Monday, July 18, 2011

how to make a 36 patch block

Welcome to week 2 of the quilt along! Do you have your fabrics all picked out? Today begins the fun of sewing!
To make a 36 patch block, you will need 2 pieces of fabric that measure at least 8" x 18". They should contrast enough so you can read the pattern of the block.

Cut 3 strips 2.5" x 18" from each fabric, for a total of 6 strips.
Take one of each of the strips and sew together in pairs, using a 1/4" seam allowance. I'm using my handy dandy 1/4" foot. I love that thing! Since we are strip piecing, set your machine on a very short stitch length, so when you cut your pieces from the strips, they won't unravel. Me and strip piecing have a very rocky relationship. A short stitch length makes things better. I won't tell you how many attempts it took me to learn that! The dial on my machine goes from 0-6, and  I set the length at 1.5. Sew carefully, because those little stitches are a bugger to rip out. I know this from experience, too.
After sewing the strips together in pairs, press the seams toward the darker fabric.

Cut 18 2.5" segments from the strips.
There will be a part of one strip leftover. I am planning to use these extras to make a coin quilt. Someday. :)
Sew three pairs of segments together as shown to make a strip. Make a total of 6 strips. Press the seams toward the dark fabric.
Pair the strips together to form a checkerboard pattern. One thing that I found very helpful is to keep a dark square in the upper left hand corner of each pair of strips.
Nest the seams and pin at each intersection. This will increase your accuracy greatly.
Sew the strips together and press the horizontal seams toward the top of the block.
Sew the 3 strips together, and again, press the horizontal seams toward the top of the block.

When the block is finished, a dark square should be on the upper left hand side. The block should measure 12.5". Easy enough, right?
I had several questions about how many blocks we are going to make each week. I am planning on making 6 blocks for the next 6 weeks. You can pick your pace....no worries! If you are making a larger quilt, you may want to make more blocks per week. Or else you can just work away at your quilt for as long as it takes. If you are making a smaller quilt, feel free to make fewer blocks each week. The point is to have fun, and to bust a little stash in the meantime!
As you can see, I am having so much fun making these, so I'm ahead of the pace I set for myself. I love working with just two colors at a time, mixing and matching fabrics as I please. It's been so enjoyable! It's going to busy, and it's going to be fun! When I had about 7 blocks done, I was doubtful about how it would look, but I'm seeing that the more blocks I make, the better it looks. I may do some editing, I may not. I'm going see how things go.

Please add photos of your blocks to the flickr group so we can all see what you are making!

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them in the comments.

Happy 36 patching! And Happy Monday to you!

68 comments:

Gwendolyn said...

Maybe I'm missing something BIG here, but... why not do this?

a) sew all six strip together D - L - D - L - D - L
b) press seams so that they alternate direction (so that they go towards the dark block in the first row)
c) cut the strips
d) then flip half of the strips 180 deg so that the light block starts the strip
e) and then sew the six strips together...

Just wondering...

Venus de Hilo said...

I wondered the same thing (thanks for typing out the details, Gwendolyn!) If you're gonna strip-piece for convenience, why not go all the way? Is there a reason not to, that I'm not seeing?

Rene' said...

Yes!! Been checking all day for your post! Let the sewing begin;-)

Lucia said...

Looks like fun!

And Gwendolyn, I was thinking the same thing! I think that would save some time and make it easier to line up the rows.

Why Not Sew? said...

oh yeah! this looks like fun. I like the idea of working with just two colors at a time. I'm ready to bust some stash!!!

QuiltinMama said...

I am, in the words of my daughter, very excitapated and can't wait to see what I manage to come up with from this ginormous pile of fabric! Thanks for hosting, Amanda Jean!

angela said...

First, I just went over to Amazon and ordered myself a 1/4" foot with the side guard. Only $5 - worth the try!

Thanks for the stitch length tip. Never thought of that.

amandajean said...

Gwendolyn,

You certainly can make the block any way you choose. I just showed one way of how to construct it. I find my accuracy to be better if I cut the strips two at a time. Personal preference, I guess.

AJ

April (Polkadot Sparrow) said...

Please know that I am serious about this quiltalong, but that Mother Nature is also serious about the heat wave that's descended upon us. So...when it's not 100 degrees in my house I'll get out my rotary cutter and try to catch up. :)

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's blocks!

quirky granola girl said...

your block is lovely. i'm going to be reasonable (just this once) and not join another QAL, but i'll look forward to reading your posts about it. off to go check on your flickr group :)

Rachel said...

Love the instructions (Thank You!)I also LOVE (LOVE!) the fact that you are a bit ahead (and shared...LOL). It gave me the opportunity to see color on color and color with white and realize that for me, for this project it needs to be white with color(yeah, I know, a basic for MOST people...but that is seriously outside of my box!)Thanks again for this and all you contribute to the quilting world.

