Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nine Patch Split!

Nine Patch Split!
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Approx. Size 49"X49". Block size: 6"

How many of us are still enamoured with the simple 9 patch? I know that I am! I love to take out my precut scrap squares, triangles, and bricks and lay them out just as if I were playing with building blocks and see what strikes my fancy. Here, let me show you how this came about!

Basic Split 9 patch block, right? Only instead of completely scrappy, I wanted something to emphasize the diagonals, and being a lover of red...I cut some red triangles and placed them along the dark half of the block. Nice, but kind of ordinary! Now, what would happen if I switched those triangles around and put the reds on the LIGHT side of the block? Hmmmm! It has possibilities!

But look! What if I eliminated some seams...I could use my pre-cut 2.5"X4.5" bricks and get basically the same look with lots less seams to match up when I put the blocks together! By this time my juices were really flowing and I was anxious to get started. Are you ready to get started too? :c)

Let's start with the 1/2 square triangles!

I love my Easy Angle ruler! This ruler eliminates that whole "add 7/8" to the finished size thing...the seam allowance is added to the ruler! This works great with my scrap quilting because I can cut the triangles I need from the strips I have already cut. These blocks use 2.5" strips, squares and bricks, so I will be cutting my triangles from the same 2.5" strips. Layer your dark fabric and light triangle fabric with right sides together. Square off one end, and following the diagrams above, align the 2.5" marking on the ruler with your strips. Make your first cut. Flip the ruler as above to make your second cut. Cut as many as you need. Each block takes 3 triangle squares. If you are making the baby sized quilt, you will need 108 triangle squares to make the 36 blocks needed for this quilt.

See that little nubbed end? It makes it so easy to chain feed these pairs through the machine! And when you press them open, there is only one dog-ear to trim.... Sew your triangles, as many or few as you want, press them and trim them!

Now that you have your triangle squares sewn and pressed, you can start playing with blocks! Each block takes 3 2.5" triangle squares, two 2.5" squares, and two 2.5"X4.5" bricks!

Sew the block sections into rows, and sew the rows together to complete the block. I press the center section out towards the side sections. The seams just seem to want to go that way.

Here are 36 blocks laid out! You can do lots of different layouts with these blocks. Try any log cabin setting! Sew the blocks into rows, and then sew the rows together to complete the quilt center. At this point I added a 2" cut (1.5" finished) red border to frame the quilt center before adding the cornerstone braid border! Are you feeling brave enough to tackle the border as well?! Let's start!

Braid Border:

For the border we are switching strip size! For the braid you will need about a gazillion (just a guestimate!!) 2"X5" rectangles, and a whole lot of 2" cornerstone squares!

To start, sew a cornerstone square to the end of one of your braid pieces. Press the seam towards the braid piece. Take a second rectangle, and laying the cornerstone piece and new rectangle right sides together and forming an "L" stitch with a 1/4" seam. Press towards the rectangle.

I know this looks like a strange way to start, but the excess will be squared up later. Look at the pic on the left above...can you see how this braid is going to build? You will sew the blue strip to the left side of the braid, sew the red square to the purple strip, and then add that unit to the right side of the braid. It is a two step process. Every other strip will have a corner stone square sewn to the end of it before it is added to the braid unit.

Keep piecing sections on until your braid is quite a bit longer than you need for one side of the quilt. When you trim the braid to size, you will use the excess length to keep building on for the next side. I piece one border length at a time just so that it doesn't get too bulky and I'm not dealing with a mile long braid that gets unweildy to deal with.

Time to Trim! Square off the bottom end of the braid. Then, laying your ruler along the edge of the braid, trim off all those zig-zag edges. Your braid should measure approx 6 1/2" wide.

Being careful not to stretch the braid. lay it across the center of the quilt, smoothing carefully. Cut two braid lengths this width. Sew to opposite ends of the quilt with right sides together. Press carefully so as not to distort the bias edges of the border. Looking good so far! Back to piecing more braid....piece the braid long enough for the next two sides of the quilt top.
Measure with the braid unit down the center of the quilt including the two borders just added. Cut two braid lengths this long and sew to the remaining sides. Press carefully. At this point you might want to stay stitch around the edge of the top with a large machine basting stitch. It will keep all those border seams from coming undone and help to minimize stretching during the quilting process.

Note: I like primitive wonky quilting. I did NOT pay attention to where the cornerstone pieces fell in the braid, I didn't try to have the edges even or sections match up when attaching the borders. The ends run off the quilt wherever they end! If you wanted a more uniform look, you could cut all 4 borders at once....centering a cornerstone square in the border so that all the ends would be the same. Use a large cornerstone square in each corner of the quilt. It's your quilt. Play with it! Have fun with it...experiment, dare to try!

For the quilting, I did a freeform "Feather To Fill" over the entire surface of the quilt. This quilt is destined for my new nephew who is to make his appearance any day now! In fact...I'm in a rush to get the label on and get it sent before he makes his entrance into this world. There is always a good reason to make another quilt, isn't there?! :c)
Another idea: Here is a whole quilt I did with cornerstone braids!

And More Playing: I thought this would make a great pattern for Quilts of Valor!

A bit more color controlled.....the red and gold would be the 'constants' in this quilt..with the blues and neutrals being very scrappy....the ideas are endless! This quilt layout takes 80 blocks! (That's 240 red/gold triangle squares!)

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