A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UFO Tutorial - day 1

I have a box full of random, un-used, leftover, odd-sized, ugly, new and old blocks.  Some of them I have already improved.
 And a couple have even become small quilts.  This one was snapped up as soon as I finished it and is now hanging in a young teenager's bedroom.

So how do you turn an ugly duckling into a swan?

These six blocks were in a bag of vintage blocks I bought, sight unseen, at a flea market years ago; they have been in my trunk for ages.  As I look at them now I know I would never have bought them if I had seen them. I don't know what the pattern is called but they are clearly swastikas to me. I estimate that they were made in the 1940's, but some of the fabrics look like 1910-20 vintage, as well.

I decided that cutting these individually would be too much work, so I sewed them together and will cut them as though they were a whole top.  They are hand-pieced and I was happy to see that they were not all the same size and that a lot of the seams were 1/8".  This is true of many old blocks; who came up with the "you must have a 1/4" seam" idea?? 

As I cut this thing up and re-sew it, you will be along with me to see what works and what doesn't because I never know in advance what I will be doing.  I'll take pictures as I go along and will be happy to answer questions.  It may not turn out to be a masterpiece but for sure, it will be better than THIS!
Stay tuned.


  1. I think it will be fun to "see" what you do with this piece in "real" time. I'm still working on the center portion (9 blocks) of the quilt top I chose to work with this month. I'm hoping to get inspired to do more cutting and piecing.

  2. How fun to be able to watch your progress with these uglies. I don't have anything quite as dreadful but I have a stack of assorted log cabin configurations from some online class I took eons ago. They are dreary and the light side is just some pale fabric that clearly needs some surface design treatment, so I am excited to see how this piece is transformed

  3. What a great way to do a tutorial! And you have my interest. That is some serious ugly.

  4. I thought I had to finish those ugly UFOs just as they had been started. I love the idea of cutting them up and piecing them with strips of some other, totally different, fabrics. I hope I can come up with some winners, as you have.

  5. Now I am looking at the box of old quilts a whole other way! Love this idea. S

  6. I love what you did with the first blocks and can't wait to see what you do with these vintage blocks. Glad you are doing a tutorial!


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