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Archive for the ‘Piecing’ Category

Proverbs 16:2-3

In part one of the X-Box quilt block tutorial, we constructed the main units of the block and sewed them together.  We’re now ready to add a border.  I think you’ll like this easy sew and cut method, which can be used for any quilt block you’re making by adjusting the measurements.

X-Box Quilt Block Border

The following instructions will create a border for two X-Box blocks, which will in turn become lattice when you sew your blocks together to form the quilt top.

Border Strips, Set One:

(1)  From two different fabrics, cut rectangles  4″ x8″.

(2)  Place one rectangle on top of the other, right sides together.  Sew the two short sides, using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Sew Short Sides of Rectangles

(3)  Cut this unit in half, parallel to the seams.

Cut Unit in Half

(4)  Stack the units together with the seam allowances at the top or bottom.  Cut the units in half as shown (perpendicular to the seam allowances).

Cut Units in Half Again

(5)  Press open.  You should now have four strips that measure  2″ x 7 ½″.

Four Border Strips

(6)  Sew two of these strips to the sides of your block as shown, matching the center seam allowances.  Repeat this step for the second block.

Sew to Sides of Quilt Block

Border Strips, Set Two:

(1)  From two different fabrics, cut rectangles  4″ x 11″.

(2)  Follow steps #2 through #4 above.

(3)  Press open.  You should have four strips measuring  2″ x 10 ½″.

(4)  Sew the strips to the top and bottom of your block, matching the center seam allowance.  Repeat this step for the second block.

Wasn’t that easy?  I love the way this method creates a double lattice effect around the blocks.

I’m off to complete my X-Box quilt.

Happy quilt making!

Nancy

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Proverbs 2:6-7

This quilt block could also be called an easy peasy Bow Tie block.  The Bow Tie block has been around for some time, so most of you are familiar with it.  I simply modified the “tie” part of the block, put four block units together, and framed it to form a new block.  The individual block borders become lattice when the blocks are sewn together.

X-Box Quilt Blocks

To construct the blocks, I used commonly sized quilt rulers as templates—2 ½″, 4 ½″, and 4″ x 8″.  These aren’t necessary, but they do save a little time in the process.

Quilt Rulers as Templates

For one block, cut the following:

Two dark  2 ½″  squares
Two light  4 ½″  squares
Two medium  4 ½″ squares

Cutting Measurements

I used two different fabrics for each value but that decision is up to you.  Same or different, it doesn’t matter.

Take your two light squares and fold them in half, finger pressing a crease on the fold line.

Fold Light Squares in Half

Fold them half again, finger pressing a crease.  Open them and set them aside.

Fold in Half Again

Back your two small dark 2 ½″ squares with an iron-on fusible product, such as Trans Web, Mistyfuse, or Steam-A-Seam Lite 2.  Follow package instructions.

Place a small dark square on both of the light creased squares (right side) and position them as diamonds, matching points to fold lines.  Press according to product instructions.

Fuse Diamonds to Light Squares

Sew a 2.0mm straight stitch around the diamonds with matching thread about 1/16″ from the outer edge.

Stitch Fused Diamond

Place the medium value squares on top of the fused squares, right sides together.  Mark a line down the center of the medium value square.

Mark Center of Medium Squares

Place Medium Squares Over Light Squares

Stitch a quarter-inch seam down both sides of the drawn line.

Stitch Quarter-Inch from Center Line

Cut the units in half along the drawn line.  Finger press open.

Cut Units in Half

Position one unit on top of another with medium value facing light value, right sides together.

Medium Over Light

Butt the seams up against each other and mark a center line perpendicular to the seams.  Pin as shown.

Mark Center Line and Pin Units

Sew a quarter-inch seam on both sides of the drawn line.

Sew Quarter-Inch from Center Line

Cut in half along the drawn line.  Finger press open.  Your units should look something like this.

Sewn Units

Place your units in sewing order.  They should form an “X” pattern when positioned correctly.  Since you’ve finger pressed the units, you can adjust most of the seams easily so that they butt up against each other as you sew the blocks together.  Of course, a pin here and there never hurts.

Sew Blocks Together

Square up the block and press.

In part two of this tutorial, we’ll give the X-Box quilt block a multi-fabric border using my easy sew and cut method.

Happy piecing!

Nancy

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Psalm 121:1-2

In part one of this tutorial, I demonstrated how to construct the Cheery Oh quilt block.  It’s a very simple as well as fun quilt block to make. Although you could use print fabrics for the background units of the “O” shape, I really like the pristine appearance of solid white surrounding the focus points of these colorful blocks.

