Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Borders for the 9-Patch and 3-2-1 Cake in a Mug

I was hoping to put the borders on the 9-Patch Cars quilt and quilt it before taking photos, but it isn't going to happen.  I did get the borders on, and cut the binding strips, but will not have time to quilt it this week.  You can see on the right that I decided to add a yellow border next to the main part of the quilt to help make the yellow in the pattern "pop", and then a white border next to the yellow, and I will bind it in dark red, as you can see on the upper right of the Cars photo.  
 I also took photos of a couple of other ways to join the 9-patch blocks, and with a couple of other color combinations.  The two quilts in the blue pattern I made last year but never finished them with quilting and binding.  One is now completed.  This quilt pictured above left uses only two colors, and the binding will be in the print fabric.  The quilt on the left adds one more color, and it is finished. The binding is not done until the quilting is completed.  After completing the quilting, I trim the backing and batting to the same size as the top.  The binding is made up of 2-1/2" strips that are joined to make one long strip, and then I iron it, wrong sides together, in half.  I sew the binding to the quilt from the back side, being careful to catch all three layers in the seam. 

I miter the corners.  I'm sure there are some good videos on how to do that on the web, if you need help.  The last step is to fold the binding over to the right side and topstitch very close to the edge.  There are other ways to bind a quilt, but this is the fastest and requires no hand-sewing.  An additional plus is that I think the doubled binding makes it more durable, and the machine sewing will be stronger than hand sewing and it can be washed and dried many times without any problems.  The purple quilt to the right is also done in three colors, but set a bit differently.  The 9-patch blocks are set alternately with print blocks.  Below is one more example of a 9-patch.  This one is called 9-Patch Plaid.  Each 9-patch is bordered in this quilt.  These should give you a few ideas of the possibilities of a basic 9-patch!  Decide if you want to make a 2-color, a 3-color, or scrappy quilt, and get started.  

If this is your first quilt, I would suggest that you make a baby quilt  or pillow, so that you don't feel too overwhelmed.  There are really no rules... you can be as liberated as your imagination allows you to be.  I would love to see photos of your quilt!
When your quilt is finished, treat yourself with this cupcake recipe.  It's great for people who live alone, and especially handy for children who are old enough to make themselves a snack.  It's quick and easy!

3-2-1 Cupcake:
Mix an angel food cake mix with any other flavored cake mix of your choice.  I made a strawberry mix today.  Combine them in a zip-lock bag and shake and turn it gently until both cake mixes are well blended.

Combine 3 Tablespoons of the cake mix with 2 Tablespoons of water in a cereal bowl or mug.  Mix well. Microwave for 1 minute.  Just remember... 3, 2, 1!  In one minute your cupcake for one is finished, and you can put your feet up and enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea.  Now it's time for true confessions... I made one the way the recipe is listed and it was fine, but not as light textured as a cake.  The next time, I replaced the water with whipping cream... it took a little more cream to make a smooth batter, but the texture was much better.  I would think you could also try it with milk instead of water... lots of combinations.  If you must have frosting, buy some frosting in a can and keep it in the refrigerator between cupcakes.  I think sliced strawberries on top would be good, too, or other berries or fruit. Dark cherries on chocolate cake... mandarin oranges on white cake... rhubarb sauce on lemon cake... what combinations can you come up with?   Be sure to keep your bag closed tightly so it doesn't get moisture in it, or the dreaded ants don't come uninvited to the picnic!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Basic 9-Patch for the Beginning Quilter

If you are new to quilting, please read through the prior post, Quilting 101, to get a basic understanding of what quilting is and the tools needed.  Obviously you do not need anything more than fabric, scissors, and a needle and thread to make a quilt, and if that's what you choose to do, you will be in fine company!  My mother makes gorgeous quilts, and no rotary cutter ever  touches her fabrics.  That's the only method our ancestors had, and it's the way I started quilting many years ago.  But then I discovered rotary cutters and rulers... and my quilting life was forever changed!

