Monday, October 28, 2013

Trips Around the Block Tutorial

There's finally time to work on this quilt again after a long hiatus for baby gifts and traveling. I'm still working on the border but here's a tutorial for Trips Around the Block, a two-block quilt of X- and O- layouts.
Trip Around the World variation called Trip Around the Block made from scraps
Trip Around the Block without border
My basic plan for this quilt:
  1. Make the main diagonal grid medium to dark blues and greens. (1-4 on the value finder.)
  2. Group two or more rows of darks or lights together frequently.
  3. Use lots of spring and summer colors and white, some black, very little brown. 
Use or change at will; I did.

Fabric Requirements:
My squares finished 1.5". Each 10.5"-block is a seven-patch with 49 squares. I chose an odd number of columns and rows with an X-block in the corners. A 5-by-7-block quilt finishes 52.5" by 73.5" without borders and takes 1715 squares, about 4.875 yards of fabric.

Cut strips 2" wide and subcut into 2" squares.

If you prefer 2" finished squares use five-patch blocks instead. In this case, each 10"-block contains 25 squares. A 5-by-7-block quilt finishes 50" by 70" and takes 875 squares - about 3.875 yards of fabric. Cut strips 2.5" wide and subcut into 2.5" squares. 

Consistent pressing enables seams to butt together perfectly. For O-blocks finger-press odd rows up and even rows down. For X-blocks finger-press the odd rows down and evens rows up. Press the columns of the O's to the right and those of the X's to the left.

After laying out the O- or X-block, sew squares into columns and then sew columns together to complete the block.
The first block, a Mini-Trip Around the World, is laid out with fabrics encircling the center square.
The two left columns are sewn. After all squares are sewn into columns, sew columns together.
Make seventeen O-blocks first. Any combination works. Vary the darkest round of each block. You can use different fabrics in the same round. Here are some examples I posted previously or go to this post for more examples. 
Three examples of Mini-Trip Around the World showing a different fabric placements for the O-block
The middle block has four dark corners. The darkest fabrics of the right-hand block are round 6 (counting from the center.)
When completed, lay out an alternate set.

O-blocks laid out in an alternate set. The second block in row three has different fabrics in round six.
Now it's time to make eighteen X-blocks. Start with the main X of 13 squares to divide your block into four quadrants. Think of opposite v's as a round and again make them any way you like. The fabrics in a "round" can be the same or different.

Starting the X-blocks. The blue round in the bottom O-block is made of two fabrics.
Originally it seemed important to have a darker and lighter side of the X. However, the X itself is very strong and the O's establish the diamond shape. So whatever you put in the V area should work.

I had more trouble sewing the X-blocks correctly; I kept trying to sew them into O's. It helped to keep them laid out as I sewed. This post has more examples of X-blocks.

X-blocks laid out but unsewn. They look much larger than the O-blocks because the squares are not sewn.
I'd love to see what you create!

Enjoy the day. Ann

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grocery Bags

Baby bibs, aprons and now reusable grocery bags are helping reduce my fabric hoard. These are very simple, lined bags with no pockets. I keep one in my purse and another in my backpack so they're always at hand. My last plastic bag was the pattern template. After making two bags with pleats at the bottom like the plastic ones, I decided boxing the bottom would sew through fewer layers. The box is easier but pleated bags fold up more neatly. Here's a tutorial for boxing a bag by Drago[knit]fly.

These are great gifts in California where everyone must bring their own shopping bags to the stores. Instead of piles of unused yardage I have many new scraps.
Fret not. Enjoy the day.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Big Tex Star Quilt

Here's what I made with those last few Puddin' and Pie blocks. Just in time for the State Fair of Texas and another baby shower. What fun that this baby's quilt connects with his cousins' quilts.

Red, yellow, blue and white fabrics create four large star blocks and a secondary Churn Dash appears when they are set.
Big Tex Star Quilt
I decided to arrange the blocks to fit a star in the center. The four new blocks are twenty-four inches each.

Combining leftover Puddin' and Pie blocks with red and yellow fabrics created this original star design.
Big Tex Star block
I used a variety of free motion quilting designs in the lights and the blues, parallel lines in the Ts and curved line quilting in the stars and yellow fabrics. I also quilted the baby's name in free motion zig-zag in the border. It doesn't show much from the front but it's a nice touch.

Enjoy the day! Ann

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Puddin' and Pie Quilts

Several years ago I exchanged these blocks with friends. Basically it's a modified Rail Fence with most strips cut 2.5 by 6.5 inches. They are so simple to make; the two points are in the middle of the block making it easily trimmable. Four together make a traditional Puddin' and Pie block. Over the years I've made several quilts with them.

This is one of my favorite borders. The notched ends give it a ribbon effect.
The Puddin' and Pie blocks are alternately set with Boot blocks to create this nine-block baby quilt.
Alternate set with boot fabric
The outer border was made with original blocks and some mirrored blocks to look like "T"s.
Western-themed fabric is used to create a baby quilt in red, black, brown, blue, tan and white.
Straight set Puddin' and Pie
These two were given to brothers. I waited years for their cousins to appear but finally gave up and made a quilt for the local hospice.
Western fabrics in red, black, brown and blue alternating with white and tan fabrics create the windmill shape of the block.
Puddin' and Pie straight set 
Never give up. A cousin arrives this year. There were only sixteen blocks and their mirrors left. I don't want another alternate set so I'll play around for a while.

Fret not; enjoy the day. Ann