27 March 2009

LJ Birthday Block - Feb 16

I had a ridiculously, stupidly difficult time with these two blocks for my birthday block group. I feel quite terrible for the recipient because they're over a month late, and I truly hate to do that to people when they're relying on me to live up to a promise.

The block request was for this block (or the paper-pieced one below) with snowflake or penguin fabric, but not Christmas fabrics. I hadn't thought they'd be so difficult to find, but no one had any penguin fabric, except the one I've got here, which is a Christmas print, and the only snowflake fabrics I was able to find were in colours that I didn't like or couldn't match to anything or else were designed to be Christmas-y. So I had planned to exchange some fabric with someone online, but the exchange fell through.

In the end, I had to buy the Christmas penguins and fussy-cut the heck out of the fabric. Out of the original quarter metre that I bought, I think there is only about a usable tenth to eighth left. There were no-Christmas-free sections large enough to use them in the snowball portion of these blocks, so I had to go back to the fabric store and found this not-quite-snowflake (they look like hand-drawn asterisks) print, which doesn't quite match the background of the penguin prints, but which is pretty close. I was fortunate to have enough scraps of the dark blue snowflake print to just squeak by this one block.

Because I didn't have very much of the dark blue, I had to find some alternative blues for my second block for this recipient. I kept the asterisk fabric and picked up a couple (bright!) blues in a medium and dark tone to make this block, which was a bit of a paper-piecing nightmare.

This is a really easy block, to be honest, but when I measured the test square inch on the pattern to make sure the block would come out the right size... it was about 1.3 in square. Sigh.

I spent a stupidly long time figuring out how to shrink the block down to size. (It wasn't a simple shrink job where I went from, say, 7" across to 6.5" because the units weren't squared, but angled on one end and I couldn't figure out what size, exactly, they were meant to be.) Once I finally figured it out, the block whipped up quite easily. I really like the look of this block - I think it's quite striking, even though it's fairly plain.

I really hope the recipient likes these blocks, once they finally arrive. I feel so awful leaving her to wait all this time, so I think I'd feel worse if she only felt sort of meh about them once they got there.


  1. I'm sure she'll be pleased - they came out quite lovely!!

  2. that's so funny - I had trouble with those blocks too! I actually found penguin fabric easily enough, but wasn't able to find snowflake fabric that went, or was the right colour, the same issues you had - so I ended up doing pieced penguins instead and sending those along.

    I wasn't amazingly happy with mine, and I feel bad about it, but I thought better now than next June!

    Yours are lovely, though. :)