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We all have them – scraps. Depending on what you like to save, they can range from 1″ squares to leftover jelly roll strips. I always say I’m going to do something with all of those beautiful scraps, but I very rarely do… Until now. I’m happy to give you this tutorial for 16-patch blocks in a variety of sizes. You can use either strips or squares, and I’m going to give you multiple size options and layouts. I have become totally enamored with the simple 16-patch and have about a million ideas on ways to use these.
I’ve laid out two different techniques for piecing these 16-patches, below. Please note that you can mix and match the techniques as you are making just one block at a time before assembling them. I like to save scraps from special quilts, so I think it would be nice to make a block for each quilt I’ve done recently, and then piece them into one special memory quilt.
*Note: All seam allowances are 1/4″.
*Please note that these are the exact size strips you need, extra is included in length, but not width. Requirements are listed by finished block size. This is best done with two fabrics – cut 2 strips from each fabric.
4″ —– 4 – 1 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ strips
6″ —– 4 – 2″ x 10″ strips
8″ —– 4 – 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ strips (the perfect use for a strip set!)
10″ — 4 – 3″ x 15″ strips
12″ — 4 – 3 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ strips
14″ — 4 – 4″ x 20″ strips
16″ — 4 – 4 1/2″ x 22 1/2″ strips
Piecing the block:
Step 1 – Sew your four strips together along the long edge. Either press all seams open or all to one side.
Step 2 – Square up your strip set so the cut edge is perpendicular to the seams you’ve just sewn.
Sub-cut the above made strip set into 4 pieces the same width as your original strips, squaring up again as needed. So, if your original 4 strips were 4″, you need to sub-cut into 4″ strips. If your original strips were 1 1/2″, you need to sub cut into 1 1/2″ strips.
Step 3 – Rotate every other strip set so that your colors alternate. Sew all four strips together as shown. Either press seams open or to the side.
*Please note that these are the exact size pieces you need for your blocks, no extra is given. Requirements are listed by finished block size. This is best done with 4-16 fabrics.
4″ —– 16 – 1 1/2″ squares
6″ —– 16 – 2″ squares
8″ —– 16 – 2 1/2″ squares
10″ — 16 – 3″ squares
12″ — 16 – 3 1/2″ squares
14″ — 16 – 4″ squares
16″ — 16 – 4 1/2″ squares
Piecing the Blocks:
Step 1 – If you are concerned about which direction each of your pieces fall in the block, it’s best to lay out the pieces first to find a pleasing arrangement. If you don’t care, skip to step 2.
Step 2 – Sew your squares together into rows. You should have 4 rows containing 4 squares each. Either press all seams open, or in alternating directions in each row (left in the first row, right in the second, etc.)
Step 3 – Piece together all rows. Press seams.
Here are 3 suggestions to help you finish up your 16-patch quilt:
The Modern 16-Patch
Make several 16-patches, all of the same size, and lay them out as desired. Between each of the squares add a wide sashing (almost as wide as the blocks themselves). Try to use a fabric that will highlight the blocks, such as a solid. In this quilt I used 4″ finished blocks and 2 1/2″ finished sashing. I’m in the process of hand quilting around the squares (hence the pins).
The Scrappy 16-Patch
Sew together a bunch of 16-patches until your quilt is the desired size. If you have made your blocks each focusing on a different color, this quilt will give you a beautiful ombre effect, all while letting you still notice the different blocks. If you are using a smaller color palette, using this layout will give you the look of an old postage stamp scrappy quilt. This little piece will be the front pocket of a tote bag – tutorial coming soon!
The Puzzle 16-Patch
If you have a wide assortment of scrap sizes, or a desire to do something crazy, then I would try what I’m calling the Puzzle 16-Patch. This a great way to use up a wide variety of scraps. To do this you need to choose 2 or 3 different block sizes that all have a number in common. If you want to do 2 different sizes, you should pick a large block size and then divide it in half for the second block: 16 + 8″, 12 + 6″, or 8 + 4″. If you want to do 3 block sizes, than you want to start with a large block size, and then divide in half. Divide the second size in half again. From my block list you could only do this with 16″, 8″, and 4″ blocks. Make a bunch of blocks and start laying them out on a design wall – you’ll find that they all fit together, sometimes making a fun puzzle in the process!