Everyday Quilter said...

I can't wait to get started! I had wondered the same as some of the other ladies but. . . your explanation makes perfect sense to me and is probably something I should have tried earlier - I have the same problem.

Tara said...

Love this!! What is that awesome yellow fabric? Need to take some pics to post on flickr!!

For Gwendolyn-- if you do it your way, press all the seams in one direction as they will go the other way when you rotate your strips!

Can't wait to see others blocks and get more color combo inspiration!

Quilting Yai Yai said...

I love this, but due to too much on my plate in the UFO and WIP quilts, I'll have to wait until later, too. I can't wait to try this! Your's is awesome!
Deborah

LaraTalena said...

I need a little help! I know to pin the strips together at the seams, but what if I get a little pucker? I always seems to be a hair off, and in the past, I just let my blocks go whompass, and it looks horrible. Thanks for any help anybody can offer! :)

Terriaw said...

I had the privilege of sitting next to you at quilt and was inspire to make this block after seeing your fabulous collection. I made my first block the exact same way you documented it here, for the same reason. It worked beautifully and came together fast. Thank you SO much for taking the time to coordinate this quilt-along and for the free tutorial! It's great fun seeing the fun blocks you've made already.

Great point Tara made!

Cyndi Frailing Nelson said...

Your instructions were great! This was a breeze to put together. Thank you! Also, thank you for the tip regarding the stitch length. Made a lot of sense and worked out nicely.

1 block done, 35 to go : )

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Looking good Amanda Jean! Thanks for the instructions.

Jennifer said...

i will most likely follow gwen's method because i'm LAZY, but you are a genius for inspiring me about 36 patches. I can't wait to bust some stash. :)

Simone de Klerk said...

Perfect! Thank you so much for showing us. So simple, yet so good to see it done (o:

Jean said...

This is a great block and great way to use up stash!

Deb said...

Can I join in if I don't have a blog, and I've never used Flickr, how does it work?

Candice said...

Well I started mine :D I have 2 complete block and 7 blocks worth of strips. I do mine the same way as Gwendolyn and dont have any issues with my seems :D

candice
http://textiletransfigurations.blogspot.com/search/label/36%20patch%20quilt-a-long

Suzanne said...

I'm so excited! Just got home from vacation and pulled out the stash. I pulled out what I thought would work but now I'm not so keen on. What I may end up doing is the result of cleaning up my office and putting away fabric. I've never gone totally scrappy but I think I'm going to take that plunge.

Thanks, Amanda Jean, for the tutorial.

Greta said...

Perfect advice on stitch length. Now, off to put it into practice. :)

Leslie said...

Love all of your blocks! thanks so much for sharing YOUR way, makes sense to me and THANK YOU for sharing the stitch legnth tip....that helps me a lot, wish I would have known that for past projects!

beeps said...

gosh, i have 10000 things to do doing other than this but seeing your blocks .... i can't resist!

i have some odd jelly roll sets from connecting threads that i think i can do this with.

Samantha K said...

Excellent tutorial. I can't wait to get started on making mine! I haven't pulled out the fabric yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to use up my flannel scraps from making receiving blankets to try to make a baby blanket or two. Thanks so much for sharing this!

heather said...

thank you so much for doing this!!! i'm soooooo excited!!! i've wanted to do something like this for awhile!!! :) you instructions were right on. i think it's funny how people feel the need to re do what you already said. :) maybe they should do a tutorial themselves. :) be encouraged. it it GREAT!!!!!! :)

Mary said...

I had "worked ahead" already and I did all six strips because that is what works best for me. I think your blocks look great and since there are no quilting police around everyone should do what works for them!

For me, I get too impatient with short seams and screw them up. For those that have problems with longer seams you might try going back and forth on sewing directions. Your blocks warp less if they are not always sewn from one side to the other.

I chuckled about the difficulty of ripping out small stitches. I had to do 54" worth the other night because I sat down and started sewing without moving my needle back over where I needed it! Grrr...

Judy said...

I have 3 blocks done. Three more cut and the 1st step done. Three more look good for tomorrow. The small stitch size helped alot (not so much sliding) and keeping the dark sq in the upper left avoided mistakes. Having fun with this project!

Jeannine said...

Thanks, Rachel, for the comment about using white with color. I wasn't sure about my selections, but since reading that comment I've decided to use the yellow fabrics I have in my pile for this quilt as my "white" or "light" and then the other colors for the "dark". I think I'll like that better than my original thought.

Shelly said...

I kept checking anxiously for your post yesterday, and since it's been live, I've made 10 blocks. Your instructions are perfect, and the blocks are going together so fast and easily. I'm addicted! Now, how am I going to get anything else done?

