Refraction block tutorial

April is my month in the FQR Kinky Bee, and I’ve chosen a simple (albeit rather huge block) that is pretty improvisational and hopefully a lot of fun to sew.

The block gets its name from the way that the blue lines are shifted out of alignment by the addition of each section, just like the way a pencil looks broken when you put it in a glass of water. I really like that effect, which is convenient because trying to line the buggers up each time you add a new strip is a total pain.

For one block (finished size about 22 x 14″) you will need:

22 x 13″ background fabric (I used Kona medium grey)
5 strips, each 1.5 x 22″ (I used a selection of blues from a Kona FQ bundle)

Using a ruler, cut the background fabric in half along its length. Make this cut wherever you like, but try to avoid it being dead straight and centre.

Take a strip and sew it to one of the newly cut edges. Press the seam towards the strip (I normally press open, but in this case I didn’t – life is too short to have that many finger burns!). Sew together with the other piece of background fabric, and press the seam towards the strip again.

Cut the piece in half again like before, choosing an interesting angle…

And insert a strip of a different shade. Remember not to try to match up the edges of the first strip – you want them to look broken.

Now you can cut the block in the other direction and insert another strip…

And another…

And maybe even another…

Basically, just keep going until it looks done. You may not want to use all the strips, and that is just fine. Square up the block, and there you have it.

Thanks, lovely bee ladies – I hope this all makes sense. I look forward to seeing all your blocks!

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