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.
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