DIY Block of the Month – April X Quartet

I have to say that when block of the month programs first came along, my attitude was “why would I want someone else picking out blocks for me?” In fact, I asked that question and our delightful member, Phyllis, told me that she like block of the month programs because it got her making blocks she might not have ever picked out on her own. This month’s block is one of those for me. Maybe just because the blocks are listed alphabetically in the book I use most often as a reference and I rarely get all the way to X before finding one I’d like.  (My favorite block books are the “Around the Block” books – a must-have for any quilter’s library if you ask me!)  Anyway, I wasn’t exactly blown away at first by the colored drawing but as soon as I began to work it up, I really liked this block.

So, as always, start with the cutting….I’ve really begun liking the Easy Angle approach to cutting 1/2-square triangle pieces…no fuss, no muss, just nice, easy 3.5″ strips.  So, from your 3.5″ background strip, cut 8 Easy Angle 1/2-square triangles (if you don’t have an Easy Angle or equivilent ruler, cut square 3-7/8″ and cut in half on the diagonal.) Also cut four 3.5″ squares.

From your dark color (I used dark blue) cut 8 1/2-square triangles, again either from your 3.5″ strip or 3-7/8″ squares cut in half on the diagonal. 

From your medium fabric, cut four 3.5″ squares.  Easy, easy cutting…I love this block already!

Cut pieces for X Quartet

 

Step one for sewing is to sew the eight background triangles to the eight dark triangles to make eight square units, like this….

Just chain the pairs through....

 

Press them open and trim the dog ears!

Then press them open and trim the dog ears.  Next gather up your remaining squares and lay your block out like this….

All layed out ready to sew!

 

Next, flip the pieces from column two (from the left) onto column one and sew them together, just taking a few stitches between each one to “chain” them together.  After you’ve finished that row, add the next one (column three) and continue to chain piece.

First two columns, chain pieced together

 

When you’ve stitched all four columns together and pressed it, you’ll have a block that looks like this…

Four rows sewn together, just about finished!

I pretty much winged it with the pressing on this one.  I started with the center where the pinwheel meets and made sure I pressed in opposite directions then worked my way out from the center.  Remember, if you come to a seam where you’ve accidentally pressed both seam allowances the same way, just flip one over, even if it means a twist in the seam allowance. A few little twists are not the end of the world and, unless you are handquilting your quilt, no one is likely to ever notice.  (Don’t worry, the Quilt Police aren’t real…I checked!)

Now, just stitch your four remaining seams together, press thoroughly (I was ironing shirts before I made my block so I hit it with the spray starch just for good measure) and there you have it, a lovely X Quartet block.

Finished X Quartet!

 

Now, here’s the danger of making blocks you never considered before in a sampler.  I’d barely finished this block before I was imagining how it would look as a scrap quilt.  I think I’d bring it down to an 8 or 9-inch block but I can see where just using scrappy lights and darks for the 1/2-square triangles and maybe an assortment of same-color scraps for the corners…or, an assortment of dark corners so they would meet up as four-patch units when you set them together?  Hmmm….the gears are spinning faster than I have time to quilt right now.  Even so, I may have to give this one a try, maybe just a small one……..

That’s all for tonight, though, my cat is playing at my feet and my dog is whining about bed time.

Happy quilting!

Beth

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