Welcome, quilt-alongers! I realized as I was getting ready to write this post that John gave his block a jaunty name, so I guess I should do that too. For reasons that will become clear below, I'm calling my block Word Search.
As a little background for those of you who haven't been following this quilt-along, John sent all of the participating bloggers a selection of Moda Sunkissed fabric and asked us to design a 12" square block featuring a nine-patch or flying geese motif.
The following tutorial is going to describe using the Sunkissed fabric, but I'm also going to make some alternate fabric suggestions that will use the same coding system (so it should be easy to follow the tutorial using different fabric). If you're not feeling the Sunkissed, scroll down to see some other ideas.
If you are using the Sunkissed, you'll need the following:
FABRIC A: 12 squares 2" x 2" Sunkissed Gray Skinny Lines
FABRIC B: 16 squares 2" x 2" Sunkissed Gray Petals
FABRIC C: 8 squares 2" x 2" Sunkissed Gray Summer Garden
FABRIC D: 36 squares 2" x 2" Sunkissed Pink Meadow Sweet
FABRIC E: 9 squares 2" x 2" Moda Bella Solid in Feather
Note: The following directions contemplate a standard quarter-inch seam allowance with all seams pressed open. Finished block measures 12" x 12".
This block is, essentially, a nine-patch block made of 9 nine-patch units. For the first nine-patch unit, you'll need 9 of your cut squares, as indicated in the photo above.
Sew the 9 squares into 3 rows as follows:
Row 1: D - C - D
Row 2: C - E - C
Row 3: D - C - D
Please note the way I arranged the directional Fabric C. Instead of orienting all of the squares facing "up," I arranged them around the center. I find that arranging directional prints and stripes so they radiate out from the center tends to look better in a finished composition, even if it means some pieces of a directional print are "upside down."
Now it's time to square up the nine patch. Use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim each side of the nine-patch unit exactly 1.5" from the seam nearest the side (as shown in the photo above). This means you'll be trimming away about a quarter inch from each side. Once trimmed, your nine-patch unit should measure 4.5" x 4.5".
So, why are we going to all that trouble? There are two reasons.
1. With tiny pieces like this, it can be easy to inadvertantly shift them a bit during piecing. Making the units a little big and then trimming them down can lead to greater accuracy.
2. It makes cutting the squares more straightforward. Rather than cutting three different-sized pieces for each nine-patch unit, we've just cut them all the same and then squared up the finished unit to the correct size.
(This is where the Word Search element comes in. Dad! Bed! Dead! Ade! It's just like Boggle.)
Sew your 9 nine-patch units into 3 rows of 3, matching the intersections of the seam allowances.
Sew the 3 rows together to finish the block. (When matching pieced rows, I recommend starting in the center and working your way out.)
And that's it. Your finished Word Search block!
Now, I'll admit it. It's hard for me to work with someone else's fabric selection! I know that some of you are quilting along with different fabric anyway, so let's talk a little about fabric options. With all the tiny squares, this block will work best with solids or small monochromatic prints.
Here are a few color ideas:
FABRIC A: 12 squares 2" x 2" Darker Gray print or solid
FABRIC B: 16 squares 2" x 2" Medium Gray print or solid
FABRIC C: 8 squares 2" x 2" Lighter Gray print or solid
FABRIC D: 36 squares 2" x 2" Vibrant Yellow print or solid
FABRIC E: 9 squares 2" x 2" White solid
For this version, I swapped the placement of the bright and the neutral. Instead of varying values of a neutral, this block includes varying values of a bright with one flat neutral.
FABRIC A: 12 squares 2" x 2" Darker Sea Green print or solid
FABRIC B: 16 squares 2" x 2" Sea Green print or solid
FABRIC C: 8 squares 2" x 2" Lighter Sea Green print or solid
FABRIC D: 36 squares 2" x 2" Taupe print or solid
FABRIC E: 9 squares 2" x 2" White solid
This version takes it a step further and swaps the placement of the light and dark neutrals, spreading the white through more of the block and placing a dark espresso in the center of each nine-patch unit.
FABRIC A: 12 squares 2" x 2" Deep Red print or solid
FABRIC B: 16 squares 2" x 2" True Red print or solid
FABRIC C: 8 squares 2" x 2" Coral Red print or solid
FABRIC D: 36 squares 2" x 2" White solid
FABRIC E: 9 squares 2" x 2" Espresso print or solid
Whatever fabric you use, if you make one of these blocks, we'd love to see it in the Flickr Pool.
You can download a pdf version of the block instructions below. If you have the technology (laptop, iPad, etc.) I encourage you to save a tree by viewing the document electronically.
The next block tutorial will be hosted by the lovely and talented Amanda and will post on Monday, January 31.
ETA: As referenced above, this finished block measures 12" x 12". That means that, before you sew it into the quilt, it will measure 12.5" x 12.5". In quilting terms, a "finished" block size does not include seam allowances because finished means "once it's sewn into the quilt" not "once the single block is pieced."