Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thrifty Block Pattern

Pink + Black + WhiteThe Thrifty block was first published in 1939 by the Kansas City Star, according to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks.

It's a simple little block that has a lot of design possibilities. I'm thinking about putting some I-spy squares in place of the pink squares. It would make a great alternate block in a sampler quilt (or for a lot of the lotto blocks we make) or a border block. It could be a great swap block or scrap buster by keeping the 4-patch and center squares a consistent color and changing up the 4 squares (pink in my example).

To make a single six inch (finished size) block, you'll need small amounts of fabrics in three colors, illustrated here in Pink, White and Black:

Pink: One 2.5 inch by 10 inch rectangle (or a 5 inch square)
White: One 1.5 inch by 12 inch rectangle (or a pair of 1.5 x 6 inch rectangles if you are working from scraps, as I did)
Black: One 2.5 inch square plus One 1.5 inch by 12 inch rectangle (or a pair of 1.5 x 6 inch rectangles)

Tip: add 1/4-1/2 inch in length to the measurements to the rectangles to give yourself a little wiggle room to square up edges if necessary

Fabric requirements

1. Sew the black and white long rectangles together along the long edges.

2. Press the seam allowance toward the black side. Slice into eight 1.5 inch sub-units.

Press and cut eight 1.5 inch sub-units

3. Use these to sew four 4-patches. After your 4-patch units are sewn and pressed, they should measure 2.5 inches square.

Sew four 4-patches

4. Cut your Pink rectangle (or 5 inch square) into four 2.5 inch squares and lay out the units of your block, 9 patch fashion.

Units laid out as 9-Patch

5. Assemble your block.

Pink + Black + White

. . . And then, because that was so quick, make a couple more

Pink + Black + Black & White Pink + Black & White + White

Then, you might be inspired to pull out some more black and white and pink scraps and think about making some more . . .

Fabric Scraps I used to make blocks

Like I did ;-)

Pink + Black + White Thrifty block #15 Thrifty block #14
Thrifty block #13 Thrifty block #12 Thrifty block #11
Thrifty block #10 Thrifty block #6 Thrifty block #8
Thrifty block #7 Thrifty block #5 Thrifty block #9

The thing to be careful of when you make this block is that you always end up with a nice "X" and that your blocks don't look like this when your done.

An OOPS block example

It's easier than you think to OOPS . . . and I offer this photo as proof positive of that fact ;-)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Jeweled Geese Block

After side strips have been addedI couldn't find a documented name for this block–a variation made of flying geese units. Since we are making it from jewel toned fabrics for the March 09 Block Lotto, Michelle dubbed it Jeweled Geese and it stuck.

It is basically constructed from three 2 x 4 inch geese units with 1 x 6 inch strips added at the sides to create a square 6 inch (finished size) block. There are three easy ways to make the block . . . starting with the one that uses my favorite method for making flying geese units, no-waste geese ;-)

Method 1 - one geese wasted (maybe)

You'll need:

One 5-1/4 inch square of jewel tone #1 (for the geese)
Four 2-7/8 inch squares of black (for the sky)
Two 1-1/2 inch by 6-1/2 inch rectangles of jewel tone #2 (for the side strips)

Fabric Requirements

Take the five squares and follow the directions on this site for no-waste geese. You'll have four geese units.

After the geese units are complete

Be sure to measure and square up your geese beofre continuing–you can thank me later ;-)

They should measure 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches. Choose the nicest three and assemble them like this.

Three geese units sewn together

NOTE: When you are putting together the geese units, be sure to sew them with the pointy side on top so you can see that you are sewing through the intersection at the top of the triangle (goose) so you will have a nice point and won't be hiding the "beak." Your seams will look something like this.

Note the intersections, to avoid losing your "beaks"

(Click any image for a closer look)

Sew the side strips to your three geese units and your block is completed.

One block completed

IF the one wasted goose unit bothers you . . . you can repeat the process two times more and make a forth block from the leftover geese. For the March block lotto, be sure to add different fabrics to the sides so that each block is a unique fabric combination.

Repeat three times, four blocks completed

Method 2 - making flying geese from strips (noodles or jelly rolls)

If you haven't wrapped your head around the no-waste method or are working with 2-1/2 inch noodles from a swap, a pretty jelly roll or other narrow pieces of fabric, this method may be the one for you.

For each block, you'll need

one strip 2-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches of jewel tone fabric #1 for the geese
one strip 2-1/2 by 15 inches of black fabric for the sky
one strip 1-12 by 13 inches of jewel tone fabric #1 for the side strips

Fabric requirements

Cut the geese fabric into three 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 rectangles. Cut the black sky fabric into six 2-1/2 squares. Cut two 1-1/2 by 6-1/2 side strips.

Make the geese units by laying one black square on top of a rectangle, right sides together, aligning the top, bottom and one side. Draw a diagonal line across the square, as shown, from the outside bottom corner, and sew along the line.

Begin by laying a background square on a rectangle

Cut away 1/4 inch outside your seam

Cut away the outside triangle, a quarter inch from your seam. Toss the excess fabric or sew it together for a bonus triangle square for a future scrap project . . . or you can send it to me ;-)

Press open.

Add a second square, right sides together on the other side and repeat the process. Draw the line, sew on it, cut away the excess fabric, a quarter inch away, sew the bonus triangle square (or toss it). Press open.

Press open, and add second square Repeat on second side

Rinse and repeat until you have made three geese units. Each unit should measure 2-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches. Take a moment and measure them and square up if necessary. Then sew the three together.

Three geese units completed Three geese units joined

Add the strips to the sides to form a 6-1/2 inch block with seam allowances–6 inch finished size.

After side strips have been added

I made these two blocks using this method . . .

Two jeweled geese blocks

. . . which gave me 12 bonus triangle squares (AKA half square triangles or HSTs) that became these pinwheel blocks. They'll measure 2-1/2 inchs (finished size) after they've been squared up.

Bonus - 3 pinwheels

Method 3 - paper foundation piecing

Flying Geese can always be paper pieced and this technique is especially attractive if you are designing geese that don't have the traditional proportions of half as tall as they are wide which makes piecing more challenging, or if you want your geese to fly along a curved path.

For our 6 inch block, you can download a paper piecing foundation pattern here.

Same block in a different colorway

Here's an example of other these geese blocks could look using different different color rules. I made these 9 inch blocks from 3 inch by 6 inch geese units from an anything goes swap and added 2 inch strips of the same tan fabric to all the blocks.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bringing the Block Lotto to Blogland

If you've been curious about the monthly block lotto thing I do (and updated in the sidebar monthly, even when this blog is woefully neglected) . . . but not curious enough to wade through the heavy, clunky interface and hundreds and hundreds of daily messages on the quilting forum, I may have good news for you. I've decided to move the Block Lotto to blogland and invite my friends and readers here to come play along. Everyone is welcome–if you are mildly curious, please come check it out.

The rules are simple. Make a block or as many as 9 to enter, following the rules for fabric and color. Your name is entered in the drawing at the end of the month for each block you make. For complete rules, follow the links in the sidebar for more complete info.

In March, we're making a variation of a Flying Geese block in jewel tones and black, based on an 1865 pieced silk quilt I saw at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont some years ago. Here are 24 blocks that have been made so far by Béatrice, Jill and Michelle.

I'm hoping some of those who have appreciate my tips and patterns here will come play and some of my friends in Michigan that I'm missing will come play and all of the Block Lotto crowd will continue to come play . . . and that bringing the block lotto to blogland turns out to be the right thing to do.