In the MSQC Quilt Along, there are a number of people ahead of me as far as block construction.  I love seeing these completed blocks before I make mine.  First, because it gives me impetus to try and catch up and second — and probably more importantly — it gives me a better visual of what I’m shooting for!  So, for those of you kind enough to show me what I’m doing, thank you.

Birds in the Air is another of those blocks that I’ve seen others complete before I even started.  The pattern uses two templates:  One large triangle (#8) and one small triangle (#13). 2013-01-22 10.31.34 I looked at all those itty-bitty triangles to make all those lovely birds, and I just knew there had to be an easier way.  And I remembered seeing Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company demonstrating how to make quick and easy HSTs by cutting two pieces of fabric into identical squares, sewing 1/4″ around the entire block, then cutting the whole thing in quarters along the diagonal.  I cruised the net looking for some sort of instruction on how to calculate how to make the original square.  None of the calcu2013-01-22 10.55.19lations seemed to work for me.  Since I’m terrible at math, this really didn’t surprise me.  After two or three hours of trial and error, I had exhausted all the fabric I was going to use for my birds and had come to a simple conclusion:  For this block, at least, I needed to use the templates.  Once that decision was made, cutting out the fabric went quickly, and I found myself secretly relieved.  At least with the templates I don’t have any little ears to cut away once the pieces are sewn together.

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I ch2013-01-22 11.05.45ain-pieced twelve blue to twelve tan of the small triangles, then cut them apart and pressed the seams all one direction.  Then I sewed 8 of my HSTs together in pairs, and pressed the seams.  To them I sewed2013-01-22 11.32.50 4 blue triangles to the right side.  This formed the first row.  I also sewed the remaining blue triangles to the right side of the remaining four HSTs. This formed the second row.  And finally, I sewed the last four blue triangles to the bottom left of the second row. This gave me four triangle units made of blue and tan triangles.

After that, it was smooth sailing!  I sewed one large tan triangle to each of my newly completed flocks of birds.  I did take a moment to square up each quarter block to 3 1/2″ .  Then I laid the four quarters side by side in a square, making sure they were all going the same way.  I laid the right blocks on top of the left and chain pieced them.  After cutting them apart and pressing the seams in opposite directions, I laid them on top of each other, nested the seam, and sewed them together.  I’m really pleased with how this turned out.  All in all, it took me about 30 minutes to make this block.

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