Sunday, January 24, 2010

There's more than one way to piece a block

Confession time: I am a lazy quilter. I don't like to piece more seams than necessary. I also want to rotary cut everything I can. So when I decided Kansas Dugout blocks were the right choice for my William Morris fabric, I needed to figure out a way to piece them that would work with pre-cut strips and a minimum of seams.
The above diagram shows the way I was familiar with piecing the block. All that cutting and piecing to end up with a square? Just cut a square.
Please excuse the drawing. I was experimenting with Google Docs.
Obviously need more practice.

I found the above piecing method too. And this neat quilt made with that construction method. But, ew, templates.

If you look at the quilt as a whole and not at a single block, then you can see how alternating rows of squares and "other pieces" can be put together to form the Dugout block. Of course, this requires planning ahead and arranging the entire quilt before sewing. This is what floors are for.

The "other pieces" can easily be cut without a template too. Yeah, rotary cutter! I figured the sizes for the shapes by drawing out the block on graph paper, assuming a 2-inch finished center square, which is what I could cut from the jelly roll strips.

To cut the "other pieces," trim a 45-degree angle from one end of one strip.

Leaving the 45-degree line on the top edge of the strip, slide the ruler so that the cut edge aligns along the 5 1/8-inch mark and cut.
Flip the ruler, align the 45-degree line along the bottom edge and make sure the ruler is 5 1/8 inches from lower right corner to cut edge. Cut.

I was able to cut four "other pieces" and four squares from each strip. Enough for two dugouts.

Piecing was easy too. Every other row is all squares. Hardest part is keeping them in the right order. The other rows are the "other pieces."

Overlap them slightly so that the quarter-inch seam line intersects the two pieces where they meet.

I pressed the seams open and trimmed the dog ears. Much easier to do now then later. I may be lazy, but I'm also rather anal. Those dog ears will just plague you later when you're quilting the top. It's worth the effort to get rid of them now. Same with thread ends. Laziness has its limits.

Once the rows are all sewn, sew the rows together and you're done except for borders.

I'm I the only one who finds block construction so interesting?


corry said...

You're so clever! I'm not a big star with the my rotarycutter. So maybe I have to borrow your plan!

BuggletQuilts said...

Good job on the figuring out the rotary cutter method! I'm always looking for a way to rotary cut and piece blocks that are appliqued or that use templates. I'm always surprised at the difficult way some quilts are put together when there are much easier ways if you just think about it a little.

Rachaeldaisy said...

Wow!! That's brilliant. When I first saw the photo of the finished quilt I assumed you'd hand stitched the top to keep the squares in one piece. Very clever!

Carol G said...

What a genius you are! I must try this soon.