2018 BOM

2018 BOM – February


Welcome to the 2018 Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month! This year, we are going to do a quilt-as-you-go quilt. Each month, we will piece and quilt one or two blocks. In December, I’ll show you how to trim all of the blocks down to the same size, and attach them all together.

The theme for our quilt is Airplane Science and Manufacturing. I’m an aerospace engineer, so I am combining two of my favorite things to bring you this quilt. As a nerdy bonus, each month I’ll teach you a little bit about an airplane related science, or share some fun airplane manufacturing techniques. There’s nothing I love more than a captive audience to teach science-y things to 🙂

The final quilt size is a bit on the smaller size, 45” x 60”. We will be making 12 different quilt blocks, each with a final size of 15” square. Please note that each month, the block we piece and quilt will be larger than 15”. This is to make sure that we have enough excess material after quilting so that we can cut each block down to size. We won’t be cutting the blocks until the end, so don’t worry about cutting them now. Also don’t worry about trying to square up your quilt block, or cutting any extra bits off. Just quilt it onto your batting and you can cut it off later. You don’t need to be exact on the size of the backing and batting fabrics, as long as they can cover the entire front of the block. This is a great quilt to use up those leftover bits of batting you have lying around!

I’ve put together a material list for you to get started. The quilt top will have a background color, and accent colors. This quilt would be a great way to use up some of those fat quarter bundles you bought 3 years ago with good intentions but haven’t gotten around to using yet. You can also use bits of scraps, random fat quarters, or use this as an excuse to buy some new fabric you’ve been eyeing (that’s what I did!)

You will need the backing fabric from the start, since we are quilting a block every month. I cut 12 fat quarters down to size, and then was able to use the cut off part as additional accent fabric. You could also get some yardage of fabric, and cut it into squares.

I am using a fat quarter bundle of Alison Glass Chroma for this quilt, as well as a solid gray for my background fabric. We won’t be using either binding fabric until November, so you can wait to purchase it. I’m going to show you how to join each block together using sashing/binding strips, but if there is another method you want to try out, I would encourage you to give it a shot!

Supply List:


  • (12) fat quarters – trim to 16”x16” ish if you want to preserve fabric –OR–
  • 2 3/4 yards of fabric, cut into (12) 16”x16” blocks


  • (12) 16”x16”ish bits of batting
    • use leftover bits you might have around –OR–
    • get a bag of full size batting –OR–
    • 1.5 yards of 90” wide batting


  • miscellaneous accent fabric scraps
  • 2.5-ish yards of background fabric

Assembly Binding

  • 1/2 yard of fabric

Quilt Binding

  • 1/2 yard of fabric

Additional supplies – not necessary, but could be helpful!

  • >15” square quilting ruler (definitely not necessary, but would be helpful)
  • Fabric marking pens (Frixion or disappearing ink pen)
  • Elmer’s Glue with fine tip
  • Freezer paper
  • Spray starch
  • Wonder-Under or other fusible web for applique (16” square)


Runway Block


Since we have 12 blocks to make in 11 months, we have to get started now! But this is a real easy one. This block is based on what a pilot sees as they are approaching the runway right before landing. If you haven’t done a lot of quilting, it is a great block to do some simple straight line quilting, or you can jump right into free motion quilting.


16” x 16” (ish) piece of batting

16” x 16” (ish) backing fabric

(2) 7” x 16” pieces of background fabric

(1) 10.5” x 16” piece of accent fabric


Our pieces of fabric have to be cut on the diagonal to create the perspective a pilot sees as they approach the runway.

Make two marks on the top of the accent fabric 3” away from each edge. Line up your ruler at the bottom left corner and the left 3” mark on top, and cut. Do the same on the right side.


Make a mark on the bottom of one of the background pieces, 3” away from left edge. Line up your ruler from the top left corner and the 3” mark on the bottom and cut.


Make a mark on the bottom of the second background piece, 3” away from the right edge. Line up your ruler from the top right corner and the 3” mark on the bottom and cut.