I made the design choice of setting the blocks on point.  That means there is a need for setting triangles and corner triangles in order to complete the quilt top.  If you’re new to the on point design setting for your quilt blocks, the diagram below may help.  Of course, you can always choose a horizontal block setting and still produce a beautiful quilt with the Cheery Oh blocks.

Setting and Corner Triangles

Setting triangles (sometimes called side triangles) and corner triangles do add more complexity to the construction of a quilt, but setting blocks on point can really introduce variety to your quilt designs and produce increased visual interest.

Yes, there’s math involved unless you purchase a specialty ruler sold for this purpose.  But it’s similar to doing the math for half-square and quarter-square triangles, with a little multiplication and division added.  In fact, I prefer the math method for making setting triangles over the ruler method, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Grab your calculator for the following steps.

You will be using the calculation below to arrive at the size square you need to produce two corner triangles.

Formula for Corner Triangles

Size of finished block  ÷  1.414  +  0.875″

Round up the number this calculation gives you to the nearest 1/8″ (0.125) and cut a square this size. For example, my finished block measures 7 1/2″.   7.5 ÷ 1.414 = 5.304 + 0.875= 6.179.  Rounding it up gives me 6.30 so I will cut my square about 6 3/8″.

Divide the square in half by cutting it diagonally, corner to corner.  Repeat this step for the remaining two corner triangles needed.  Rounding up is important because it adds a comfort zone to the size of the triangles, taking care of the rollover effect at the seam allowance.

If math is a scary thing for you, there are rulers on the market that simplify this step.  I have the Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler by Marti Mitchell.  I prefer it over the math method for corner triangles.  You simply find the size marking on the edge of the ruler for your finished square and cut the triangles needed.  It’s a handy tool not only for on point quilt settings but also for Square in a Square blocks.

Diagonal Set Triangle Ruler

Formula for Setting Triangles

Size of finished block × 1.414  +  1.25″

Round up the number this calculation gives you to the nearest 1/8″ (0.125) and cut a square this size.  For example,  7.5  x 1.414 = 10.605 + 1.25 = 11.855.  I rounded the number to 12″ for my square.  In the case of these triangles, better a little larger than too small.

Cut Square for Setting Triangles

Now position a ruler diagonally from corner to corner and cut the square in half.

Cut Square in Half Diagonally

Without moving the two triangles, reposition the ruler diagonally at opposite corners and cut in half again.

Cut in Half Again

You now have four setting triangles.  Repeat this step until you have as many triangles as your quilt top requires.

Four Setting Triangles

I mentioned earlier that I prefer the math method for this step.  The ruler method is fine; you just cut one side of the triangle and then flip the ruler over to cut the other side.  Personally, I find quartering the square easier.  Which method you use is entirely up to you.

Now take all your blocks and triangles and place them in sewing order.  I usually do this on my bed.  You have a couple of choices to make at this point—sew the rows together diagonally or sew the four corner units and then sew the center blocks together.  I like the second choice and that is how I constructed the quilt top.

Position Quilt Units in Sewing Order

Sewing the corner units together first for this particular quilt takes care of all the setting and corner triangles.  I find the units of the quilt are easier to manage this way.

First, sew the two setting triangles to the corner block.  Second, fold the corner triangle in half and finger press a small crease line at the center edge.  Do the same with the block unit.  Pin the corner unit to the block unit at the center point, right sides together.

Crease and Pin Center

It’s now easy to sew the corner triangle to the block unit with it perfectly centered.

Sewing the Corner Triangle to Corner Unit

After you’ve constructed all four corner units, begin sewing the center quilt blocks together in groups of three.  Match up and pin each of the seam intersections.  Next, sew the three rows together in the same manner.

Sew Blocks in Groups of Three

Position all of the sewn quilt units in order.  Sew each corner unit to the center quilt block unit, pinning at seam intersection.

Sew Corner Units to Quilt Top

You now have the main section of your quilt top completed.  Notice the secondary square and diamond shapes that the on point design has produced.  I love this setting!

Cheery Oh Quilt Center

If you’ve never attempted to place your quilt blocks on point, I hope you’ll take a deep breath and give it a try.  Like so many first-time experiences, you’ll feel a little unsure of yourself as you‘re cutting all those triangles, but soon you’ll be right at home with the process.

I’m now ready to work on the quilt borders so off I go.

Happy quilt designing,

Nancy

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Psalm 119:137-138

I’ve been thinking about this quilt design for weeks now.  The blocks are simple to construct and offer a very different appearance when positioned on point.

