Monday, December 27, 2010

BOW #29 Yankee Puzzle

All right, we took a week off for the holiday.  Hope yours were all wonderful!  

Yankee Puzzle is an easy segue from the Hourglass block, as it's just 4 Hourglass blocks, but with 2 different darks on opposite sides of the hourglass, which forms a pinwheel in the middle.

For a 12" block you'll need 4 Quarter Square Triangles of each color (paired with a background color).   You'll start out with:
(1) 7-1/4" square of Dark 1
(1) 7-1/4" square of Dark 2
(2) 7-1/4" squares background

Make 4 QSTs (Quarter Square Triangle units) --well, half units, I suppose--of each color (see BOW #28 for instructions); combine a Dark 1 unit with a Dark 2 unit to make squares......

And arrange those into the Yankee Puzzle block.

This is a good block for secondary designs--or, rather a secondary color design.  When you put four of them together you create a second pinwheel, in the other color.   Very nice design feature!

 And before I close, here's a little construction variation that you might find useful.  Once you have created the Half Square Triangle units for the first step in the QST, you can put a Dark 1 HST and a Dark 2 HST, right sides together (with the Darks opposite each other), draw on the wrong side a line that is perpendicular to the first seam on the HSTs, and sew 1/4" on either side of the line.  When you cut on the drawn line you will have two QST units with the two colors opposite each other.

Have fun!!


Monday, December 13, 2010

BOW #28: Hourglass

You should have the hang of HSTs (Half Square Triangles) by now, and have used them in many blocks.  Now it's time to get started on QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles).   Take heart:  they start with HSTs!

Half Square Triangles are squares made of 2 triangles so, as you might expect, QSTs are squares made of 4 triangles; the Hourglass block is a single QST unit.

To make a 12" finished Hourglass block

(1) 13-1/4" light square
(1) 13-1/4" dark square

Use the squares to make 2 HST units. (Remember, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the light square.  Place the light and dark squares, right sides together, and stitch 1/4" inch on either side of the drawn line.   Cut on the drawn line, fold back the dark triangle of each and press.  Square up to 12-7/8"

At this point, there are 2 ways you can proceed:

Now, cut the HST units from corner to corner, at right angles to the seam of the HSTs:

Then put two resulting triangles together, making sure that dark is next to light:

Just as with the HST, there are many blocks that use QSTs, so it's a good block to have in your toolbox.  We'll be looking at some other blocks, in upcoming weeks, that use QSTs or easy variations of it.  By itself, though, the Hourglass makes a great filler block, or alternate block in quilts.    Hmm... Some Hourlgass blocks in baby colors or bright colors would make a great baby quilt....

MK: Right on cue -- ta-dah! I forgot I had this baby quilt, until Karen mentioned it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Greek Cross Pairings

Did I see a request for some favorite pairings with the Greek Cross? I came up with about a dozen, but I'll limit it here to 2 from recent BOW entries. The Bear's Paws has a nice diagonal feel, and the Churn Dash creates an interesting secondary pattern with the HSTs in the corners. Do you have a favorite pairing for this block? Let us know!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BOW #27: Greek Cross

Greek Cross looks like it might be complicated, but it's just a few shapes, easily constructed.  It's an interesting block for playing with alternate blocks in another design.

For a 12" finished block you'll need:

(4) 4-1/2" Half Square Triangle (HST) units, red/green (choose colors that  you like!)
(4) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" green rectangles
(4) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" gold rectangles
(1) 4-1/2" red square

If you need to review how to make HSTs, see BOW #1

Arrange and sew all the pieces as shown:

You can use just Greek Cross blocks, and you get something of a secondary pattern going on:

or you could alternate with another block, especially another in a nine-patch configuration, such as...well, a nine patch!  You have choices in colors for the nine patches, and you may have to try a few to find one that you like.    Here's one with just red and green:

But that's a little too much red and green for me.  (And you'll do a better job of piecing than I've done with virtual piecing--Open Office and I are having "discussions" tonight...)  So, I'm going to add in a little gold, to coordinate with the Greek Cross block:

And I like that better.  It seems more balanced, color-wise.  But I think I could create more of a secondary pattern if I switched positions of the red and green in the nine-patch:

That's more pleasing and interesting--to MY eyes; you'll find what your eyes like best!

BlockFab is a great way to try out those secondary patterns with different alternating blocks (Monkey Wrench, perhaps?) and different colorways.  I think we might even persuade Mary Kay to try a couple, and share them.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

BOW #26: Slanted Diamonds

I have to confess that I have never made this block "for real," but I'm having fun playing with it virtually--and it means I'll probably have to make a quilt with it!   It's easy to make, using the ever popular HST (Half Square Triangle).

