Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August Online Guild Activity

Hope you all are enjoying these last few days/weeks of summer!

Our August activity will be a "virtual meeting" instead of an actual gathering. We'll each take the month to create a quilt block (or more than one!) and at the end of the month we'll display them all online together.  Participants will be entered in a drawing to win the all blocks!

Introducing...the Improv Herringbone Block!

I fell in love with this block about 6 months ago online and have been excited to try it. I think it's a perfect guild block because I wouldn't want to make 16+ of these, but one or two is just perfect!


  • The block pattern is the the Improv Herringbone block featured in this tutorial by Amy from 13 Spools.
  • Make one or more blocks, 14-1/2" finished size (15" square). Yes, a slightly odd finished block size, but it made the math easier. I enlarged the blocks, figuring that since these were a little more work, people may be less likely to make multiples. Keep reading to see how this enlargement affects Amy's tutorial.
  • The specifics: Make your block using one main color (I chose turquoise). It's okay for the fabrics to have other colors in them, as long as they "read" your main color. 
  • Cut 1" white strips (I used 6-7 strips for my entire block, to give you an idea).
  • You'll make three herringbone "panels" that are each 5" wide and 15" long and join them with 1" wide white strips. 
Helpful Tips (aka how not do to what I did at first when making this block):
  • Make your life easier; do not try to be a fabric scrooge. Each colored piece you add should be wider than 5". You can work with less, but why wonder if you have enough? 
  • After you add each colored piece to a panel, trim the panel to measure 5-1/4" wide. That gives you some breathing room for when you go to trim at the end. Ditto on the length: Make a panel 15-1/4" long. Because this is improv piecing, you can easily square it up when you're finished. 
  • After all three panels are stitched, trim each to measure 5" wide. Join with 1" wide white strips and then trim the length to measure 15". 
  • I read recently that when you work with narrow strips, it's best to sew fabric to both sides before pressing. I used this technique and it's true! After you sew on a white strip, add the next colored strip before pressing. Your narrow white strips will have less distortion. 
  • The tutorial recommends pressing your seams open. I am not a pressing-the-seams-open person, so I didn't. She also used narrower white strips than we are, so that factors in as well. Press open or to one side, whatever you're more comfortable with.
  • If you start sewing this block and wonder what on earth I've gotten you into, hang in there! The first half of my first panel was slow and clumsy; then I got into a groove and the rest went must more smoothly. And, you can always contact me if you need help. (lequilter at gmail.com or leave a comment below or on Facebook)
  • Submit a photo of the completed block by September 19th.  We want this to be fun and easy, not stressful, so we have several options for submitting your photo.
    • If you have a Flickr account, please post the photo to Flickr, add it to the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild group pool, and tag it GLMQG-Aug13
    • If you have a Facebook account, you may post the picture to the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild facebook page. 
    • You may email your photo to glmodernquilter@gmail.com 
    • If you do not have access to a digital camera, contact me (Lisa) and I will arrange to photograph your block.
  • How to win all the blocks:
    • We are going to draw for a winner of all the blocks at our next live meeting, which is September 21.  You do not need to be present to win.
    • You get your name in the drawing each time you enter a block.  So, if you submit two blocks, your name goes in the drawing twice!
    • Please bring your completed block to the September meeting so all the blocks can be delivered to the winner.  If the winner is not at the meeting, we will mail them to him/her.
    • We'll post the name of the winner here on the blog.  So, if we don't have your email address, check the blog so you can see if you won and can send us your contact information.  (If you are at the meeting, you'll get your blocks on the spot!)
    • If you will not be at the meeting, either
      • Give the block to a friend to bring it for you, or
      • Mail it in.  E-mail us at glmodernquilter@gmail.com, and we'll send you the mailing address where you can send your blocks.
  • That winner must assemble the blocks into a finished quilt before being eligible to win again. Fair enough?
Happy quilting!
Any questions? Leave a comment below. Can't wait to see you all at our 
September meeting! 


  1. Looks like a really fun and interesting challenge, Lisa! I can't wait! Thanks for always keeping us on our toes!

  2. Looks like a fun block. So no specific color requirement just one main color. I can't wait to see all the combinations. Should make for a really fun quilt. I am keeping my fingers crossed so I can win the drawing.

  3. Do we need someone to volunteer for the "rebel" block?