Jingle BOM Alternate Pieced Block: 54-40 or Fight!

Alternate Pieced Block: 54-40 or Fight

So as I'm nearing the end of the block construction phase for my Jingle BOM (designed by Erin Russek of One Piece at a Time, patterns and instructions found here), I've been looking at the finished blocks up on my design wall, trying to picture the finished quilt with the setting triangles and borders, and feeling... underenthused.  As I've been hand stitching that center medallion applique, I've been playing out different scenarios for this quilt in the back of my mind.  There will need to be pieced setting triangles, or pieced borders, or both.  And there is at least one pieced block up on that wall that I REALLY do not like. 
 
So I hauled out a bunch of quilt books and hunted through them for a different block that I would like better, and came up with the oddly-named 54-40 or Fight block (which got its name from James Polk's 1844 Presidential campaign slogan, capitalizing on "Oregon Fever" and Manifest Destiny).  Just a tidbit of history trivia for you there; can't help myself.
 
Completed Jingle Blocks, Including the Ugly Block
I found this block in two of my quilting books, both of which recommended using templates for the triangle-in-a-square units, and neither of which included instructions for a 9" finished block, the size needed for this project.  I have no idea how to make or use a template and was not in the mood to go that route, but I do own a set of Nifty Notions Cut for the Cure specialty rulers that includes two rulers ideally suited for this block, the Half Rectangle Triangle and the Bias Triangle rulers.  Since I'm making a 9" finished block and my triangle-in-a-square units need to finish at 3" square, I added 1/2" for the seam allowances and cut myself a 3 1/2" strip of green fabric and a 3 1/2" strip of cream and gold background fabric.  I used the Half Rectangle ruler to quickly and painlessly cut pairs of star point triangles from the green strip, and I used the Bias Triangle ruler to just as quickly cut the background triangles from the other strip.  There's even a little notch on the ruler to help you perfectly align the triangles for stitching, and from that point this unit goes together as easily as a Flying Geese unit.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this block!  I also love that I have learned enough about block grids and rulers that I was able to just look at the block and start cutting, without having to find instructions for my block size or do any convoluted math. 
 
I do still have one more pieced block to complete per Erin's pattern, one that I actually do think that I'll like, so the Ugly Block is staying on the wall for the time being.  Maybe I'll get adventurous and replace or tweak some of the other blocks as well.

7 comments, opinions & scuttlebutt:

Blinky said...

I think it is beautiful!! Love the colors! I don't know what the original block looked like but the alternative one is very pretty. I haven't started mine yet...long story so hectic. But I was thinking of making it not with Christmas fabric so that I can use it year round. I love your color choices so thinking of using your colors but not in Christmas fabric Yours is awesome!

Blinky said...

I think it is beautiful!! Love the colors! I don't know what the original block looked like but the alternative one is very pretty. I haven't started mine yet...long story so hectic. But I was thinking of making it not with Christmas fabric so that I can use it year round. I love your color choices so thinking of using your colors but not in Christmas fabric Yours is awesome!

Marian said...

I hope it's ok to be honest :)

I do not like it .. I like the block, but not with the quilt.

The reason being I do think it stands out.

The cream background with the curliecue print that you've used is not in that block, but it's in most of the others and it seems to be consistent thru your quilt. I think if you put that in your block it would blend in more with the quilt itself.

I hate being honest sometimes, and you may not like me for it, but it really is how I see it.

Rebecca Grace said...

Honest is GOOD, Marian! Thank you!  I meant to use a variety of different cream and gold background fabrics in my pieced blocks, but ended up using that squiggly fabric in 5 out of 8 blocks. I don’t want it in every pieced block because that feels too matchy-matchy to me, but I thought that if only two blocks had different fabric it would look like an accident, like I ran out of fabric instead of doing it on purpose. I am using the same gold/cream background fabric as the 54-40 or Fight block in my last pieced block, Pieced Block 6, and the block that I really dislike has the squiggly fabric, so there should be a better balance once I swap that block out. I am also not opposed to making MORE alternate star blocks and possibly swapping out some of the others. I can make the leftover blocks into a table runner or something, but I think I will have an easier time figuring out my borders and setting triangles if I am not locked into only 8 pieced blocks to choose from. I would have done several of these blocks differently if I had been able to plan out the whole quilt ahead of time, so next time I take on a BOM project I’m going to wait until ALL of the blocks have been released before I start on it.

Thanks for your honest opinion, Marian; I really do appreciate that you took the time to share your feedback with me. If I just wanted people to lie to me, I'd ask my husband if my jeans make me look fat. ;-)

Jenny K. Lyon said...

I agree with Marian but I think you've already figured it out-just add more of the alternate blocks to make it look more deliberate. Thanks for the comments on the rulers. It's always a gamble to buy a "Specialty Ruler"-will it really rock my world or sit around long enough for me to forget why I bought it or how to use it?? These rulers sound very useful.

Carrie P. said...

I like what I see so far except for the one block below the new block. To me there is too much green. My eye keeps going to that block.

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, Carrie. I'm deliberately trying to bring in more green in the pieced blocks. In a lot of the early blocks, where the pattern designer called for green in the block I selected prints that had green in them but that read more muddy brownish from a distance. The original idea is for each of these blocks to be set on point with red setting triangles, and when I laid them all out on the red fabric I felt like I didn't have enough green to get that Christmasy vibe that I'm going for -- and I really love the emerald green fabrics I've been using throughout the applique blocks. So that's another reason that I'm reevaluating my completed pieced blocks and thinking about replacing some of them. I do agree that I need to have one or two more "mostly green" pieced blocks to balance that one out -- I just really like the stronger, brighter blocks better than the "muddy" ones and feel like they look better with the applique.

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