Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tutorial Part 2 - Cutting and Piecing Blue & Red Units

This is the second part of a tutorial on making the Double Pinwheel String Quilt. Part 1 can be found here. There will be 4 parts (I think) in all.

Now that we have our template, we're ready to start making the blue and red units.

Let's start with the BLUE FABRIC:

You will need a total of approximately 2-2/3 yards of blue fabric for this quilt, including what we're cutting today and the blue border later on.

Step 1: Cut 32, 8-1/2 inch squares from blue fabric.

Step 2: Cut each square on the diagonal into 2 triangles. (Seem familiar? This is going to be just like Steps 2-4 of Part 1, except that we're cutting our blue fabric to proper size, and we're going to use the other part of the triangle.)

Step 3: Take one of the blue fabric triangles you just cut and reposition it on the cutting mat so that the longest side of the triangle is at the bottom (toward you). This long side should measure 12 inches.

Mark a point 3-1/8 inches from the right-hand corner on the lower edge of the triangle.

Step 4: Position your ruler from this mark you just made, to the top point of triangle (Point A to Point B in photo). Cut along this diagonal line.


This time, we will only be using the larger portion on the left as our blue subunit. The small triangular pieces you cut off from the right side can be discarded or saved as scraps for another project.

Repeat this for all blue squares, cutting each square into 2 triangles, then trimming each triangle as above into a subunit. You will end up with 64 blue subunits.

TIP: Arrange all your blue squares right side up before cutting diagonally into triangles; also keep all your trimmed blue subunits right side up and oriented in the same direction, i.e., just as you trimmed them. It's easy (at least for me) to get confused if you start flipping pieces over.

From the RED FABRIC:

You will need a total of about 4 yards of red fabric for this quilt. Tracing the template for the inner pinwheels will require about 1 yard; the remaining 3 yards will be used for sashing and borders.

We are going to trace the template (made in Part 1) onto red fabric. However, there are a few KEY THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE PROCEEDING:

  • Do not flip your template piece over when you trace. All red pieces are traced with the same side of the template facing up--the side that you marked with the grain line in Part 1. You may want to write "This Side Up" on your template to remember not to turn it over to the other side when you trace it. If you do flip it, your red piece won't fit your blue piece when it's time to sew them together.
  • Red fabric should be traced with right side of fabric up. If you normally cut your fabric doubled with the fold along the edge, you will need to cut along the fold of 1 yard of the red fabric and stack both pieces right side up. OR, alternatively, you can trace your template pieces onto a single layer of red fabric right side up.
  • Grain line is important. As you trace the template, keep the long, marked grain line edge of the template piece along either the crosswise or lengthwise grain of the fabric. This will keep the finished blue and red unit from having an outer bias edge (which may stretch out of shape), and will make your piecing much easier.
Okay, now we're ready to go!

Step 5: Trace the template onto your red fabric. You will need to trace it 64 times if tracing on a single layer of fabric, or 32 times if tracing on a double layer.

I used a white tracing pencil, but you could use a washable fabric marker, etc.

Step 6: Cut out your red pieces as marked. You may want to use a scissors instead of a rotary cutter for this (I used both). A scissors will give you better control when cutting angles. You should have 64 identical red pieces. Again, it helps to stack all of these right side up to minimize confusion as you assemble them.

Step 7: Place a red piece onto a blue subunit as shown, right sides together. The important area to match is the lower edge. When done correctly, you will see a little blue triangle at the lower edge where the two pieces are slightly offset. The upper edge of the red fabric will extend beyond the upper point of the blue subunit. This is OKAY and as it should be. It will be trimmed later (don't trim now).

Sew a 1/4-inch seam along edge.

TIP: Start sewing from the lower edge to the upper point, with the red piece on the bottom as you feed it through your machine. This is a bias edge, so be sure not to stretch it when sewing or pressing.

Continue piecing all units together in this manner, for a total of 64 blue and red units.

Step 8: Press seam toward the red fabric on each unit. Use a dry iron setting, no steam.

I don't have a photo of a finished blue and red unit by itself, but you can get the idea below. Again, don't trim anything yet. We'll do that later when we trim these blocks to size.

Next: Part 3 - Making the string units and sewing the blocks.

1 comment:

JKP said...

Very cool (and easy to follow) tutorial. I'm afraid I don't have the guts (yet) to try this, but maybe eventually.

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