Sewcialites 2 – Block #15 “Brighten”

Not sure how it happened so fast but here we are again on yet another glorious Friday evening, just about ready to start the weekend. The sun was shining all day, the birds were singing, and the temps were pleasant, hanging out right around 30º with even warmer air in the forecast for tomorrow. As usual, I’m celebrating the arrival of the end of the week with the latest Sewcialites 2 block release. This week block #15, Brighten by Minki Kim of Riley Blake Designs is taking its turn as the center of Sewcialites attention. Minki is a formally trained artist originally from Korea who specialized in making intricate creations out of simple materials. She was not always into the fiber arts, but once she discovered she could “draw” with her sewing machine the rest was history. Minki finds inspiration for her work in her children and their creative play, and has a natural ability to make common, everyday objects aesthetically pleasing. She is best known for her beautifully detailed “thread drawings” – or sewing illustrations – which combine machine stitching, embroidery, and appliqué. She also has written several books and is an accomplished fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs.

Minki’s blockBrightenis considered to be a very straightforward design that is made up of simple squares and rectangles. This beginner block is not only fun and easy to do, but it will also  highlight your fabric selections beautifully. Though the requirements to complete Brighten are fairly simple, make sure to read all the instructions from start to finish before beginning any project so you know what to expect. Whether you’re new to quilting or consider yourself an expert, this is a good habit to get into to prevent a boo-boo that could have easily been avoided.

I also recommend using a design board like Bitty Boards by Lori Holt to lay your units out before sewing them together to ensure that your fabric is placed in the proper direction. This is especially important to help keep things organized if you are using stripes or other directional prints. If you don’t have one of these boards, I highly recommend. They come in several styles and colors to suit your needs. Check them out!

Laying your entire block out before sewing it together is super helpful in avoiding unnecessary mistakes ahead of time that nobody has time for. It also gives you the opportunity to play around with different layout options until you figure out what you like best without making anything permanent. Remember – we want to work smarter, not harder… The seam ripper is certainly your friend, but not having to use it at all is better.

Brightenis yet another block in the series that makes for a great scrap buster, but would also look pleasing with a bit of control. As you know, for my blocks I’ve decided to use my Garden Gatherings fabric line, leaving out the five tans. For the background I’m using a selection from the Garden Gathering Shirtings Collection, #49176 15 – a cream fabric with an adorable tiny mustard/orange floral print. Like what you see? Click the button below to grab some for yourself!I’ve been getting lots of comments and messages from people saying they haven’t started this QAL yet but they’re still thinking about it. First off, I want to say thanks for so many great comments! I love reading them and hearing about all the cool projects everyone is working on. Keep it up! You might even win a prize for it. Secondly, I say go for it! You really don’t need to worry about being behind on this one. One of the best parts of this quilt-along is that you can do it on your time, however your schedule allows – you can join us at any time! Plus, most the blocks are fairly easy to make and can be done in an afternoon. You can always find previously posted blocks on the Sewcialites 2 Landing Page. You can also visit the Sewcialites 2 Block Archive on my blog which is listed in the main menu of links at the top of the page.

Newly released blocks are posted on Kim’s blog The Jolly Jabber, along with a video tutorial on her YouTube Livestream the same day. Each designer will also post their own block to either their blog or their website on that day as well. I will also be posting each block release here on MY blog every Friday for your convenience. Fabric requirements and all block patterns are on the  Sewcialites 2 Landing Page, which you can access by clicking the link below. If you’d like to get automatic updates on Sewcialites 2 you can subscribe to the blog by signing up in the Email subscription box by visiting the Landing Page, or by subscribing to the YouTube channel by clicking HERE.

If Sewcialites 2 doesn’t trip your trigger, that’s ok too. I have plenty to keep you busy if you need something to do! You can always check out my latest pattern releases by clicking HERE, or if you’d like to watch me explain them on my LIVE show, click HERE! I hope you have a restful weekend and that you have a chance to get outside for some fresh air. It seems nice out now, but something tells me Old Man Winter isn’t quite done yet. In other words, enjoy it while it lasts! I’ll take the 30’s and 40’s this time of year with a smile on my face because as anyone from WI will tell you, temperatures in February can go either way. Some years it’s 30º above, some year’s it’s 20º below (ba-zero)! I wouldn’t bet money on either, because you just never know.

