16 patch tutorial…….

 I am using 2.5″ strips of batik which doesn’t have wide selvages so I can get 2 blocks out of every 2 strips sewn together.  You need enough contrast between the 2 strips that you know which one is the light fabric and which is the dark fabric of the pair.  Sew 2 strips, press the seam toward the dark fabric and then cut it into 2 equal pieces as shown. 

Sew them together and press the seam toward the dark fabric.

Slice it into 2.5″ segments.  You should be able to get 8 (4 for each block) from batiks.

Flip strips 2 and 4 so colors alternate.  Make sure that every block has the light fabric in the upper left corner (very important).

Sew seams to make a block and press seams all in the same direction.

The last seams sewn in the blocks should be in a vertical position all through the quilt top.  Vertical seams on the top row go in one direction and row two in the opposite direction.  The crosswise seams will alternate direction automatically because they are all pressed to the dark.

You will probably need to enlarge this last photo by clicking on it to clearly see that seams are going opposing directions at every intersection in both directions.


Two for one: Grandmother’s Dream and Boston Commons

Fabrics:  Any number of fabrics will work, odd or even number.  If using 3” strips, 15 fabrics will make a 50” wide quilt, 20 fabrics will make a 68” wide quilt, 23 fabrics will make a 78” wide quilt.  Each square is about 3.4” on the diagonal so you can do an approximate estimate for any number of fabrics.

Two color families work well in this set of quilts.  Then you can easily figure out which quilt the created quarters go to.

Choose your fabrics in a run from light to dark.  The light of the 2 colors of fabric will meet at the center of the strata.  For example, dark green to light green meeting light blue and proceeding to dark blue. 

Pressing: every strata must be pressed identically. Seams will be pressed one up, one down throughout the strata.  This means if you press the seam toward fabric 1 on the first strata it must be pressed the same on every strata. This eliminates the confusion in directions that call for half of the stratas pressed up and half of the stratas pressed down and continually deciding which pile of slices to choose from.

Sewing:  Straight seams are SO important.  Sew at the speed that produces straight seams, no faster.  Use a 2.0 seam length because the strata will be cut through many times.  This will prevent stitches popping out at the ends.

Stratas will be left flat, NOT JOINED INTO A TUBE like some other trip around the world techniques.

If you want to make a small sample I would suggest two 2” strips of 9 fabrics to make one of each of the styles of quilts. These will be doll quilt size or table topper size.

For larger quilts I would suggest 3” strips.

For quilts approximately 50” wide (15 fabrics) I sewed 5 stratas of 3” strips.  For a quilt approximately 68” (20 fabrics) wide you will need at least 6 stratas, 7 if you want to elongate it further.  For a quilt approximately 78” wide (23 fabrics) you will need at least 7 stratas, possibly 8 depending on the length you need.  If you are making both quilts rectangular (Boston Commons) you will need to add at least another half or whole strata for the elongating rows.

Decide what size you are making, choose fabric and cut strips.  You may want to make a color card with the fabrics numbered for reference as you are sewing.

Sew the required number of stratas for the size you are making.  Press the seams one up, one down, the same way in every strata.

Cut the stratas into strips (slices).  For small stratas place the first strata down along a line on your mat, place the second strata on top, moving it down one line, add a third strata, again moving it down one line.  Trim the left edge so it is straight along a line on the mat and then cut slices (the same width as your original strips to make the strata).  You should be able to get 14 three inch slices out of batiks, maybe only 12-13 out of regular quilting cottons that have been prewashed.  Here is a photo of staggering the stratas from another quilt I was making.
I have left the right edge peeled back so you can see the layers.  In this case I was cutting segments for 4 patches but the technique is the same no matter how many strips are in the strata.  Larger stratas may need to be folded in half to be shorter than your ruler and then cut 1-2 stratas at a time.

Unpicking comes next.  The first strip is left full length, the rest of the strips have a part picked off which then becomes part of a quarter for the other quilt.  You will need a large table for this.

