It occurred to me as I was working my way through my latest bee block that sometimes it can be challenging to see what the best way to assemble a complex block or quilt top is, especially when there are many odd sized pieces and they’re not in a nice, neat grid of squares.  For this round of Brit Bee we all designed a 15″ x 30″ (finished) block, all very different, the idea being that we’d get a great mix of styles in our final tops.  Some of us did 2 15″ blocks, while others were more ambitious, but I thought I’d use 3 of them to give you an example of how to negotiate the obvious and the not so obvious.

Example Number 1:

This version was made up of 2 15″ blocks, You can see from the picture above that there were simple and obvious divisions in the 2 blocks, and there weren’t too many places where things could wobble off course.

Example 2:

This version was a complete mish mash of parts, all of which fit in to create a 15″ x 30″ final piece.  There was an effective left and right side as shown by the one vertical line that runs top to bottom, but after that it was a case of building things up.  I left out the divisions between the left hand arrow and snowballs so that you could see the vertical division more easily, but there was a lot of sewing of different bits that were then all assembled into the final piece.  In this case the assembly was pretty obvious, since there wasn’t any other way you could sew it together, it was just a matter of working out the little ‘blocks’ that would go together to make the whole block.

Example 3:

This final example was this weekend’s project.  It was made up of 2 12″ blocks to make the flower, and then the squares and friendship stars to frame them (I promise you the entire block is straight, I just didn’t think to tape the bottom corners to the wall too, sorry!)  Whilst the flower parts were obvious and quite easy to assemble, those stars and the bottom grid are made up of squares that finish at 1″.  With pieces that tiny, it’s easy to start going wonky when you make things in long strips, so I did my best to break them down as much as possible, especially in the bottom section.  There I first sewed lots of pairs, then sewed the pairs into blocks that were 2 x 3 (the last one is 3×3), and then sewed them together to make the whole piece.  I know if I’d done 3 strips of 15 I’d have ended up with a rhomboid at the bottom of my block.

So do you have any challenging blocks?  Bits you haven’t been able to figure out?  Would you have tackled any of these differently?  Let me know in the comments :o)