In this blog, you will learn how to make a 9-patch block, step by step.  You will get an idea of how much fabric you need to make your first quilt.  Understand that the photos will show the tools I use now.  For a baby quilt this size (30 X  42 before borders), you will need the following yardage of fabrics.  I have broken it down, so if you choose to use more than two colors shown in this quilt, you will know what to buy.
Main color (color 1):
Four 2-1/2” strips, for the 9-patch blocks, or 10 inches
Eighteen 6-1/2” squares for alternating blocks, or three 6-1/2” strips, 19.5”
Four 2-1/2” strips for the border, or 10 inches.
Four 2-1/2” strips for the binding, or 10 inches.
Total main color yardage:  1-1/2 yards (you will have a little left over for your “stash”).
Coordinating Color (color 2):
Five 2-1/2” strips for the 9-patch blocks, 12.5”
Four 2-1/2” strips for the border, or 10 inches.
Total coordinating color yardage: ¾ yard (you will have left over fabric for your “stash”).
 With borders and binding, this quilt will measure approximately 38 X 46, a nice sized child’s snuggle quilt.  If you double the yardage and make it twice as big, you would have an adult sized sofa quilt, 46 X 76.  You could use fat quarters, but you would need more to adjust for more waste in the cutting.
The photo above shows cutting these strips using a June Tailor Shape Cutter ruler.  It is not necessary, but makes fast work of cutting strips.  You can see it has slots for cutting every half inch, up to 12" or 18", depending on which ruler you have.

You will need to cut five 2-1/2" strips for piecing the 9-patch blocks, and if you choose this as one of your border colors, you need an additional four 2-1/2" strips for that.

The photo to the above left illustrates how to "fussy-cut" the alternating blocks using a 6-1/2" square ruler, if you have chosen a print that you want to have centered on the block.  If you do this, you will need additional yardage, however.  If you have an all-over print, you will need to cut three 6-1/2" strips and four 2-1/2" strips for the 9-patch blocks.  If you choose this print for one of your borders and the binding, you will need an additional eight 2-1/2" strips for that.  Lay your 6-1/2" strips on the cutting mat, and cut them into 6-1/2" squares.  You will need eighteen of these squares.

You will need to join the long 2-1/2" pieces together, in the way they are shown in the photo to the right.  Row one will be color 2, color 1, color 2. Row two will be color 1, color 2, color 1.  And row three will be the same as row one.  Sew these seams with a 1/4" seam. After joining your first two strips, color 1 and color 2, press the seam from the wrong side, dark side up.  Then carefully flip the dark color up and press the seam from the right side.  Join color 2 to the other side of color 1, in the opposite direction of the way you sewed the first seam.  This avoids the tendency of the fabric to bow when stitching a long seam.  Press as you did with the first seam.  Make another section with the same fabrics so that you have two of these.  The photo above right is the center section.  
Looking at the completed 9-patch photo to the left, you will note that there are two rows that are the same.  The center row is different.  For the center row, you will reverse the colors, as shown.  Press toward the dark fabric again.  Since we are alternating colors, the seams will "nest" against each other and will not require pinning if you align them carefully.  You may pin if you choose to, however.  Now you are ready to cut your strips.   Lay your strip section for row 1 down on your cutting mat, right side up.aligning ends and edges carefully.
I position the section at the place where I want to start cutting on a line, as you will be cutting the selvedge off to even the left side before cutting your rows. After cutting, they will be in the correct position for sewing. Lay your strip section for row 2 face down on top of the first section.  Finally, lay your last section on top, right side up, again aligning edges and ends. 

