Friday, May 31, 2013

Road to Fortune and The Farmer's Wife

One of my quilt groups has been doing a few of "The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt" Blocks each month.  We have been following "The Barrister's Block Blog" for many of the 6 inch patterns. 
However, one block that we have had particular trouble with was the one called "Road to Fortune". 
The following is a step by step tutorial with, hopefully, enough pictures to make this block easier to construct.
Let me know what you think!
Remember that you are using quarter square triangles in this block.

Try not to sew them together as half square triangle blocks (as I did the first time!)

First cut your 3 ½ and 4 ½ inch squares.


You need 2 of the 3 ½ squares in your background fabric and your main color.

You need 1 of the 4 ½ squares in your background color and your main color.

Second, cut all of the squares in half on the diagonal.

I cut each square separately.  Although, I am sure, if I could accurately stack and cut on the diagonal, I could have stacked and cut all of the 3 ½ and 4 ½ squares at once.

Third, lay all pieces out to see how the block will look when finished.

I have found this block to be deceiving.  It was very easy to turn a triangle and sew it in the wrong place.  By first laying out the block you should (might) be able to see which pairs of triangles will be sewn together.


Fourth, now you can sew.

(A)You will sew the triangles from the 4 ½ inch squares together in pairs.  These are the triangles on the outside four corners.


(B) Next you will construct the four Hour Glass blocks separately that will be sewn together to construct the middle of the block.

This unit will square to 2 ¾ with the center being at 1 3/8 .

(See where it intersects on the diagonal)

Begin by taking a dark and a light triangle, sew together on the
short arm (see triangle pair at the top of the picture below).  Sew opposite pair together and then sew the pairs together to make one hour glass block.

 Repeat for the other three blocks.



(C) Next, sew the four hour glass blocks together, paying attention to placement of each hour glass block.  They rotate so that a pinwheel is created in the middle.

This unit will be square at 5 inches

(I bet when you first looked at the block you thought you were making half square triangles to get that pinwheel effect in the middle.
  I know I did!)

(D) Sew the triangle pairs from the 4 ½ inch squares that you sewed together in (A) to each corner of the block.

 Sew the opposite corners on first.

One more corner to go!

VOILA! One finished Road to Fortune block measuring 6 ½ inches unfinished!


 A little trimming of the dog ears and the block will be all set.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Ugly" Fat Quarters or What Was I Thinking?

I originally posted this under the title of "Ugly Fat Quarters". But I now believe it should be more of a "What was I Thinking" post title. Since beauty is really in the eye of the beholder and not wanting to insult any fabric designer, the post has now been edited appropriately. My apologies to anyone who might have been offended by my original title!

I been thinking about and attempting to use Bonnie Hunter's "Scrap User's System" for about a year and Joan Ford's "Scrap Therapy System" for about six months now. I have cut some of my project left overs into their recommended sizes and begun some of their scrap quilt patterns. But I still have many fat quarters and pieces of yardage hanging around that do not fit into specific projects.

You know those "free" fat quarters you get when you visit a shop during a shop hop or on a bus trip. Or the fat quarters you "win" at your guild meeting as a door prize. Or the fat quarters you bought because they were soooo inexpensive.

None of those fat quarters were the cream of the crop in terms of designs and colors in the first place. After all, there is a reason they were free!

So I have now decided that I need to do something about those fat quarters I was calling ugly but those which really fall into the category of "What Was I Thinking" when I bought this piece of fabric!

Here is the formula. 

First cut one strip 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 inches wide by 18 inches long. You have now used 12.5 inches of the 22 inch width of the fat quarter.
Next cut a 6.5 inch strip.

Cut this strip into one 6.5 inch square.

You should have about 11.5 inches left of the original 18 inch long piece. 
Use this "left over" piece to cut bricks which measure 6.5 x 3.5. 
You can also cut bricks that are 2.5 x 3.5 or 2.5 x 4.5. 
You can also cut squares that are 3.5 inches or 2.5 inches, or 2.0 inches or 1.5 inches.

There are options since not all fat quarters are cut the same. 

You could also cut the strips 22 inches long across the 18 inch width.   In this scenario you will probably have a strip closer to 5 inches left to cut a 5 inch square, then a 1.5 inch strip and a 3.5 x 6.5 inch rectangle, a 2.5 x 3.5 inch rectangle, 2.5 x 4 inch rectangle leaving a 1 inch scrap and a less than 2 inch rectangle.

Once again, not all fat quarters are created equal, so it is a good idea to have some projects in mind while you are cutting scraps.  A visit with your favorite scrap quilter, either on the web or from your quilt book library will help you decide which quilts you might want to construct in the future and thus which sizes of strips, bricks and squares you will want to cut in the present.

Managing your stash is never easy. But now those "ugly" or "What Was I Thinking" fat quarters in your stash are usable. They may still be ugly to me, but they are useable!

PS. Straightening strips (identified above as scraps) in case case go to Mom who crochets "rag" rugs. Very little of the yardage and fat quarters is wasted when you practice this cutting methodology!