I decided to go crazy with this concept and did a small, baby sized quilt that used 16″, 12″, 8″, and 4″ 16-patches!
Just writing this entry has given me so many ideas for 16-patch quilts I want to make. If I use up all my scraps, I’ll just have to start buying strip sets for this purpose – they’re perfect!
Some of the best things I saw at Quilt Market in Houston last fall were these DIY cross stitch necklace kits. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and the best thing is they include everything. I grabbed on kit to bring home with me to test out – the Folk Art Flower kit in bamboo.
So, when they say they include everything, they mean everything. These DIY cross stitch necklace kits include your wooden or acrylic blank, as well as a necklace chain, along with your design, floss, and needle. All you need are a pair of scissors. The Folk Art series is really cool because not only does it include the design shown on the box, it also includes 2 other options, for a total of 3 designs, along with all the floss colors needed to complete them. So, if you are like me and don’t love the design or colors on the front, you can switch it up a bit!
One of our other favorite DIY cross stitch necklace kits was the Straight Stitch Kite design. Now, this one only comes with the one design, but it is so perfect and on-trend that we couldn’t resist! My next necklace will definitely be this design.
Okay, so I’m seriously enamored with these DIY cross stitch necklace kits. I can’t wait to make more, which is unusual for me and a cross stitching project. What makes me even more enamored is that not only do we have the kits, we sell the blanks by themselves. So I can get some blanks and make additional necklaces using the left-over floss and designs from my original kits, or I can pick out my own design and stitch it!
The necklace kits, blanks, and these awesome, amazing thread keeps will all be in the store next month! If you’d like to pre-order, you can do so through our website or in-store. Quantities are seriously limited, and while we may do a re-order if needed, I’m not sure when it will be here!
Note: This blog entry is going out a bit early due to some difficulties we were having with today’s entry. After this, however, I hope to resume the Friday schedule. Enjoy!
Welcome to our year-long hand piecing sew-along/block-of-the-month! Every month I will post a new block – some months there will be a new hand piecing technique, others we will use the chance to practice some skills. There will be directions or templates (+ a tutorial!) for making both a 12″ and a 6″ block – make whichever size you want! At the end of the 12 months, I’ll give you some suggestions and a tutorial or two on how to piece them together into a beautiful quilt.
Block # 1 is a classic 54-40 or Fight Block. This month’s technique is slightly different from my original hand piecing tutorial in that we are cutting some of the the pieces to include seam allowance and will then sew point-to-point (or, if you’re not so good at eyeballing a scant 1/4″, we’ll draw and sew on the line). I would highly recommend that you review the original hand piecing tutorial before beginning as it will be referenced several times.
I wanted to give my blocks a modern, yet timeless feel, so I chose a beautiful palette of blues, greens, and purples, all on a low volume background, inspired by this incredible Anna Maria Horner print. If you like my choices, we’ve made great starter packs for this quilt – there’s a print pack and a background pack, each containing 13 fat eighths. There might not be quite enough to make all the blocks, depending on how you use the fabrics, but it’s a great way start with a wide variety and a small investment. You can find both packs in our webstore here.
You’ll notice that the background in my 54-40 or Fight block has a subtle chain design with the purple and green each representing a diagonal. In a traditional 54-40 or Fight block this chain is much more obvious, but I wanted to keep the design subtle by choosing those two from my low volume stack along with my background. Feel free to adapt yours as you wish!
54-40 or Fight Block
For the 12″ block:
From your point fabric:
- 1 piece measuring at least 10″ x 8″
From your background fabric:
- 1 piece measuring at least 5 1/2″ x 15″
- See measurement below for number and size of squares.
