For each block you want to make you need a square. I wanted 16 blocks so I made 16 squares all the same size. I raided my stash for this and picked fabrics that coordinated and looked nice together. You can square them up to any size, square or rectangle. Mine are 16 inches to start. YOU will loose 1-1/2 to two inches making this block, as you construct then square up in the end. I frequently square up fat quarters and make the blocks very big, when I want a fast quilt. Put in extra fabrics and you will have more diverse blocks and the extra blocks can be used in pillow shams, pillow cases or quilt carrier bag.
YOU can cut more then the FOUR CUTS …. BUT then it would not be a Wonky NINE Patch and you will loose more size and do more work. NOVELTY and KID prints work great, using co-ordinate fabrics. Start with 18 inch blocks end up with 16 inch to sew together. THREE BLOCKS BY THREE BLOCKS, quilt is about 45 inches across. The patches are large enough to feature the medium scale novelty prints.
YOU can use a 60mm rotory cutter to cut so many fabrics. Or you can cut them in divide stacks. I find since I am very short I do not have the upper body leverage needed to cut the entire stack of 16 fabrics, unless I do it on a low table or on the floor. Dividing the stack is easier for me.<
Make your first cut. I stay away from the very edges, you want to be in at least three inches from the edge so that your sew lines are not on or near the diagonal. I also like cutting my blocks so I get a smaller center block and larger outer blocks. BUT that is just me.
Before sewing the patches together switch out your patches. Put a patch from the top to the bottom of the stack. I sometimes just shuffle the stack by grabbing a bunch and moving them down the deck. My girlfriend J.D. who has made thirty of these quilts, says she likes being very methodical and just switches out the fabric by one fabric the first cut, two fabrics the second cut, three fabrics the third cut and four fabrics the last cut. She says you will not get duplicates by being methodical. J.D. says the best way to keep the blocks in order is to turn them over wrong side lining up the last sewn seam on top of each other.
I SAY LIVE DANGEROUSLY AND SCRAMBLE THE SUCKERS. It is up to you and no big deal if two of the same fabrics end up in the same block as the quilt top is so busy.
The quilt top is basically…. Cut, chain piece the patches back together after they are scrambled. Use a true quarter inch seam. Press the seam allowance. Re-stack the blocks then make the next cut. Sew them together…..THIS QUILT CAN BE CUT, SEWN, ASSEMBLED in and afternoon. The look of your quilt will be dependent on the fabrics you use. Put in lots of contrast… for one dark and one light for every two medium blocks. Mix the scale of the fabric and that too makes a more interesting quilt top.
A word about PRESSING. THE SEAMS WILL NOT NEST. So press the seams the way it is easiest for you to sew the seams together. I pin them in place so they do not flip back. I also have my ironing pad with a small travel iron to press them as I go but that is because I am kind of METICULOUS about pressing. YOU can finger press them. When I press all the blocks I do it at a big iron station and I just do the best I can. It usually all works out good.
Make your second cut then sew the patches together and press you blocks. Do the best you can when cutting and pressing but do not get worked up about these blocks as you square up at the end of the process to make assembling easier. The quilt assebles quickly. The fun comes when you lay out all the blocks and twist and turn them to get something pleasing to YOUR EYE. There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG. J.D. says that she tries not to have the same fabrics touching.
Make your third cut. As I said before not too close to the diagonal and I like to vary my angles so they are not all the same. Over 25 degrees but under 45 degrees, works best for me. It all depends on the size of your initial block as what size of angle works best for your block.
When you align your patches, match as best you can at the edges. I often pin them. They will not line up, especially if there is a sewn seam (You have lost about 1/2 inch for every seam.) in the patch. I ease them the best I can.
FYI: I would like to say the picture does not show true color, one of the yellow patches is actually a limey green in real life.
Here the fun begins. Align your blocks side by side, twist and turn them until you achieve an arrangement that is pleasing to you. Sew the blocks together. Have fun, this is a fast fun project.
If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ….
UPDATE: AUGUST, 2011:
JUST FOUND THIS neat link to Oh Fransson’s tutorial. She uses similar blocks in a neat quilt. I think you will like and it will get your IDEAS flowing…..
Pod cast link for Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams
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