Sunday, May 27, 2007

Buck a block

My local quilt store is running a buck a block quilt program. Each month you can purchase a block kit with the fabric and pattern for a dollar. You have to complete the block and bring it into the shop in order to get the next month'sblock kit. With the first month's kit you also purchase a package of Thangles papers, as these are used to make each block.

I decided I would join the buck a block program this year, as I liked the idea of an excuse to make a trip to the quilt shop every month. I had two different fabric combinations to choose from- either a selection of Thimbleberries prints or batiks. Normally I would choose the batiks, as they are some of my favorite fabrics. But the colors of the Thimbleberries quilt were perfect for my living room, so I went with that one figuring I would have a lovely quilt to display on the back of my sofa and cuddle under on cold winter days.

I have never used Thimbleberries fabrics before. They have just never really spoken to me. And I don't know if the fabrics used in the buck a block kit are typical of Thimbleberries fabrics. But I am wondering if perhaps they send a lesser quality fabric for use in the buck a block program to keep the program affordable to the shop owners. What I do know is that I do not like working with these fabrics. They are coarse feeling and they produce an abundance of lint in my sewing machine. The fabric is not thin or see through, it just doesn't have that nice hand that quilt shop quality fabrics normally have. These fabrics feel more like those you find at Hobby Lobby that are manufactured just for that store chain. If my fabric is typical Thimbleberries fabric, I will not be using it in any future projects. The lesson I learned from this is I will inspect the fabrics in any quilt kit I may wish to purchase in the future to be sure I am happy with the quality before I make the purchase.

As for the Thangles, this was also my first experience using them. For those who may be unfamiliar, Thangles are strips of paper that you use to make accurate and quick half-square triangle blocks. You lay the papers on top of appropriately sized strips of fabric, stitch on the indicated stitching lines and cut the blocks apart on the cutting lines. What I liked about them is that it did make the sewing process go quickly. It was very easy. And the blocks do turn out amazingly consistant in size. In fact about the only thing I didn't like about them was having to tear the paper off the back when I had my half-square triangles made. It's messy and I hate dealing with the tiny bits of paper that get stuck in the seams. But they do make some great looking blocks. So I think they are pretty nifty.
I have completed the frst three blocks for the Buck a block quilt, which puts me where I should be since we started in March. I also made all the setting blocks for the quilt top last night.

I could stitch some of them together into rows, but I think today I will switch to my next round for my ostrich round robin top. That should go fairly quickly and then I plan to do some handwork on my latest flower applique block.


kcamou said...

Jane, I really like you blocks! They are so cute! I've thought about doing a buck a block, but I don't think they've had any here at our LQS.

Anonymous said...


The thing that occurred to me about the buck a block program is that these strips of fabric are unwashed, meaning that all the other fabric you use in your buck a block top should be unwashed as well. When I buy fabric for my stash, one of the first things I do when I get it home is to throw it in the wash. As a result, I have to go out and buy all new fabric for the rest of my buck a block quilt. This, in my opinion, adds a considerable amount to the cost of the quilt since I can't use any of my existing stash. There is also the option of buying additional buck a blocks, but the store I shop at charges $3.00 for additional blocks and that's way too expensive in my opinion. I've started keeping two stash piles (washed and unwashed (I try to buy most of my fabric on sale - $10.00 a yard is just too much for me) Maybe by the end of the year I'll have enough unwashed fabric to finish my buck a block quilt.