When I purchased a charm pack of 10 inch squares of batiks, I put it aside in the hopes that I'd find something to do with it. That was at the beginning of the summer, which I spent mostly helping my dad to care for my mom since she had cancer. I didn't have much time to think about quilting, although I did manage to get into the studio on occasion. It made for a great stress reliever.
Then suddenly I had plenty of time for quilting. Although we knew she was terminal and her time was short, I really believed that mom would last through the holidays. She passed away on November 2, and I didn't know what to do with myself since I had a difficult time focusing on any one project. I finally decided over the Thanksgiving holidays that I would have to get a handle on my depression. So I finished a quilt I had loaded on the longarm and began looking for a new project. I found the tutorial for a disappearing four-patch on the Quilting Board and decided it would be perfect for the pack of batiks. Rich and I went to Borne Quilter and I picked up a few yards of a neutral batik that would calm the colors and patterns down. I've working on it fairly regularly since. Yesterday I decided to take a few pictures and post them in a tutorial-style essay. And here goes....
Start with any size squares--mine are 10 inch squares--just make sure that all the squares are exactly the same size. It also helps if they are rather large, I think at least 6 or 8 inches because they will be cut down. They should, of course, be cut on grain since they will be more stable.
If using a neutral, which I recommend, stitch a neutral to a color using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press. I did all these in one run of chain piecing (do not cut the threads, instead add the next block and keep going). Then stitch each two-patch to another two-patch to form a 4-patch.
- put them right sides together
- have the neutral touching the color
- lock the seams (the seam allowances are going in different directions)
- use a 1/4 inch seam allowance
Once you've stitched all of your four-patches (4p), you're ready to begin cutting. You will make four cuts--two in each direction. Since I was using 10 inch squares, I had a large 4p. I decided to cut my 4p 3 1/2 inches from the center seam. The 1/2 inch would leave me enough for 1/4 seams, the three inches would divide the 4p so that I'd get different sized squares. This adds interest and adds to the look of a complicated block.
Now decide how you want to arrange your new block. Watch as the 4p disappears into what looks like a very complicated block. Here are two arrangements:
|With all the colors still close together and a diagonal feel to the new block. |
This is the one I decided to go with.
|With the colors all across the new block. This one has a sort of X going for it.|
Treat your new block like a nine patch. Sew the blocks into rows then sew the rows together.
Keep going, make more blocks and before you know it you'll have enough for a quilt!
Now you get to make more design decisions--how will you arrange the finished blocks? I'm putting mine into rows of four across and five down. This will give me enough for a center. I'll use more of the neutral for a wide border so that I can add some appliqued flowers--my signature quilts generally have a center of pieced blocks surrounded by flowers.
Here are a couple of arrangements I've played with on the design wall:
|Trying to put colors together, but it won't work since I didn't pre-plan that. Sure looks good, though.|