It’s funny how inspiration strikes sometimes. I’m always dreaming up new block ideas and just this week I thought I’d try an idea for a Sunflower. It turned out even better than in my head, and I just used scraps!! There’s a Sunflower Festival this time of year at one of the farms near my house. I’ve driven by the sign these last few weekends and that’s when this idea was born… sunflowers…hmmm (taps chin), I wonder how I could make that into a block.
Well, I went to my scrap stash of mostly little chunks and orphaned 2½” strips. I dug around for the smaller scraps and cut them into 2½” triangles, you can cut a triangle out of as small a piece as 2½” x 3½”. You’ll need six triangles in yellows and six triangles in brown for one block. I also cut 2½” diamonds from my yellow scraps, you can get the diamond cuts out of as small a piece as 2½” x 4½”. You’ll need a total of (18) 2½” yellow diamonds.
Here are a couple of charts, I did a while back, to help you maximize your scraps and determine how many cuts you can get from each size strip.
This is the basic sunflower petal layout. One yellow triangle and three yellow diamonds with a brown triangle to cap it off at the bottom.
Sew the pieces together into two little rows, then sew the center seam to join the two rows. Make six petals like this for one flower.
Now for the blade petals. These take bigger scraps. I cut three 3½” x 4½” yellow rectangles and 3½” x 4½” blue rectangles. Repeat this setup with a second set of rectangles, but use a slightly different shade of yellow or a variety of scraps.
Sew those rectangles together into a long row and press the seams open. Cut these into 4½” triangles as shown. Starting from the bottom of the strip, align the center line on the ruler right up the seam between the blue and yellow fabrics. Line up the dashed 4½” triangle line along the bottom edge and the flat tip of the ruler at the top edge. Cut on both sides of the ruler, then rotate the ruler to make the next cut. This will give you six triangles with blue on the left and yellow on the right.
For the next shade of yellow/blue rectangles, start cutting from the top of the strip. Align the center line on the ruler, right down the seam between the blue and yellow fabrics. Line up the dashed 4½” triangle line along the top edge and the flat tip of the ruler at the bottom edge. Cut on both sides of the ruler, then rotate the ruler to make the next cut. This will give you six triangles with blue on the right and yellow on the left.
Here you see my stacks, like a two-toned mirror image.
Take the original petal units, and add one of these blade petal triangles to each side. Make six bigger triangle petal units like this. Keep the same blade petal colors on each side for all the units.
Press the first seam in towards the original petal unit and the second seam out towards the triangle blade unit. This will help with nesting seams later.
Arrange all six units into a hexagon sunflower as shown.
Sew these units together into two halves, of three triangles each, pressing the first seam open before adding the third triangle unit.
Sew the two halves together, and press that seam open. I made three sunflower blocks like this for the table runner.
You will need four 8½” triangles to fill in around the sunflower blocks. You can use the triangle lines on the Large Creative Grids 60-degree diamond ruler (I used the Mini Diamond Ruler for the petal pieces, but you could use the large for those too). If you do not have the large ruler, you can use another triangle ruler as long as you can get 8½” triangles from it. Here you can see the layout with the large triangles in place.
Sew the triangles to each sunflower as shown. Each end sunflower only takes one triangle, while the middle one takes two. Sew these units to each other with long diagonal seams and press those open.
I quilted this runner with my go-to simple straight lines all the way across. I tried to take a close-up picture so you can see how the thread color fades into the surrounding fabric. I chose to use a very rich, warm gold-colored thread thinking it would disappear on the sunflowers, but I didn’t realize how well it would blend into that dark blue background. If I had gone with a lighter yellow thread, it would have stood out like a sore thumb on that blue… sometimes darker is better 🙂
I got a little carried away with my scrap cutting and had enough to make one more sunflower. I thought it would be cute to add a black and white background and make it up into a sunny throw pillow. This picture was taken later in the day with that warm afternoon sun, but I think it will be darling and I can't wait to finish it up! I’ll try and post a pic to Instagram this week when it’s all done.
I hope you are inspired to tackle an unsuspecting pile of scraps this week! I can see these flowers in all kinds of colors!
Happy Sunday Everyone,
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