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.

Cutting:
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. 

Pressing:
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.

Sewing:
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.

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