Okay, you have your materials list and hopefully have given some thought to what fabric you will use. I know, decisions, decisions. I love all the ideas you guys are throwing around, from bright and bold to monochromatic to i-spyish.
If you are new to quilting and need to review the basics, there's a great series of posts here by the talented and lovely Amy Smart. Otherwise, I'm going to assume everyone has an understanding of the basics when giving my tutorial. Of course, if you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to contact me.
This quilt pattern uses a simple paper piecing method using 12" x 12" paper. Don't be frightened by the paper piecing. If I can do it, you can do it. But I highly recommend visiting Ashley's tutorial before getting started. We're essentially going to be using that method to make a string block except we'll be modifying it to have a center strip and only four "strings."
We will sew the fabric onto the paper and trim the blocks to 12.5 inches. Before sewing all the blocks together, we will remove the paper backing. Your finished blocks will be 12 inches sewn. If you want to do smaller blocks, feel free if you're willing to do all the math re-calculations. Similarly, I know some of you are wanting to use charm squares instead of the 5.75" squares. Again, you'd need to do some math to make it work but it's doable. My point is: feel free to modify my instructions and make this quilt yours!
Okay, let's get started. To see any of these pictures in more detail, click on them.
Marking your paper squares
The first thing we're going to do is mark our 12" x 12" paper squares. These will be the temporary "backbone" to our blocks. For this quilt, the piecing accuracy is really important to the finished look of the quilt. Thankfully, a properly marked paper square will make this a snap. Resist the urge to skip this step.
I have only ever used scrapbook paper for my blocks. It comes already in 12" x 12" squares and is always on sale somewhere. I bought a big book at a craft shop. Of course you can use paper other than scrapbooking paper if you want but you can't beat the convenience.
How many squares do you need?
Manly quilt = 42 paper squares
Lap quilt = 30 paper squares
Petite quilt = 20 paper squares
Baby quilt = 12 paper squares
Using a quilting ruler, find the center diagonal of your paper square and mark a line .75" on each side of it.
Mark another line five inches from, and parallel to, your center strip line. Repeat on the other side.
And here's how it looks when it's marked. That's all there is to it.
Next up, I'll talk about cutting the background fabric and lattice pieces.If you are itching to cut fabric, you can get started on cutting your 5.75" squares (see materials list for amounts) If you haven't already, be sure to join our flickr group (80 members and growing!!) and add pictures of your fabric stacks and progress!