Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's Make a Quilt: Block One

I have always loved quilts. I can remember watching my Mamaw quilt, many years ago, at a quilting frame set up in her living room. She pieced some of her quilts on an old treadle Singer sewing machine, and some of them she appliqued while watching television.  

Whenever she visited some of her friends and relatives in our community who quilted, she'd take me along with her. I marveled that these ladies would cut up pieces of cloth and sew them back together again into what I thought were warm, cozy and beautiful works of art! I made myself a promise that someday I'd make a quilt. Years later, as a young mother, and with the help of my Mamaw, I pieced my first quilt, a Nine-Patch. I still have my first quilt; the batting is coming out of it in some places and it's faded and worn, but it has seen over thirty years of use!

Times have changed a lot since I made that first quilt! Rotary cutters (round razor blades!), gridded plastic rulers and cutting mats have made the cutting part of the quilt so easy and very accurate.

I'm starting a new quilt and I thought it would be interesting to document its making from beginning to end. It's a Block of the Month quilt. The premise is that you cut and sew one block a month and at the end of the year you sew your blocks into a quilt top. Well, I can't wait that long! The blocks are fairly simple to make, so I'm going to try to do one a week.
I spent over an hour in Hobby Lobby Friday afternoon choosing my material. For this Block of the Month quilt I needed 1 1/8 yards of black on white print, 1 yard of white on black print and 1/4 yard each of bright colors.

The first block is a Pinwheel and I'm going to use blue as the accent color. Oh, before I forget to tell you, the blocks are twelve inches square.

Step One: I cut two 7" squares from the white on black fabric. Next, I cut them diagonally. I now have have four triangles, we'll call them Unit A. I don't know who invented the rotary cutter and gridded plastic rulers, but I'd like to hug their neck!

2.  My next step was to cut one 7 1/4" square from the black on white fabric and one 7 1/4" square from the blue fabric. Then I stacked them and cut them diagonally twice, corner to corner, then corner to corner again. I ended up with four pairs of triangles.  
See how the grids make it so easy and accurate?

3.  Next, with right sides together, I sewed one black on white triangle and one blue triangle together on the short side.
And it looked like this when I finished. We'll call it Unit B.
4.  I sewed Unit A to Unit B, and began again with Step 3...  
until I made four Unit ABs!  

I sewed those four units together and Waaaa-Laaaaa! I completed my first block! 
This block was easy-peasy! I cut out my fabric before church this morning, and sewed it this evening after eating dinner, making a dozen Pumpkin Roll muffins for Hub, visiting with my son and taking a few pictures of the fall leaves.

If you're a quilter and you're looking for a simple Block of the Month program, or you'd like to learn to quilt, this would be perfect for you.  Give me a holler if you're interested and I'll tell you where to find the block patterns and I'll give you all the advice I can. My quilts are not perfect, (I'm actually surprised that the pinwheel in this block met almost in the center!) sometimes the blocks are a little wonky (that's quilting lingo for crooked), but it doesn't matter. When you finish, you can give it to someone you love, or wrap up in it yourself and watch an episode of The Waltons. 

The focus fabric in my next block will be red. And the block is even easier! It consists of 16 3" blocks. No fancy pinwheels, no triangles.

Thanks for reading my blog! Have a great week!

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