You'll need 3 HSTs each of 3 color combinations; for a 12" finished square you'll need:

(3) 4-1/2" HSTs, Color 1/Color 2 combination
(3) 4-1/2" HSTs, Color 2/Color 3 combination
(3) 4-1/2" HSTs, Color 1/Color 3 combination

Arrange them as shown:

Wasn't that easy?  You can make multiple blocks and put them together, without any turning of the blocks, and get a look something like lightning.  Might be an interesting border:

Or, you can keep turning 45 degrees and make a pinwheel out of 4 blocks:

And, you can keep putting those pinwheels together to make a very graphic design:

Yes, I just may have to make one of these.....maybe scrappy look; 3 colors but in scraps.  (That's a big surprise from me, eh?)


Tip #6: Alternate Plain Blocks

Cherie asked about fabric requirements for the plain alternate blocks. You can see what they'll look like in the "w/Plain" layout option, but what about fabric needs? Here's a tip: use the Patch library, choose the Square shape, set the size, and there you have your plain alternate block!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scrappy Spinning Spools

Did someone mention a scrappy Spinning Spools block? Here is an example from BlockFab-HD.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BOW #25 Spinning Spools

 We made the Spool block in BOW #3; this week we're going to turn it on its ear--and join it with some other spools in the thread drawer.

To make a 12" finished Spinning Spool block, you'll need (where would be without HSTs?):

(16) 1-1/2" Half Square Triangles, light/dark 
(8) 1-1/2" x 4" light rectangles
(8) 1-1/2" x 4" dark rectangles
(4) 4" dark squares

Arrange and sew 4 of the HSTs, 2 dark and 2 light rectangles, and a dark square as shown:

Repeat to make a total of 4 spools (each will measure 6-1/2" square at this point

Turn the spools to make them "spin," and sew together into the block.

I won't suggest again that this would be great in scraps, because you all know by now that I think most blocks look good when made with scraps.  You could make this one with a different color for each of the 4 spools, and use the same combination in each block of a quilt.

I like the spool block, and I very much like the spinning spools because it looks more like the spools in my house--they're sometimes in a bit of a jumble!

Friday, November 19, 2010

BOW #24 Bear's Paw #2

Wow.  Time really got away from me this week!  Sorry to be so late with this!    Let's revisit the Bear's Paw, with a little different arrangement.  This block will be a single paw, with a large Half Square Triangle as the "palm" of the paw.

What would we do without the Half Square Triangle (HST)??    (For instructions on HSTs, see BOW #1--Bear's Paw #1) For a 12" finished block you will need:

(1) 8-1/2" light/dark HST
(4) 4-1/2" light/dark HST
(1) 4-1/2" square

Arrange as shown:

This is somewhat close to a Maple Leaf block and would look good with scraps. (But then, what do I think DOESN"T look good in scraps?)  It would also be nice in a classic 2-color blue-and-white or red-and-white quilt.

And it seems like it could make a nice "guy" quilt if it were done in dark (navy blues and browns?) and light (beige/tan) plaids.   Hmm.  I do have all those plaids saved up in my stash....

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BOW #23 Courthouse Steps

Courthouse Steps is one of those versatile blocks that can be arranged in different ways for very different effects, or can be pieced with various widths of strips that change the effect.

For a 12" finished block (shown here in a sampler quilt--more from this quilt later) you'll need:

(1) 3-1/2" square
(2) 2" x 6-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 9-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 12-12" strips

(2) 2" x 3-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 6-1/2" strips
(2) 2" x 9-1/2" strips

With right sides together, sew the light 2" x 3-1/2" strips on opposite sides of the dark 3-1/2" square.  Fold back and press.

Sew 2" x 6-1/2" dark strips on the opposite sides of the dark square.  Fold back and press.

Continue to alternate light and dark strips on opposite sides, always folding back and pressing after sewing each seam.

MK: As a variation, you could start the first round with the dark strips, rather than the light strips: that is how it is shown in the BlockFab library. You can easily try out both versions by just changing the color of the center square. Personally, I prefer Karen's arrangement.

Here's a small "scatter quilt" that holds my TV remote; a simple Courthouse Steps with Flying Geese on both ends.   The center square in this Courthouse Steps is smaller, proportionally, than in the block in the sample quilt. (I tend to adjust the size of the center square to help me get the finished dimension I want without having to do odd measurements for the strips.

Courthouse Steps doesn't have quite the arrangement versatility that the Log Cabin block (coming up in the future) has, but you can still try out a variety of arrangements:  light sides next to light sides, light side next to dark, or alternating.  It can create some very nice movement in a quilt.

You know that I love scrap quilts, so that's one of my first choices for a CS, but you can make quilts with scraps from a given color palette.  I made a small quilt for my sister Rita to carry with her when she traveled (she traveled a lot) so she could have a little piece of home comfort. (Unfortunately, it was stolen from her hotel room.)  The fabrics were all different but they were all in the mustard and deep red colors.  Your have many, many options with this block.