From assorted lights:
- Cut 20 – 2 1/2″ squares (I cut 6 purple, 6 green, and 8 white)
For the 6″ block:
From your point fabric:
- 1 piece measuring at least 3″ x 11″
From your background fabric:
- 1 piece measuring at least 3″ x 12″
- See measurement below for number and size of squares.
From assorted lights:
- Cut 20 – 1 1/2″ squares (I cut 6 purple, 6 green, and 8 white)
First we’ll make our 4-patches:
Step 1 – On the wrong side of the fabric mark sewing guidelines. You can either make dots every time two seam allowances intersect and eyeball your 1/4″ seam allowance as you sew, or if you have trouble sewing in a straight line (as I do), you can mark the sewing lines. The best way to do this is to measure across the square to draw your line. For example, if you are using a 2 1/2″ square, place your ruler across the square and measure 2 1/4″ and then draw your line. Rotate the square to complete all 4 sides. Drawing the line this way will help you achieve the most accurate scant 1/4″ possible. In one of my upcoming tutorials I’ll show you how to achieve an accurate scant 1/4″ when doing non-rectangular shapes.
Step 2 – Place two squares right sides together, matching the seam lines with pins as shown in my original hand piecing tutorial. You should sew together 10 pairs as follows: 2 purple/green pairs, 4 green/white pairs, and 4 purple/white pairs.
Step 3 – Knot your thread and sew the two pieces together with a running stitch. Knot again at the end. Repeat until all pairs are sewn.
Step 4 – Take two matching pairs and rotate them until opposite fabrics touch (i.e. green touches white, white touches green), and place right sides together.
Match the corners and seams and sew together. Repeat until all pairs are matched and sewn. Do not press.
Sewing the points:
Step 1 – Print out the pattern pieces for the points found here. Trace the star points onto your star fabric and the background triangles onto your background fabric. Cut out the pieces 1/4″ past the drawn line. You need 4 background triangles and 4 of each point.
Step 2 – Take one of the star points and place it right side against the background triangle. Match the seam allowance points using your pins, and add additional pins.
Step 3 – Sew the first point to the background.
Step 4 – Take the second point and place it on the opposite side of the background triangle. Pin and sew. Repeat for remaining points. Do not press.
Piecing the block:
Lay out the blocks as shown. Piece into rows. Piece rows together. Once the block is completed, press. You’ll find that your seams all kind of fit together the best way and will “tell you” which way they want to be pressed.
Ta-da! You have just completed your 54-40 or Fight block! I’m very excited to start this series with you. Please let me know of any questions you might have in the comments, below! (And please send me pictures of your blocks – email them to us or post them on facebook or instagram and tag us!)
Happy new year!
We have many exciting things planned for our Quilting Adventures blog in 2015. First up, if you didn’t see last week’s post, we are bringing back our much-loved CEO club. If you haven’t done it before, CEO stands for completely executed objects and is a great way to finish up some of those unfinished projects you have hanging around your house. Best of all, it’s free to participate and there are cool coupons and prizes as you go along! Find out more info here.
Next up are the two things I’m most excited about, our hand pieced block of the month and our embroidery freebies! First of all, you may remember when I did a tutorial for hand piecing last fall which can be found on our blog, here. At that time I had asked if there was any interest in doing a hand pieced block the month. The idea would be to give you motivation for this quilt and teaching you techniques along the way. Many of you responded with excitement, so, I am happy to announce our 2015 hand pieced block of the month! Once a month I will be posting a tutorial that will give you a wide array of beautiful blocks as well as get your hand piecing skills perfected! All the blocks will be 12″ square, finished, but I’m also hoping to add a 6″ block option for those of you who like smaller (like me!). The first tutorial will go up next week and should be posted the 3rd Friday of every month for the rest of the year. Check out the photo below for a sneak peek of next week’s block:
Second on that list of super-exciting awesomeness is our new hand embroidery designs! These are pretty much exactly what they sound like, which is a free embroidery design posted once a month. These should be posted near the beginning of every month, and occasionally we will have contests for you to use these free designs and win prizes! As of writing this, there is no theme for these designs, so you might get something fun and cute one month and something elegant the next – I’ll keep you posted on that. Our first month’s design can be found right here! If you want to make yours larger or smaller, feel free to print your design to a smaller or larger scale. I used an off-white-ish solid fabric, along with some of our pretty embroidery floss – Weeks Dye Works in Turkish Red, and Cosmo Seasons in 8024 and 8001 (8001 is a super-light pink, and I almost wish I’d used something slightly darker, like 8004).
