My quilt ‘Spoondrift’ as featured in current block of the month ‘Today’s Quilter’ has been really enjoyable to design, but a challenge in terms of calculating fabric requirements when we are not that many blocks further ahead than you.

We are currently up to month 7 of 12 and we try really hard to get things right but we are sorry to say that we have made a few mistakes along the way.

Here is what we should have said:

Month 1 and 2

The requirements list includes ‘Seaweed Sky’ as one of the fabrics, but it is in fact ‘Seaweed Ocean’, which is just a little darker in tone. No ‘Seaweed Sky’ is used in the quilt which is reflected in the full requirements list.

Month 4

For the ‘Time and Tide’ block:

1. ‘Cutting Out’

For Stripe Pearl, the directions indicate ‘six (6) 6in squares‘ need to be cut. Only two are required.

In addition, one 5 1/2 in square of Starfish Ocean is required.

2. ‘Making the centre unit’ – Step 13

The instructions say ‘take the 5 1/4in squares’. However, the cutting directions were for 5 1/2in squares. It is fine to use these, it makes the construction more forgiving and allows the resulting centre unit to be trimmed to 4 1/2 in.

Month 6

There are four things to be aware of in Month 6:

1. ‘You will need’

In the ‘You will need’ section Stripe Dark Ocean – 19in x 8in is listed, it should be 19in x 9in as the British Isles block calls for a 9in square to be cut.

2. Cutting out, step one

After cutting the 13” Starfish Pearl square into four 6 ½”squares, do not cut these on the diagonal, this will result in triangles which are not quite big enough to cover foundation piece A2 and B2.

Instead take the four 6 ½” squares and position the foundation templates as follows to enable you to get all the fabric pieces required and the directionality of fabrics aligned. Make sure your foundation templates include the seam allowance all around.

As you can see in these photos from Pippa, she has made additional copies of the templates and cut out the sections she is working on. You will need the complete foundation template with all three sections on one piece of paper when stitching the block.

In general, this approach of making extra copies of the foundation templates and cutting out the individual sections with a generous ¼” seam allowance all around, will allow you to play with their position on larger pieces of fabric and get the directionality as you wish before marking and cutting to size.

Note: If you cut accurate sections of fabric, it will require more accurate piecing!

Here is another example with the striped fabric used on the compass point.

Working with larger sections of fabric can also help get directionality as you require

3. Foundation Templates

The A and B labelling on the ‘Foundation Templates’ is round the wrong way and will result in fabrics being swapped in your compass points – this is what it looks like when the fabrics are swapped – it doesn’t change the look of the block significantly and would still look great in the final quilt this way!

Spoondrift Compass Block - Swapped colours
Compass block looks great even with the colours swapped!

The template labelled A1, A2, A3 should be B1, B2 and B3 and vice versa. To achieve the same fabric position as the photo in the magazine, just re-label your foundation templates as shown below, then follow the piecing instructions.

Swap the labels on the templates to reverse the colours

4. UK Map Appliqué Templates

A Today’s Quilter reader Heide pointed out that we had omitted her home the Isle of Man from the appliqué templates. Sorry about that, it wasn’t intentional, the Isle of Man did appear on Janet’s much loved ‘Good Old Blighty’ quilt from her book ‘Hearty Good Wishes’!

'Good Old Blighty' by Janet Clare, otherwise know as 'The Shipping Forecast' quilt.

Whilst the map in ‘Spoondrift’ is a much smaller generic representation of the UK, the Isle of Man has now been added and you can download the updated templates here if you wish.

Some General Tips

In addition here are a few general tips to consider as you make your blocks:

1. In the first article (Issue 55) a fabric grid with little fabric swatches for the entire ‘Ebb and Flow’ collection was published. The design did not ultimately use all of these, but uses 20 fabrics to piece the blocks and for sashing. The full requirements list can be downloaded here.

2. At the start of each month, a section called ‘You will need’ is included. This provides guidance on the amount of fabric you need to make both blocks featured in that month. Do not beginning cutting based on this list! Follow the cutting instructions for each block and you will be able to be as thrifty as possible with your fabric, look to use your remnants first.

3. The instructions tell you how I made the blocks. As you know, there is more than one way to do everything, so if you know a better way or just prefer to do things your way then feel free.

4. Read through all the instructions before cutting. Then plan carefully and consider the orientation of your prints, the appliqué templates and any sections you may wish to fussy cut. If in doubt, practice a little with some scrap fabric first before you go ahead and cut the fabric for your actual block.

5. Look after all your scraps, they will most likely come in useful for future blocks! There are some tiny pieces used for appliqué throughout the design.

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