"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

April 26, 2013

Pixelated Quilt Tutorial Series - Pixelated Four-Patch {Part 2 of 4}

Today's tutorial is the four-patch method for piecing a pixelated quilt. 

For this tutorial I will be using a pattern designed by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.
Part one (using strips to piece a pixelated quilt) of this four part series can be found HERE.

Today we'll be working with Luigi, a favorite of many Super Mario fans.

1. Prepare Pattern 
Once you've chosen the pattern for your block you're going to divide the block into quadrants, and mark off the quadrants with a sharpie. Once you have the main quadrants marked off, use a different colored sharpie and begin marking four patches. Use a ruler to achieve straight lines.
Helpful Hint: 
Notice in the pattern below that while the block is square with an even number of rows there are not an even number of paired rows. You don't want to divide a pair into two separate quadrants...keep them together.  i.e. the upper left quadrant is 4 pairs across while the upper right quadrant is 5 pairs across.

2. Cut Squares & Stay Organized
Cut 1 1/2" strips the length of the fabric and then cut as many 1 1/2" squares as needed. 
Refer to Tutorial 1 for a helpful hint when cutting squares. 
Staying organized and labeling colors is important, especially if you're working with similar hues that can be easily confused. Use whatever system works best for you.

3. Layout a Quadrant
It doesn't matter which quadrant you begin with. Choose where you want to start and using the marked diagram lay out the pieces for that quadrant and only that quadrant.  

 After laying out the quadrant, working from left to right and top to bottom begin pairing squares that will be chain stitched. Leave the farthest left hand vertical row where it is and flip the row to it's right on top of the first row with right sides together.  Starting with the top pair begin stitching seams (which will be the right hand side of the pair - as long as you keep things oriented as they are).

4. Chain Stitch Pairs
If you chain stitch these pairs together in order from top to bottom keeping them with the second row pieces on top, they will be ready to pair up to easily create the four patches. You can work with one row at a time or chain all the pieces before moving on to the next step.

5. Pair the Pairs - Create Four Patches
To easily create the four patches clip the chain stitching between every other block. This will leave you with pairs ready to press and stitch.

Take each pair and press the seam allowances in opposite directions.
You can finger press these seams if you like...but be aware that it won't be as crisp and precise.
Using an iron will give you crisper seams and make matching seams even easier.

Personally when I press I use a good shot of steam on every seam. I know the "Quilt Police" say never to do this, but I feel it gives me a cleaner, crisper seam.

6. Sew Four Patches Together
Match the seams and "lock" them together where the seams butt up against each other.
Stitch all the pairs of rows together. 

Two Options for pressing seams of the four patches:

1.Swirl the center. 
This will reduce the amount of bulk and ridges in your finished block.
If you utilize this method you will need to clip the thread from the chain piecing that we didn't clip earlier. After clipping that little thread, pull apart the couple of stitches in the seam allowance to open up the center seam allowance. Once you open up the center section the seams have a natural direction they will want to lay. Lay it out flat and  press the seams in a swirl/pinwheel.

 2. All One Direction. 
Leave everything as it's stitched and press the seams together in one direction.
If you choose this method, it's helpful to coordinate the pressing of the other four patch center seams so that you can continue to utilize the locking method for matching seams.

After you have all your four patches sewn together lay them out again, using the pattern diagram to verify to everything is sewn together correctly.

Now you'll treat each of these four patches as a single square and begin creating bigger four patches.
You'll notice in the photo below that this quadrant cannot be divided into nice four patches there are a couple of extra pieces making it more of a 6 patch. This is totally okay. Make the four patches first stitch to two extra pieces together and attach them to the end of the four patch next to it.

7. Sew Large Four Patch Sections Together 
Once you have all the bigger four patches and six patches sewn together it's time to sew each of those together to finish that quadrant.

8. Complete Quadrants
Repeat steps 3-7 to complete each of the other quadrants

9. Sew Quadrants Together
Once you have all four quadrants complete it's time to stitch the quadrants together.
Match and lock the seams pinning if necessary and stitch.

Press the seams in opposite directions, match seams of last two sections, pinning again if necessary and stitch your final seam.

10. Finished! Time to Celebrate and Admire your work!

Advantages of the Pixelated Four Patch Method: 
 1. Blocks are divided into sections that can be completed in a small amount of sewing time.
2. Don't need a huge amount of space to layout one quadrant at a time.
3. Easily stored away until the next time you have sewing time.
4. Seams are easily aligned, using the "Locking" Method
5. Seems to go together fairly quickly.

Disadvantages of the Pixelated Four Patch Method: 
1. There will be more ridges than with the other methods.
Swirling the centers will reduce the amount of ridges created.

Thanks for stopping by today!!
I appreciate your support and the love you all share with me. Thank you!
The next tutorial in the series will be: The Stabilized Method

Happy Quilting!

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