Time to wrap up this wonderful week by giving away a couple of prizes to Stephanie R. and Jennifer N. Check your email ladies! We put together a little something nice for each of you as a way to say thanks for your comments on the blog last week! Your comments are important to us and I honestly do love reading them. Plus, it’s just about the easiest way to enter yourself in a drawing for a great prize (remember that if you’re using a “handle” or screen name that is different than your actual name, please leave your first name and last initial in your comment so we can include you. Note: I do not post last names or email addresses for your privacy, so if you think you’re one of the lucky winners this week please be sure to check your email. You can also contact Heidi at if you have not already received a prize confirmation letter from her. If you think you are a winner but have not received a prize confirmation email, be sure to check your spam folder – it’s not often but our emails will sometimes end up there)! Have a great night everyone. I’ll see you next week! ~Lisa

15 responses to “Sewcialites 2 – Block #15 “Brighten””

  1. Eunice Avatar

    It is interesting seeing how the “chain” interlocks in the sample block.

  2. Leigh Avatar

    So interesting to see what everyone uses to create their block. They all look so different. This would make for an interesting quilt or maybe use as a border….hmmmm
    Leigh K.

  3. Tammy Marquardt Avatar
    Tammy Marquardt

    Gotta love Wisconsin weather!

  4. Carrie Avatar

    Lisa, you are doing everything right. You have resurrected my (long thought dead) creativity. I’m excited to learn and try new things and always find you (you tube, blog, patterns from PG, etc) everyday for inspiration. LOL I’m even digging out my quilting stuff!! Although, I can’t thank you enough for teaching me to stitch on wool (my favorite). You truly are making a difference in people’s lives. Thank you 😘

  5. Louise Charlton Avatar

    I really like your version of Sewcialite Block 15 Lisa!

  6. Annie B Avatar
    Annie B

    As much as I would love to start Sewcialites 2 QAL, I am currently quilting my Dear Jane. She has all my attention. All of my blocks and triangle borders are made with Kim Diehl and Jo Morton fabrics. The back is Lisa Bongean’s 108″ Primitive Muslin.

  7. TJA Avatar

    To me it doesn’t matter if I’m participating hands on in the subj of whatever your posting about. I’m participating by reading the post, enjoying the post, marveling at the creative pursuits of many. Love the background introduction to someone I may never have learned about. There is no doubt that simple is stunning.

    Never do I finish a post without some new nugget of information. For me that is as valuable as making the block or participating in a challenge. I often find new designers to check out and enjoy that creative pursuit immensely. For this particular block I learned about bitty boards and can’t wait to investigate further. Absolutely see this as a valuable time saver, being such a visual person to begin with.

    Have a wonderful day

  8. Lisa Marie Avatar
    Lisa Marie

    Your block this week looks a little Packer-esque. I like it! 😉

    1. lisabongean Avatar

      I thought so too Lisa!

  9. Kristy Johnson Avatar
    Kristy Johnson

    I’ve been having a fun time sewing the smaller 3” blocks. I never thought I could sew that small. After this, I might even get brave enough to try one of your beautiful patterns with tiny HSTs!

  10. Crystal B Avatar
    Crystal B

    The Bitty Boards look like a great way to keep track of busy block pieces! Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Stephanie R. Avatar
    Stephanie R.

    Thanks Lisa! Great tidbits as always!

  12. Jennifer Avatar

    Very nice block. Love the garden gatherings fabric. I might have to join this QAL.

    1. lisabongean Avatar

      I think you should Jennifer!

  13. Cyndy Lipe Avatar

    I made my own Bitty Boards years ago but I call it my design board. I used an old piece of fleece and glued it onto a piece of packing Styrofoam and it is 14″ square. I lay out my piece’s in the block and I know what order to sew them in.

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