MQG Challenge Progress: Piecing That Odd Center

The blocks are finished–now I can get a better idea than when I had only a sketch and a few rectangles on the design wall. The block is a traditional block, Brackman #2583, Lacy Latticework.Layout--first trial

I’m not sure I like the flower placed as I’d originally planned. While I think about that, let me tell you about the challenge of that simple-looking block. (If in doubt about what to do next on a quilt, blog about it.) Because I’d used the technique for block borders, as in this round robin addition, I’d expected it to be a breeze, and it was, almost.

Here is a mini-tutorial on the block, with emphasis on piecing those overhanging pieces around a one-inch square (The construction is called partial seams (though only one seam is partial). I don’t know if the border has a name, does anyone?)

The pieces to cut for each 7 1/2-inch block (7 inches finished):

1 square 1 1/2-inch (preferably matching four of the triangles)

4 rectangles 1 1/2 x 4 1/2

8 triangles , 4 of each color, to make rectangles 2 1/2 x 4 1/2.  These I cut using the Rec Tool of the Tri-Recs ruler set, cutting from two 4 1/2 strips. It was good I’d reread the directions as one layers the two fabrics both with right side up.

First assemble the split rectangles, then attach them to the cut rectangles. Because I am geometrically challenged, I have either a finished block or a drawing of the block at my side while assembling these so that I get the color that forms the tilted square sewn to the correct side! The pin marks the upper right orientation for the block in the finished quilt–only needed if arranging prints precisely.

Now you are ready to wrap around the center square. Lay out the pieces. This block will be worked counter clockwise, so I have numbered the components accordingly.

components numbered

placement of squareFirst partially attach #1 to the 1 1/2-inch square, note the position of the piece in relation to the wide end of the matching fabric. Stitch from the edge where the pieces match to about 3/8 inch from the edge in the middle. The loose flap will be needed later. This is where the small piece makes the construction more tricky than when bordering a larger block. If you don’t leave enough flap, you won’t have room to make a 1/4-inch seam later. If you leave too much, you will end up with a gap in the final seam.

partial seam and loop

I felt the need to knot the sewing thread here, though usually I would consider stitching over it later enough to hold it.  Here the seam is short and there will be fiddling with it (and the first one I made ripped out while I was fiddling). I am not one who normally adds extra steps. 🙂 Have you knotted the old fashioned way by pulling up the back loop with the top thread, then pulling it through and tying an overhand knot? Imagine when that was the only way to knot before reverse stitching was possible. Cheers for reverse stitch, but here the accuracy of placement makes it worth doing it the old way. IMPORTANT: Press toward the rectangle, not the square.

adding 1 to 2

Now it is smooth sailing for two seams as you Adding 3

attach the #2 unit to the #1 unit, then the #3 to the #1-2. I continued to press toward the rectangle, though it is not so crucial here. Sewing unit#4 is what you saved the flap for.

Adding #4

Fold the excess of #1 out of the way so you can line up units #3 and #4 and make a 1/4-inch seam. If your pieces are not perfectly lining up, as mine do not, let the excess hang off the edge; keep the center seam even. It will make the next attachment easier. Start the seam from the center. Now all that is left is to complete that first seam sewing #1 to #4.

Seaming 1 to 4

The pin with the white head marks the end of that first partial seam. (The one with the red head is my way to remember which quadrant goes in the upper right of the block.) This is the spot where the size of the center square makes a bit of difficulty.

Needle placement

Place the needle on the previously made partial seam as far back as you can while keeping it all flat. I leave the pin at the edge of the partial seam till I get the machine needle placed, then remove it. As in this photo, so in life–you can’t always see the stitches. So far the most I’ve been able to sew over is the last three stitches of the initial partial seam. I usually knot a thread by hand if I can’t overlap at least five stitches.

Finished block

Press, and trim if you need to (as I will here) and your block is complete.

Chain piecing is possible if you are not keeping track of placement of various print rectangles as I was here. It works for all but the partial seam  attaching #1 to the small square and the completion of the partial seam as you stitch #1 to #4.

ETA measurements for a 10 1/2-inch (finished) block (which would make the center square at 1 1/2 inches finished a bit easier). ETA corrected math. I added several times and got the same answer–making the same mistake. 10 1/2 is correct.

Per block, cut

1 square 2 x 2

4 rectangles 2 x 6 1/2

8 triangles (largest possible from Tri Recs ruler) from two different 6 1/2-inch strips, both cut right side up.

If you don’t want to get the ruler, you can make a template. Angles are 30 degrees, 60 degrees, and 90 degrees.

3/3/15 Another traditional block in a non-traditional setting. My one and only tutorial. Linking to Tuesday Archives. Such fun to revisit old posts.



Filed under quilting, tutorial

6 responses to “MQG Challenge Progress: Piecing That Odd Center

  1. Oh my goodness……what a complete and understandable tutorial you provided…..thank you. I’m soooo mathematically challenged I need this sort of help. That’s why I keep my work so simple…..though I love the look of interestingly pieced blocks!

  2. What an interesting quilt block. I love how it’s put together.

  3. billiemick

    Sure like your block and the tute!

  4. Thanks for the tips on the block construction! It sounds challenging. And I like the look of the quilt – both fabric and layout.

  5. dezertsuz

    I like the block very much, though it’s not at all what I pictured from the sketches. LOL Blame my imagination, not your artwork. I’m not sure about the round block, either. I mentally placed it several spots, and can’t really say that I was struck by one over another, though.

  6. Great tutorial – I like your interesting block. It may be traditional but it’s one I haven’t seen before. And thanks for linking to Hexie Weekend – it brought me here to see your great block.

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