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!