Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Colonial Squares is just about the easiest patchwork to make, one simple square repeated, but I followed a few simple rules to make sure it went together easily and with no fuss.

I decided to make four patches from my squares, and sew them together later. They made the perfect leader-ender project; I just picked up a light and a dark square and fed them through. The seams were pressed to the dark side.

When I sewed the four patches I made sure that the darks and lights were aligned the same in every single one; the dark patch underneath on the right, dark patch on the top to the left.
The seams were fanned, by unpicking the few stitches in the seam allowances on each side, and then pressed open. By doing that all the seams of the fourpatches nest, no matter how you rotate them, which allowed me to twist and turn them when laying the whole thing out and I never had to worry about seam allowances. When I joined the four patch blocks I fanned those seams too.I didn't worry about colour or balance or anything until I had amassed a large pile of four patches; then I laid out what I had and decided if I needed more black, or red, or tan and made more blocks accordingly.

I made the centre square first, then made corners to turn it on point. To make the edge pieces I cut triangles using the Olfa triangle ruler; I used a 2.75" strip and put the 4 1/2" line on the edge of the strip. (If I wanted to cut them as quarter square units I'd start with a 5.5" square and crosscut diagonally into 4 triangles.) These might be a smidgeon too big, but that's a good thing, it will allow a bit of leeway when it's time to trim the quilt edges.

Two sides of the quilt needed light triangles, and two needed dark. I could have had it dark all round the edge by adding a single row of squares on two sides of the central four patches, but I didn't care enough. I quite like the light and dark edges.
I checked which way the seams wanted to go in the triangle unit, and then pressed them all alike. Then it was just a matter of piecing each corner, and adding it to the central part. And adding two triangles to complete the corner of the corner.

My quilt measures 78"square; the central piece had 81 four patches. Each corner took 19 four patches and 8 triangle units, four dark and four light. Hmm, 157 four patches, plus the edges; that's more than 628 individual squares, what a lot of fabric. More than 5 metres in fact. I'm thrilled to have busted all that stash, and so painlessly. I'd definitely make one again. I have enough squares left over to make a good start.

10 comments:

Karen 7:16 PM  

Good idea to make four patches. I just assumed you sewed rows of squares together. I think I would prefer doing the four patches.

Sew Create It - Jane 11:47 PM  

What a top tip. I'm just starting a project very similar to yours so your advice will be put into practice today :o)

Thanks

Kathie 12:38 AM  

thanks for the tuturial, fun to see how you put it together.
making the 4 patches is a great way to work on a project over time, easier to store!
Its on my list of quilts to make. I just love the look of this quilt
Kathie

Kathie 12:41 AM  

one more question...
what size are the squares you started with?
thanks
Kathie

Diana 4:04 AM  

Thanks for the tutorial on four patches. As simple as they are, I've often had trouble with the seam allowances wanting to head in different directions on just a few of the units. Your instructions make it clear how to avoid this.

Rose Marie 1:13 PM  

I've never tried fanning the seams, but it makes sense to do so. This is a great top. Will you be putting on borders?

Brenda 4:00 AM  

Sometimes simple can be best

YankeeQuilter 9:34 AM  

This is one of those quilts that lets you "save" a bit of all the fabrics you love!

Lucy 1:10 PM  

Oh my goodness, this is becoming an incredible quilt. I love it.

QuiltGranma 6:07 PM  

I agree, what size were the initial squares you cut?

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