Stephanie said...

Totally awesome :) I've made 2 blocks and started on 2 more, cut all my strips. I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!

beyondtourism said...

I got all my colors. Some need to be laundered first so I'm hoping to starting the strips this weekend.

Very eclectic since I have a small stash and trying not to buy more cloth at this time. I love the idea of saving the leftover strips for a future stacked coin quilt.

Jayme said...

Wow, I didn't really think to piece strips together first! I have been cutting 36 2.5 inch squares and then putting them together. I will have to try this on next week's block. Here is this week's wacky edition:

http://creatinganaturallife.blogspot.com/2011/07/36-patch-quilt-along-week-2.html

QuiltinMama said...

The shorter stitch length helped tremendously..thanks for the suggestion. I managed to get fabric cut for 6 blocks before I switched to stitching and am really happy with how it turned out. I have no idea how to post a photo to flicker(?), so I posted it and referenced you on my blog.

Diane said...

ugh! Is it bad to start this when I have yet to complete the last 2.5" squares QAL? But since there is not sashing I think I can keep up... sashing reads 'stop' to me.

Dedra said...

I have 7 blocks done and 9 more sewn into strips. I chose to do D-L-D-L-D-L. I'm loving the project!

Steph said...

very cute! I like that a lot, especially the polka dots.

Rachel said...

Back to check in...LOVING this. I have done 6 blocks so far and I have to say I could be becoming a tad bit compulsive about this...most importantly (for me!) it work and it is busting stash outta here!! Yahoo! THANKS!!

Megan said...

I LOVE the was all the blocks look together. I love quilts made of 2.5 squares; that is my favorite look, plain, simple, and full of color!

Michele said...

I need another project like another hole in my head, but your tutorial was so clearly written and worked to perfection. I'm making more! Thank you for all your inspiration.

Betsy Lynn said...

I'm doing it your way Amanda Jean.
I have a problem when sewing big strips set, they don't always turn out straight. So Gwendolyn and Venus, either way is good.
I love all of your tutorials and quilt-alongs Amanda Jean. Even though I've been sewing for 35 years I'm still learning new tips and techniques.
Thanks!! Please keep up your blogging!

Live a Colorful Life said...

I'm definitely going with your method, Amanda Jean. My problem with long strip sets is having them turn out kind of curvy somewhere along the line. And having seen your blocks up close and personal (yay!) I can vouch for your method! You know how I'm kind of on a "solid" kick right now, I'm thinking of solids for this one as well (because I loved your nine-patch quilt SO much!). Although I was pretty thoroughly in love with your three blocks with orange. Ah, the dilemma...

Anonymous said...

Hi AJ - I have been a lurker for a couple of years - yours is the ONLY blog I check on a regular basis - going to others only on occasion. I love your color selections - I LOVE that your use sashing to offset those colors often too - it truly makes a difference when using all those prints. I love your step by step instructions - I envy how you find time to keep quilting and BLOGGING too!!! I have three boys & I don't do all that I would like (or can do out of exhaustion) DON't Give up the ship for a few of those brash comments - I know for myself I run into trouble stripping too much before cutting - I am not perfect with my 1/4" and it shows up often! I know your approach is the way to go --- you are on your way to much better.... stick with it!! - and please please keep blogging (at least weekly).... a fan of your work!!!

What Comes Next? said...

Love it Amanda Jean - like all your tutorials, it is well written, and your results speak for themselves. Yours is a blog that I have followed since I started blogging several years ago, and will continue to do so, at what ever time frame works for you!

Alycia said...

I love it. You have the neatest ideas, and use such wonderful fabrics. Fun to watch this come together.

tarabu said...

one of the hazards of super-long strip piecing - i.e., one two 2.5 strips from a jellow roll stitched together instead of three shorter strips from a fat quarter is that when the strips are longer the additional weight can distort your tension. It doesn't seem like much when you're sewing them, but it makes it harder to get a true square cut, and thus harder to make your points line up with each other.

Sometimes you need a happy medium between convenience and perfection.

Lisa said...

I love it...it's so simple but beautiful thanks for your ideas! I have had someone come on a blog post and slam my tutorial before. telling me i should use EQ6 or use a certain tool, or that it wasn't a sawtooth star but a Ohio star...whatever!! ..they should write their own blog... i quilt differently than ANYONE i know. It's amazing how so many people can do things so differently and all so beautiful in their own way. Your blog inspires me so much!

Ginny said...

I've made 3 blocks and love how they are allowing me to use my stash so easily, and with such great results.
I love your patterns and your quilts---thanks for providing us with such wonderful inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda Jean-
I have been sewing and quilting for about thirty-five years. Even though I am a traditionalist quilter by nature, I embrace the opportunity to learn new and different methods of quilting. If we don't pay attention to the new and different we will not learn anything.

