Training Tuesday: Pattern Recreation, Pt 1

A few weeks back, I did a Pattern Creation post. You can find it HERE. In that post, I started with a blank piece of paper and designed what I wanted to design, from start to finish. What I’m going to do today is show you Pattern REcreation. I am going to show you an old picture of a pattern I like and then show you how I recreated it. I’m not sure if this will take one day, five days or what. We’ll just go with it.

I don’t actively seek out patterns that are in use today. Most of what I do is take what was in the Quilter’s Newsletter Magazines from years gone by and recreate them to modern standards. I will admit to occasionally seeing something I like on Facebook and recreating it to my own design. I am not advocating that you use this method. I can’t stop you but, as a former IT Professional who was halfway through her Master’s of IT after acquiring my Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice, and decided not to finish the Master’s, I do know the legalities of stealing other peoples’ hard work and claiming it as your own.

I recently did a Log Cabin quilt. The Log Cabin has been around for so long, there really isn’t much new about it. If you find someone using a variation of the Log Cabin to make a quilt that looks like a Christmas Tree or even the Northern Lights, you can’t rightly copy it. You can use their ideas and create your own, however. It would be considered polite to share where your ideas came from, of course.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get started. I know I am not the only one that uses graph paper and pencils with erasers. I’m just showing you my way of doing things.

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The first thing I did for today was try to find a quilt that I wanted to recreate. This picture is actually kind of cute and I’d love to make a full quilt out of it. It uses templates. Maybe another day…

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The one on this cover is pretty neat. I wonder how it would look with all scraps, not the same colors throughout. Could be fun and there was a lot more information about this quilt than some others.

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Two above it are definitely possibilities for another day. However, I decided on this quilt as my sample. To recreate what I am going to make during this Training Tuesday, you will need the equivalent of the following materials list. You do not need to use the same colors but label your own colors to match my pictures. By the end of this tutorial (now or in weeks ahead), I will teach you how to figure out your own required materials. My finished design is 62″ x 86″. You can add borders or designs to make this as big as you want. I’ll just reproduce the original for now.

Materials Required (for the entire quilt)

  • Black/Dark Green: 2 yards
  • Green: 1/2 yard
  • White: 1 1/4 yard
  • Green #2: 3/4 yard and (1 1/3 yard for border) ( 2 1/8 total)
  • First border (1/3 yard) and binding (5/8 yard), different black color: 1 yard

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There was some information about sizing and whatnot but not a full pattern. A reasonable quilter of old could figure out the quilt based on the templates provided. I’m going to resize and redo the entire thing. It will no longer be 36 x 48. I reckon it will be a large lap quilt. I like them large, anyway. I don’t go with standard sizes. I want something I can bundle up in and, if my boys decide to climb in with me, it’ll still fit.

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Based on the size of that 9-patch I am pointing to, I say that this quilt is about a 6″ block. Yes, the dimensions are given in the magazine. That’s not always the case. I’m looking at it and saying, “Hmmm… what size makes sense? This is rather small, not even 2″. It has to be a 1″ square that creates a 9-Patch that is 3″ x 3”. Sometimes I guess, sometimes I make it up. Based on that observation, the block size is 6″ x 6″ when finished. You’ll see that the black and green 9-Patch is the same size as the other four squares in that block. Two HSTs and one solid green in the bottom left hand corner (top left in the block next to it) are both 3″ x 3″, based on that 9-Patch.

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Now, if you put four of the single block I was looking at together, you’ll see it’s a single windmill quilt block with some flair. I’m not going to build it like that, though. I want to build each square and create the entire quilt from that. I mean, seriously, start small and work your way out. The point is to simplify. Why worry about making the entire set of four squares to make a giant block like that? They are all the same, just turned differently, so I can break this down to its smallest components and build from that.

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Once I determine if it will fit into a 12″ square on my graph paper, I set down to write the pattern into existence, one piece at a time. The 12″ square on my graph paper is very important – it sets the stage for the rest of the block and how easy it would be to reproduce. On my graph paper, each tiny square represents 1 inch, in my mind.

I don’t like the small squares. I’ve already said that they tend to trip me up and I goof more than not. I want this to be a 12″ block, so I doubled it from 6″ x 6″ to 12″ x 12″. That seems to be my favorite size and I am a co-host of a monthly block exchange on Facebook with some ladies. The blocks we exchange are 12.5″ when ready to ship out. I drew out above a 12″ square on my graph paper and then drew the diagonal to show where the windmill blade would be at for that top left square.

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I look for points or breaks in the block to see if it will break nicely into a 12″ framework. I look for one place to start and build out from. At this point, I completely ignore the 1/2″ seam allowance required and start drawing the block. The original 9-patch is 1″ squares to make a 6″ square. I’m doubling it because I want my block to be 12″ so each piece of the 9-Patch will be 2″ to accomplish this. This helps give me a frame of reference for the rest of it.

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The bottom left green piece has now been added to the drawing. If you look, my drawing now perfectly matches that on the cover of the magazine. Time to start figuring out what pieces we need to make it live.

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Add the initials for the colors on the original. Do not change the colors now. It could mess you up when you’re trying to figure out the math part. I always start with the original colors and later decide if I want to change them or not. Whatever stands out is what I list. Here, I have black, green, white and green 2. Green 2 is different from the 9-Patch green so it is listed as different. In the original, the black in the middle of the 9-Patch is different from the black on the outsides of the 9-Patch but I’m ignoring that. I’m going to keep them the same color.

