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BH3 Tips & A New Layout

BH3 Tips & A New Layout

Written by: 
Carrie Nelson

Are you caught up?  Are you making all of your blocks the same size - or mixing it up?

Me?  Not caught up.  Making blocks without a plan - and rather enjoying it. 

Are you in the Block Heads Facebook Group?  They're making some beautiful blocks!  As are the Block Heads on Instagram - the pictures here are from #modablockheads3

BH3 Moda Block Heads Hashtag

Tips!  One of the discussions in the Block Heads FB group was about starch - should you use it?  Does it help? 

Lisa Bongean is a dedicated "starcher", especially if you love the kind of tiny piecing that she does.  This is what Lisa wrote:

I never used to starch my fabrics because the starch was made from corn and if the quilt was never washed, bugs could eat the starch which is on the fabric, thus creating holes in your quilt.  So I used Magic Sizing because it wasn't plant-based.  Today I starch with Heavy Faultless or Niagara which is about $1.00 a can - and they can be recycled. 

I saturate the fabrics until they're completely wet, then hang them to dry.  I also use a Spray Grip on the top of the can to make it easy to spray - I get these at the hardware store for about $5.00.  When the fabric is dry, I press it with steam and I'm ready to cut.

The benefit of starching is that it shrinks the fabric like pre-washing would, and I want that.  I don't want any shrinkage while I'm piecing and pressing.  Note - pre-cuts like Jelly Rolls shrink in length so they'll still have the 2-1/2" width.  Charm squares will also shrink in width so the length will stay at 5" but the width will shrink as much as a skinny 1/4".

Starching also lets me check reds, purples and navy for bleeding because I'll starch on a white towel.  But I have never had any of my Moda Fabrics bleed, including the dark, saturated colors. 

After it's pressed, the fabric will be nice and stiff for running through the machine.  The pieces will be like little paint chips but they'll soften as you piece the quilt together.  And the back of your blocks/quilt will not have a stringy mess of threads on it, the fabric stays intact.

BH3 Blocks by Susan J Grant

These blocks are by Susan Grant on Instagram.

I am also a long-time starcher and I have used almost every starch and non-starch alternative at one point or another.  For a number of reasons, I can no longer use aerosol cans so I have been trying non-aerosol products.  I like June Tailor Quilter's Starch Savvy, and I have also been using Niagara's Non-Aerosol Spray Starch.  I've also been experimenting with Sta-Flo and the old-fashioned, home-made version made with "cheap vodka" and water.  There are pros and cons of all of these productsand what I know for sure is that I will keep starching my fabrics and I will use one of these non-aerosol products.

Like Lisa, I really like Best Press and I save it for things I want to smell pretty.  And Flatter!  It smells so good it's tempting to actually taste it - if you doubt me, smell Pineapple Grove.

Layouts - we have a new version to share. (Thank you, Natalie!)

BH3 Layout Option 4

This is BH3 Layout No. 4 - it has two options, both in a straight setting.  Option 1 measures 64" x 72" and requires 73 blocks.  Option 2 is the same size but only needs 67 blocks.  Both use a mix of all four size blocks, with about half the blocks being 6" finished. 

BH3 Blocks by Elaine Farquhar

These blocks are by Elaine Farquhar on Instagram - she's already got a start on the extra blocks. 

Two last things - links to blocks!

Moda Block Heads 3 - Archive.  This will be updated every Wednesday morning to include the link to that week's Designer's blog post with the instructions.  Then it will be updated on Monday to include the direct link to the block instructions. 

Block Heads 2!  When she finished her Block Heads 2 quilt last year, Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique blogged about her quilt and included a list of the links to all 52 blocks and the alternates.  You can find that here - Block Heads 2: The Finish Line.

BH2 by Vanessa Goertzen

Isn't Vanessa's Block Heads 2 quilt beautiful?

We're back tomorrow with Block 9 from Vanessa - I bet it's going to be good.