Cheery-Oh Quilt Graphic

My finished quilt will look similar to the graphic, but my palette of fabrics will be different.   I design quilts in my software just to have a road map to my approximate destination.  I seldom follow them in every detail.  What fun would that be?

Cheery-Oh Quilt Palette

I recently made a trip to Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, North Carolina with this quilt in mind, finding many of the palette fabrics there.  If you live in the southeast, you definitely want to experience Mary Jo’s Cloth Store—fabric as far as the eye can see.  I can close my eyes within a mile of the exit and my car will just naturally veer to the right at Exit 21, Coxe Avenue.

Now back to the Cheery-Oh quilt block.  I’ve constructed three blocks so far and here is how they look.  Each block will measure 7 ½” finished.

Cheery-Oh Quilt Blocks

The following instructions are for one quilt block.  To make a quilt with these blocks, simply multiply each unit number by the number of blocks you will need.  In my case, I need thirteen blocks.

Cutting instructions:

Cut four (4)  3” squares from print fabric

Cut two (2)  3 3/8” squares from same print fabric

Cut two (2)  3 3/8” square from white Kona cotton fabric

Cut one (1)  3” center square from white Kona cotton fabric

Cutting Instructions

With your 3 3/8” squares, construct four half-square triangles using my half-square triangle tutorial.

Construct 4 Half-Square Triangles

Now place all your units in sewing order.

Unit Placement

Sew units from row one together, using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Sew Units Together, One Row at a Time

Next, sew units from row two together.  And finally, sew units from row three together.

Sewn Rows

Press your seams in opposite directions as shown.  Correct pressing can make life a whole lot easier.

Press Seams in Opposite Directions

Position row one on top of row two, right sides together, allowing the seams to butt up against each other.  Pin in place.  Sew the rows together.  Repeat this step with row three.  I like to press the row seams open, but this is entirely up to you.  Your block is now complete.  Square up if necessary.

I’m off to sew blocks #4-13.  Once I have them all made, I’ll continue this tutorial, showing you how I cut the side and corner triangles to complete the center unit of the quilt top.

Happy piecing,

Nancy

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Psalm 144:8-9

If you’ve followed some of my tutorials, the method for constructing these Monkey See blocks will be familiar.  They are super easy and fast to make.  You will need a novelty fabric that you can fussy cut for the center of the blocks.  This tutorial makes nine blocks, enough for a baby, wall, or lap quilt.

Monkey See Blocks
First, fussy cut eight 4 ½” center blocks.

Fussy Cut Centers

Cut eight rectangles 4 ½” x 5” from contrasting fabrics.  I used four fabrics so I cut two rectangles from each one.

Beginning with the 4 ½” squares, sew a contrasting fabric (right sides together) to each one by sewing down two sides.  The rectangles will be a little larger than the squares as you are sewing.

Sew Two Sides

Shift the tubes you’ve created and quickly match up the seams.  Finger press a fold line in the contrasting rectangle.  Cut along the fold line and finger press open.

Cut Fold Line

Cut eight 5” x 8 ½” rectangles from the same contrasting fabrics.  Place each rectangle on top of the previously sewn units, matching the contrasting fabrics.  Sew down the two sides perpendicular to the previous seams.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Seams

Shift the tubes and match the seams.  Finger press a fold line in the contrasting rectangle and cut as shown.  Press.

Cut Fold Line

Your blocks should measure 8 ½” square.

Measure Blocks

Cut eight strips 1 ½” x 42” (the approximate cross grain measurement) from the same four contrasting fabrics.  Sew strips around each of the four blocks, using one of the contrasting fabrics that doesn‘t match the particular block you’re sewing it to.

Sew Strips Around Four Sides

Press open.

Press Strips Open

Your finished blocks should measure 10 ½” square.  Square up if necessary.

Now cut one 8 ½” square from your novelty fabric.  Cut one more strip 1 ½” x 42”.  (I used a fifth fabric that I will be using for the borders.)  Sew the strip around the block and press.  This will be your center block as you arrange your blocks in rows of three.

Sew Strips Around Center Block

Sew your blocks together and then sew your rows together.

Sew Blocks Together

Here is my quilt top so far.  I plan on adding a 5” border.  Aren’t those little monkeys cute as can be?
Monkey See Sewn Blocks

Have a great weekend,

Nancy

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Psalm 119:33, 35

I think this is my favorite way to use the Crossroads quilt block.  In this tutorial, the Crossroads block becomes the center unit, building two pillars (squares) on the foundation of the courthouse (rectangle).