Sew all 3 pieces together using a ¼” seam allowance. Use the photo for help on the layout of the pieces. Since we are making our blocks large and trimming them down after quilting, it’s okay if the pieces don’t line up exactly in the corners.


Sandwich your backing piece, batting, and top, and baste. Quilt however you like. I choose to do echo the perspective of this block using straight-line quilting.

That’s it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for quilting and fabric choices. You can use the hashtags #SeaMQGBOM2018 and #ASaMQuilt to show off your work to everyone else. Please let me know if you have any questions! You can send me an email at seattlemodernquiltguild @ gmail . com or message me on instagram @itskimsinsta.


2018 BOM – March

We’re going Supersonic yo!


These days, commercial airplanes don’t travel faster than the speed of sound (767 mph in dry 68°F air). In the 70’s, the British Aircraft Corporation manufactured the Concorde, which is one of only two commercial aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds. However, there are many military airplanes that regularly reach supersonic speeds.

Shock waves are formed when an airplane forces its way through the air when traveling faster than the speed of sound. You can’t see this happening, but sometimes you can hear it as a sonic boom.

This website has a short video on how shock waves are formed! http://howthingsfly.si.edu/aerodynamics/shock-waves

Now that we know all about supersonic speeds and shock waves, let’s make a quilt block inspired by them! We are going to piece this block as we quilt it, and then attach it to the backing once the front has been quilted. Jera Brandvig has a great tutorial on this type of quilt as you go, and I could only dream of creating a tutorial as great as hers. This would make some great supplemental reading to this guide. http://quiltingintherain.com/2014/02/quilt-as-you-go-log-cabin-tutorial.html

I made this block as a rainbow, because I love rainbows, but I would encourage you to arrange your fabric however you want! Ideally, you’ll want to at least alternate the strips so you it looks like shock waves. You could get away with 2 different accent fabric pieces and alternate them, or do 6 totally different colors. The block will start and end with your background fabric.


  • 16” x 16” (ish) piece of batting
  • 16” x 16” (ish) backing fabric
  • 5” x 20” piece of background fabric
  • (6) 2.5” strips of different colored fabric


From your background fabric, cut the following:

  • 5” x 5” square

Leave the rest of your background fabric intact. Instead of pre-cutting the last pieces, it will be easier to measure at the end, just to be sure that you are covering the rest of the batting.

Now cut your accent fabric pieces. Here’s a diagram of what each piece is labeled.


Accent Fabric A:

  • Piece AA: 2.5” x 8.5”
  • Piece AB: 2.5” x 10.5”

Accent Fabric B:

  • Piece BA: 2.5” x 12.5”
  • Piece BB: 2.5” x 13.5”

Accent Fabric C:

  • Piece CA: 2.5” x 13”
  • Piece CB: 2.5” x 14.5”

Accent Fabric D:

  • Piece DA: 2.5” x 13”
  • Piece DB: 2.5” x 15”

Accent Fabric E:

  • Piece EA: 2.5” x 13”
  • Piece EB: 2.5” x 14”

Accent Fabric F:

  • Piece FA: 2.5” x 11”
  • Piece FB: 2.5” x 10”


Take your piece of batting and mark a line horizontally down the middle. We want the waves to go move horizontally through the middle of the block. Mark another line ½” away from the edge of the batting. Line up the 5” background square so that one corner is on the horizontal center line, and two corners are on the ½” line.


Quilt the background square onto the batting however you like! Since I am lazy, I did all straight line quilting with my piecing foot to make this block, but you could totally free motion quilt it if that’s your jam.

Take piece AA and line it up with the top edge of the background square. This step is exactly the same as if you were regular piecing, we’re just going to attach it to the batting at the same time. With right sides together, sew with a ¼” seam allowance.


Flip the piece and iron it open; quilt this piece down to the batting.


Take piece AB and line it up with the bottom edge of the background fabric, and the same edge of piece AA. With right sides together, sew together with a ¼” seam allowance.


