 triangles. So if you’re making a full hexagon, you’ll need to piece two identical sections from the instructions below in order to cut 6 triangles. If you’re making a hexagon half-block, you’ll only need one of the pieced sections from the instructions below, because you’ll only need three triangles. Clear as mud? : )

 Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing
1. Start with two 4.5″ x 5.5″ background pieces, one 4.5″ x 5.5″ white piece, and one 3.25″ x 5.5″ white piece. Lay out your pieces in the following order, as shown in the photo. (The order is very important, so don’t mix it up! All of your pieced sections must start with a colored background piece and end with a narrower white piece!)

2. Sew these pieces together with 1/4″ seams, in order, to create one long strip that measures about 15″ long. Press seams open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing
3. Now grab one of the two 18″ long strips that will make the petals. Lay one 18″ petal strip out along the bottom edge of the pieced background strip as shown, right sides together. Align the petal strip with the left side of the pieced strip, but you should have at least 1″ of overhang on the right side (maybe more).

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing
4. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, pressing open.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing
5. Take another 18″ petal strip and cut it in half, so that you have two strips about 9″ long. Set one of those 9″ strips aside for the other half of the block (assuming you’re making a full block). Lay out the 9″ strip long the top of the pieced background strip, again with right sides together. This time, the 9″ strip should be centered above the two middle background pieces, as shown in the photo.

Bloom Bloom Pow - 18" piecing
6. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, pressing open. This one looks really crazy and wrong, doesn’t it? It’s not, it’s perfect!

7. If you’re making a full block, repeat the instructions above so that you have two identical pieced sections. You will cut 3 triangles out of each of these pieced sections.

Piecing half-blocks with 25″ strips
Follow the 18″ instructions above, but cut your 25″ strips into two pieces—16″ long and 9″ long. Use the 16″ strip in place of the 18″ strip (16″ will be long enough—I used a 16″ strip in the photos above). One pieced section from the instructions above will yield 3 triangles.

As always, don’t forget to post pictures of your progress in my Flickr group! You can join the Bloom Bloom Pow group on Threadbias as well, for another place to discuss the QA and post pictures. Next week is the really fun part—cutting the triangles! See you back here for that next 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)

WIP Wednesday: Teeny Tiny

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Here’s what’s happening in my world this week.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen lots of pictures of this project, in which I attempted to answer the question of “How tiny is too tiny?” when it comes to paper-piecing.
Tiny paper piecing!
The answer: This is actually not too tiny! Surprised me too. : ) Yet another reason why paper-piecing is a beautiful thing. : ) I’ll be blogging about this very special project—which measures just 5 1/2″ square finished—in the next couple of days.

Result of tiny paper piecing

And let’s not forget Bloom Bloom Pow! Tomorrow I’ll be posting the instructions for strip-piecing your blocks. These blocks are a lot of fun, so I can’t wait to show you how to start putting them together.

Bloom Bloom Pow blocks

Let’s see what you’re working on! Here’s how:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP). 2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. This is the best part! Check in on your sewing and blogging friends for an update on their projects, and find new friends to follow! Don’t forget to leave some encouragement for others, blog comments make everyone’s day better!Have a great week!


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Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along: Cutting Your Fabric

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)

Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along: Planning Your Design

Welcome to the first post of the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! I’m so excited to get started! (More information about this quilt-along can be found in the Introductory post.)

One of my favorite things about quilt-alongs is not that you don’t just learn how to cut up your fabric and piece it back together again—you can also learn about design. And design, of course, really happens in the planning stages. So that’s what we’re going to discuss today—how to plan our your quilt and combine fabrics to make the most of this particular design. Really fun stuff for design nerds like me. : )

(I know many of you purchased a Bloom Bloom Pow fabric bundle, which means you have exactly the same fabric as me. If you’re planning to mimic my quilt and color placement, this design-planning post probably isn’t crucial for you. But if you want to make any changes to my design, such as the colors used, prints used, or color placement within the quilt, this post will give you a framework for doing just that!)

