Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Three Ways to Wonkify a Traditional Quilt Block

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #7Liberated-style wonky blocks are carefree and charming. They are fun to make and result in a fresh twist on a traditional favorite.

Here are three approaches for making an 8-inch wonky version of a Shoo Fly block. The same techniques could be applied to your go-to traditional block for a new take on that old favorite.

The first is Gwen Marston's technique, as presented in her book, Liberated Quiltmaking.  (I'll just be sharing an overview and the measurements to start for an 8 inch finish.) Number two is a block created by drawing the wonky block with your rotary cutter and is a similar technique to the Tic-tac-toe block I posted at the end of last year. Last is a stack and slash technique in which you also draw with your rotary cutter to create two matching blocks with the fabric placements reversed.

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #5 Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #6 Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #10

Technique 1 - Gwen's Liberated Shoo Fly

I think three things characterize the Liberated Quiltmaking approach to this block:
  1. You begin with 9 same-sized squares, as if you were making the traditional block. 
  2. You introduce wonky-ness into the block by replacing the triangle-squares in the corner with triangles added to the background squares in different sizes and at random angles.
  3. You may square up and trim the block at an angle after it's assembled.
Begin with 9 squares Add triangles to corner squares


To make an 8 inch shoo-fly block, begin with nine 3 1/4 inch squares. After you add the wonky triangles to the corners, be sure to trim the background fabric away and square up the units to 3-1/4 inches.  Once the block is assembled, you will need to square up your block, trimming slightly to make them 8-1/2 inches after they are sewn.

Pressed and trimmed corners Trimmed to 8-1/2 inches

If you want to go off the grid for a wonkier block or try a different technique . . .
 
Technique 2 - Drawing with Your Rotary Cutter This technique will be familiar to anyone who has made the Tic-Tac-Toe blocks posted here at the end of last year. This version of a wonky Shoo Fly block is based on a 9-patch grid that is drawn with proportions and angles chosen by you.
  1. To begin, start with a 10 inch square of your BACKGROUND fabric. You will also need a small amount of shoo-fly fabrics (Krista was able to make hers usinga 10" square for the background plus a 5" charm squares of floral fabrics)
  2. Using a rotary ruler (as a straight edge, not to measure), cut the square into a 9-Patch.

  3. Begin with a 10-inch square of Background Fabric "Draw" a 9-Patch
  4. Remove the center of your 9-patch and use it as a template to cut a new center from the shoo-fly fabric. Be sure that both your "template" and your new fabric are right-side up, because the shapes you create may not be symmetric in any way or reversible.

  5. Use the center as a template Units with center replaced
  6. Add triangles of the shoo-fly fabric to the corner units.  Because these corners may not be square, be sure that the triangles you add will completely cover after they are sewn and pressed. 

    Add triangles to corners Make sure it will cover

  7. After they are sewn and pressed, first trim them from the back, using the original corner as your guide to re-create the original "drawn"-by-you shape. Then, trim away the background fabric from behind the triangle.

    Trim from the back Trim away background fabric

    Because the units of this block are all different shapes, I decided to remove one corner from my layout at a time and replace it after the triangle was added and trimmed, so everything went back where it belonged.
  8. Once the triangles have been added and trimmed, the block can be assembled in 9-patch fashion, frist sewing the units into rows and then sewing the rows together.

    Keep it all straight. Assembled block

    Trim the block to 8-1/2 inches square (for an 8 inch finished size block).
Technique 3 - Stack-and-Slash a Pair of Wonky Blocks This last approach is a variation of Drawing with Your Rotary Cutter in which you start with two squares of fabric and create a pair of  matching blocks in which the shoo-fly and background fabrics are reversed.
  1. For an 8 inch Shoo-Fly block, begin with two 11 inch squares of fabric.  Stack them with edges matching, right sides up.
  2. Using a ruler to ensure you cut straight lines, cutting through the stack of 2 fabrics, cut a wonky 9-patch.   Then, cut across each of the corners to create the "outline" of a wonky shoo fly.

    Draw a Wonky 9-patch Add cuts in the corners
  3. Switch the top and bottom fabrics as shown.  Your two blocks are now cut, laid out and ready to sew.

    Swap Fabrics

  4. Sew the "triangles" in the corners together. Don't worry that everything doesn't match after it's sewn.  Press and trim off the excess, maintaining the "lines" you created when you "drew" the block.

    Everything won't Match after it's sewn Trimmed after Sewing

  5. After the corners are sewn, the corner units will be shorter than the "middles."  Don't worry.  Match the edges closest to the center and let the outside become ragged.  You'll be trimming it.  Your block may now look something like this, a crooked 9-patch whose units don't exactly match up.

    Units won't match either Lay Out the Units

  6. Sew the block together, like a 9-patch, first sewing the units to form three rows, then sewing the rows together. The outside edges of your assembled block will likely be VERY uneven. 

    Rows Sewn Assembled Block

    Square up and trim to your blocks to 8-1/2 inch square (for an 8 inch finished block).

    Two Finished Blocks

Some Wonky Examples

Here are 60 of the blocks already created by Block Lotto sneek peakers, Ginny, June, Kathie, Krista, Louise, Michelle, Pat, Terri and me. (Click any of the small photos for a better look.)

Sophie's Wonky Shoo Fly #3  Sophie's Wonky Shoo Fly #2  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #3  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #4

Sophie's Wonky Shoo Fly #1  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #6  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #2  Pat Wonky 
Fly #4

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #12  June 
Wonky Fly Block #2  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #5  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #7

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #5  Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #6  June 
Wonky Fly Block #1  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #8

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #7  Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #8  Kathryn 
Wonky Fly #3  Pat Wonky 
Fly #3

Pat Wonky 
Fly #1  Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #9  Pat Wonky 
Fly #2  Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #10

Sophie's Wonky Fly Block #11  Ginny 
Wonky Fly #1  Kathryn 
Wonky Fly #4  Pat Wonky 
Fly #6

Kathryn 
Wonky Fly #2  Sophie's Wonky Shoo Fly #4  Louise 
Wonky Fly #1  Pat Wonky 
Fly #9

Kathryn 
Wonky Fly #1  Pat Wonky 
Fly #5  June 
Wonky Fly Block #3  June 
Wonky Fly Block #4

June 
Wonky Fly Block #6  June 
Wonky Fly Block #5  Pat Wonky 
Fly #7  Krista 
Wonky Fly #1

Pat Wonky 
Fly #8  Krista 
Wonky Fly #2  Krista 
Wonky Fly #3  Krista 
Wonky Fly #4

June 
Wonky Fly Block #7   Michelle Wonky Fly #7  Michelle Wonky Fly #6  Michelle Wonky Fly #8

Michelle Wonky Fly #4  June 
Wonky Fly Block #9  June
 Wonky Fly Block #10  Michelle Wonky Fly #5 

Michelle Wonky Fly #1  Michelle Wonky Fly #2  June 
Wonky Fly Block #8  Michelle Wonky Fly #3

Terris Wonky Fly Block #1  Terris Wonky Fly Block #2   Terris Wonky Fly Block #3  Michelle Wonky Fly #9  

Will you make some wonky fly blocks or wonkify another traditional block?  I'd love to see the results.  For more about these blocks (and more) and to see what the winners will do with them, check out the Block Lotto blog, in April.

2 comments:

Toekie said...

Gee I love it!

Caroline Heinrichs said...

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