Now, for the contest: embroider your own version of this design by the end of January, and either post it on facebook and tag us or post it on instagram + tag @quiltrva + use the hashtags #quiltrva and #quiltrvaembroidery. At the beginning of February we will chose 1 winner of an embroidery floss sampler pack of some of our favorite floss!
If you are local to the area, we have resumed our classes, adding many new ones that we’re excited about! Make sure to check out our full class schedule here – right now classes are scheduled through the end of March!
Tell me – what do you think? Any particular pattern you would like for me to review? Any special requests for embroidery designs? Let me know in the comments below!
I can’t wait to share with you!
By popular request, CEO Club for 2015 will be starting in February! We hope you’ll join us – it doesn’t cost a thing and if you stick with it, we promise you’ll be thrilled with the results! Read on for all the details -
So what exactly is a CEO – Chief Executive Officer, right? No, sorry, there’s only one of those. I’m referring to Completely Executed Objects, what you get when you finish up all those UFOs (UnFinished Objects)! And we’re here to help – with incentives along the way. Here’s how you can participate:
1. Make a numbered list of 6 UFOs you want to complete in the next six months (February through July). This can be a quilt that just needs a binding, or something that you’ve only cut out, or anything in between – just a quilting project that is started but not finished. Be sure to put the list in the order that you plan to work on your projects; 1=February, 2=March, and so on. Email us a copy of the list (send it to info @ quiltingadventures.com but remove the spaces first!) or bring a written copy to the store (be sure to include your email address). Keep a copy of your list for yourself, too! Just one list per person, please.
2. Finish that month’s UFO before the end of the month and bring it in to the shop for show and tell. We’ll be taking pictures and posting your finished projects in our shop flickr pool. You’ll be entered to win a $25 QA gift card for each month that you bring in and show us your finished project. (Out of town customers – there are special rules for you, below.)
3. At the end of the six months, everyone who has finished all six of their UFOs will be entered in a drawing for a $50 QA gift card.
4. We’ll be having a CEO Party on Saturday, August 8, at 2PM. We hope everyone who participates can join us for a big show and tell party! And who knows? There might be even more prizes!
Special rules for out-of-towners: Send us your CEO list via email, just like everyone else. But instead of bringing in the project for show and tell, please email us a copy of your finished project before the end of the month. Unless you indicate otherwise, we may publish your photo(s) in our flickr photostream. Please remember to include your name in your email, and if you are finishing a project early, be sure to refer to the project number. For each project you finish, you get one entry into a drawing for a $25 QA Gift Card (which can be used to shop on our website); this winner will be chosen at random at the end of the six months. Also, at the end of the six months, the participant with the most finishes (from the separate out-of-town group) will win a $25 QA gift card. In the event of a tie, a winner will be chosen at random.
So, what exactly does “finished” mean? Well, if it’s a project that is a lap quilt or smaller, then I mean all the way done (and not just a quilt block, either!). Complete, bound, ready to be used or hung. If it’s larger than a lap size, then a finished top counts as complete. If you get inspired to finish more than your six registered projects, please do so! But only those six projects qualify you to win prizes.
Please get your lists to us ASAP! You can join at anytime, but the sooner you get started, the better your chances will be of earning a chance at grand prize! We officially start in February, but you can get started right now – so pull those projects out and get sewing!