I have found a neat little block to use as an insert block or as a filler block. It could be used in the body of the quilt or out in the border.
I made this practice "Pod Block" by using pink print for the pod and my neutral for the background. You could choose to do this in reverse if you wanted.
I prepared my fabric by spray starching it so it would be sturdier to work with. When cutting a gentle curve you need to have a very sharp blade. This would be a good time to replace a blade in your rotary cutter. The trick to getting a smooth cut is to apply as little pressure as necessary to make a smooth cut.
You could make your pods any size you want but for practice these are the measurements I chose. Just remember that your background strips must be at least 3" longer than your pod fabric.
Cut a 2.5" strip of fabric for the pod and two 3" x 11" strips of background fabric.
The next step is to cut a gentle curve through the pod fabric. Begin this cut near the center of the bottom and progress to near the center at the top. The closer to the edge you curve the wider the pod will be. This must be a gentle curve. If you are right handed this first cut will be on the right side, and, conversely if you are a leftie, it will be the left side of your strip.
Rotate the strip 180 degrees to cut the opposite side. You need to leave 1/4" seam allowance from the center on this side. Begin about a 1/4" from the previous cut and follow the gentle curve to the top ending about 1/4" from the other cut.
Center the pod vertically on one background strip, with both fabrics RIGHT side up with the background raw edge running through the center of the pod. Of course, the lefties will do this on the left side first.
Using the pod as a template, cut the same curve into the background fabric. Discard the small piece of background fabric underneath the pod.
Lay the two pieces side by side and make a mark on the background fabric at the top right corner of the pod.
Flip the pod right side down on the background fabric, matching its top right corner with the mark, and pin.
Flip the pieces over and sew with the background fabric on top. Drop your needle into both fabrics. Using your "down needle" feature on your sewing machine is helpful. Be sure to remove the pin before you start sewing. Taking your time and moving slowly without bunching up your fabric sew the two layers together. I use an accessory for maintaining my quarter inch (or you may have a quarter inch foot with a flange) which makes it easy to keep both fabrics together and at a quarter inch.
Press under the pod fabric.
You will now repeat the process for the second side.
Take the sewn piece and place it on the second background piece.
I am showing you the reverse here so you will remember to cover at least half of the pod before you cut. Now turn it over and using a gentle curve follow the curve of the pod as your template and cut this side.
When you finish, trim your block to size. I try to line up my ruler down the center of the pod and measure off from there. This gives me a centered pod. Should you want a little wonkier look you could skew your ruler and achieve that look.
I am planning to use this "pod" block for some small projects coming up. Can you imagine some "floating leaves" with these pods cut using a skew of your ruler? I think it would give the impression of falling leaves, ummm.
If you like this little block, you should check out Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen's book, Quilting Modern, for lots of wonderful techniques to use in your traditional or your modern quilts. This is one of my favorite books of late.