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.


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