TYSS: Capital T block

The Capital T block also uses flying geese units (as well as half square triangles) and finishes at 12″ (12 1/2″ unfinished). As with the Dutchman’s Puzzle, color placement can create all sorts of different looks, but for this block we’ll use two block fabrics and the background. If you’re following the white and bright layout, it’s red and aqua.

You will use the Skill Builder posts to create four HSTs and eight flying geese. The HSTs will finish at 4″ square (4 1/2″ unfinished, and the flying geese will finish at 4″ wide and 2″ high (4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ unfinished). Be aware of color placement – each flying geese unit will have two different “sky” fabrics. In this layout your background fabric will be the geese and your block fabrics will be the sky.

Half Square Triangles

Create two HSTs of each color. Although the strip and papers methods are both great for HSTS, the limited number of HSTs in this block means that the two squares with diagonal lines method is best in this instance. It creates exactly the number of HSTs you need without waste. For this method, you need:
(2) 5″ (or 5 1/4″ if you’d like a little more room to trim) squares of background fabric
(1) 5″ (or 5 1/4″) square of one block fabric
(1) 5″ (or 5 1/4″) square of another block fabric

Flying Geese

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese

Method 1: Large and Small Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese
Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese
This is my favorite method for creating flying geese since it doesn’t waste fabric and you sew before cutting.

Cut (4) 3″ squares of one block fabric
Cut (4) 3″ squares of another block fabric
Cut (2) 5 1/2″ squares of background fabric

Follow Jeanne’s instructions for assembling the flying geese. In the first step (sewing two small squares to a large square), both small square should be the same block fabric. Then sew the other block fabric squares to the “heart.” You’ll have four geese with the “red” on the left and four with the “red” on the right.

Trim your flying geese units to 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.

Method 2: Traditional

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
Although this is the traditional method for assembling flying geese, it can be tricky, especially since you’ll be working with bias edges. I don’t recommend it, but if you’d like to try it you need:

Four 3″ squares of one block fabric, cut diagonally once
Four 3″ squares of another block fabric, cut diagonally once
Two 5 1/2″ square of background fabric, cut diagonally both ways

Trim your flying geese units to 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.

Method 3: Rectangle and Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
If color placement has you worried, this method may be your best choice. You will waste a little fabric. If you haven’t made your pinwheels yet, you could use the extra HSTs from this block to create some of them.

Cut (4) 2 1/2″ squares of one block fabric
Cut (4) 2 1/2″ squares of another block fabric
Cut (8) 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric

When you piece these, you’ll need four geese with “red” sky on the left and four geese with “red” sky on the right.

Method 4: Dimensional (One Seam)

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
This is a fun method for creating flying geese, but it adds a lot of bulk at the center and you will have flaps of fabric that you need to either sew down or be careful not to catch in the presser foot when you quilt it.

Cut (4) 2 1/2″ squares of one block fabric
Cut (4) 2 1/2″ squares of another block fabric
Cut (8) 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles of background fabric

When you piece these, you’ll need four geese with “red” sky on the left and four geese with “red” sky on the right.

Assembling the Block

Create four sets of flying geese, sewing two identical geese together for each unit. Lay out the flying geese units and HSTs so it looks like the Capital T block illustration above, then sew as you would a nine patch block. See this post for instructions on sewing a nine patch.

TYSS: Dutchman’s Puzzle block

Our next block uses Flying Geese units and finishes at 12″ (12 1/2″ unfinished). The Dutchman’s Puzzle block (which I incorrectly referred to as the Flying Dutchman in the Skill Builder post) is sort of a pinwheel within a pinwheel. Color placement can create all sorts of different looks, but for this block we’ll use two block fabrics and the background. If you’re following the white and bright layout, it’s red and aqua.

As before, the Skill Builder posts provide detailed instructions to create 12 1/2″ Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks, so choose your favorite flying geese method and make eight flying geese, four each in two fabrics. The flying geese will finish at 6″ wide and 3″ high (6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ unfinished).

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese

Method 1: Large and Small Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8B – Flying Geese
This is my favorite method for creating flying geese. It doesn’t waste fabric and you sew before cutting so bias edges aren’t an issue.

