Post by Andrea Paden
Today I'm talking about a new program here at Cozy Quilt Shop. It's called "Building Blocks with Sharyn Craig"! Building Blocks is a monthly program designed by the one and only Sharyn Craig. But is isn’t just a matter of making one block each month (which is a wonderful, minimal obligation plan anyway), it’s about challenging yourself to make a block the way you want to make it - branching out, and seeing what happens. Join me in making these fun, easy to piece blocks and follow along as I share some of my experiences.
I have been so excited about making my own Building Blocks! I enjoy Sharyn's teaching and design style so much and I knew that this would be a really fun project to do throughout the year. Her patterns are written well, very organized and easy to understand. And whether you are a beginner like me, or an experienced quilter, that is a good thing.
Getting Ready to Build
Building Blocks kits come in 5 different colorways - Black & White, Red, White & Blue, Red & Green, Brights, and Pastels. I chose to use the Brights as I haven't done any projects in bold colors yet and I thought it would be good for me to branch out. Before I even opened my kit bag, I flipped through Sharyn's Welcome Handout (you should ask for one when you buy your first block - we include them with your 1st Building Block web order) and was relieved to read that I didn't have to make my block with templates. That was not my favorite part of my Intro. to Quilting class - I'd rather just use my rotary cutter.
I picked a white-on-white fabric to use as my background fabric. Following Sharyn's advice, I went ahead and got 2 yards (you can always find use for a white-on-white!) to use for the background and any borders I might want to add later.
Before I started cutting, I made a few copies of the block from the cover image on my Hammer & Nails pattern from my desktop printer at home to make some sample designs.
When I was ready to pick which colored fabric would go into the block design in each place, I got a glass of iced tea and turned on Oprah, got out my kid's colored pencils and went to work on some making some different color options.
Once I got a block design that I was happy with, I went to work cutting, then piecing. I've noticed I can get very frustrated when I am piecing - I might be a little bit of a perfectionist. But once that block starts to take shape, I get a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment! And it even ended up being the right size! Here's what I ended up with:
Sharyn mentioned a great organization tip in her Handout: making a special box to keep all of your Building Blocks stuff throughout the year. It reminded me of those cool organization shows where they dump all your stuff on the driveway, go through it and put it all back neat and tidy. I love it! So I found a clear storage box I bought at Target and that is my new Building Blocks Box! I put my tip sheet, Month 1 kit and leftover fabric, and my completed block inside for storage until I get my next kit. I even put the leftover fabric right in the plastic bag for the Month 1 pattern to keep the box from becoming a mess.
Designing my own block was a lot of fun. I like being able to pick which fabric and/or colors to emphasize and what shapes to create. That's not something you get to do much in an everyday pattern. I'm already looking forward to February 1 when I can get my next kit! I wonder what those fabrics will look like?
If you haven't gotten your own Building Blocks kit or pattern for Month 1, there's still time! Come in to the shop, call or go online to CozyQuilt.com Kits Page. You can also buy the Building Block Patterns alone if you want to use your own fabric for these blocks. And we offer Building Blocks in an Auto-Ship system! Just call the shop to be added to the list and we'll ship your kit or pattern after the 1st of each month - no need to order everytime!