Choose the color to be the center of the left hand section and the first strip will be a whole strip.  The second strip will have the first center color picked off and placed to the right for another quarter.  The third strip will have a section of 2 center colors picked off and placed to the right in the other quarter.  The fourth strip will have a section of 3 center colors picked off and placed to the right in the other quarter.  You will continue like this until you have just one piece in the left quarter and the rest of the strip in the right quarter.  The left quarter is for one quilt the right quarter for the other quilt.  Below are photos of pieces for all 4 quarters of both quilts.  Notice 2 quarters are one strip shorter than the other 2 quarters.  Photos below.


You need to unpick 2 identical groups of each quarter. (8 quarters total, 4 for each quilt).  Photo below.
You can stack each quarter and clip or pin them together to take to the sewing machine.  Four quarters will have one color at the center; the other four quarters will have the other color at the center.
Next you will sew the quarters.  If you are making the Grandmother’s Dream (square quilt) one quarter will be smaller than the other 3.  Notice the top quarter is the largest with the center square in it.  The 2 side quarters are identical and the bottom quarter is 2 strips smaller than the top quarter (you will not sew the 2 longest strips into that bottom quarter).
If you are making the Boston Commons version, there are 2 identical quarters top and bottom and 2 identical quarters on the 2 sides.  This gives it 2 center squares and each elongating strip (one full strip and one strip with the center square picked off) adds more center squares.  You can add as many elongating rows  as you wish to achieve the length of quilt that you want.
(Yes I know that a square is missing off the bottom corner.  I will fix that.)
Below are 2 others so you can see how other colors look in these quilts.
If you want the easy to print PDF version go to this post.

Crosses Quilt Tutorial, Part 2, sewing

Make little number tags (or use an old calendar page) to pin to the first piece of every row.  I take the rows down off the design wall in a stack from top to bottom since that is the way I designed the quilt.
You will be sewing 2 rows at a time and this is the way they need to lay, to the right of your machine.  Why to the right?  Because if you lay them to the left they will eventually be knocked on the floor by your work in progress.
The uneven numbered rows (1,3,5 etc.) will always be at the top and even numbered rows (2,4,6 etc.) will be on the bottom (as in the photo above).  Pick up the first 2 pieces from row 1 and sew.  Pick up the first 2 pieces from row 2 and sew.  Don’t take them off your machine.
Snip the thread between the 2 rows and bring row 1 back around to the front of the machine.
Sew piece 3 onto row 1.
Snip the thread between rows 1 and 2 and bring row 2 around to the front of the machine.
Sew piece 3 onto row 2.  Continue in this manner until all of the pieces are sewn in the 2 rows.  Your tags are on the first piece so you will always know which row you are working on.  Seams should be pressed up on uneven numbered rows and down on even numbered rows.  When sewing the rows together there will be one seam that matches about every10″ so you can pin at those spots if you are a pinner.
This photo was taken before I took all of the rows off the design wall.  This one has 20 rows across and equal to 29 squares down so it will end up 40″ x 58″.  You can make it any size you want.  It doesn’t matter if it is an even number of rows across or down.  I was done when I ran out of 2.5″ strips in the box.  You might have a better plan.

Crosses quilt tutorial, part 1 – designing

You need to start out with a few pieces placed in rows as shown, with each piece overlapping the bottom third of the previous piece.  I am using 2.5″ squares and 6.5″ rectangles but it could be 3″ and 8″ or 3.5″ and 9.5″ if you want larger pieces.
Then I add the 2 side squares for each cross.
The next row to the left starts with the top right corner of each rectangle matching the bottom left corner of the rectangle in the first row.  Notice on the photos below that each vertical row is a sequence of 2 squares, a rectangle, 2 squares, a rectangle, etc.
Now add the 2 squares to finish those crosses.  As you put each piece on the design wall, they should be just touching the fabric above them.  You will not want any overlapping because when you decide to switch a color from one place to another you will have pieces fluttering to the floor if they overlap.  Also when removing rows to sew you don’t want to disturb the next pieces.
If you look at the base of the lightest cross you can see the pieces line up in a horizontal row, but the ones above and below are mismatched slightly.  This is how it will look in the designing stage.
If you look at the pink cross nearest to the top of the quilt, you can see the side squares are not lined up perfectly when designing, but a little farther down the row it is matched perfectly.  They will be perfectly matched when you sew it together.  At this point look over the whole design and see if your colors and values are distributed evenly.
On the upper edge I used 2.5″ squares and 4.5″ rectangles to fill in and make a straight edge.  There are also some single squares in this row.
The lower edge is treated the same as the top with reduced size rectangles.  If you look at the left edge, it is a 6.5″ rectangle and one square with single squares filling in to make the edge even.  Since I was using all scrap pieces of 2.5″ strips, I only had enough to cut the edge filling crosses with some, and enough to make 2 full crosses with others.
I will be doing part 2 on how to take the pieces off the wall and sew them.

>Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

>Measure around the fattest part of your water bottle and add
1 ¼” – 1 ½”. Figure the height measurement (your choice for how much of the bottle you want covered).

Make patchwork, embroidery, etc. to match your measurements. Iron to fusible batting or use spray to adhere them together. Fuse or spray baste this to a piece of fabric for lining that is about 1” larger around all edges.

Place the ¾” line on your ruler along the edge of the patchwork and trim with your rotary cutter. This leaves an edge you can wrap to the front for binding.

Bring the edge of the lining up to the edge of the patchwork and then fold in once more. Make mitered folds at the corners and topstitch close to the folded edge. The photos below show it in detail.

Fold up to the edge…
Fold again up over edge of patchwork…
Fold a diagonal, making sure it is straight…
Fold into the edge of patchwork…
Fold a second time over the edge of the patchwork.  Each bottom edge must be folded into the miter as you are approaching it.  Make sure you stop about 2″ back so you have room to do the folding.  If you finish the right side stitching and try to fold the miter as you get to the corner, your presser foot will bump it back and you will have to refold again.  By folding the bottom edge and corner and then finishing the folding of the side edge, you will not have any problems.  This puts the side fold on top of the bottom one and there is nothing to bump into with your foot.

If desired you can quilt it at this point if it wasn’t quilted prior to assembly. It doesn’t have to be quilted (your choice).

Sew Velcro on the ends, the hook portion on the lining side and the loop portion on top of the cozy.  I only sew 3 sides of the hook tape in place so I won’t have a line of stitching showing on the patchwork.

>2 Rectangle squares tutorial


This tutorial is for the 3 quilts with blocks made up of 2 rectangles.  I don’t cut rectangles though.  I piece strips together.  Cut your strips any width you want.  I used 2.5″ in one quilt, 3″ in the next and this one is using 3.5″.

After piecing 2 strips together, measure the width.  That is the size you will cut at.  I have had several questions about what size I cut them.  It has to be the same measurement as your sewn width or they won’t be squares.

Place the bottom edge of the first strip along a line on your cutting mat.  Start about 10 lines up from the edge closest to you.  The left edge should be overlapping a line too.

Stack the strip sets one at a time on each of the lines below the first one (one strip set per line) so you have them staggered and no seams are on top of each other.

Trim the left edge along the line that it is overlapping. 

This is just a tiny trim to even up the edges.

Make as many cuts as you can (remember the cut size is the same size as the sewn width).  I got 2 out of my sets and then got one strip the same width as my cut strip size (bonus).

The bonus cut will make 4 patches for another quilt.

Now the fun begins.  This is one pattern you can use these blocks for.  To keep all of your pieces twisting in the same direction like a blade or pinwheel, always have the upper left piece in the same position.  I chose vertical with the darkest color on the right.  If you happen to make the upper left one in a horizontal position it won’t work with this layout that I am showing.  You would need to “unsew” or you have 2 quilts started with blades twisting in opposite postions in each, LOL!

The next layout is a stairstep layout.  You will notice that the blocks are only in 2 positions and are repeated through the quilt.  I only focus on the light fabric, and it is in the top and left position all through the quilt.

If you tip your head one way (I did it for you with the camera) you get horizontal zig zags rows which would either get trimmed on the outer edges or you would need setting triangles to fill in the edges.  I did that here (scroll down to second quilt).

If you tip it in the opposite direction, you get vertical zig zag rows.

This is a simple quilt, basically a 2 strip rail fence block, but it would look great in almost any kind of fabric.  If you are using small prints, cut your strips narrow (2-2.5″).  If you are using larger prints cut the strips wider (3-3.5″).  I will use a 4″ strip if I make it out of flannel fabrics.