Desert Cove Quilt-Along: Weeks 3 & 4
We’ve made it to the middle of the Desert Cove Quilt-along and it is all about the blocks!
This blog is part two of a three-part blog series as we dive into the Desert Cove quilt. This blog series can be referenced at any point and serves as a guide for all things Desert Cove!
But first, a couple refreshers…
Don’t have the pattern yet? You can get your copy here.
Do you have your Desert Cove progress tracker handy? This free download helps you keep track of what you’ve completed. It’s formatted to complete the quilt in five weeks, but really, you can use this tracker and still go at your own pace.
Want to learn more about the inspiration behind the pattern? You can read more about it on the quilt pattern release blog post.
Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s get those blocks made!
Weeks 3 & 4 - All about the Blocks!
We have already finished all of our strip piecing, sub-block cutting and sub-block mixing and it is time to get these puppies made.
I’m going to share all about how I make these blocks, and provide a few other options for snowballing those corners.
First, I think you know by now that I am all about efficiency! I tend to chain piece these blocks in sets of 5 (or sets of 6 if you’re making the baby size).
Sewing your sub-blocks together
I will take my set of four sub-blocks and play around with the layout making sure I use Figures D and E in the pattern to make sure I have the orientation correct. Once I’m happy with the colors and layout, I’ll sew the top two sub-blocks together, then the bottom two sub-blocks.
Then, I move on to my next set of sub-blocks until I’ve worked through about five or six block. Once I’m ready to move on, I’ll carefully keep everything in order, press my seams, and then sew the top halves to the bottom halves and then press those seams.
Here’s a quick time-lapse of this part of the process.
Snowball your corners
Now we’re ready to snowball the corners. There’s a few options here. For the first couple sample quilts I made, I drew a line from corner to corner on the small squares, pinned in place, and then sewed along the marked line.
But, this past Christmas, I was gifted some of Cluck Cluck Sew’s marked washi tape and fell in love! It sped up this part of the process so much as you don’t need to mark your squares - and depending on your confidence level - you may not even need to pin your squares!
All you need to do is carefully put the tape on your machine, making sure the red line is lined up with your needle. Then, when sewing, make sure the corners of your small square stay lined up on this line!
I will then chain stitch my 5 or 6 blocks on each corner before moving on to the next corner.
Then it is time to trim and press all of those corners. Using a ruler, measures a 1/4” from the seam you sewed and trim using your rotary cutter.
TIP: MAKE SOME BONUS HALF SQUARE TRIANGLES! I have been on a mission this past year or so to find ways to actually use my scraps - they had piled up for years and I didn’t know what do to with them!! I also try to write patterns that don’t produce a lot of scraps or waste, but sometimes that is difficult. If you don’t want to waste all of these corners that we are clipping - run them under your machine with a 1/4” seam as you cut them to make some super cute and small half square triangles!!
Once all of the corners are trimmed, it’s time for the final pressing! I prefer to press these seams towards the outside of the block (background fabric). And once all of the seams are pressed, your blocks are finished!
Here’s a quick time-lapse of the this part of the block making process.
Follow along using your tracker which gives you a guide for how many blocks to make each week! During the quilt along, we’re going to split up our blocks over weeks 3 and 4. Have fun sewing them up!
Did you make any of the half square triangles? I’d love to hear if you did! I’m working on a scrap, improv quilt this year and plan to incorporate some of mine to make a block for that quilt.
The next time we meet, we’ll make our sashing and put our quilt top together!! Happy sewing until then.
If you’re sharing on Instagram, I’d love to see it! Use #nolliebeanpatterns and/or #desertcovequilt and/or #desertcoveqal if you share on Instagram.