Since I was happy with the results of my Me and My Shadow top, I really wanted to try more 3-D type blocks. So of course Tumbling Blocks had to be my next attempt. In researching how to make the blocks I came across many articles bemoaning the infamous Y-seam used in traditional tumbling blocks. They are supposed to be a pain to sew, so of course I looked for other options for making these blocks without having to do a Y-seam. I found a few but really liked one in particular that I want to share here.
But first, rather than just reading about how challenging sewing a Y-seam was, I wanted to try it myself. So I grabbed some fabric from my stash and made these blocks:
I really didn’t have a problem making each individual block using a technique by Kaye Wood, but although I found a variety of web tutorials on how to make one block I found nothing that actually showed how to sew all of the blocks together! Maybe I just gave up too soon. However I ended up sewing them first in horizontal rows, like you would do with hexagons, then sewed the rows to each other, again, like you would do with hexagons. I found plenty about sewing hexagons together by the way.
It was very, very tedious, and although this picture might look “okay”, I’m not taking any close-ups! And that row floating unattached at the top; I couldn’t sew it on correctly for the life of me. It got way off point on the last three blocks. After two attempts, sewing, ripping out, sewing, ripping out, I gave up. I folded everything up and put it on a shelf for a later day; maybe. I’m considering disconnecting them from each other and trying to sew each block on individually. But again, maybe another day…
Next, I decided to try this technique designed by a woman named Rebecca McCreary. Although initially I was looking for video tutorials, I came across a written tutorial for an entire quilt by Rebecca. I’m not sure how it got on the website where it was posted, but she doesn’t appear to have her own site, nor a blog. But by good fortune I came across her technique. Here is the test sample I made to see how it would work out for me:
Loved it! Sewed together easily and perfectly. I found a minor mistake in her written pattern, but it didn’t affect anything. She just misstated the size of the rectangles you get after you follow her cutting directions.
For this test set I also didn’t make the large, staggered strip sets she talks about in her pattern. I just did two strip sets of three fabrics each; a medium strip in the middle of two dark strips. Then a light strip in the middle of two dark strips. So it kept all of my colors the same. I’ll write a tutorial about how I made this sample shortly.
Thank you Rebecca McCreary, wherever you are! I love this technique and will work on making a whole quilt from it soon!