Flip the piece and iron it open; quilt this piece down to the batting


Keep repeating these steps to add the rest of your accent fabric pieces in the order below. Feel free to mix up your quilting for each section. I did straight lines that were different distances apart, and a few that are curvy lines instead of straight. I also followed some of the pattern motifs in my fabrics. You just want to make sure that your fabric strips are covering the entire piece of batting when you sew and quilt them down.


Once all the colored fabrics have been attached, we need to attach the final background piece. Take your leftover background piece and cut it to fit the last corner. I didn’t give you a measurement for this, because the final size will depend on your seam allowances and quilting density. Position the background piece onto the corner. Make sure that your piece will cover the last of the batting once it’s been flipped and quilted. With right sides together, sew with a ¼” seam allowance. Flip the pieces and iron it open; quilt these pieces down to the batting.


Yay! Our quilt block is now all pieced and quilted! Wasn’t that easy?

Flip your block over and trim off the extra fabric, but don’t cut into the batting yet. This will make it easier to line up the top with the backing.


Sandwich your top and back and baste in the method of your choosing. The backing needs to be attached to the top in some way; I choose to stitch in the ditch between each color of fabric.

And now your Supersonic block is done! Next month we’re going to squeeze in two blocks. You can use the hashtags #SeaMQGBOM2018 and #ASaMQuilt to show off your work to everyone else. Please let me know if you have any questions! You can send me an email at seattlemodernquiltguild @ gmail . com or message me on instagram @itskimsinsta.




2018 BOM – April

This month, we’re making two blocks! It sounds like a lot, but they’re light on piecing, so I think it will be manageable.

Does anyone else find the conspiracy theory about chemtrails hilarious? We’re talking about the white lines in the sky that form behind airplanes. They’re not chemtrails, they’re actually contrails. Contrails are clouds that are formed when water freezes around small particles from airplane exhaust. Please enjoy this entertaining article on chemtrails, as well as a few other aviation based conspiracy theories: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/chemtrails-contrails-and-other-aviation-conspiracy-theories/

Now, onto our Chemtrails block! Here’s what you need.


(1) 16” x 16” (ish) piece of batting

(1) 16” x 16” (ish) backing fabric

(1) 16” x 16” background fabric for front

(2) 1.5” x 22” accent fabric strips


This block is super easy and improv-y. The method is slice, sew, slice, sew. Easy!

Take your background fabric and place your ruler so that it goes from the top left corner (ish) towards the bottom right corner (ish). Since it’s improv, you can cut however you want. Cut your background fabric into two pieces along the ruler.


Sew one of your accent fabric strips in between the two background pieces of fabric. Press the seams however you want; there’s no piecing police here.

Now cut this block in half again, maybe going from the top right ish corner towards the bottom left ish corner. But maybe you like to see parallel contrails? The options are limitless; cut your block however you please!


Sew the second accent fabric strip onto one half of the background. Press the seam.

Now you’re going to want to line up the second half of the block onto the accent strip, making sure that your first accent piece will still be in line. I drew some registration marks on the accent piece in line with the seams from the first half, and then lined up the second half seams to the lines.


Once you’ve got the second half lined up with the first half, sew and press. Give your whole block a nice blast of steam and congrats! The Contrails top is done!

Baste your block top to the batting and backing using your preferred basting method, and quilt.



Stringer Deflections

This block idea actually comes straight out of an analysis I did at my day job. A stringer is a longitudinal structural piece in a framework, especially that of a ship or aircraft (Dictionary.com). Since this is an airplane quilt, we’re going to talk about stringers in an airplane wing. On an airplane wing, there are stringers that run from the fuselage of the airplane down to the wing tip. These stringers give the wing skin stability, and allow the skin to be thin; otherwise you might end up with a wing skin that is inches thick, and that would weigh a lot! By themselves, stringers are long and thin, which makes them quite flexible. They don’t get their strength until the stringers and the skin are attached together.

I work in computer-aided metrology, which is the science of measurement. We use many different instruments to measure airplane parts, and let quality engineering know if the parts are within their designed engineering tolerances. Since stringers are long and skinny, they tend to be noodley and move all over the place. Some of the stringers in airplane wings can be up to 120 feet long, and only about 8 inches wide!

