Monday, January 31, 2011

Tip #7 Grids

I recently had a question from Pamela, a BlockFab user.

"What is the "6 grid" referring to under the block name? I have seen 3, 4 etc. grid in the patterns."

Good question. Since BlockFab doesn't explain the grid, I'll try and cover it here.

Quoting from Jinny Beyer's new book, The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns:

"Most designs are based on grids made up of equal-sized squares."

Here is a link for her new book (I really love it as a reference tool -- I used it to verify block information in BlockFab.):

So a Four-Patch block has a 2x2 grid, because there are 2 equal-sized divisions on each side of the block.

Jinny Beyer and other quilters use this system to categorize blocks so they can be grouped together in reference books. Grids are also needed when drafting many blocks. But drafting is another topic for another time.

The grid is also helpful when using different blocks that will appear side-by-side in a quilt. So if you are pairing blocks, the grid gives an idea of how well 2 blocks will "match up".
For example, if you have a Monkey Wrench (5x5 grid) next to an Ohio Star (3x3 grid), it looks like you did a poor job of piecing!

If you'd like to learn more about how grids are used by quilters, here are a couple links you may find useful:

Thanks for the question, Pamela!

Monday, January 24, 2011

BOW #33 King's Crown

Another block that uses the Flying Geese "block" is King's Crown; if you can make a Flying Geese (Goose?) and cut a square, you're ready to go!  If you need to review how to make a Flying Geese unit, check out BOW #6 .

For a 12" finished block you'll need:
(4) 3-1/2" x 6-/12" Flying Geese units, with light background and Dark 1 as the geese
(4) 3-1/2"  Dark 1 squares
(1) 6-1/2"  Dark 2 squares

Arrange as shown:

As with many blocks, combining multiples of the blocks creates secondary patterns.  To me, it looks like tiles, perhaps floor tiles.  This might be nice as the central part of quilt, with borders that are appliqued or embroidered swirls and flourishes and twining branches.  Or maybe evocative of decorative iron railings.  (I am intrigued by quilts of architectural details. I have photos of decorative and architectural details in the Iowa State Capitol building, that would make a beautiful quilt!)

MK: This block creates interesting secondary patterns when paired with other blocks, such as the variable star.

Monday, January 17, 2011

BOW #32 Double T

Double T combines two common blocks that we've visited several times before, and creates a wonderful secondary pattern when combined with each other.

The two familiar blocks we'll be using are HSTs /Half Square Triangles (for instructions see BOW #1) and Flying Geese (for instructions see BOW #6).  The Flying Geese units have a "twist" to them that you'll need to watch for--not difficult, you just have to make sure you get color placement right.

For a 12" finished Double T block you'll need:
(1) 4-1/2" square Background color
(2) 4-1/2" HSTs that are half Background and half Color 1
(2) 4-1/2" HTTs that are half Background and half Color 2
(4) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" Flying geese arranged with Color 1 on the left and Color 2 on the right
     (see below)
(4) 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" Flying Geese arranged with Color 2 of the left and Color 1 on the right
    (see below)

Arrange the HSTs and Flying Geese as shown, with the Background square in the center; be careful about the placement of the Flying Geese so the pattern is correct.

When you put four of these blocks together you get a secondary pattern, which is the same pattern, really:

This would be a wonderful quilt in red and green and white (or cream) for Christmas.  It might even be kind of interesting as just a two-color quilt, like blue and white, or red and white.  (And then you wouldn't have to worry about the color placement on the Flying Geese!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

BOW #31 Attic Windows

Attic Windows is a wonderful framing block, to showcase photos, pieces of special fabric, or other blocks.

Traditionally, Attic Windows was made with the dreaded "Y seam," i.e., a seam  that requires a quilter to make a diagonal seam fit in the corner of two sides at right angles.   I can do Y-seams, I have done Y-seams, but I avoid them when I can!  (Tip,  if you do a y-seam:  mark the 1/4" seams carefully, and sew only to the point where 2 seams meet/intersect. That's the only way to set the y-seam accurately.)

But for our Attic Windows we're going to use squares and our old friend the HST, or Half-Square Triangle. (For instructions for making HSTs, see BOW #1)
 For a 12" block you will need:

(4) 3-1/2" squares light (or a photo, or fussy-cut piece of a favorite fabric)
(4) 3-1/2" HSTs Dark1
(4) 3-1/" HSTs Dark 2

The two dark fabrics are going to form the frame of the window, with a shadowed side.
Arrange the pieces as shown:

You could rearrange the dark pieces to put the shadow to the right, instead of at the bottom, if you like. You get to choose where the light is coming from.  :-)

Here's an example of an Attic Windows adaptation to form a frame around blocks in a sampler quilt. In this case I used rectangles in place of the dark squares, but still used HSTs for the corners.
(You may see some familiar blocks in this quilt....)

And here's an Attic Windows that is really a sort of double window (and I remember that I did Y-seam construction on this one, which has been in my collection for about 30 years):

Sunday, January 2, 2011

BOW #30 Pinwheel 2

Another Pinwheel block uses units that are a combination of QST and half square triangles:  a QST becomes one of the half-square triangles.

For a 12" finished Pinwheel you will need:

(4) Light/Dark1 Quarter Square Triangle units--or half units (a triangle), made from 7-1/2" squares
     (See BOW# 28   for instructions for making Quarter Square Triangles)
(4) Half-square triangles, made by cutting (2) 6-7/8" squares in half diagonally

Arrange units as shown below.

Multiples of this block make a very nice secondary pinwheel:

This unit that combines a quarter-square and half-square triangle is useful in any  number of blocks or designs.  Here's a wreath design, from Karen Krause at Kanesville Quilting, that uses the units both in the wreath and the bow.  Can you find the units?