Wonky Shoo Fly Blocks for April
Because of the existence of the sneak peek, I feel that I missed out on a great April Fools opportunity to announce that we’d be repeating the very popular traditional Shoo Fly block on the left for this month . . . and wait for your reaction.
But, as the sneak peekers already know, the traditional Shoo Fly block on the left is the inspiration for it’s liberated cousin, on the right, which we can call Wonky Fly. Compared to the floral Shoo Fly blocks we made for the lotto two years ago, our Wonky Fly blocks will be:
- BIGGER – our blocks will be 8 inches, finished size
- BRIGHTER – you may combine your flower fabrics with white OR a solid or tone-on-tone in a coordinating color. You may also use the floral as the background OR the “fly.” You can only use ONE floral print in your blocks, but the other “fabric” may also be scrappy.
- LIBERATED – by making WONKY versions of this traditional block.
For this month, I’ve put together some step-by-step directions for three approaches for making this block here:
Note that Technique #1 is Gwen Marston’s as described in her book Liberated Quilting. The linked directions don’t have details for her technique, but measurements are supplied to create an 8 inch (finished size) block. If you have Marston’s book, feel free to use it to create this month’s block. If not, the photos of my blocks made in this fashion may give you enough information to give it a go. Try them all or choose the one that fits best with your quilting style.
Your blocks do not have to be as wonky as mine, but someone looking at your block should see an intentionally wonky design and not wonder if it’s just a badly made traditional shoo fly block. If you prefer the look of a block with parallel/perpendicular seams, then change up with the triangles. (Check out the many examples made by sneak peekers below and decide how much wonky you like best.)
The maximum number of blocks you can enter this month is NINE. If you end up using Technique #3 which creates pairs and make 10 blocks, you can donate the extra or keep it.
If you make these blocks, you will all develop your own approach to introducing variation in the corners. Almost all of my blocks have one large (really normal-sized) triangle, one small triangle and two others that I didn’t really think about. I knew I would be squaring up and trimming your blocks, no matter which technique I used, so I consciously made almost all the triangles LESS than a traditional half-square-triangle unit would be, to avoid the problem of cutting off the points when I squared up the block. Because of the nature of these blocks, a few “shy” (as in, hiding in the seam) points isn’t a tragedy . . .
While I don’t want you to worry about matching seams and perfect points, if we collectively lose too many points on too many blocks, it will obscure the source of the design altogether and the overall design will NOT be immediately recognizable as a Shoo-Fly. Try to design blocks in which the points are NOT lost: your goal should be that most of the points on most of your blocks are visible. We want a carefree, whimsical variation of the traditional block.
And remember, we do this for fun.
Here are 60 of the blocks already created by sneek peakers, Ginny, June, Kathie, Krista, Louise, Michelle, Pat, Terri and me. (Click any of the small photos for a better look at all the great florals and fabric combinations.)