The photo below shows cutting the selvedge ends off, and then cutting the strips into 2-1/2" segments.  You should get about 17 segments if your fabric is 44" wide.  This pattern is designed using seventeen 9-patch blocks.
You can begin chain piecing the rows.  Remove the top section for attaching later.  Take the two bottom sections and note that they are already right sides together, ready to sew.  Place them under the presser foot, and using a 1/4" seam, sew them together, checking to make sure the seams are nesting against each other as you sew.  You don't need to clip the thread after sewing each section, but just put the next section under the presser foot and continue to sew.  This is called "chain piecing".  When all of your sections are joined, snip the threads between them; set the seam and press it from the right side.  Next, join the last strip to the first two, making sure that you attach it to the right section.  
If you put it on the wrong place, you will be singing the froggie song... rip-it, rip-it, rip-it!  Chain piece those sections and when you are done, press to set the seam and then press it from the right side.  Your 9-patches are done!  They should look something like the photo above that shows the completed 9-patch block. The next step is to join the 9-patch to the main color block.  Again, join in a 1/4" seam, and press it toward the main color block.  I find it's easier to sew the two together with the 9-patch block on the top, so you can make sure you aren't twisting your seams.  When you have joined 5 blocks, alternating the 9-patch with the main color block, you have made a complete row.  Join the rows together, again alternating the 9-patch blocks with the main color blocks.  

This is the first time I use pins, as shown in this photo to the left, to pin where the seams come together on the rows.  Join all seven rows in the pattern you have planned, and your top (or flimsie) is finished!  

Below, you will see a photo of the finished quilt.  Notice how the color 2 squares form a chain across the top of the quilt. As you lay your rows out, be sure yours form the same pattern.  Also, notice that every other row begins and ends with a main color block, and the alternating rows begin and end with 9-patch blocks.  You need to pay attention to that detail when you are laying out your blocks and strips, so that your quilt looks this way, too.  You don't want to be singing the froggie song ALL the time!
The next blog will show you how to attach your borders and binding in the easiest way.   And I may even have this top quilted and have some photos of other combinations for you to view.

I hope you enjoy your quilting experience!  Remember that it isn't nearly so important to be perfect as it is to have fun!  Even a quilt with a few mistakes will warm the body as well as the heart of someone special in need of a hug.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quilting 101

This information is geared for BEGINNER quilters, so if you are already quilting, it will probably not teach you anything new.

Quilting 101... Just the Basics!
Quilts have been made for centuries, utilizing salvageable parts of worn-out clothing or bits of fabric left over from sewing clothes in order to make something useful for the home with what was available.  Their makers took pride in putting together the pieces, creating decorative designs that have survived the test of time, with names that often reflect their origins, like Ohio Star, Road to Kansas, Sukey’s Choice, Lincoln’s Platform, Tennessee Waltz, etc.   While it is fulfilling to create new and unique designs, it warms the heart to work with antique, traditional patterns that have decorated homes for hundreds of years, connecting us with the past while interpreting these patterns in new and exciting ways.  We’ve come a long way since our ancestors painstakingly pieced their quilt blocks by hand in the lamplight.  We have electric sewing machines, rotary cutters and mats to facilitate cutting and sewing, and rainbows of fabrics to choose from in designing our masterpieces.  

One of the simplest blocks to make is a 9-patch, which consists of 3 squares set in 3 rows, and that is probably one of the first traditional quilt blocks that was made.  It certainly was one of the blocks most often made in early times.  I use modern methods of piecing, using a rotary cutter with a special cutting mat designed for rotary cutting.  You can do the piecing by cutting individual pieces, but it takes a lot longer than “strip piecing”, as it is called.  You can also hand-sew when piecing the blocks, but it will take a lot longer.