Here’s a short video on Boeing’s 737 Panel Assembly Line, which attaches stringers to wing skin. The video doesn’t specifically mention that they are attaching the stringers to the skin, but that’s what it’s doing. https://www.wired.com/2016/10/meet-giant-robot-builds-boeings-wings/

Our quilt block is loosely based on an analysis I did of a stringer after it had been trimmed. The piecing of the block will represent the stringer, and the quilting is (will be…) loosely based on the deflections I saw when analyzing the measurement data taken of the stringer.


(1) 16” x 16” (ish) piece of batting

(1) 16” x 16” (ish) backing fabric

(1) 15” x 15” background fabric for front (will be pieces A & B)

(2) 3” x 5” background fabric strips (pieces C & D)

(1) 3” x 15.5” accent fabric strip (piece E)


Cut the 15” background fabric square on the diagonal to make two triangles. These are pieces A and B. Arrange your pieces like the photo below.


Sew pieces C and D onto the accent fabric piece E. Press seams.

Sew piece A onto piece CDE. I folded each piece in half and finger pressed to create an indentation; this makes it easier to ensure that the accent fabric piece is centered in the block.


Sew B piece onto A-CDE. Use the same technique as the previous step to make sure the accent piece is centered in the block.

Yay! This block is now pieced! I told you this month had easy piecing tops. You can quilt this however you want, but if you want to show some deflection in your stringer, you can quilt it like I plan to below. It shows our stringer bending all over the place. This would definitely not pass inspection.


Hope these two blocks weren’t too stressful for you. Next month we’ll learn about industrial pressure cookers. You can use the hashtags #SeaMQGBOM2018 and #ASaMQuilt to show off your work to everyone else. Please let me know if you have any questions! You can send me an email at seattlemodernquiltguild @ gmail . com or message me on instagram @itskimsinsta.

2018 BOM – May



This month’s block is brought to you by autoclaves! An autoclave is vessel that uses pressure and heat to treat the product inside it. In the airplane industry, we use composite to make airplane parts, and built-up composite needs to be cured before it gets its strength. The 777X airplane has the largest composite wings in the world, so Boeing needs the largest autoclave by volume in the world in order to cure the parts. The autoclave is so large it had to be built on site, and then moved over into the Composite Wing Center. The following article is about the move, and then I’ve also given you a link for a short video on the Boeing Composite Wing Center autoclaves.



If you find yourself in Everett and take a drive on Perimeter Road around the Boeing factory, you can see a second autoclave being built on site.

This block is inspired by what I see on a daily basis, large tools going in and out of the autoclave. Now onto sewing!


(1) 16” x 16” (ish) piece of batting

(1)16” x 16” (ish) backing fabric

From your background fabric, cut:

  • (piece A)  3.5” x 3.5″
  • (piece B)  8.5” x 6.75”
  • (piece C)  3.75” x 16”

From Accent Fabric A, cut:

  • (piece D) 12.75” x 9.75”

From Accent Fabric B, cut:

  • (piece E) 4.75” x 6.75”


Arrange the fabric pieces onto your table like the picture below. This will help keep track of the pieces.


Draw a line from corner to corner of the wrong side of the A piece. Line it up in the top right corner of the D piece, right sides together.


Sew along the line. Trim the excess corner part, leaving ¼” behind as seam allowance.


Flip the background piece, and press.


Sew pieces B and E together on the short edge of piece B. Then sew the A-D piece to B-E. Sew piece C along the top. Use the picture below to make sure you’re sewing the right pieces together.


Baste the backing, batting and completed top together, and quilt.

That’s all for this month. Next month we’re going to talk about tooling! You can use the hashtags #SeaMQGBOM2018 and #ASaMQuilt to show off your work to everyone else. Please let me know if you have any questions! You can send me an email at seattlemodernquiltguild @ gmail . com or message me on instagram @itskimsinsta.