October Birthstone Sew-Along: Pink Tourmaline
Join us for the October birthstone block sew-along! This Pink Tourmaline gem not only represents babies born in October, but also translates into a great Breast Cancer Awareness “go pink!” block.
- October Birthstone Block pattern by MJ Kinman
- Fat quarter bundle of Paintbrush Studio pink, lavender, violet, black and white fabrics
- Sulky 40 wt. Rayon thread (at least six shades to match fabrics)
- Rotary cutter, cutting mat & ruler
- 90/14 Organ sewing machine needles
- Paper scissors (or rotary blade designated for paper)
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TIP Purchase the October Birthstone Block bundle to have the pattern, fabric and thread ready to go (and save)!
October Birthstone Block CUTTING
Step one is to take out both pattern sheets. One sheet is the KEY (set this aside) and the other is the paper-piecing pattern. The latter has a filmy surface on the back that is similar to freezer paper. This allows you to temporarily fuse the paper to the fabric RIGHT side for construction.
Cut along the lines of the PATTERN (not KEY), until you have a big pile of small pieces.
Then start categorizing the pieces by fabric color (P1, P2, P3, etc). Inside the pattern is a chart that shows which letter and number combinations correlates to which fabric.
FUSING the October Birthstone Block
Once the pieces are categorized by color, it’s time to fuse them to the fabric.
Make sure to leave adequate room beyond each piece to account for seam allowances.
Next, cut out the pieces, leaving at least a 1/4″ seam beyond each piece. Use a rotary cutter, mat and ruler for cutting accuracy and ease.
Take your time and continue cutting until each piece is finished (I won’t lie–this takes a long time!).
Refer to the key and piece each quadrant of the block together before stitching the quadrants to complete the block.
Take a look at this particular piece.
Notice how the corner DOES NOT align perfectly. Even if your first instinct is to force it to align, RESIST! MJ Kinman designed this block to emulate a gem, so some facets do not align on purpose. This block has several facets that look askew at first. Remember that you’ll be looking at the block from afar and you want the gem to pop and appear three dimensional.
Be sure to align the corresponding marks when piecing to ensure everything fits together nicely.
There are a few curved black pieces for the outer border of the October birthstone block. Align the center marks and sew from the center outward on these pieces to ensure the curve follows the facets as intended.
The important thing is to take your time. After all, you’ve painstakingly prepped and cut out all these pieces, so why not sew carefully and thoughtfully? I have a tendency to want to sew super fast, so I set my machine for a medium speed so my foot can’t possibly speed up, no matter how much I want it to.
Once the block is finished, there are so many options.
- Make a quilt sandwich and quilt the block as desired. Follow MJ Kinman’s advice in our “Wild Motion Quilting” webinar and switch Sulky Rayon thread colors for each facet to not disturb the hues. Bind the block and use it as a table centerpiece, wall handing or other art piece.
- Save the block and start working on November’s block (Citrine). Assemble and quilt all the blocks together from the Super Bundle to eventually create a large Birthstone Quilt.
- Applique the block to the back of a jacket to really make a statement as you walk away!
What are your ideas for displaying this finished block?
Join in next month as we work through the November Birthstone Block: Citrine. Grab your kit today to have everything at the ready. We’re almost halfway to our large Birthstone quilt! (Pat yourself on the back!)