Supplies Needed:
Sewing machine          Fabric     Thread & bobbins
Rotary cutter & mat       Scissors/snippers     Seam ripper
Cutting rulers/guides       Quilting pins and pincushion          Tape measure
Sewing machine needles

Quilting fabric is traditionally 100% cotton, preferably in a broadcloth weight.  A blend of cotton and polyester may be used, but it is often a lighter weight fabric that’s more difficult to work with.  It ravels more easily, and the firmer fabrics are easier to sew.  Start by selecting at least one fabric that you love, and use that to choose coordinating colors.  You’ll be looking at those fabrics for a lot of hours, while creating your quilt!  It’s more enjoyable if you like the colors and fabrics you are using.  If you become “hooked” on quilting, you will find yourself joining those of us who frequent the fabric counters, stockpiling the fabrics we like and think we might use as a main or accent color.  Some people purchase “fat quarters”, which are ¼ yard but cut into a size more easily used in a variety of patterns, 18” X 22”, rather than 9” X 44”, which is the actual ¼ yard.  Some experts suggest buying 2 yards of a fabric you like, and if you LOVE it, buy 3 or 4 yards or more!  Neutral fabrics are always handy to have in your stock, as well as muslins, both bleached and unbleached.

Scrap quilts use a variety of colors and prints in the same quilt, seldom making each block of the same fabrics, but repeating the same fabric in the block or throughout the quilt.  Charm quilts do not repeat any fabric in the quilt, and quilt groups often exchange small squares of fabrics with each other, in order obtain the greater variety of prints and colors necessary to complete a Charm Quilt, which may take thousands of different fabrics. Sampler quilts use a different pattern for each block, usually the same size, such as a 12” block.  They may use the same fabrics in each block, or may use coordinating yet different fabrics in each, creating a uniform design to the finished quilt, with sashing strips or plain blocks separating the pieced blocks that bring the quilt together.  Medallion quilts feature a center portion that is the focal point of the quilt, with various methods of framing the center to set it off to best advantage.

In order to determine the amount of fabric needed for the quilt, first decide on the size of the completed quilt.  Choose the pattern, and break it down into colors and sizes.  For instance, if you are making a 6” block, and it will be made up of three 2” squares in 3 rows, it is what is known as a 9 patch.  For a 2” finished square, you will need to cut a 2 ½” strip of fabric, and then cut that strip into 2 ½” squares, allowing ¼” seam allowance on all sides.   If the fabric is 44” wide, there are 16 or 17 squares per strip.  Use this method to calculate the amount of yardage needed, depending on the size of your quilt and how many times you will repeat this fabric in each block.  Repeat your calculations for each color you want to use in the quilt, and always add a little extra to allow for errors.  The leftover fabric can be used in a future scrap quilt.

To wash or not to wash the fabric is your choice.  Most colored fabrics are now dyed using methods that will not bleed the colors when they are wet, and they are treated to retain their size without shrinkage.  Machine piecing and quilting is easier with unwashed fabric, which still has the sizing on it.  In fact, fabrics are often starched to facilitate quilting by machine.  If hand quilting, the softer finish of washed fabric is desirable, however.  If you are in doubt about the fabric being colorfast, cut a small square of the fabric and put it into warm water in a clear glass.  If any color seeps from the fabric, it is best to pre-wash the fabric until the water is clear.   Washing the quilt after quilting is completed gives it more of an antique look, as it creates a bit of puckering around the stitching.  I machine wash my quilts on gentle cycle, and hang them over a clothesline to dry, wrong side out.  Remember the sun can fade colors.

Rotary Cutters, Rulers, Mats & Other Notions:
There are a variety of mats, rulers and cutters available.  Self-healing mats are by far the best investment.  Although they are a bit more expensive, they will probably last a lifetime, whereas the cheaper mats will wear out quickly.   The mat should be large enough to fit comfortably on your cutting surface, and be marked in a grid of inches with markings of at least ¼” included.   You may want to have a large mat on your cutting table, with a smaller mat next to your sewing machine for trimming the blocks as you sew.