That being said, I want you to know that I check your blog everyday for inspiration! I enjoy reading about your quilting journey, and I would be very sad to see you leave blogland because of the present circumstances.

Please continue to inspire us!

Joann said...

Love your blog and hope you continue. It is the one at the top of my favorite list! Have many of your tuts in my favorites also and hope to have time to make them soon. Love, love this 36 patch. Hope you don't let others negativity stop you!!

Everyday Quilter said...

Question: I'm following your instructions to the T and using my 1/4" foot but my blocks are only measuring 12" instead of 12.5". Am I losing that extra in the ironing? Any suggestions? I won't do anything different on this quilt (cuz I LOVE it so far and I'm not starting over!) but for future reference?

Tasha said...

I am new to quilting. I don't even remember how I found your blog, but I'm so very thankful that I did!!!

I have been too AFRAID for the past 2 years to give quilting a go simply because I had tried before and nothing seemed to match up. I got totally frustrated at the amount of fabric and money I wasted.
And then you announced this quilt along.

I did it!!! I made my first block and because it came out so perfect, I couldn't wait for next week and checked out your other quilt alongs. In 2 days, I made 8 other blocks and discovered I REALLY love it!

Thank you for making it so simple that this visual learner could pick up and do it. Thank you for giving me such confidence that I could do this!!!

Speattle said...

Gorgeous quilt and great directions! Thank you :)

Homeschool Mama said...

I FINALLY started making my blocks today. I didn't have nearly enough Christmas fabrics, however, I have a huge stash of odd yardage. My wonderful neighbor cleaned out her basement and gifted my her huge stash. So, I pulled as much of the floral prints together as I could find and started cutting. I am using most of the fabrics more than once in the quilt, but not combining the same two fabrics more than once. So far, I've cut 4 fabrics and have 4 different combos. Can't wait to see how this one turns out. It may be my mom-in-law's Christmas gift, if I can part with it when I'm all done.

Angela said...

Havent gotten to start quite yet due to being out of town and not able to get the fabrics that I want for this, (I can already almost picture it in my head and already know how I'm going to quilt it...a first for me!) but I will certainly be playing catch up next week :) Can't wait!

Melissa said...

I love your work and how you explain everything so clearly.I have never really wanted to quilt,until I saw your beatiful quilts.Yours is the first blog I check out each day.Please don't let the few ruin it for the masses,there will always be nasayers out there!I can't wait to see what you do with your BLISS!

Anonymous said...

I just finished a qal at ps I quilt- the postage stamp. I have it finished! So, if I can make a 25 patch I can make a 36 patch! I am thinking about my 30's fabrics. hmmmm.
Thanks for all your inspiration and patterns. sending love and best wishes to you.
Mary Malone
maryandruss@wi.rr.com

Anonymous said...

People! If you don't like the directions and have another way to make the block - feel free to post. This said...make sure you're postings are polite! I love Amandajean's blog, she is so nice to share her ideas and her art with us. I am unemployed and your blog is one of the highlights of my day. A break from hunting for jobs that don't exist or "just got filled". I need beauty and goodness in my life. Please, think before you "speak".

audreypawdrey said...

I don't need another wip, but I so want to join in on this one! If I can get a few more projects finished then I am jumping in. I will be following your method to a "t" because long strips and I don't get along very well.:) Thanks for another quilt-a-long!

Jeanne said...

This looks like fun! I don't think I'll be able to resist. :-)

Jeanne said...

I was right! I'm working on my fourth block now.

livingonair said...

I JUST found this blog... and absolutely LOVE the tutorial!! Even though I'm weeks behind your quilt along, I'm jumping in and making a quilt on my own time schedule.

Thanks so much!

Gramma Quilter said...

Wow love this pattern! I am always wooed by this type of pattern, nine patch etc. Thanks for sharing!
D
From NS Can.

Adele said...

Amanda Jean, this quilt looks fabulous and your instructions were perfect.

Does anyone else find it incredibly rude for others to comment about how 'they' would do it? Control freaks me thinks......

Keep up the good work.

Speattle said...

IS it too late to join this? I got the bug on Monday of this week. I was nervously pacing the house waiting word from my son. You see, his wife was in labor and we live far away.

So, I put my nervous energy to work and cut out enough strips for 12 blocks!

4 days later and I have 15 blocks completed and am loving what I have so far. I am using ONLY what I have in this house, and using mostly fat quarters. It is quite eclectic and I can't wait to see what I end up with.

I'm only planning about 3 blocks at a time and with no particular overall theme, other than to use a dark and light in each block.

I hope to do 3 blocks a day and have all the block assembled within the next week.