Friday, August 20, 2021

Stash-Busting Economy Blocks / Beauties Pageant 141

Who knew the humble economy block could be so much fun?!

Earlier this year, my guild, the New Hampshire Modern Quilt Guild, announced an economy block challenge. The idea is that you could make any kind of throw-size quilt with the traditional block. At our October meeting, which we hope to hold in person outside somewhere, we’ll have a mini quilt show, displaying the finishes and awarding a few bundles of fabric to the makers. In the end, the quilts will be donated to charity.

My guild has made a great effort to provide fun and worthwhile activities like this since the pandemic hit, and although I’ve passed on other opportunities, like various block of the month programs, this economy block challenge was right up my alley. The beauty of the economy block, I think, is that it doesn’t use a background fabric. Read that as: Economy blocks can eat up both stash and scraps! And I was due for a stash-busting project or two right about now.

When I think of economy blocks, I tend to think of cute fussy-cut creations, which are lovely but not really my thing. So I’m not fussy-cutting anything or even making each block unique. I homed in on a palette of pink, gray-blue, mauve, and gray for my first quilt (see pic at the top of the post). Those fabrics are all from Art Gallery and its army of amazing designers. Off the top of my head, I see fabrics from Maureen Cracknell, Amy Sinibaldi, and Bonnie Christine. Between the quilt top, backing, and binding, this 56-inch by 64-inch quilt eats up over 7 yards of scraps and stash. Yahoo!

This process was so satisfying—and my Art Gallery collection so vast—that I cut a second quilt in a different palette. This quilt top is all teal and peach and aubergine (see below). Sewing this second project is proving to be just as satisfying as the first.

If you’re interested, I’m using a traditionally pieced tutorial from Amy Smart for both of my quilts. (You can find it here.) These blocks finish at 8 inches, which means I didn’t get to use some of my smaller Art Gallery scraps, but I blew through bigger scraps and fat quarters.

For those of you who came for the quilts but stayed for the puppies, sisters Rose and Gracie are doing well!

Gracie is huge already, weighing in well over 20 pounds, and the two of them are getting along very well. I have found teeth marks on the corners of some of my beautifully refinished kitchen cabinets (ARG!), and Gracie is proving to be rather difficult to house-train, but she’s a keeper nonetheless. We’ve had her for 7 weeks, and she’s truly a member of the family. She’s very attentive to the sound of her name and is comfortable exploring every inch of my house. Also, she feels entitled to share in every handout Rose gets. (Rose is not amenable to sharing her cheese with anyone, even her adorable little sister.)

I’ve posted a few funny Rose and Gracie videos to my Instagram stories recently. I’ll post them to a future blog post for those of you who missed them. : )

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  1. Those are great blocks. I really like the fabrics you used!

  2. Your economy blocks are lovely, beautiful fabrics. Cute doggy ;))

  3. I love your economy blocks! Do you know how you're going to set them yet? If you set them edge to edge without sashing, you'll also get some interesting secondary patterns. Your doggies are also cute adorable. Great pictures of them!

  4. Your economy blocks look great, and it sounds like you've already got one quilt top put together; how awesome! I love getting to see the pups snuggled up together. I'm so glad they are buddies, most of the time anyway. :)

  5. Pretty blocks and a cute puppy - what could be better?

  6. Hi Michelle! I feel like I've missed a decade of Gracie . . . which, in dogs years would be 1 year and about 3 months?! OMG - how has it been 7 weeks already?! I adore seeing these photos and wonder how the heck did I miss the videos on IG. Geez. Work is interfering with ALL of my fun things. Now, as far as the Economy block discussion, I have never heard of this block. In my head/memory, I think of it as a block within a block within a block. A fitting description I guess but rather on the long side. Economy block! I love learning new things . . . and I even more than that, LOVE seeing new ideas. You may as well pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a gold star (and maybe treats for both Rose and Gracie) because you just shared a squirrel. This is exactly what I need to be working on right.this.minute. I can't even type any longer - I have to go get busy. Thanks for tutorial link! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne P.S. Love all the pictures!!

  7. How nice for you to be getting into making these economy blocks. No doubt they're good for stash-busting, though these days, I'm more about reducing the little scraps piles. I'm in agreement about not being a fussy-cutter. Blocks don't need to be "cutesy" with little characters as focus when there are so many lovely "plain" prints to use. You've taken on a delightful charity quilt project. Your dogs are cute, especially your puppy. Thank you for the reminder about why I don't want another puppy! :-)

  8. I had to come back from 9/24 post to see your post about the economy block as I've just cut all the fabs for one. I am actually using a background fabric for the triangles that go on the square. I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks together. I love the color choices of yours. I think there might be a scrappy version in my future. (I know there is I cut too many blocks for the current one!)


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