The style of the cutter depends on what feels most comfortable in your hand.  Some cutters have a retractable blade, which some may find is a benefit.  Rotary cutters are extremely sharp and should be used with care, and kept out of reach of small children.  Take care not to hit the blade against the ruler, as it will dull the blade very quickly.  Replacement blades are available for most cutters, and it is necessary to change the blade when it begins to skip areas when cutting.  Rotary blade sharpeners are on the market, and worth the investment, as blades are expensive.  A 45 mm blade/cutter is fine for most jobs.

Rulers are necessary to have as a guide for the cutter, and come in a myriad of styles.  A ruler that has a “lip” to hook onto the cutting mat is a good ruler to start with.  Smaller squares are also handy, for trimming a 2-1/2”, 4-1/2”, 6-1/2” block.  Square rulers 8-1/2” ,10 ½” or 12-1/2" are handy for squaring up blocks, but are not necessary.  Some are sold in sets of various sizes.  Sandpaper or rubber “dots” are also available to prevent rulers from slipping on fabric while cutting, and a necessity for neat cutting.  One of my favorite rulers for strip cutting is the June Tailor Shape Cutter, which is marked with cutting slots every ½”, and comes in a 12” or 18” size.

Final tip:  Be sure to have a sharp seam ripper handy!  Even the most fastidious seamstress will have an occasional seam that needs to be undone.  Thread snippers next to your machine and/or ironing board are also helpful for clipping loose threads.

Sewing Machine and Thread:
Any machine is fine, as long as it produces an even stitch.  A shorter stitch is often used for machine piecing, providing a stronger seam (I set my stitch length on 2).  For piecing, it is not necessary to use 100% cotton thread, although some feel it is best for quilting by machine.  Cones of thread are more reasonable in price than spools, and thread holders are available for them.  Check your stitching, and adjust the tension, as needed, to get neat stitching on the top and bottom.  Consult your sewing machine manual to accomplish this.  It’s a good idea to have your machine cleaned and serviced regularly.

A machine that has a needle up/down selection and a speed control may be preferable for machine quilting.  A walking foot may also be necessary for machine quilting, as that foot feeds the fabric from the top as well as the bottom feed dogs, so the fabric is evenly fed on the top and bottom.   The walking foot is fine for straight-line quilting or even a slight curve.  A free-motion foot is necessary for free motion quilting, such as feather designs or circular designs.  The feed dogs on the machine are lowered, and the fabric is guided through the machine solely with the hands.  This technique is more difficult to master, and takes a lot of practice in order to have neat quilting patterns.  You may need to use a longer stitch and adjust the tension for machine quilting.

It is necessary to calibrate your machine before you begin to piece your quilt blocks.  Most machines have a foot that is used for piecing, with a leg that measures ¼” from the needle to the outside of the foot.  These do not necessarily give a ¼” seam!   Cut 3 strips of fabric, each 2 ½” wide by 6 ½” long.  Join each strip, using a quarter inch seam.  When completed, press the seams to one side and measure your block on your cutting mat.  It should measure 6 ½” from side to side, and the center strip should measure exactly 2”.  If it is narrower than that, your “quarter inch” seam is wider than ¼”.  If it measures more than 6 ½”, your seam is too narrow.  When you find the place that does give a near-perfect quarter inch seam, it may be helpful to place a line on masking tape, directly on your machine bed, to help keep your seams uniform.

If your stitching is not even, if threads catch and pull, or if your machine begins to sound noisier with a “thud” as it stitches, your needle may be getting dull.  Have extra needles handy to change your needle readily while you are piecing your blocks (I use Schmetz 80/12).   It makes a BIG difference to have sharp needles!   Another handy trick is to wind at least four bobbins before you begin to piece your blocks, so they are ready to pop in whenever you run out of bobbin thread.  It usually takes 4 or more bobbins of thread to complete a full-sized quilt top, and another 4 or more to quilt the top.