IMG_6699Below the original drawing, I draw out one piece of the quilt. We’ll start with the 9-Patch. I redraw the piece I need to make and then label the colors correctly.

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To the right of the piece I just drew, I list what materials I need to just make that one piece. Not the entire block from above but that one piece – the 9-Patch. What do I need to recreate that? This is what I write down. Here, I finally add the seam allowance. The square for the 9-Patch finishes at 2″ (which is what I drew) so I add a 1/2″ for seam allowance when I write down what materials I need for this part.

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Looking at my picture above, you’ll see on the left of the 9-Patch, where I wrote “x1.” I do this so I remember that I need ONE 9-Patch to complete the block I drew at the top. Looking at the block I drew below the 9-Patch, you’ll see where I wrote “x2.” This means I need TWO of that piece (the HST) to complete the block above. This helps! When you’re writing down what you need, you will remember that you have to make ONE or TWO of an item.

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To create an HST the simple and fast way, you need to cut bigger than what you need. If I wanted a block, such as Green2, with no extras, I would cut a 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. To create an HST, I need to cut (1) black and (1) white at 6 7/8″ x 6 7/8″ and I will end up having TWO HSTs from this cut. Because I need two to create what I need, I only write down to cut ONE of each color. If you don’t know how, I will show you when we create this quilt how to create the HSTs from what we cut.

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I only need one of the Green2 blocks, so I write down 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. That’s it – a 6″ finished block plus a 1/2″ seam allowance. That’s all the pieces I need to recreate the block I have drawn out.

Or not.

What about the 9-Patch? Isn’t there a simpler way to do it than by cutting the 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ pieces and sewing them together? You bet there is! I know this because I don’t like dealing with small pieces if I don’t have to. To that end, I look for simpler ways to create the small pieces. What I do is called “Strip Piecing.” I quote another blog who said it more succinctly than I could, “Strip-piecing usually consists of sewing long strips of fabric together, usually width-of-fabric strips, and then rotary cutting across the strips to create smaller, uniform units that are already pieced.”

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A 9-Patch with matching colors is created in three pieces. Two of them are going to be BLACK/GREEN/BLACK (top and bottom rows) and one piece will be GREEN/BLACK/GREEN (middle row). Understand? Ok. So, we need a total of 24 of them to complete the quilt top itself. How do I know I need 24 9-Patches for the quilt?

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I counted! There are 24 of the blocks that I am creating and each one needs one 9-Patch. Because we need 24 of them, I’m going to do it an easy way and create them super fast. Above, you’ll see the block I drew is set together as 4 of them across and 6 of them down, totally 24 of the small blocks.

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Look at the picture above. I need two strips that are BLACK/GREEN/BLACK and one strip that is GREEN/BLACK/GREEN.

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Do you remember cutting the strips created into 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ pieces in this quilt? This is what we’re doing again. I’ll show you how to figure out the math for this method. This is strip piecing.

A strip of fabric cut at 2 1/2 x WOF is 2 1/2″ x 44/45. I cut off the selvage and it leaves me with a strip that is 2 1/2″ x 43. To figure out how many 2 1/2″ pieces we can get from the 43″ strip, we divide 43 by 2.5.

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In other words, how many 2.5″ pieces can I cut from 43″ of fabric? I can get 17 pieces of fabric measuring 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ from one strip of 2 1/2″ x 43″.

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Now, we add up what we need for our (24) 9-Patches. There is 2 BLACK and 1 GREEN per strip. That means, we need 24 black pieces per strip that measure 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.

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With (2) strips per 9-Patch, that means we need a total of (96) 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ pieces.

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We take the 96 and divide it by 17 (because we can get 17 from one strip, remember) and we end up with 6 strips of black. 3 for one side of the strip and 3 for the other side.

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Now, for the green piece in the middle of the blacks on the top and bottom strips. We have 1 per strip and 2 strips per 9-Patch. That means, we need 48 total 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ green pieces. 48 divided by 17 = 2.823529 or, as I like to round up to make things make sense, you need 3 strips green.

Total needs for the top and bottom strip of the 9-Patch: (6) black strips 2 1/2″ x 43″ and (2) green strips 2 1/2″ x 43″.

That’s the top and bottom of the 9-Patch. The middle row is simpler. There is only one middle strip of GREEN/BLACK/GREEN.

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(2) Green per strip times 24 total 9-Patches = 48 green pieces measuring 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″. Divide 48 by 17 and we get 3 strips green.

(1) Black per strip times 24 total 9-Patches = 24 total black pieces measuring 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″. Divide 24 by 17 and we need 2 strips black.

For the middle strip of the 9-Patch, we now know we need: (3) green strips 2 1/2″ x 43″ and (2) black strips 2 1/2″ x 43″.

Assemble the 9-Patches by sewing the strips, then cutting the required pieces like we did with the Wild Irish Rose quilt. When you’re done cutting, go ahead and sew them back together again as 9-Patches.

From there, assembly of the rest of the block is simple. Create your HSTs (or wait until next week and I’ll show ya how to make them my way) and then assemble the blocks.

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I hope that was easy to understand. We now have one more thing we need to do. We need to start a third sheet of paper. This one will be titled “Fabric Requirements.” This paper will track what we need as we recreate this quilt on paper. When it is completely filled out, I’ll show you how to add things up and figure out the total materials needs for the quilt we’re playing with.

How about y’all try the above. Go ahead and do the math, figure it out and play with it and then go get what is suggested and create the 24 blocks needed for this quilt top? I will do the same and meet you here next Tuesday as we continue this tutorial.

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