Sunday, January 1, 2012

Checkerboard Block Tutorial

I recently fell in love with this gorgeous block by Amy of Badskirt. It's cool huh? Anyway I thought it would make a great block for the 3x6 Quilting Bee so I pinned it to my Pinterest board for future use until yesterday when I decided that I really am running out of time and should really get started on those blocks (they need to be posted in a couple of weeks!)

I flicked through a couple of books, scouted about on the old interweb but could not find any instructions on how to do the checkerboard block. Now normally I dont really bother with instructions, I just try to work out the math and go from there, I couldn't do it with this though, my brain didn't want to work out measurements of half square triangles and squares on point. I decided that drawing it out and paper piecing it would be an easier way of doing it (I'm also slightly addicted to paper piecing if you hadnt figured that out yet!)

So here is my tutorial for these super cute blocks
1) Cut out a square of paper the size you want your finished block to be, I wanted mine to be 12" finished and so I had to use A3 paper which was still not wide enough so I had to tape an extra piece of paper down the side!

2) Fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically

3) Fold the corners into the centre, draw over these lines to create a square on point within your block

4) Measure the width of this square and divide the number by 3 (mine was 8.5" which divided up to 2.83! so I marked the approximate measurement just using dots until I was happy that it looked like 3 even columns, draw these in so they go across the whole block

5) Do the same for the other side of the block (The picture below shows the whole block drawn out - blue lines, and the original folds - orange lines)

6) Draw lines across the four corners of the block, creating a triangle and a square. I then traced the 3 shapes (a square and 2 triangles) and cut them out to use as templates when cutting out my fabrics

7) Your block is now ready to use, I cut my block into strips and started with the central strip, and worked from the centre out, you could do the strips in any order though and you could start at the edge if you preferred

8) I wanted a centre that would stand out, I fussy cut some to create a cool focal point (remember it will be on point and this will affect how you fusy cut!), dont forget to cut your fabric larger than you need it to allow for seam allowances, hold your block and fabric up to the light to check that you have a minimum of .25" all around the edges (make sure your fabric is on the reverse of your paper, right side of fabric facing out!). Pin or sew one line in place

9) Add your other fabrics one at a time, trimming and pressing as you go

10) Once all your strips are done, trim all of the edges so you just have a 1/4" seam allowance over the edge of your paper. Carefully remove the paper, it should tear easily along the sewing lines (be extra careful if you had to use tape to hold your paper together, it will tear but its tougher and you dont want to distort your stitches).

11) Sew strips together matching up the points of your squares as you go (I like to use silk pins next to the seams to hold them in place as silk pins are lovely and fine)

11) Press and daaadaaa.....

You will notice that I forgot to fussy cut the whales on point, but I think they still work.
Anyway these are some of my bee blocks for the girls in hive 1 of the 3x6 bee, Q4. Fingers crossed that they like them!

Keep an eye out at the start of 2012, i'm going to start a regular link up, hopefully some of you will join in so that its not just me all on my own!