Update: On-point fabric requirements were incorrect. Please see the updated requirements here.
Hi everyone, welcome to Block 1 of the Beginner’s Quilt-Along (QAL). It’s Michele here and I’ll be teaching you how to piece the 13 blocks for the QAL. Pat Sloan will be quilting along with us on her blog, posting her version of the blocks and sharing a few tips too. Here’s Pat’s take on Block 1. The QAL blocks will be published here on the Quilting Gallery each Thursday morning. See the main Beginner’s QAL page for more information and additional links.
Don’t forget to upload your completed block to the Flickr group each week. This week, we have a lovely charm pack from Moda to give-away to one of you. Winner will be selected randomly from those that completed the block and the winner gets to choose from one of these:
Each week, I’ll be sharing with you Beginner’s Resources, for example, links to videos, tutorials and even a few products that make our quilting easier and more accurate. If you have any questions, or want more information or advice, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or even in Flickr. I’ll do my best to answer you and/or find resources that I think are great for beginners.
All measurements used in the quilt-along will be Imperial (inches and yards). Here’s a quick tip to easily convert the measurements to Metric: go to Google and in the search box type something like, “1 yard in metres” and Google will do the conversion for you. Works with many measurement units.
All of our blocks are traditional blocks that have been around for many years. They are all based on a 3×3 grid, meaning each block has three rows and three columns. I’ll be showing grey scale versions of the blocks. If you’ve chosen to use a background fabric, it’s up to you if you want your background fabric to be the white or black represented in each of the blocks we’ll be making.
Also, don’t forget to share about the Quilt-Along with your quilting friends for a chance to win the Reliable iron. Full details here! The winner will be chosen next Wednesday and announced in the post for Block 2 on Thursday.
Block 1 – Play a Game of Hopscotch
Our dear Pat came up with FUN names for our QAL blocks… she’s so creative! Our first block is Play a Game of Hopscotch, also known as the 9-Patch block. It is made up of 9 squares, each cut the same size. I’m sure it’s one of the most used and recognized quilt block we have. Definitely a perfect block for a beginner.
Here’s a Mosaic of photos from Flickr featuring the 9-patch block. You can click the links underneath to see the full image on Flickr.
Once sewn, the 9-patch can be cut up and made into one of my favourite patterns, the disappearing 9-patch (also called the charm square quilt). Here’s one I made for friends that got married a couple of years ago … it’s still a favourite quilt of mine. More photos here.
Recently, Kim created this Spinning Nines Table Runner Tutorial. Looks complicated right? It’s not, she starts with 9-patches, cuts them and sews them back together. I can’t wait to try this one.
I hope you’re inspired by the humble 9-patch and it’s potential in your quilts. Let’s move on to this week’s resources then I’ll share with you the tutorial for putting together this block.
All quilters will agree that perfect patchwork relies on accurate cutting, piecing and pressing. In an earlier Learning Center post, Faith Jones of Fresh Lemon Quilts shared with us a tutorial on Quilt Piecing 101. If you missed that post or need a refresher, I strongly recommend reading it before you get started on today’s block. Just keep in mind that while Faith is showing how to create a 9-patch in her tutorial, the tutorial I’ll show below for the quilt-along uses blocks cut a different size. So, don’t cut your blocks based on the measurements presented in Faith’s tutorial.
To speed up our quilting, we’ll often chain piece. Here’s a great video that shows you what chain piecing means and also shows you how to nest your seams as you go. However, for beginners, I strongly recommend pinning first … I pin a lot!
If your machine doesn’t have a 1/4″ foot, check with your local dealer or the foot shown below by Distinctive looks most promising. I’m tempted to purchase it myself as I’ve never been thrilled with the one that came with my machine. Another option is this generic clear 1/4″ foot without a guide.
Tutorial: Block 1 – Play a Game of Hopscotch
(4) 4.5″ squares white
(5) 4.5″ squares black
When cutting fat quarters:
If cutting from fat quarters, for the white fabric, cut one strip from selvedge to raw edge at 4.5″, then sub-cut this strip into the four squares at 4.5″ each. To maximize future fabric use in upcoming blocks, for the black, cut one strip from selvedge to raw edge at 4.5″ and another strip at 5″. Sub-cut the 4.5″ strip into 4 blocks at 4.5″, and from the 5″ strip, cut one block at 4.5″ and trim the other side to 4.5″ too. Save the rest of the 5″ strip to be used for future triangle blocks.
I wasn’t able to find a great resource for cutting strips from fat quarters, if you need additional help, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll take some additional photos for Block 2 to show you how I cut strips from fat quarters.
Piecing the block:
When creating quilt tops, we always sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance and with our fabric right sides together (RST), i.e. pretty fabric fronts facing each other. Here’s a great tutorial on creating an accurate 1/4″ seam.
Lay out your blocks in order.
When constructing quilt blocks, usually we’ll piece the individual rows together and then piece the rows to complete the quilt block. Piece the three rows together.
In order to nest your seams (see the references above) press the first and third row blocks away from the centre piece. For the middle row, press both seams towards the centre block. See the final photo for a visual on how I pressed the entire block.
Sew rows 1 and 2 together, pinning at the seams and ends to keep things aligned nicely.
Press the seam towards row 1, then attach row 3.
Press the seam towards row 3. Your completed block should be 12.5″:
I have created a PDF file for the block tutorial. Download it here: Beginner’s Quilt-Along – Block 1
Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. Don’t forget to share your completed block in the Flickr group by next Wednesday, June 13 for a chance to win this week’s give-away.