Hello! I hope you're as excited as I am about this month's block. I know we haven't done a curved block yet and it's super scary to a lot of you, but I promise you can do it! Just sew a bit slower, pay a bit more attention, and you too can sew some curves. If you haven't ever sewn a curve, I would start with a drunkards path. It's a single curve, basically a quarter of a circle, and gives you a good base for this block since this is a few curves in a row. Follow the first link below for a drunkards path template to follow, and the second link is a great video to watch of the curve being sewn. Skip these links if you've sewn a curved block before!
Now on to this month's block! It's called Rolling Tide and it's by Alyssa Lichner of Pile o' Fabric. She is a great quilter, has a great online shop (I've ordered quite a few times!), and has absolutely wonderful tutorials. This block uses both a scrappy improv strip and curved seams, so it's two types of practice in one.
Follow the link, and I would advise you to read through the whole tutorial before attempting the block. There are great tips and tricks in there and the photos help a LOT. Please use blues/turquoise for the improv section, and white/off white/low volume for the two solid sections. You trim quite a bit off the block after its sewn so if i seems a bit wonky it's ok. A good starch and iron fixes most of that. After my two finished blocks, I think I have a few of my own tips for you!
First, I know she says smaller, shallower curves are easier, but personally I thought wider, shallower curves were easier for me. My first block I used the first part I cut off to cut my second section as well to make it an even on both sides, river-like, curve. But my second block, I used two different curves, one side with smaller, and one with wider. I thought the wider side was easier.
Second, be careful as you pull the curved pieces. When sewing the curves you pull the pieces towards each other towards either left or right, and when doing so near your improv blocks seams try not to pull too hard or you can pull the block apart! I almost did on my first block. On my second attempt, I pulled using the seam itself, not in front of the seam, so it stayed together better.
Third, when piecing the improv block, try to keep the end pieces a bit on the longer side, maybe 3 or so inches. It makes starting and ending the block easier. Without seams on each end, its easier to pull the pieces towards each other and gives you a bit more stability to hold on to. Obviously this is something I figured out after my second block as my improv seams are close to my edges!!
Fourth, have FUN! This is an improv block, so no worries on the center piece, use vertical seams, diagonal seams, horizontal seams, whatever you see fit. And if it's a bit wonky, that's ok. This is a new block for us! If it's super wonky, maybe try this with a solid center piece to get the hang of it before using your improv section.
Both my blocks together, top was done first