Have fun with it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BOW #22 Snowball

As with many quilt blocks (but by no means all), Snowball is descriptive of how the block looks, and it's simple to do--when you know the secret of corner triangles.  It is often used as an alternate block, but it can also be used "on its own."

For a 12" block you will need:

(1) 12-1/2" square light
(4) 4-1/2" squares dark

Using a white, silver or yellow pencil draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of each dark square.

Place a dark square (right sides together) in one corner of the light square and sew on the drawn line.  Trim the excess, approx. 1/4" from the seam.  Fold back the triangle and press.  Repeat with the remainder of the squares, and corners of the light square.

You might use Snowball to showcase lovely, large prints; the corners would help to separate and feature the print.   Or,  the Snowball block is a wonderful alternate block, and can be effectively used with nine-patch grid blocks (those that are 3 x 3 arrangement of units), such as the Nine-Patch, Friendship Star, or Monkey Wrench.

You can change the size of the dark squares to suit your needs.  For example, you could use it for a photo quilt, using the corners as a frame, or accent piece--in which case you might want the corners to be smaller.

Here's the Snowball used to actually act as a snowball, in a quilt I designed a few years ago.  (Mittens are a favorite winter motif for me...)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BOW #21 Double X

The HST returns this week, for the Double X block.  It's yet another block that is made from just reorganizing the half-square triangles--and a few squares.  (It's useful to learn to like making half-square triangles, if you want to make a lot of quilt blocks!)

For a 12" block you'll need:
(6) Half-Square Triangle units,  light/dark, 4" finished
   (so, you'll start with 4-7/8" light and dark squares cut in half once diagonally,
    then sewn together in pairs)
(3) 4-1/2" squares dark

Arrange as shown:

I admit that I don't have a quilt with this block, but I'm thinking that I need to make one.  I can see it in scraps (but then, you might have noticed that I can see a LOT of quilt quilts in scraps!), and since the leaf colors are so absolutely gorgeous here this week, I'm seeing the scraps in autumn colors.

O, this would look lovely as a traditional red-and-white, or blue-and-white quilt.

MK: Using the Slideshow feature of the new BlockFab-iPad app (available any day now), I saw this interesting combination of the Double X block with the Rail Fence block.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BOW #20: 7-Grid Chain

As long as we're on Nine Patches and Four Patches and all those patches, let's do the 7-Grid Chain, which is really just a Nine Patch in the center, and Four Patches in the corners.

Because this is on a grid with 7 squares, it's easiest to talk about it as a 14" block--the size shown in the "Bears En Point" quilt shown below.  (If you want to do a 12", or any other size block, just use the BlockFab app to give you the dimensions.)

For a 14" block you'll need:
(13) 2-1/2" dark squares
(12) 2-1/2" light squares
(4) 2-1/2" x 6-1.2" rectangles

Arrange 1 nine-patch, 4 four-patches and the light 4-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles as shown and sew into a chain block. (Watch the orientation of the four-patches in the corners--they must look like the diagram in order to make the chain.)
Now, you could create a chain quilt by alternating this with a plain block but I think this really shines as an alternate block with other pieced blocks, as in this quilt, "Bears En Poine."

It would also be a good way to tie together a group of sampler blocks or, again, as a path (in green?) through a garden of "plain" blocks cut from large florals.  If you put the blocks in horizontal (rather than on point) orientation, it would create a diagonal grid.

Monday, October 11, 2010

BOW #19 Uneven Nine Patch

Recently at a retreat I made a small Uneven Nine Patch, so this would be a good time to post this block.  It's made with small blocks, but it would look good in a larger size, too.

Typically, the Uneven  Nine-Patch is made with the center square twice as large as the corner squares.  So, to make a 12" finished block, you'll need:

(1) 6-1/2" square dark
(4) 3-12" squares dark
(4) 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles light

Arrange them as you would a 5 dark/4 light nine patch:

You could also double-up on this block, replacing the larger square in the center with a pieced block.
Or, perhaps a large print in the center, and coordinating solid-ish fabrics in the corners.
Or, use it as a signature block, with people signing in the light rectangles.  (Hmmm...maybe with photos as the center piece?)

Monday, October 4, 2010

BOW #18 Nine Patch

If I had to choose a block that I most enjoy working with I'd have a tough time choosing between Log Cabin (more about that in a future week) and the Nine Patch, and for ease and versatility you just can't beat the Nine Patch.

It's easy to do--much like the Four Patch, with a few more squares.  You have a choice of whether you want to have more dark or light patches--you need 4 of one and 5 of the other. 