Cut (8) 4″ squares of background fabric
Cut (1) 7 1/2″ squares of one block fabric
Cut (1) 7 1/2″ squares of another block fabric

Method 2: Traditional

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
Although this is the traditional method for assembling flying geese, it can be tricky, especially since you’ll be working with bias edges. I made 120 flying geese using the traditional method for my first (outside of class) quilt, and I don’t want to do it again. Still, if you’d like to try it, you need:

Eight 4″ background squares, cut diagonally once
One 7 1/2″ square of one block fabric, cut diagonally both ways
One 7 1/2″ square of another block fabric, cut diagonally both ways

Method 3: Rectangle and Squares

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
This method is best if you’d like to create some extra HSTs or don’t mind wasting a little fabric. If you haven’t made your pinwheels yet, you could use the extra HSTs from this block to create some of them.

Cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles of one block fabric
Cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles of another block fabric
Cut (8) 3 1/2″ squares of background fabric

Method 4: Dimensional (One Seam)

Skill Builder Series: Part 8A – Flying Geese
This is a fun method for creating flying geese, but it adds a lot of bulk at the center and you will have flaps of fabric that you need to either sew down or be careful not to catch in the presser foot when you quilt it.

Cut (8) 3 1/2″ squares of background fabric
Cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles of one block fabric
Cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles of another block fabric

Assembling the Block

Once you’ve created eight flying geese units (four in each fabric), you need to put them together into the block. This post explains the details of creating a Dutchman’s Puzzle block.

TYSS: Pinwheel fillers

Ready for the next filler block? It’s time for the pinwheel!

Jeanne and I went into great detail on this block, so this is just a matter of providing measurements. Choose your favorite method for creating half square triangles from these posts:

Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels

Any of the methods will work, and since you need create two different sizes of pinwheels, you can try several methods to find your favorite.

If you’re following the white and bright layout, you will need one green 6″ pinwheel, three red 4″ pinwheels, and three yellow 4″ pinwheels.

6″ Pinwheel

This is the size that both of our HST posts used, so refer to those posts for all measurements and instructions. If you’re interested in trying the Triangle Papers method, here’s your chance. I provided a PDF and instructions for making 3″ finished HSTs in this post.

4″ Pinwheels

For each pinwheel you will need 4 HSTs that finish at 2″ (2 1/2″ unfinished). Important: One pinwheel will not be fully assembled! You will create two halves, and they will be incorporated into two different blocks. When the blocks are put together, the pinwheel will be completed.

Method 1: Triangles

Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
This is the original method, cutting squares in half diagonally (exposing a bias edge) and then sewing them together. I don’t recommend this method other than as an experiment, so you can see how much easier the other methods are.

If you use this method, you will need (for each pinwheel):
Two 2 7/8″ background squares
Two 2 7/8″ block fabric squares, cut diagonally once
If you prefer to cut slightly larger then trim to size (which I recommend), cut the squares at 3″ or even 3 1/4″. Trim the resulting HSTs to 2 1/2″ before assembling your pinwheels.

Method 2: Strips

Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
This method works best if you are making a lot of the same HSTs, so it’s ideal for multiple blocks like this.

Cut a 3″ wide strip width of fabric of background fabric.
Cut a 3″ wide strip of block fabric.
If you make all of your pinwheels from the same fabric, you can get all of your HSTs from one strip width of fabric. If you are using two different fabrics, you’ll need two different block fabric strips 3″ x 20″ (this leaves a little extra room). You need a total of 24 HSTs, or 12 of each color.

Draw vertical lines every 3″ and then draw the diagonal lines connecting them.

Trim the resulting HSTs to 2 1/2″ before assembling your pinwheels.

Method 3: Triangle Papers

Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
This method is best for making a lot of the same HST, so it’s ideal for multiple identical blocks like this.

Use Triangle Papers, Thangles, Triangles on a Roll, or Triangulations software to create 24 HSTs that finish at 2″. If you’re doing two different fabrics, you’ll need 12 HSTs from each fabric. Papers for this size are NOT provided, so if you don’t have the paper, this method won’t work for you.

Method 4: Squares with Diagonal Lines

Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
This method is best if you are making each pinwheel (four HSTs) in a different fabric.

