Friday, September 16, 2011

11 - Beacon Light

Sorry this took so long to post today, but life happened.  Nothing that a "professional" blogger couldn't have pushed though, but I am not planning on making myself crazy.   Although looking at the block I made could make one go a bit loopy.  :)

I might call mine -  When the Clowns Come to Town.  :)
I saw this block a few months ago on 15 Minutes of Play and thought it was brilliant.  It is even more brilliant now that we are combining 1/4 square triangles and improv.  The idea behind 15 Minutes of Play is to "make" fabric out of scraps and improvisational piecing in just 15 minutes.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe started the site and in this post she shows how to make fabric out of your scraps in 15 minutes.  (You can click on the pictures to make them larger.)   Go on over and read it and then hop back here for more details.

Make Fabric

Isn't that fun?!?  Just sew and cut and sew it all back together again!  I love improv.

So, the first step in making this block is to make two pieces of fabric.  One at least 6.5 inches square and the other at least 9 inches square.  I made my 6.5 inch center according to Victoria's directions, using all of the small leftover pieces from other blocks.  For the 9 x 9 inch piece, needed for the quarter square triangles, I started with a leftover 9 patch and started cutting it apart on an angle and inserting strips.  This wouldn't have made for a very good center block, but when subdivided into four 4.5 inch blocks none of the strips is overpowering.


Out of background:
four 4.5 inch squares*
four 3.5 inch squares

Out of made fabric:
one 6.5 inch square
four 4.5 inch squares*

*I do recommend using these slightly larger than needed measurements for the quarter square triangles.  You will need to trim them down at the end, but it will give you some needed wiggle room when dealing with the bulky seams the made fabric causes.  If you do not want to trim the quarter square triangles to size cut the four background and made fabric squares to 4.25 inches square instead of the 4.5 inches.

Follow Victoria's instructions to make the Beacon Light block.  In brief, you simply make eight quarter square triangles, trim to 3.5 inches square and then sew them all together.

A quick note about pressing.  This block is a killer!  You will need to use a combo of side, open and creative pressing and a bunch of spray starch depending on how your made fabric decides to behave.

But you can do it!  I can't wait to see what fun blocks you make!


  1. How fun is that? absolutely adorable. Love the colors. I'll have to try it.

  2. Ok. Ok. I can do this. I'm sure I can. I goofed the easy Ohio Star last week, but THIS I am confident about. Can you tell I'm not? Oh well. New skills are exciting anyway :)

  3. Wow, this looks great. I'm just a bit worried how it turns out scaled down to fit the smaller blocks I'm making, but we'll see.

  4. What a FUN block!!! Thanks for sharing. I do know what you mean, though, about pressing blocks with lots of seams......sometimes I feel as if I need an ELEPHANT to lean on the iron to get those seams tamed!!!

  5. Seams? Someone posted the other day to use a hammer! She said it works every time! I love this block! I can't wait to see how mine looks with a different set of colors.

  6. What fun! looking forward to it, but with a delay- friends for the weekend means the sewing room has to pretend it is a dining room again....
    Yes you are sorry for me too aren't you?

  7. This looks like a new way to tackle crazy quilting! Easier too, by just sewing and cutting at random!

  8. What a fun block. All those fabrics sewn together do remind me of the facets on a beacon.

    I used my scraps - crumbs - from earlier blocks to make my fabric. I always save every little piece, so this was a perfect use for them.

    I must say I was thinking, "Ok, this is what those mallet things are for, pounding seams down!" Never thought I needed one before.

  9. Here's a link to a fun way to 'make fabric' -- she calls them MAM blocks, Mile A Minute. It's pretty much how I do it, but I like to get in more diagonals. And of course in this block, I only used scraps from this quilt.

  10. Isn't 15 minute play so much fun. Your block turned out great!

  11. I want to say it took me longer than 15 min but I love the concept and it's done..thanks for the challenge. Julianne

  12. I was all late and started this sampler last January? December? I've only gotten this far. This block seems the most fun so far. I haven't got to the piecing of the hst yet, but I'm pretty confident I can manage those suckers. I have a vintage machine that scoffs at changes in thickness, and good hard pressing surface, use starch and then clobber seams with a very small dedicated wooden kitchen cutting board- use as a clapper. I am so glad I found this skill builder, I am very much enjoying it!