I don't do a lot of traditional piecing at all, but I'm fascinated by blocks that use fun tricks, like the disappearing 9 patch, etc. And I also always notice the ones that don't require much math, because that seems to be one of my 'things', even though I have always liked math! I'm always looking for tricks to show you :-) The other interesting thing about this block is that it ends up the same size that you cut your initial squares, hmmm.... :-)
For this one, I started with 5 squares that were 9 inches each. Neither of those numbers are required, there are lots of ways to vary this block! You can use any size square or rectangle (not toooo small), and more than five fabrics, even if you only cut five sections. The number of fabrics is how many blocks you will end up with. You do want at least as many fabrics as sections you will be making so they are all different. Since I was using light colored sashing, I used medium-ish fabrics. The fabrics themselves do not need a lot of contrast as they will be separated by sashing, but mostly you just don't want them too close to the sashing value. Black sashing would be cool too! The rest of the fabrics can be as matchy or scrappy as you want.
Stack all five fabrics, then whack a chunk off, I did approximately 1/3, but no measuring required!
Do the same with the fabric that's left, only in the opposite direction. Keep cutting chunks off the remaining fabric, alternating directions each time. I tried not to make them all the same width, but I didn't measure.
This is the fun part! Take one of the fabric stacks and move the top piece of fabric to the bottom. Then take another one and move two, then three, then four. One stack stays the way it was. Now your fabrics are arranged so each block will have one of each!
Next, stitch them back together, in the reverse order that you cut them, but inserting a 1" strip (cut size) of sashing. Press the seam toward the sashing, and keep the stack in order!
Keep going until all seams are done. Look, it's still 9 inches!
On the back, the seam allowances should just meet. The one inch sashing takes the place of the seam allowances so you don't lose anything! Pretty cool! (If you leave out the sashing, this doesn't work. However, I do have tricks for that too, maybe another tutorial!)
If you use the same size sashing to join the blocks, you won't lose anything there either. So, for a 54 inch wide quilt, you'd need 6 nine inch squares to make 6 blocks across. Easy math! (You do still have to calculate the amount of sashing... I used three WOF strips for these five 9" blocks to give you an idea. But you just have to add up the length of all of your cut lines after cutting up your squares to find out how much one block interior needs. Calculating the strips to attach the blocks is pretty easy)
Variations: As I said, you can use more fabrics than you have sections, every block will just not have all of the fabrics that way. But if you restack them the same way, they will still all have five different ones. Or you can do them in batches, and they don't all need to be cut exactly the same as the previous batch. (I see some of you cringing, ha!)
Also, you can cut them into more or fewer pieces. Since you don't lose seam allowances, it doesn't matter how many seams you add!
The initial pieces (and therefore finished blocks) can be rectangular instead of square.
You can even cut them diagonally, but it gets a little trickier to line them up.
I hope you will try this fun block! Sign up for my newsletter (sidebar) for all of the tricks I have up my sleeve, it's a lot, ha!
Happy New Year! Beret
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of my designs have been in Keepsake Quilting and Art Quilting Studios magazine! I teach classes online, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
Free card pattern and also an e-book, and a quilt planning checklist!
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I am also an independent distributor for Plexus supplements, since I credit them with enabling me to be healthy enough to do all these fun things! They target blood sugar and gut health, which are at the root of so many modern health issues. E-mail me for more info, or check out my website! I am as passionate about getting people healthy as I am about getting people creating :-)