For a 12" finished block, you'll need:

(4) 4-1/2" squares of color #1
(5) 4-1/2" squares of color #2

Arrange as shown, and sew together:

Now, if you have to make many Nine Patches out of the same fabric, you can do some strip piecing to make it faster.  Directions below are for the same 12" finished block, but you can adjust to whatever size you want.

Cut 5 strips of dark fabric, 4-1/2" x WOF (width of fabric), and 4 strips of light fabric, 4-1/2" by width of fabric.   Sew  into strip sets, as shown below.  Make 2 of the first strip set, 1 of the other. (You need twice as many of the 2 dark/1 light rows as the 1 dark/2 light rows.)

Make 4-1/2" cuts of the strip sets, which will give you the rows for the Nine Patches, already sewn; all you have to do is sew those rows together.

The Nine Patch can be used as filler rows and blocks in scrap quilts, just as the Four Patch is. 

Or, you can alternate Nine Patches with plain blocks of the background fabric to create a chain quilt (a Single Irish Chain).

I'm working on a scrap quilt (have you noticed that "I'm working" on a lot of quilts, but you don't hear so much about finished quilts???) that are random Nine Patches, some with 4 dark/5 light and some with 5 dark/4 light squares.  I'm not worrying about what color goes next to the other, just sewing them all together.   (I have MANY 1-1/2" squares that I cut out, with a template, early in my quilting days.  I'm still working on putting those together, and have cut many since.  It may be a lifelong project....)

I say let's give the Nine Patch the respect it deserves--and have fun with it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

BOW #17 Double Four Patch

The Double Four Patch is a natural sequel to last week's Four Patch--just use the single Four Patch in the place of the dark square of a larger Four Patch.  That gives you a Four Patch within a Four Patch, or a Double Four Patch.  (The same principle applies to other blocks, too; think about doubling up when we do the Nine Patch later.)

The block is as easy to make as the Four Patch; you're just making it twice.  For a 12" finished block you'll need:
(2) Four-patch units (light/dark) that will finish at 6" (You'll have used 3-1/2" squares to create them)
(2) light squares, 6-1/2"

Arrange as below:

The Double Four Patch is great to use as a chain block; if you alternate with other blocks and turn the Double Four Patches you can create a chain of the dark squares.  It can "make" a quilt that might otherwise be too simple.  Think about plain blocks of large floral prints, alternated with the Double Four Patch to create a path through a garden...

From Mary Kay: Here is an example of that chain look, alternating this week's Double Four Patch block with the Spool block. You may not recognize the BlockFab app framing this quilt: it's a sneak peek at the new iPad version, which I'm working on! Being a new environment, we're still working out the kinks, but it's progressing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

BOW #16 Four Patch

The Four Patch is another one of my favorite blocks because it is so simple but so versatile.  It's a great first block for a new quilter, but it's useful for experienced quilters and designers, too.   It's the integral part of a Double Four-Patch--but that's another story for another day.

You will see the Four Patch as part of other blocks.  Take a look at your Buckeye Beauty block and you'll see Four Patches built into it.

Only a one-patch is simpler than the Four Patch.  To make a 6" Four Patch (you can make a 12," but that makes from some pretty big pieces; if you make two 6" Four Patches you'll be ready to put them into that Double Four Patch I promised you):

(2) 3-1/2" light squares
(2) 3-1/2" dark squares

Just alternate the light and dark squares in a 2x2 grid:

One of my favorite things to do with a Four Patch  is to make a checkerboard pattern--of any length or width you wish.  It can be a primary design element of a quilt, or sashing, or a border, or a filler block or section.

Here are some quilts that feature Four Patches in one form or another.  The sky's the limit with the Four Patch--and it's hard not to love that!!

This is one block of a larger quilt, and you can see Four Patches in the corners, and in the center--that 16-patch is really 4 Four Patches.   (Sorry that it's a little blurry; you get the idea.)

Here the four patches make up filler pieces in an Orphan Block quilt.  An orphan block quilt is made up of blocks that that never found a place in other quilts.  I have a very short attention span so I have MANY orphan blocks.  When I've made one block once I'm satisfied.  Been there, done that, let's move on!  :-) 

This time the Four Patches step in to make two edges of a small quilt; I generally don't like square quilts, to the Four Patch strips serve to add an extra design element while making the quilt a rectangle.

Finally, here's an unquilted "scatter quilt," what I call small quilts that are designed to serve a specific function around the house--and add a little style to the purpose.  This one is going to be the holiday "home" for my TV remote.  (My remote is resting on an autumn version of such a scatter quilt, though it is with flying geese and a Courthouse Steps.)

Notice that both the blocks are 4-patches (2 x 2 pieces), and that means they have the potential to interact and form new, secondary patterns.  I like the way the pinwheel blades flow into the squares in the Four Patches.  If I were to add more blocks around it would create a terrific pattern.  That may have to be my next Scatter Quilt, or maybe a larger quilt...