For each pinwheel you will need two background squares and two block fabric squares cut at 3 1/4″ (this will allow extra fabric for you to trim it to size). If you’re confident in your accuracy with cutting and quarter inch seams, you may choose to cut at 3″ instead. Trim the resulting HSTs to 2 1/2″ before assembling your pinwheels.

Pinwheel Assembly

I went into EXTREME detail in this post for turning your collection of HSTs into pinwheels, so there’s no need to re-write it all!

If you like, try making your pinwheels “spin” in different directions by rotating the HSTs 1/4 turn before sewing them together. The final version of the sampler includes one “backward” pinwheel – can you find it?

Remember, one of your 4″ pinwheels will not be fully assembled. Sew the two halves together, but do not complete the final seam.

How is it going – any questions so far?

Highs and lows

I hurt.

My arms hurt, my neck hurts, my back hurts, my legs hurt, my feet hurt. There is a spot on my backside that hurts. I’m exhausted, and I don’t WANT to be exhausted because there’s something else I want to be doing.

Today I helped my brother move. We disassembled a pool and a fence and it was WORK. For a living, I sit in front of a computer. I am not prepared for this sort of thing. I mean, I got tired just lifting the stupid battery operated drill. It was literally too heavy for me after 30 minutes – my deltoids are not up to snuff.

As for the spot… I sat on a decrepit old picnic table and it broke. A 2×4 piece of wood splintered – well, chunked really. The wood was obviously rotten, but it’s still terribly embarrassing (and painful) to land on your butt. I’m sure there’s a bruise. (Don’t worry – I won’t be sharing photos.)

The thing is, I started out the morning with another moving project and I really wanted to get back to that. See our new toy?

IMG_1345

Through the misfortune of someone else, we were able to purchase this awesome quilting frame and long-ish arm machine for less than half the retail price. It’s new, a floor model from a defunct quilt shop in the area. My mom, two aunts and I are now the proud owners of a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter 18×8 with a 10 foot Imperial frame. (But it lives at my house!) The 18×8 stands for 18″ long and 8″ high throat space.

IMG_1346

Or, to put it in perspective:

IMG_1349

And darn it, I’m too tired to play with it! But tomorrow after work, you can bet I’m going to take the bull by the horns.

IMG_1347

TYSS: Card Trick

The Card Trick block features half square triangles in the corners, a quarter square triangle in the center, and a Y component on all four sides. “Y component” may not be the official name for this, but it’s how I think of it so I’m going with it.

This block is best with four distinct fabrics plus a background. If you’re following the White & Bright layout, the block is yellow, orange, green and aqua. I recommend printing out a copy of this block and writing in the name of your fabrics so you can be sure of fabric placement. (Click on the block, then click File – Print. You may want to click File – Print Preview first and adjust the scale to a smaller percentage so it doesn’t take up the entire page and waste ink. I know this works in Firefox – I don’t know if Internet Explorer has the same function.)

I won’t go into too much detail on the half square and quarter square triangle construction – instead, refer to the Skill Builder Series posts for that.

This block finishes at 12″ (12 1/2″ unfinished). It is a 3-grid block (essentially a nine patch), so each square finishes at 4″ (4 1/2″ unfinished). That means you’ll need a 4″ finished HST in each fabric. However, instead of planning for the HSTs that size, you’ll cut your fabrics as if you’re making QSTs that finish at 4″, since the Y components are essentially QSTs with a solid piece of fabric on one side. As always, I recommend sewing slightly larger and trimming to size.

Because you’re working with so many different fabrics, the Squares with Diagonal Lines method for making HSTs is your best option. Read this post for details on making the HSTs. (It’s about halfway down.)

You will need:
Four 5 1/2″ squares of background fabric
Two 5 1/2″ squares of each block fabric

Yes, I cut five background squares by mistake. Actually,  I made several mistakes in this block –  I also started with 5″ squares and found out after I assembled my center QST that it was too small.

Lay out your four block fabrics to determine the placement within your block. Consider color, value and scale when arranging your fabrics.

Draw a diagonal line 1/4″ on either side of center on the back of your background squares.  Pair each background square with a block square and sew just inside the drawn lines.

Cut down the center and press to form eight half square triangles.

