Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Penny Patch: Cutting!

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Penny Patch buttonWoohoo, cutting!  This post contains a ton of pictures aimed to help beginners.  Thanks for your understanding!  Be sure not to miss the Cutting Summary at the end of this post!

Get out those fat quarters and press them.  If you're not sure how many fat quarters you should have for your quilt, see this materials list and this color scheme ideas post. 

Step 1:  Sort by colors.  

Your main colors are A and B.  Of the two, B is the color you'd like to use most.  Your "pop" color is C.  It will appear in small flashes in the quilt.  The rest of your fabrics are low-volume, which means they are lighter in color than the others and many feel neutral or "pale".  Those making a throw or twin quilt, also have 1-2 mid-value neutrals, which I'll call N.  These are not as light as your low-volumes, but still neutral.  N adds depth to the quilt. 

Step 2:  Cut the Straight Edge

Place your cutting mat towards a corner of your work table so that you can approach the mat from two sides.  Never used a rotary cutter before?  Please see rotary cutting 101

Begin by placing your pressed fabric (wow, I could have done a better job pressing!) on the cutting mat. Orient it as shown with the 22" side horizontal and the 18" side vertical.  Throughout the cutting directions, the fat quarter is always oriented in this way.  Your fat quarter may actually be slightly smaller if it was prewashed.  No worries!  We have extra fabric "wiggle room" in this cutting plan, even if your fabric is pre-shrunk.

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I am right handed.  If you are left-handed, you will be cutting with your left hand and will have to mirror what I am demonstrating.

In cutting EACH fat quarter, the first step is to create two nicely trimmed edges.  To do so, slide the fabric until the bottom raw edge extends just beyond a horizontal cutting mat line and the right raw edge just beyond a vertical line.  In this case, my selvedge is at right, so I slide the fabric until the entire selvedge is past that vertical cutting mat line.

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Place your quilting ruler so that its edge matches up with that vertical line.  Cut, removing the selvedge and establishing a straight vertical edge.

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Now place your quilting ruler horizontally, across the 22" length of the fabric, and match it up with the horizontal line just inside the fabric's raw edge.

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In this example the corner of my table is at my left side.  I move around the corner so that I can make this horizontal cut with proper ergonomic reach.  Cut, removing raw edge at the bottom of the fat quarter and creating a straight horizontal edge.

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Never try to cut from an angle that feels hard to control!  Always move your body or even rotate the cutting mat so that you can approach the fabric from a comfortable angle.  Avoid moving the fabric itself, to increase accuracy.

Now the fat quarter has two straight edges: a vertical and a horizontal.  If you are left-handed, your vertical edge will be at the left side of your fabric.  Since I am right-handed, it is at the right side.

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Is your mat too small to fit the entire fat quarter (as with a 12" x 18" cutting mat)?  If so, you'll have to fold fabric to trim a bottom straight edge and cut any 22" long cuts.  Once those long cuts are made, the remaining cuts will fit on a small mat.  For ideas on how to fold fabric for cutting, see this post

Step 3:  Cut A & B fabrics

Begin with an A or B colored fabric.  First cut (2) 2" strips along the bottom horizontal edge.  To do so, place the ruler at a horizontal cutting mat line 2" from the bottom straight edge.

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Then move around the corner to position your body ergonomically to cut.

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The second 2" strip is cut in the same way.

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Each fat quarter yields (2) 2" strips.  Set aside.

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Next cut a 3.5" strip measuring from the vertical straight edge.

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Measure and cut a second 3.5" strip.  It will be a total of 7" from the vertical straight edge.

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Remove excess fabric, so that only the 3.5" strips remain in your cutting area.

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Measuring from the bottom, where you already have a straight edge, cut 3.5" fabric squares.  Since the 3.5" strips are side-by-side, each cut will yield (2) 3.5" squares or (1) pair of 3.5" squares.  Each pair becomes part of a 4-penny patch block.  You need two matching 3.5" squares (i.e. one PAIR) for each 4-penny patch block.

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Continuing measuring and cutting at 3.5", creating more 3.5" pairs.

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Since this is a short cut, I am able to cut without moving around the corner of a mat.  I position my hand like so.   But, again, do whatever you need to do to cut from an angle that feels fully in control.  Try sliding the mat or, if absolutely necessary, reposition the fabrics so that they are easier to reach.

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Each fat quarter will yield (3) pairs of 3.5" squares.  Set aside.

Return the excess fabric to the cutting mat.  It measures about 14" square.  Match it's vertical and horizontal straight cuts to lines on your cutting mat.

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Measuring from the vertical straight edge, cut at 6.5" over.

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Cut again at 6.5" over, creating two 6.5" strips.   Remove narrow waste fabric at left.

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Make a horizontal cut at 6.5" from the bottom straight edge, creating (2) 6.5" squares.

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You may want to use the corner of the table to orient yourself for this cut, once again.

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Repeat, so that each fat quarter yields (4) 6.5" squares.