Probably the single most important element to think about in this quilt is value. (Just in case you don’t know, value refers to how light or dark a fabric is.) In this quilt, value makes the “flower petals” (the spoke-like things) pop out at the viewer, while the shaded background recedes and gives the flowers a bit of depth. So, regardless of whether you’re using Pearl Bracelets or any other line of fabric, it’s crucial that you get a handle on the value of the fabrics you’re using.

Let’s start by looking at this lovely photo of my Bloom Bloom Pow quilt bundle, available from Westwood Acres. (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)

I think it makes sense to group the fabric as follows: Dark, Medium, or Light. With the subtler print of the Pearl Bracelets line, I think it’s fairly clear which Pearl Bracelet colors fall into which value categories. But a trick I often use to make value easier to spot is to look at a black-and-white picture of fabric or a quilt layout. So here’s the same photo of the Bloom Bloom Pow bundle in black and white. The dark and light values are much more obvious now, aren’t they?

From there I separated the Pearl Bracelet prints into the following groups:

Dark colors
Cosmonaut, Grape Jelly, Persimmon, Watermelon, Swiss Chard, Meyer Lemon, Basil (7 prints).

Medium colors:

Verbena, Frosting, Juniper, Lilac, Pond (5 prints).
Light colors:
Citron, Glacier, Ice Skate, Peach, Cotton Candy (5 prints).
Obviously, value is all a matter of degree. I was on the fence about some of these—Meyer Lemon and Basil could easily have been in the “Medium” category, while Verbena and Frosting could possibly have been “Dark.” Just because I separated mine this way doesn’t mean you have to, so if you’re using Pearl Bracelets but would like to make some changes to your value stacks, I say go for it. : ) And you don’t need to have the same number of prints in each of your groups that I do (7/5/5), although I don’t recommend straying too far from that ratio.
Once you have your fabrics sorted by value, we’ll be using those groups to decide which colors go where in the quilt design. The “darks” will always be flower petals/spokes in the Bloom Bloom Pow design, and “lights” will always be the shaded background in the block. “Mediums” can be used in either spot. Some flower petals/spokes will be medium, and some shaded backgrounds will be medium, depending on what they are paired with.
So the next step is to think about fabric pairings. Each hexagon-shaped flower block is made up of six triangles. Each block has one color for the flower petals (Persimmon in the example above), one color for the shaded background (Peach in the example above), and white. The important thing here is that your flower petals are darker than the shaded background. So, dark flower petals can be combined with a medium or light shaded background, while medium flower petals can be combined only with a light shaded background.
My advice is to try out pairings from your selected fabrics/value groups and see what looks good together. Let’s take Watermelon, for example.
Watermelon looks great paired with Peach …
… or with Cotton Candy.
And as you can see, Cotton Candy looks great with a lot of things—Frosting, Lilac, and Watermelon.
But even when choosing from the correct value groupings, not all pairings may work. For example, Watermelon (dark) paired with Frosting (medium). It sounds yummy enough, but I didn’t think there was enough contrast in that pairing for it to work. (That’s probably because Frosting was one of those borderline colors that could have been either Dark or Medium.)
So that’s it for this week! Check out the fabric you’re planning to use for this quilt, separate it into value stacks, and decide which color pairings do and do not work. Once you do that you’ll be ready to cut your fabric next week! And don’t forget, bundles are still available from Westwood Acres if you want to quilt along with us—the Throw-Size bundle is here, and the Baby-Size bundle is here.

Quilt-Along Schedule

March 21Introduction and fabric requirements
March 28
Design strategy (we’ll just be talking about the big picture here, so you won’t need your fabric yet for this post)
April 4Cutting your fabric
April 11Strip-piecing instructions
April 18Cutting the triangles and deciding on a layout
April 25Piecing the triangles to complete the top
May 2 – Quilting and finishing