Next, pair the remaining block fabric squares based on the placement that you determined above. The paired fabrics should be NEXT TO one another in your placement. It doesn’t matter if you choose top/bottom or left/right, as long as you do NOT put together the fabrics that are diagonal from one another. Draw a single diagonal line 1/4″ from center. It doesn’t matter which side. Sew just toward center of that diagonal line and cut corner to corner. Save the extra triangles – you’ll use them later.

You will now have eight background/block HSTS, two block/block HSTS, and four extra block fabric triangles.

Take the two block/block HSTs and put them right sides together. Don’t worry about how they’re pressed – you may need to press one seam in the opposite direction to make it work. First determine the correct color placement. Here’s where your labeled illustration will come in handy. (You can see mine in a picture below).  Rotate your HSTs until with one corner turned back it matches your layout. Re-press, if necessary, then draw the diagonal line 1/4″ from center. Again, make sure you’re putting it on the side that supports your fabric placement!

Sew following instructions for the QST unit in this post, trim the excess fabric off, and press. You will NOT use the excess fabric.

Next, take one of your background/block fabric HST units and find the triangle that, laid over the HST, creates the correct unit. Again, your labeled block will come in very handy here. As you can see in the photo below, I labeled my fabrics “mustard,” “damask,” “ugly” and “dot.” The red square shows which unit the fabric will replicate.

The picture shows the triangle laying on top of the HST, both right sides up. That is just so you can determine which unit you are creating and which direction the triangle should go when it is finished. You may need to play with rotating your HST units or your triangles. Once you find the correct layout, flip the triangle over and match the corner with the HST. Your triangle will extend past the other corners.

Sew 1/4″ from the cut line of the triangle piece. Flip it back to check that your unit is sewn correctly, then trim the excess portion of the HST away. You will not use this piece.

Repeat with the remaining Y components. When you’re finished, lay out your pieces to be sure everything is placed correctly. If it is, trim each unit to 4 1/2″.  Read the QST post for notes on how to square up and trim this unit. Be sure to line up the 45 degree line on your ruler with the diagonal seam.  When trimming the Y components and the QST, be sure to line up the point where the fabrics meet with the 2 1/4″ measurement on your ruler (both directions) and keep the 45 degree line on the diagonal seam. (Remember, I cut mine too small – yours will have more fabric to trim off.)

Lay out the units in a nine patch…

…then sew the pieces together as you would a nine patch. Refer to this post for additional instructions.

Do NOT sew your units together like this:

When you’re finished, you’ll have a Card Trick block to add to your collection!

So how’d you do? Any questions?

TYSS: Shoofly fillers

The next filler block is the Shoofly. There are several of this block, in two different sizes and colors (if you’re using the White & Bright layout). The Shoofly is a great way to practice both half square triangles and matching seams. It’s in a nine patch layout so you don’t have a single point of intersection with 8 or more layers of fabric like the Pinwheel.

You need to make two 6″ finished blocks and six 3″ finished blocks. Don’t be afraid of the small blocks! Small pieces can actually be easier to work with in some ways.

You’ll be making several half square triangle units, so follow the instructions from the Skill Builder Series posts for your favorite HST method.
Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles and Pinwheels
Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half square Triangles and Pinwheels

While you are welcome to use the traditional method (cutting squares in half diagonally, then assembling), the other methods will be easier and more efficient, especially if you are making a group of blocks in the same fabric.

Option 1:Papers

Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles & Pinwheels

Use Triangle Paper, Triangles on a Roll, Thangles or Triangulations computer software to create the following half square triangles:
For two 6″ blocks (green)
Make (8) HSTs that finish at 2″ (2 1/2″ before assembling the block)

For three 3″ blocks (green)
Make (12) HSTs that finish at 1″ (1 1/2″ before assembling the block)

For three 3″ blocks (orange)
Make (12) HSTs that finish at 1″ (1 1/2″ before assembling the block)

Option 2:Strips with Drawn Lines

Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half Square Triangles & Pinwheels
For two 6″ blocks (green)
Cut (1) background strip 3″ wide and at least 12″ long
Cut (1) block fabric strip 3″ wide and at least 12″ long
(Following Jeanne’s instructions, you will draw lines every 3″.)