Chain and strip piecing facilitate the piecing process.  Cut the pieces for several blocks at the same time.  If you are making a 9-patch scrap quilt, for instance, cut 3 strips of equal width in contrasting colors and sew the long strips together.  Alternate sewing the strips, starting the second seam from the opposite direction of the first seam, which helps to alleviate the natural difference in the way the fabric feeds, which can create a “curve” in the seam.  This isn't as much of a problem with fat quarters, as the length is only half as much. Press the seams toward the darker fabric.  After sewing and pressing the unit, THEN cut it into the size desired.  For example, cut three 2 ½” strips of fabric, and join them in the manner desired.  Press the seams, then cut into 2 ½” segments.  You will probably have 16 or 17 pieces that measure 2 ½” by 6 ½” each.  Repeat this two more times, alternating light and dark colors each time.  Sew the three different cut and pieced strips together, and you will have a completed block, 6 ½” square.  Since your seams are ¼”, this will give a finished block size of 6”.  Trim and square up your block to measure 6-1/2”, if necessary, before joining them.

Press As You Go:
 A good steam iron is essential to successful patchwork blocks.  Press each seam toward the dark fabric whenever you can.  In some cases, the dark seam may show through the light fabric on a finished quilt.  Set the seam first by pressing the seam from the wrong side, directly on the stitching line, with the dark fabric on top.  Flip the dark fabric up and press from the right side.  The seam will be pressed toward the dark fabric automatically and will be more likely to stay in place neatly. Alternate the direction you press the seams so that the seams butt against each other when joining the segments of the block.  A soft pad on the ironing board also makes pressing easier, so change the ironing board pad when necessary.

Most fabric shops have sales regularly and quite often have half-price off rotary cutting tools, fabrics, and other notions, so watch for the flyers, or search online.  Sometimes they have coupons for 50% off one item, as well.

Next time, I’ll show some photos of 9-patch quilts, to give you some ideas, and give some instructions on piecing your first quilt.  In the meantime, you can Google “9-patch quilt patterns” and you’ll have enough to keep you busy looking for a LONG time!  

WARNING:  Quilting is known to be addictive, and I will not accept responsibility for your addiction!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life is an ongoing lesson; Split 9-Patch

Life certainly is an ongoing series of learning opportunities.  We learn from friends, family and possibly most often through our mistakes and experiences!  My phone batteries are getting bad... whenever I put it on speaker, the line will go dead almost immediately.  Evidently, it must take more power to use the hands-free option.  My youngest son replaced one dead battery for me a few months ago, and another phone was completely dead now, so I hobbled over to Radio Shack to get a new one.  I'd noticed a few weeks ago they had a sale... four AT&T phones for $59.99.  That sale was done.  Batteries are around $20 each, plus tax.   The cheapest phone they have right now is $79.99 for a pack of 4 V-Tech phones.  They do everything my old phones do, plus the screen is easier to read, so I got them.  Three new batteries would have cost $60, so I figured it was a good buy.  Plus... they told me if I buy a warranty for $10.99, I can bring all 4 phones in before the year is up and they will install all new batteries in them.  Hmmm... $11 versus $80 for 4 new batteries... my mother didn't raise a fool, so I got the warranty.

The clerk told me NOT to leave the phone on the base, as that runs the battery out.  Apparently, I need to leave them off  the base and hang them up only when they need recharging.  I didn't know that.  I always leave my phones on the base so I know where they are and I don't have to run all over trying to find the phone.  That, my friends, is one of the perks of living alone.  You can always find the phone... or have only yourself to blame if you can't!  Since the whole point of having multiple phones is to have one nearby wherever I am, I don't plan to trek up and down to the upstairs and basement to hang my phones up, so I will disregard that piece of advice and leave them on the base, and bring them in at the end of a year to get new batteries.  My daughter, Tricia, asked me why my phones are going dead (I've had them almost 4 years) and hers aren't... and that is the reason.  Mine are always on the base.  When I call her, the answering machine picks it up before she can find a phone to answer.  I'd think maybe she just checks the caller ID and doesn't answer when she sees it's me, but she always calls me back when she finds a phone.

