Thursday, June 23, 2011

One cut of the cut glass dish for October 2011

I often (often!) get requests for blocks that are quite large &/or complex & as much as I would like to swap these, it just is not realistic to ask people to make six of something so very involved (either because of size or skill or materials consumed or whatever) & send five off.  I have been chewing this over for a while & I think I might have a solution.  Instead of making an entire complex block, I am going to try & break one down into less complicated pieces that we can realistically swap & see how that goes.

For October, I thought we would try one piece of the block that makes up the Cut Glass Dish block.  I freely admit this is one of my favorite blocks.  You can see a completed Cut Glass Dish quilt here (please note the much more soothing colors than the single block example at the right). The quilt in the link is actually nine blocks, in a 3x3 arrangement (not coincidentally the block itself is 9-patch variation).  The cut glass dish block is also a 9-patch, three 6.5" squares & six 4-patches made of 1/2-square triangles arranged so that the three  squares create a diagonal line from one corner of the block to the other & the mid-lines of the  1/2-square triangles are parallel with that diagonal line.

Whenever I have a certain amount of something leftover, I cull thru the scraps bag for what could be the 1/2-square triangles to work with it.  It occurred to me we could swap the 1/2-square triangle squares & people could make up them up with their own 6.5" squares.  Because it helps to have some kind of unifying idea, I landed on I-SPY.  Soooo, we will be exchanging the 4-patch 1/2-square triangles & our theme is I-SPY.

You will need two fabrics for each 4-patch 1/2-square triangle block.  One fabric should be a busy juvenile print OR a bright print OR a bright reads-as-solid.  The second fabric should read-as-solid or be solid; it can be bright or pastel or black or white or anything in between.  Each 4-square should have only two fabrics.  When you are done, you will have a 6.5" unfinished/6" finished square.  Six of these (five to swap & one to keep) will make one cut glass dish block (when combined with the three 6.5" single-fabric squares).   

There are gazillions of ways to make the half square triangles & as long as you end up with 3.5" half square triangles it does not much matter which technique you use.  I am providing the steps how I make them I make them this way because I think it is the easiest & most accurate way to use up irregular & smaller pieces of fabric but again, so long as you end up with four 1/2-square triangles each measuring 3.5"x3.5", you can make them any way you like:

1. Cut four 4" squares from one fabric & four 4" squares from your second fabric.  On the back of one of the fabrics, with a pencil or fabric marker that will not run make a straight line from one corner to the other.  Ultimately this will be your cutting line, so you do not need to worry about it not washing out when you are finished.  Pin the other two corners.  I know it does not look it but I did not fussy cut one bit for the blocks below.  Because there are four 1/2-square triangles in each 4-square we are making, one of them is bound to have most of the image you are looking for (all of it if the motif is small enough) & as this is an I-SPY project, bits & pieces are just fine.

2. Stitch 1/4" from this line on either side.  I find the easiest way to do this without getting the points jammed into the machine is to chain piece (just keep stitching without stopping to cut in between) while alternating which side of the line you are stitching.

3.  Once you have sewn 1/4" on both sides of the line, unpin & cut on the center line.  Press open.  It is possible your triangle will need to be squared up, remember the size you want it to be is 3.5".  Also, cut away any threads (if you did not chain piece) & trim the pointy-bits from the ends of the seam. 

4. Take your four 1/2-square triangles & create a 4-patch in which all the triangles have the same orientation, that is the same fabric is on the same side for all four squares (as in the example above).

You're done.  Make one set of six, keep one, swap five.  If you add three 6.5" squares of another fabric to your set of six, you can make the cut glass dish block & I will have the directions for that in a later post (I am worried if we put it here people will get confused about what the swap block actually is).  It could stand alone as a doll quilt (18.5" unfinished/18" finished) OR you could swap four sets & make a nap-sized quilt (36.5" unfinished/36" finished) OR you could swap nine sets & make an almost-twin quilt (52.5" unfinished/52" finished).  Keep in mind these measurements are before quilting but also before any border you put on so, depending on what you do border-wise, they could be spot on; if it helps the finished quilt in the link above it 51" by 50.5", no border.  So as not to confuse anyone, I will not put the direction for the complete cut glass dish block up until this swap is winding down, but trust me, if you can make these six 4-patch 1/2-square triangles, you can make the whole block.

As always the blocks are due here the last Saturday of the swap month, in this case that is Saturday October 29.  & as always we are collecting 6th blocks.  You have the option of sending a 6th block with your five swap blocks; you will get five back & the 6th will go to whichever member of the group asked for them to make a quilt to donate to in her community.  Previous 6th blocks for kids have gone to Project Linus in Houston Texas & CareNet in Port Ste. Lucie, Florida.

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