New to Quilting?

If you are brand new to quilting and don't know where to begin, start with the posts in September 2011 (look in the blog archive). The first four posts cover basics such as choosing equipment, choosing colors, how to sew 1/4" seams, how to use a rotary cutter, and how to press (not iron) your block during construction.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wheel of Chance - Quilt Block Tutorial (Method 2)

Our block this month is called Wheel of Chance. Ammie did a great job with her photo tutorial, which will be up next post (Last post shows up first on blogs!)

If you want to practice your half-square triangles, use Ammie's version of the block. If you want to practice your flying geese blocks and learn a 'sew, trim, and flip' skill, then follow the tutorial below.

Either version will give you the same block pattern! Some people are more comfortable sewing half-square triangles, and some people like flying geese.

Wheel of Chance
(method 2)

If you are already a great quilter, the tutorial might seem to have too many baby steps, sorry about that. I try to write them so Crystal, who has very little quilting experience, can sew the block on her own from just the explanation on this blog.

Cut from background fabric:
Eight 3"x3" squares
One 8" square

Cut from main fabric
Four 3" x 5 1/2"" strips
Four 2 1/2 x 5 1/2" strips
Four 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" square

Cut from contrast fabric OR main fabric
One 2 1/2" square

Diagonal Strip Sub-unit
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all the 3" x 3" background squares.

Lay the 3" x 3" squares right sides together on top of the 3" x 5 1/2" strips as shown in the photo. All the diagonal lines should be going the same direction!
Sewn along the drawn line.

Trim 1/4" on the outside of the sewn line, throw away (or save for future project) the triangle with the X in the photo.
Press the triangle towards the light fabric.
Place the another 3" x 3" square on the other end of the strip, sew along the drawn line, and trim 1/4" away from stitching. (The camera ate the other half of the photo or you would see (4) diagonal strip pieces!)
Throw away the triangle with the X in the photo.
Press this seam towards the dark fabric.
On the back of these strips you should have one seam pressed towards the center of the sub-unit and one seam pressed towards the corner.
If you don't press the seams as directed, nothing bad will happen! It will just make a bulky seam later on. If you press this way, the seams on the flying geese sub-units will nest with the diagonal strip sub-units. Nesting seams make it more accurate when sewing sub-units together, too. (Here's a link with a great photo and explanation of nesting seams: Nesting Seams.)

This is what your 'sew, trim and flip' diagonal strip sub-unit will look like. Sometimes this method is faster and easier than using two half-square triangles to get the same design. It's especially helpful when you have a place in your block that you don't want a seam.

Flying Geese Sub-unit
I used this method to make (4) Flying Geese sub-units from the 8" x 8" square of background fabric and the 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" square of main fabric. (The measurements in the link are different than the ones here! But the method is the same.)

Another tutorial using the same method is found at Krista Quilts. Her tutorial explains the math and how to get the exact size you need. Don't worry, the math isn't hard!

Your flying geese sub-units should measure 5 1/2" x 3", which is the same size as your diagonal strip sub-unit.

Lay all the pieces of your block out so you can see if everything is lining up correctly. I should have chosen a different part of the fabric for the center square, the cut I made was too much like the rest of the fabric and won't show up well in the final block. Oh, well!
I stack all my diagonal strip sub-units and all my flying geese sub-units up so that I can chain sew them together. If I stack them exactly the way I am going to sew them, I usually manage to sew them in the right orientation!
Note: I should have had another photo here to show you which end of the diagonal strip sub-unit matches up with the flying geese sub-units. The seam on the left of the diagonal strip is pressed towards the green because the seam on the flying geese sub-unit is pressed towards the background fabric. Nesting seams! yay!

You can press the corner unit seams in whichever direction they want to fall. It doesn't matter because the next piece they will be sewn to is a strip without any seams.

Putting The Block Together 

You don't have to lay everything out, but I tend to get interrupted (or listening to closely to my book on tape) and sew pieces in all screwy. Although I am really good a ripping out seams, I don't enjoy it all that much!

All the corner units are sewn and pressed, and then laid out on my flannel board in the right orientation for sewing.
I flip the center column of pieces over the left column of pieces and strip piece them into three units.
Pressing correctly here makes a difference, press all the seams towards the strips.
Lay the final three units on top of the center column that you just sewed.
This photo shows how each of the seams in the columns are pressed towards the strips (in my block they are green). Pressing this way makes the seams nest nicely so it's easier to sew the final two seams and get crisp corners.
Sew the last three columns together (two seams), nesting the seams to reduce bulk and get nice, crisp corners.

Press the final two seams in whatever direction you want.
My block turned out exactly 12 1/2" square! No trimming needed {smiles}.

Please feel free to email me directly with any questions, or leave a comment and I'll answer it here.

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