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This series of cuts is Cutting Plan #1.  It yields: (2) 2" x 22" strips, (3) pairs of 3.5" squares and (4) 6.5" squares.   

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All color A and color B fabrics can be cut in this way. However, you will NOT need all of the 2" strips  and 3.5" squares generated by this cutting plan, especially in color A fabrics.  To verify what you need, see the cutting summary at the end of this post.  If you want to avoid cutting extra fabrics, you can start by cutting your favorite fabrics first, keep a tally, and stop cutting certain parts of this cutting plan when you reach your quota. 

Penny Patch QAL Cutting!

Step 4:  Cut Color C

Those making the baby-sized Penny Patch quilt should cut Color C with Cutting Plan#1, demonstrated in Step 3.  However, stop cutting after making the 3.5" squares.  You do not need any 6.5" squares in color C for the baby-sized Penny Patch quilt.

Those making throw or twin-sized Penny Patch quilts, should cut Color C with the following Cutting Plan #2:

Start, as usual, with trimming for a vertical and horizontal straight edge (see Step 2).

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Then place your ruler at 3.5", measuring from the bottom horizontal straight edge.

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Move around the corner of your table to cut this 3.5" strip.

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Cut a second 3.5" strip in the same way.

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Return to the normal side of the table.  Remove the excess fabric from above the 3.5" strips.

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Now place your ruler at 3.5", measuring from the vertical straight edge.

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Cut, creating a pair of 3.5" squares.

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Move the ruler to the left 3.5" and cut again.  Repeat, creating a series of 3.5" square pairs.

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By the last cut, you'll have created (6) pairs of 3.5" squares.  Set aside.

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Return the excess fabric to the cutting mat.  It measures about 11" x 22".  Match it's vertical and horizontal straight cuts to lines on your cutting mat.  Measure a 2" strip from the bottom horizontal straight edge.

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Again, I walked around the corner of my mat to approach the work from the side.  Cut the 2" strip.

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Continue cutting 2" strips.

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Each fat quarter should yield (5) 2" x 22" strips.

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This series of cuts is Cutting Plan #2.  It yields: (6) pairs of 3.5" squares and (5) 2" strips.   

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All color C fabrics can be cut in this way. However, you will NOT need all of the cuts generated by this cutting plan.  To verify what you need, see the cutting summary at the end of this post.  If you want to avoid cutting extra fabrics, keep a tally and stop when you reach your quota.

Step 5: Cut Low Volumes

When cutting your low volume fat quarters, you will cut some via Cutting Plan #1  and some via Cutting Plan #2.   This combination yields many more 3.5" squares and 2" strips than 6.5" squares, which is exactly what you'll need! 

for a Baby Penny Patch quilt
  • Cutting Plan #1 - 4 fat quarters
  • Cutting Plan #2 - 3 fat quarters
for a Throw Penny Patch quilt
  • Cutting Plan #1 - 6 fat quarters
  • Cutting Plan #2 - 4 fat quarters
for a Twin Penny Patch quilt
  • Cutting Plan #1 - 9 fat quarters
  • Cutting Plan #2 - 5 fat quarters
As with the other fabrics, you can consult the Cutting Summary and keep a tally as you cut if you'd like to avoid over-cutting.  Notice that I do not estimate how many 2" strips you'll need in this color.  Because of the flexibility in the way colors are chosen for 4-penny-patch blocks (Color Recipe in Quilt Design post), it is very difficult to estimate your need in 2" low volume strips.   I suggest you cut about (3) 2" strips from each low volume fabric cut in Cutting Plan #2.  Set aside the rest and cut more as needed, when see what fabrics you like best in your blocks.

Step 6:  Cut Fabric N

Note:  This step applies to throw and twin-sized Penny Patch quilts only.

Prepare your fabric by trimming a vertical and horizontal straight edge.

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Then place your ruler at 6.5", measuring from the bottom horizontal straight edge.

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Move around the corner of your table to cut this 6.5" strip.  Cut a second 6.5" strip in the same way.

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Remove the excess fabric from above the 6.5" strips.  Now place your ruler at 6.5", measuring from the vertical straight edge.

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Cut, creating a pair of 6.5" squares.  Move the ruler to the left 6.5" and cut again.

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Repeat one more time, creating a total of (6) of 6.5" square pairs.  This Cutting Plan #3 yields (6) 6.5" squares.  The throw quilt requires 6 fabric N squares, while the twin requires 8.

