Monday, October 12, 2009

it's so easy, i know you can do it!

a little while ago i promised a free quilt tutorial from my quilting class that i taught at the Ben Franklin in September. here, (at long last) it is! (and i guess it's been even longer than i thought since i posted last. after trying unsuccessfully to log into blogger, i found that i had forgotten my password! imagine that!)

anyway- this quilt, Trip Around the Scrap Basket, (and tutorial) is taken from the book "Slice 'Em and Dice 'Em Quilts"

while this quilt may look overwhelming with all the triangles, it's actually very easy once you break it down into manageable (and understandable) parts. this quilt is made entirely of squares ~ 9 patch blocks and also larger squares.

before we really get started, remember that it's always important with quilting to have an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. a sixteenth here and a sixteenth there can quickly add up, causing your quilt to not go together properly. that's really frustrating when you've spent money and time on piecing the top. so take the time to check for accuracy- you'll be glad you did later! also, i almost always use grey thread in the top and bobbin when quilting. it's a universal match, and if you wind several bobbins ahead, you can really make good time.

this quilt, as I've already said, is made up of 9 patch blocks. (it's actually very similar to the Tossed 9 i pieced last winter.) the center square of the 9 patch is always the same- in my case, the yellow. the inner 4 blocks are your lightest fabric (tan) and the outer 4 are the colors that you've chosen to make predominant in your quilt. (blue and brown). look at my square below to help make that a bit clearer.

the selection of your fabrics is actually the most difficult part of this quilt. it is very important that the center square is different in color and/or value from all the other fabrics that you choose. and the lights need to be LIGHT ~ not just sortakinda light. (and don't use muslin either, that's too 1980's!)

i chose a multitude of blues and browns for my quilt. I've laid out all the fabrics that i used in my quilt, just to give you an idea. my quilt is significantly bigger than the one in the book, so i needed lots of different fabrics. (this is where we all do a happy dance for the invention of fat quarters~ a great way to build your stash without alot of money)

since the center square is the "dark" and the inner 4 are the "light", that leaves us with "medium" for the outer 4. it's important that all your fabrics be of the same value. an easy and quick way to determine if all your fabric choices are "keepers" is to take a digital picture of them and then change it to black and white. you can see above that all my fabrics "read" with the same "value". there are no fabrics that jump out at you. again, this is very important to the design of this quilt- you want the eye to travel around the quilt, and not get stuck on any particular fabric.

if you're still with me at this point, you're home free! the rest is easy-peasy! these squares are all 3 ½". (including seam allowance) you can either strip piece them, or do it the traditional way. (which is square by square) the orientation of the outer 4 blocks (my blue and brown) makes absolutely no difference. trust me on this one. just make sure that you've used an equal amount of each color.

once you've pieced all your 9 patch units cut them up into 4 equal sized blocks.

now, here's where the really interesting and intriguing part comes. from all your blues and browns, cut squares that are 4 3/4". draw a line from corner to corner diagonally. then match this plain square to one of your quartered 9 patches. with a 1/8 seam, sew down either side of your drawn line.

make sure you orient your quarter 9 patch unit like is in the picture. trust me on this, too.

next, cut the new unit apart on the drawn line. press, with the SA towards the square.

after you've done this to each of the quarter units of the original 9 patch, you'll have 8 new blocks.

here's what happens if you're not paying attention and orient the square units the wrong way on the quarter 9 patch. since these are the only 2 that i did wrong in my whole quilt, I'm not feeling too bad about it! (and besides, i needed this example to show to all my students, right?)

for each 9 patch that you sew, you'll get 8 of the new blocks, so plan accordingly. my quilt is 14X18 units square. that means i only had to make 32 9 patch blocks. with quick and easy strip piecing, surely that's not an unmanageable number! with an inner border of 2" and the outer border at 4" my quilt finished at 67" X 83"

if you click on the picture of my completed quilt, you'll be able to see how to arrange all your squares. if you have a design wall, more power to ya! otherwise, wait until the kids are in bed and lay it out on the living room floor. you'll want to do this to make sure that you don't have 2 like fabrics next to each other.

i quilted this quilt (in a evening) using invisible thread (and a walking foot, of course), and stitch-in-the-ditch. (the backing is brown)

if you really love this quilt, but don't want to make your own, it's for sale. contact me if you're interested in buying it. soon my quilt gallery will be up and running, so you'll be able to see some of the other quilts that i've made.

this quilt was fun (and easy) to make, and since the old-fashioned 9 patch is one of my favorite blocks i really enjoyed the new challenge and look that resulted from this old standby. already I've had one of my children drop a not-so-subtle hint that this quilt would make a wonderful graduation-from-college gift.

I'll have to ponder that one for a spell.

8 women signed up for this class, and i remembered to take pictures of 3 of the quilts. you can see the great variety that is accomplished just in the different fabrics chosen.

Sondra made this quilt for her dog (!)

Carla's grand daughter will be the happy recipient of this quilt.

and (???) made this quilt for her bed. notice that she did hers differently, and it turned out just fine. all her 9 patch squares used only blue (in the outer 4), and her other square units were brown exclusively. i was worried that it would not work, but obviously this is a beautiful quilt!

if you decide to make a quilt of your own using this pattern, please feel free to ask any questions about some of the important information I'm sure I've inadvertently omitted.

and by all means, e-mail me a picture of your competed (or not) quilt! I'd love to see what you've made.

so would my 8 other faithful readers!


Angie said...

Wow! I am so impressed!!! It looks so difficult, but you've made it seem doable.

I know you sell quilts, but have you ever sold your services for just the quilting part for anyone?

Annette said...

Great tutorial. I agree with Angie...she introduced us, you make it seem so doable! (Not that I'm breaking out the sewing machine tonight.) live close to Ben Franklin again...oh well.


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