Courthouse Steps Quilt Blocks

I don’t use the traditional method of constructing this block.  My easy sew and cut method saves time by reducing the number of “strips” that need to be cut.  Actually, instead of strips you will be cutting rectangles, sewing them on two sides and then cutting them in half.  This method is fast, accurate, and more enjoyable since the rectangle units are larger and easier to work with.

You will need three light fabrics and three dark fabrics for the contrasting steps.  When doing the math for a quilt, simply multiply the cuts (and the center units) by the number of blocks needed.  To make this easy, I have highlighted the the cutting instructions in bold type.

First, construct a center unit using my Crossroads Quilt Block tutorial.  Use a dark fabric for the rectangle.  Your center unit should measure 4” x 4”.

Cut a rectangle 3” x 4” from one of your light fabrics.

Cut First Light Rectangle

Position the light 3” x 4” rectangle on top of the Crossroads block, right sides together.  (The cut rectangle will not cover the entire Crossroads block.)  Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the Crossroads’ rectangle as shown.

Sew First Side

Sew Second Side

Shift the tube and quickly match up the seams by butting them up against each other.  Finger press a fold into the light rectangle.

Shift Tube, Match Seams, Fold

With a pair of scissors, cut along the fold line.  Finger press open.  Your unit should measure 4” x 6”.  (From this point forward assume that each new cut rectangle is positioned on the previously sewn unit, right sides together.)

Cut Along Fold

Cut a 3” x 6” rectangle from one of your dark fabrics.  Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Light Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold into the dark rectangle.  Cut along the fold line as before.  Finger press open.  Your unit should measure 6” x 6”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 6” rectangle from a light fabric.  Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn dark strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Dark Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line into the light rectangle.  Cut along the fold line and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 6” x 8”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 8” rectangle from a dark fabric. Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.  Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 8” x 8”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 8” rectangle from a light fabric. Sew the two sides that are perpendicular to the previously sewn dark strips.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to Dark Strips

Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold line.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  Your unit should measure 8” x 10”.

Cut Fold Line

Cut a 3” x 10” rectangle from a dark fabric. Sew the two sides perpendicular to the previously sewn light strips.  Shift the tube, match the seams, and finger press a fold into the dark rectangle.  Cut along the fold and finger press open.  The block should measure 10” x10”.

Cut Final Fold Line

Press your block, square up if necessary, and take pleasure in a job well done.

Completed Courthouse Steps Block

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m at the quilt sandwich stage of my Crossroads scrap quilt, with hopes of getting it quilted today.  I use the word hope because it’s probably not going to happen.  I keep eying (did you know the spelling of this little word is controversial?) the Courthouse Steps block on my cutting table, longing to make another log cabin quilt.  And then there’s the monkey fabric begging for a cute quilt design and the fabrics I purchased last week that I already have a quilt design for. . .

Ahhhh. So many sweet decisions.

Nancy

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Psalm 119:89-90

The Crossroads quilt block is a super simple little block that can stand on its own in a scrap quilt, join other units to form a framed block or whirly-pinwheel design, or serve as the core of various log cabin blocks.  Crossroads can probably do even more than I’ve listed, but that’s as far as my thinking has taken me this week.

Crossroads Scrap Quilt

The block is comprised of a rectangle and two squares, certainly nothing unique.  However, my sew and cut method of constructing it is a little different and makes the process fast, accurate, and enjoyable.  This is the perfect quilt block for using up all those scraps you have saved.

Crossroads Whirl Quilt

First, cut two 4 ½” squares from different fabrics.

Cut Two Squares

Place the squares right sides together and sew two parallel sides, using a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Sew Two Parallel Sides

Cut the unit in half.

Cut Unit in Half

Finger press the two units open.  The units measure 4” x 4 ½”.

Finger Press Units Open

Cut two 4” x 4 ½” rectangles from contrasting fabrics.

Cut Contrasting Rectangles

Place the rectangles on top of the units, right sides together.  Sew down two sides, perpendicular to the seam.

Sew Sides Perpendicular to the Seam

Cut the units in half and finger press open.  You now have two Crossroads blocks that are mirror images of each other.  The blocks should measure 4” square.

Cut in Half Again

For a scrap quilt, I position my blocks with the rectangles in the center.  This isn’t necessary, but I like the effect.

Position of Blocks

For a whirly-pinwheel quilt, I make all my rectangles the same color and position them in the center as well.

Position of Blocks for Whirly Design

In part two of this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use the Crossroads block as the core of a Courthouse Steps block along with my super simple way of constructing this traditional log cabin block.  I love log cabins!  The third quilt I made as a new quilter was a queen size log cabin quilt that I still snuggle under while hibernating in the winter time.  For me, it’s the equivalent of comfort food.

Happy piecing,

Nancy

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