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::Cutting Summary::
In this cutting list, 2" strips are expected to be about 22" long (cut from a fat quarter).  If you are not cutting fat quarters, they need to be at least 16" long for our purposes.

for a Baby Penny Patch quilt

  • Color A - (8) 6.5" squares, (3) pairs of 3.5" squares and (1) 2" strip
  • Color B - (8) 6.5" squares, (6) pairs of 3.5" squares and (4) 2" strips
  • Color C - (3) pairs of 3.5" squares and (2) 2" strips
  • Low Volume - (15) 6.5" squares, (20) pairs of 3.5" squares and assorted 2" strips

for a Throw Penny Patch quilt
  • Color A - (15) 6.5" squares, (5) pairs of 3.5" squares and (3-4) 2" strip
  • Color B - (15) 6.5" squares, (11) pairs of 3.5" squares and (6-8) 2" strips
  • Color C - (6) pairs of 3.5" squares and (3) 2" strips
  • Low Volume - (24) 6.5" squares, (38) pairs of 3.5" squares and assorted 2" strips
  • Neutral N - (6) 6.5" squares

for a Twin Penny Patch quilt
  • Color A - (21) 6.5" squares, (7) pairs of 3.5" squares and (4-5) 2" strip
  • Color B - (21) 6.5" squares, (16) pairs of 3.5" squares and (8-10) 2" strips
  • Color C - (8) pairs of 3.5" squares and (5) 2" strips
  • Low Volume - (33) 6.5" squares, (53) pairs of 3.5" squares and assorted 2" strips
  • Neutral N - (8) 6.5" squares

Have fun cutting piles of all your pretty fabrics!

Penny Patch QAL Cutting!

If you have the space, it's really fun to tack your batting for this quilt onto a wall and arrange fabrics in your quilt layout as you cut.  (Sorry for the awful pictures.  My design wall area almost always has terribly light!)  If you are making a baby quilt, remember to start the first row with a 4-penny patch block.  Put up all 6.5"squares, spreading fabrics out colors in a pleasing manner.  You'll probably have to overlap the edges of your pieces slightly so that they'll fit!

ick, the lighting.

Then add the 3.5" square pairs as shown.  Keep your 2" strips near your sewing station for now.  We'll start working with those next week!

arranging a Penny Patch quilt

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Penny Patch: Quilt Design

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Tomorrow we'll be cutting our fabrics!  Those following along range from first-time quilters cutting from new fat quarters to long-time quilters cutting from scraps.  It will be helpful for everyone involved to understand the design of this quilt and different ways of composing the 4-penny patch block.

Penny Patch progress

The Penny Patch quilt is so simple.  It alternates between 6" finished simple square blocks and 6" finished 4-penny patch blocks.  You can make your quilt any size you like by adding more rows or columns, while keeping the pattern going:  one simple square, one 4-penny patch, one simple square, etc.

::your quilt design::

If you're making the Baby Quilt, your quilt will have 7 columns and 9 rows.  That's what we quilters call a 7 x 9 setting.  Since 7 multiplied by 9 is 63, a baby-sized Penny Patch will have 63 blocks.   31 of those blocks will be simple squares and 32 of those blocks will be 4-penny patches.  The first row should start with a 4-penny patch.

If you're making the Throw Quilt, your quilt will have 10 columns and 12 rows, what quilters call a 10 x 12 setting.  Since 10 multiplied by 12 is 120, a throw-sized Penny Patch will have 120 blocks, 60 of each kind (simple squares and 4-penny patches).  Since there is an even amount of simple squares and 4-penny patch blocks in your quilt, your first row can start with either kind.

If you're making the Twin Quilt, your quilt will have 11 columns and 15 rows, a 11 x 15 setting.  Since 11 multiplied by 15 is 165, a twin-sized Penny Patch will have 165 blocks.   83 of those blocks will be simple squares and 84 of those blocks will be 4-penny patches.  The first row should start with a 4-penny patch.

::your sewing goals::

After cutting fabrics this week, the quilt-along schedule has us spending the following three weeks of November sewing blocks.  You only have to sew the number of 4-penny patch blocks required for your quilt.  That's because the simple squares just need to be cut, not sewn. We'll be cutting everything this week!  So, those making a baby quilt only need to SEW 32 blocks.  You could aim to make 10-11 per week.  A throw quilt requires you to SEW 60 blocks - 20 per week and a twin requires you to SEW 84 blocks - 28 per week.  Of course you can go faster or slower, this is just a suggestion for those who appreciate sew-along goals!

::your color recipe::

Are you planning to follow my "color recipe" for a low-volume quilt with 2 main colors and 1 pop color?  As part of our cutting and sewing directions I will guide you in maintaining that color balance.  For example, I'll call for a certain count of color A, color B, color C and low volume 4-penny patch blocks.  But this is not science - it's art!  Please feel so, soooo free to do what looks right to you.

And, even when you do follow the recipe, there is room for interpretation. For example, each of these blocks is a color B (purple) 4-penny patch block for my current work-in-progress:

3 flavors of Purple

The top block has 3" finished squares and 4-penny patches that all have purple.  The bottom one has purple only in the 3" finished squares and the right block has purple only in the 4-penny patches.  When I count the number of "color B" 4-penny patch blocks in my work-in-progress these all count!  This shows that your quilt can turn out more or less color saturated, depending on how you combine fabrics in these sewn blocks.  To provide flexibility, in some cases we'll cut more fabric that absolutely required for your 4-penny patch blocks.  Then you'll decide which bits you want to use more of or less of to create the effect you'll love!

I'll be back tomorrow with a detailed cutting post!
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