Wednesday, 25 March 2015

IN FLIGHT- Block 6- Swallow (and hints on piecing large blocks)

Can you believe that we are now at the halfway point of the In Flight Quilt-Along.
The Swallow is the sixth bird block. I love the way that it is elegantly hovering, waiting to get into its nest under the eaves of the house.
This is the first block which gives you the choice to do a big or a small block. I made a 12 inch version of the block, using my usual combination of Oakshott Cottons and yarn dyed Essex Linen. I really like the dark colour of this bird and the variations in its colour depending on the way that the light hits the Oakshott Cotton.

For those of you in doubt, I must admit that 24 inch blocks are generally more difficult than 12 inch blocks. I know that many people assume that bigger blocks are easier because there is less faffing around with teeny tiny pieces, but the bigger paper and fabric pieces can be harder to deal with. It can be difficult working out ways to hold the fabric and the paper so that you can manipulate everything into the sewing machine.

My tips for dealing with large scale blocks are:
1. It can be hard finding a way to hold the fabric in place while holding everything up to the light and manipulating it under the sewing machine. Don't be afraid to fold the edges of the paper if you need to so that you can more easily grip the pieces that are towards the centre of the paper.
2. If there are small details towards the centre of a paper piece, consider sewing them first before taping the paper pieces together.
3. Large flaps of fabric can easily swing out of place and become difficult to sew neatly. I strongly recommend that you anchor these to the paper as you work. You may choose to do this using glue stick or pins, the choice is yours.
4. Remember I told you to use basting stitches when sewing papers together? You may wish to baste fabrics to the papers as you sew while working on large scale blocks. This is again a way to minimise the agony of unpicking if you make a mistake. It's not essential and many of you may be too impatient to do it, but it might be worth considering if you find yourself unpicking every second stitch.

Please do not let me put you off trying to sew bigger blocks. For all that they are harder, I personally far far far prefer the finished results. Big blocks allow you to have a lot more fun with your fabric choices. They have more impact and drama. The sense of achievement at finishing them is also far bigger!

You can find the Swallow pattern in my Etsy store and my Payhip store.

Don't forget that the linky for these blocks is already open. It will close on 7th April at 8:00am (NZT).

A big thank you to my awesome sponsors:


  1. 6 already, wow! Guess I better get moving, I've only done 3. I am working through them in order, looking forward to getting to the swallow, it is one of my favourites.

  2. Gosh, cant believe it's #6 already! My plans to catch up and link up haven't worked but hopefully I'll organise myself better soon! I love this block!

  3. Halfway!! Goodness it's going fast!


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