Saturday, April 24, 2010

1st Quilt Ever -- Cutting & Arranging Blocks

You've got your nine-patches all sewn together and pressed -- now it's time to cut them! (Are you scared? Don't be!)

Line up one block on your cutting mat so that all the edges are aligned with lines on the mat. It should fit within a 17" square. You will then cut your nine-patch in quarters... Measure carefully...

...and you will end up with four 8 1/2" blocks. Pretty painless? Pretty easy? You bet!
Repeat for your other eight squares.
Note: It may be tempting to stack a few and cut them all at the same time. I find that my cutting becomes less accurate when I do this. It's only nine squares -- doing them one at a time won't take THAT long! :o)

You now have 36 squares to work with -- and it's time to lay out your quilt!! WOO HOO!

Now, there IS a little bit of method to the madness. When laying out your quilt, you want to create continuous "trails" with the skinnier strips and smaller squares. This diagram may help you with your layout (although obviously your "trails" won't be as obvious as this). One row will look like this...

...and the row below it will look like this.

This way you have the same "trails" running horizontally and vertically through your quilt.

Scrappy madness!
It's hard to see those "trails" now, but if you look closely you will find them!

Do your best to distribute your fabrics evenly. I like to try not to have the same fabrics touching themselves anywhere in the quilt. I also like to try and distribute the fabrics in the larger squares fairly evenly throughout -- although in my example you can see on the bottom row I have two next to each other! (I changed it after taking this photo!)

It may take some time and a lot of tweaking to come up with a layout you are pleased with. You WILL have one block leftover -- set it aside for later.

Once you are happy with your layout you will stack up and label your rows. First, create seven little squares of paper and label them 1 - 7. Then, starting with row 1, take the first block and stack it on top of the second. Take those two and stack them on top of the third, and so on until you have one stack. Bust out your #1 paper and a pin, and pin ALL the row 1 squares together in the top left corner.

Repeat for your other six rows, and stack your stacks.

You're all set!


Ben and Amanda said...

Hooray! I'm so excited for this part. I've been cleaning my house all morning hoping that you would have posted the next step by the time I was done.
I am finding quilting to be extremely addicting :)

Darling Petunia said...

Oh Care, you see, this is why I am NOT involved in the quilting project: When you started explaining the "block stacking", all I could hear in my head was "wahwahwahwah wahwahwah wah" suddenly became Charlie Brown's teacher! It ceased to make any kind of sense to I will continue to live the quilters life vicariously through my darling petunia...

have fun!


Christine said...

Care, is everything right? I counted the blocks in your diagram and you used:
-- 12 "small square in the bottom right" blocks
-- 8 "small square in the upper right"
-- 9 "small square in the bottom left"
-- 6 "small square in the upper left"

We should have 9 of each block since we had 9 identical blocks which we cut into quadrants, right?
I tried to lay out my blocks and did not have the right blocks to finish the last row, but I had 4 blocks left over. Is this where we need to do something with the leftover squares? Or did I do something completely wrong? Help!!

Christine said...

I thought of this as I was (not) falling asleep ... is there no "right side up" to the blocks once they are cut? Then everything would work out. I was keeping everything oriented the same as it had been. But if I turned them, the 3 blocks that didn't fit for me would have been right. Ooops!

rhinsey said...

I am all caught up now, however my blocks turned out to be only 8 3/8" square. I must've basted more that 1/4" to start with. I hope it still turns out ok. Tonight I will map them all out after the kids are asleep. :D

Garilyn said...

My 9 patches were a bit smaller too. Though, mine are because my fat quarters were not all 18" (grrr). I now have them all cut, mapped out, and in 7 numbered piles. I'm really excited to see the final results!

Care said...


It will be fine! Sounds like your blocks are consistently "off," and in this particular quilt it won't make any difference -- other than your quilt may be less than an inch smaller than it otherwise would have been. No big deal! :o)

Kari @ Ucreate said...

What a fun series, Care!!
I'll be sharing this with my readers tonight! The disappearing nine patch is one of my very favorite patterns!

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

Yay! All cut! Now I need to vacuum the floor and move some furniture so I have room to lay it all out! :) My squares ended up smaller like Rhinsey's, but they are all consistent (once I cut them that way!)