It’s time for another QM Bitty Block!
The passing of time can be a strange thing. In a way, it feels like forever until each new Bitty Block is released. But in another way, the months seem to fly by. How is that possible?
I’m happy to share another one of these adorable small quilt blocks with you today. This one is special to me. I was born on Valentine’s Day in 1960, the fifth child but the first and only girl. My mom was tickled pink. My dad said that when they came out and announced, “It’s a girl,” he looked around to see who they were speaking to, because he knew it couldn’t be him.
So my parents always made a big deal out of having a girl on a special day, and while it might seem corny, I really like hearts and I especially love Valentine’s Day. Today’s little 3″ heart quilt block is right up my alley.
When I designed this block a few months back, it had a seam across the middle. I made quite a few in reds and pinks because I was also working on my quilt block for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12 which will come out this fall.
But when I started to work on my samples for this blog post, I realized I didn’t need that seam across the middle.
Now the block is quicker and easier, and the vertical seam lends itself nicely to using two different fabrics.
Here’s how you make Bitty Love.
2 rectangles 2″ x 3.5″ (can be the same fabric or two different fabrics)
4 squares 1″ x 1″
2 squares 2″ x 2″
This block uses “Stitch and Flip” to attach the background patches to the heart patches. I used to dread this technique but I learned some things to make it work.
These patches are tiny so I recommend shortening your stitch length to a maximum of 2.0mm or 13 stitches per inch. It’s a good rule of thumb that the shorter the seam you’re sewing, the shorter your stitches need to be. Read more about understanding stitch length.
Place two small background squares at one end of each heart rectangle, right sides together. Sew from corner to corner on each square as shown. I didn’t mark this seamline because the patches are small and it’s pretty easy to eyeball it. Be sure to sew them as shown so they form a little peak in the middle.
Place a 2″ background square at the other end of each rectangle. On the wrong side of the 2″ square, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner as shown. Sew on the marked line. Be sure to sew them in opposite directions as shown on the patches above.
Trim the seam allowances to 1/4″ and discard the trimmings.
Open out the patches and press gently.
Sew the heart halves together to complete the block.
I laid strips of fabric over the seam allowances so you could see how the block will appear once it’s sewn into the quilt. I love that vertical seamline. You can use two fabrics in similar colors, as I did above and below.
Or you can make both halves out of the exact same fabric.
It’s fun to try different combinations and see what floats your boat. You could make the backgrounds scrappy—just keep them fairly similar in value, which is a fancy of saying lightness or darkness.
I have two tips to help you with the Bitty Love blocks. One is about feeding the stitch-and-flip of the 2″ background squares into the machine. It’s best to feed it through as shown below, where the point is lying on top of a patch with no point.
It works better as shown above because the point doesn’t get pulled down into the needle hole. If you feed the corners through first, like this:
…they can easily be pulled down into the needle hole and that is no fun. Try to remember this guideline for all of your piecing. Try to avoid feeding the corners through first.
Another trick has to do with the cleft of the heart. In the photo below, you can see that my cleft doesn’t match up very well.
When I pressed the seam allowance to the right, this mistake was evident. But if I pressed it to the left, it practically disappeared.
So when you have a cleft that’s not perfect, experiment by pressing the seam allowance to each side, and see if one doesn’t look decidedly better than the other.
You’ll find links to all of the Bitty Blocks patterns and posts on our Bitty Blocks homepage, as well as a link to the many quilt options for this project and other tips and tricks. Please tell your quilting friends about these free quilt patterns, and use #qmbittyblocks on social media. You can send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see how your Bitty Blocks are coming along!
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Some of you have asked about sewing your blocks together into rows. If you’re sure of what size quilt you’re making, by all means go ahead and sew the blocks together.