Piecing a perfect four-patch block is just one of those things a quilter should have under their belt, if you know what I mean. Luckily, it’s a quick and easy process (nevermind that it took me about a billion pictures to show how easy it is…). Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these babies out in no time flat, and you’ll want to, they’re in a TON of patterns. I apologize in advance for these colors. They’re pretty much clashing with everything else here…
Take the squares on the left and flip them over so they are face down on top of the fabrics on the right. The “right sides” of the squares should be facing each other. In quilting terms, this is called “right sides together”. I know, we’re a creative bunch. Pin, if necessary. My squares are only 2½” square, so it’s not needed in my case, but if you’re working with squares bigger than about 3″, I suggest pins.
Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew both sets of two squares together using a straight stitch. To make things easier later, do NOT take a double stitch or backstitch on the first and last stitches.
They’ll look like this. Only with your fabrics, of course.
Press the seam allowance with a hot iron. I know this seems weird, but it’s called “setting” the seams. It makes the thread lay more flat so that when you open up the block and press it, it lays, well, more flat.
See? Looking flatter already.
Now, open up your pieces and lay them face down.
Decide which way you will press your seam allowance. Ideally, you will press in opposite directions, toward the darker fabric. So, see how the block on top is being pressed to the left, while the block on the bottom is being pressed to the right? This makes it really easy, later on, to make a perfectly aligned intersection. To make sure you don’t “lose” any fabric in the seam, gently pull both sides of the block away from the seam while using your fingers to press and hold the seam allowance the direction you will press it with the iron. Work slowly and carefully so you don’t skew or stretch your blocks.
Press with hot iron.
Now, place the right sides together again. You will notice that your seam allowances are facing different directions, directly opposite each other. You will also notice, that if you use your fingers to gently slide the blocks against each other, you can feel when the block “clicks” into place. This is usually called “butting” or “nesting” your seams, and is a great way to not only get precise intersections, but also to distribute bulk.
Pin. Usually, I will pin at the top, at each intersection, and at the bottom. If there is more than 3 inches or so between, I will pin there, too.
Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew. Be sure to remove your pins before they go under your presser foot.
Lay flat on your ironing board, and set the seam.
Open up the block, face down on your ironing board. Push the seam allowance in opposite directions on the top and bottom.
Since you didn’t take any backstitches before, pushing the seam allowances will loosen those middle stitches, allowing them to come out and open up, like this. Isn’t it cute? Besides being cute, it is also much flatter than pressing your seam allowance all to one side. (There ARE situations where that is a better option, though, so follow your pattern’s instructions.)
Press it. (And when I say press it, I mean pick up your iron, and place it on the block. Straight down. Don’t move it around. That will just stretch and warp your block.)
Now, flip it over, and give it one more press. Voila! A perfect four-patch block!
I knew you could do it.
Any questions? Tips or tricks? Share!
I got a sweet little gift this week.
“Look Mommy! I made you a quilt!”
Paper and pencil, only, but still just as precious as a fabric and stitch version.
And boy was she delighted when I told her we could make a real one.
(And boy was I delighted that she wanted to!)
I did the pinning with a little help from the boy.
She guided the fabric, oh so carefully. I loved every minute.
It turned out so cute, I’m tempted to keep it, except for the look on her face when I gave it to her.
Over the moon.
Turns out, that’s how I feel about teaching her, too.
Remember how I said I was going to have too many raspberries? The time has come. In fact, I think there are still some out on the bushes now, probably drying up. Honestly, I picked as many as I could without evaporating. It’s HOT out there.
And I had just learned how to make freezer jam from a house party my sister threw. It was easy. And yummy.
Raspberry Freezer Jam
2 T Ball Realfruit instant pectin
2/3 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups mashed raspberries
Mix the sugar and pectin thoroughly.
Add in the mashed berries.
Stir for 3 minutes.
Put in clean jars.
Put the lid on.
We met in junior high, at a track meet where he was the fastest 800m runner I had ever seen. I knew he had a thing for me when I teased him about something and he spit his mouthful of carrots on me. (I know, right?)
In high school, we were the only two sophomores in an AP US history class, so naturally the teacher thought we should study together.
He got spooked. Told me we weren’t dating.
I told him that was dumb.
So we dated. Then during our senior year of high school, we weren’t dating anymore. We graduated, went our separate ways for several years, but kept in (snarky) contact via letters. Yes, real letters. Not email.
When we finally met up again, we were dating within a month, and married within 6. It sounds fast when I put it that way, but really? It had been a long time coming.
As of this spring, I’ve known him more than half my life.
As the years go by, I realize more and more how lucky I am. He’s my sounding-board. My stability. He bends when I am stubborn. Gives when I take. Isn’t afraid to say no. And yes. Encourages my dreams. Makes them possible. Works hard. Doesn’t complain. Humors my crazy.
He even brings me Heath Klondike Ice cream bars when he runs late night errands. (And if that’s not love, what is?)