For three 3″ blocks (green)
Cut (1) background strip 2″ wide and at least 12″ long
Cut (1) block fabric strip 2″ wide and at least 12″ long
(Following Jeanne’s instructions, you will draw lines every 2″.)

For three 3″ blocks (orange)
Cut (1) background strip 2″ wide and at least 12″ long
Cut (1) block fabric strip 2″ wide and at least 12″ long
(Following Jeanne’s instructions, you will draw lines every 2″.)

Option 3: Squares with Drawn Diagonal Lines

For two 6″ blocks (green)
Skill Builder Series: Part 1A – Half Square Triangles & Pinwheels
Cut (4) 3″ background squares
Cut (4) 3″ block fabric squares

For three 3″ blocks (green)
Cut (6) 2″ background squares
Cut (6) 2″ block fabric squares

For three 3″ blocks (orange)
Cut (6) 2″ background squares
Cut (6) 2″ block fabric squares

Option 4: Traditional

Skill Builder Series: Part 1B – Half Square Triangles & Pinwheels
Not recommended unless all of your HSTs will be made from different fabric. If you choose this method, you will start with squares the same as as option 3 above, but cut the 3″ squares diagonally before assembling into HSTs.

Assembly

Square up your large HSTs to 2 1/2″ and your small HSTs to 1 1/2″. (See this post for details on squaring up HSTs.) Once you have all of your half square triangles created, cut your squares.

For two 6″ blocks (green)
Cut (8) 2 1/2″ background squares
Cut (2) 2 1/2″ block fabric square

For three 3″ blocks (green)
These three blocks will be “reversed” – the background fabric will create the design and the block fabric will be the “background.”
Cut (12) 1 1/2″ block fabric squares
Cut (3) 1 1/2″ background square

For three 3″ blocks (orange)
Cut (12) 1 1/2″ background squares
Cut (3) 1 1/2″ block fabric square

Lay out your HSTs and squares to create two 6″ finished (6 1/2″ before sewn into the quilt) Shoofly blocks like the large one shown above. Make three 3″ finished blocks like the small green one shown above. Make three 3″ finished blocks like the small orange one shown above. As always, review this post on maintaining an accurate quarter inch seam. Also review this post for details on assembling a nine patch block using separate squares.

All done! Any questions?

TYSS: Log Cabin Block

The next sampler block is the log cabin. The Skill Builder Series log cabin post just went up, so most of your instructions will be over there. Fortunately I put the instructions at the top of the post, so you don’t have to scroll through all of the details to find them.

You can use either construction option. If you’re following the White & Bright layout for color placement, this block is orange. The block will finish at 10″, or 10 1/2″ before it is sewn into the quilt. Each complete round (four sides) of the block will be in the same fabric, and the rounds will alternate between background and block fabric, with the block fabric at the center and in the final round.

Option 1: Cut to Size

Since you’re making only one block, this option will work quite well, especially if you’d like to test the accuracy of your quarter inch seams. Using the cutting directions below, piece it as you would a courthouse steps block, adding fabrics to opposite sides of the squares rather than in a spiral.

Center square: Cut (1) 2 1/2″ block fabric square
Background fabric:
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ strips
Block fabric:
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ strips
Cut (2) 1 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ strips

(If you prefer to cut your strips slightly wider and then trim to size after each round (all four sides), cut them at 1 3/4″ wide and the same length shown above. The center square will remain the same size.)

Option 2: Chaining the Strip

This option will also work well, and with just two fabrics it will be very easy to cut. This is the best option if you prefer to cut fabric wider and trim to size to avoid problems with accurate quarter inch seams. You can piece this option in a spiral or on opposite sides as you would a courthouse steps block.

Cut (1) 2 1/2″ block fabric square
Cut (2) strips 1 1/2″ wide of the background fabric
Cut (2) strips 1 1/2″ wide of the block fabric

(If you prefer to cut your strips slightly wider and then trim to size after each addition, cut the strips at 1 3/4″ wide. The center square will remain the same size. I recommend this if you have trouble with accurate quarter inch seams.)

The next several sampler and filler blocks will go up fairly quickly – about every other day – because the Skill Builder posts are already done. How are you doing – are the block instructions working well for you? Do you have any suggestions?