A beautiful brand new Viking Mega Quilter has been sitting in my basement since I moved.  I have never set the frame up yet, although I bought the machine before I moved to Ohio.  I didn't realize that the machine can be used on its own, as well as a long-arm quilter.  Several people on my quilt list have them and love them.  It has a knee lift for the presser foot, needle up/down positions, a big quilting surface with an extension tray, and it quilts in the ditch without a walking foot.  I searched for a week, and found three boxes of parts for the machine, but not the foot pedal or power cord.  My children came two years ago and organized all the boxes in my garage (from the move) and put most of the sewing-related things in my basement rec room which will be my "studio"... someday.  But not the box with the foot pedal and power cord.  They wrote: QUILTING MACHINE on the little box with a black marker and then hid it between a bunch of bins and boxes... not in my sewing room and not on a shelf in the garage, where they neatly organized a lot of other things.  I think it was a trap to see if I would finish sorting through the boxes!  I was ready to order new parts, and gave it one last shot... and about 4:30 in the morning, I found the box!  I was ecstatic!!!  Now all I had to do was haul that heavy monster up to my family room, where I am set up to sew.  One step at a time... but I finally got it up.

Next lesson... basting spray.  Another thing I learned from fellow quilters.  I'd been pin-basting the tops to the batting and backing, which is a very time-consuming process.  Then the top is quilted and the pins have to be taken out.  505 basting spray was on sale online at JoAnn's with free shipping, so I bought some.  It works like a dream!!!  I laid down some sheets to protect the carpet and furniture from overspray... I didn't want to sit on a chair and be glued down... and clamped the backing to my cutting table and sprayed.  There was very little offensive odor, as there is with some brands of spray.  The first quilt I did was a baby quilt... Split 9-Patch... that I had sewn last year.

A photo of the block is on the right.  At the top of the photo is an example of the middle row.  I used the same fabric in the center of all the blocks to provide some unity.  There is a light on one side of the center square and a dark on the other side.  Below that you see a complete block.  The top row consists of two dark prints plus a half-square triangle, half light and half dark.  The bottom row consists of two lights with a half-square triangle.  Care needs to be taken to position the half-square triangles so that the dark is touching the dark squares and the light is touching the light squares, which forms the pattern.  It is a 9-patch with two split squares, hence it is a Split 9-Patch.  The squares are all 2-1/2", finishing at 2", and to cut the half-square triangles, you need to add 7/8" to the finished size, so 2-7/8" squares, cut in half diagonally.  I prefer to use 3" squares, and then trim them to size after sewing.  The block is pieced with 1/4" seams, and results in a
6-1/2" block, which finishes to 6".
The photo on the left shows the finished baby quilt, and this measures about 44 inches square.  The blocks are set togther in a "barn-raising" pattern, like log cabin blocks can be set.  I've made this pattern in a queen size and also in a full-bed size.  The latter is done with lots of reds, and is for my grandson, Charles, but I haven't quilted it yet.  Perhaps he will get it for Christmas this year, if I get the quilts made for his sisters, too.  The baby quilt was made with leftovers from the queen sized quilt, and I still have a few more blocks for "starter" for another one. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me, and I'll be happy to help you, if I can.

I also learned a new method of binding... I joined the strips (I didn't use bias strips), pressed the strips in half, wrong sides together, sewed it to the back side of the quilt, then flipped it to the front and top-stitched. No hand sewing.  And it makes a doubled binding, which is always the first thing to wear out on a quilt, it seems.

And now, I'm going to go and spray another flimsie!  Oh... flimsie is a word I learned from my quilt groups... it means an unquilted top.  Quilters have a language all their own, I'm finding out.  UFOs are unfinished objects, not alien spaceships.  I certainly have a lot of those... unfinished objects, that is.

I hope your batteries are full and your fabric stash is, also!  And, in the words of an old friend, remember... just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!