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Thread: Four Patch

  1. #1
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    I did a dumb think. I began a project several months ago, and I am new to quilting. I put it away and have since taken it out. The problem is I was doing a four patch with two contrasting colors. It doesn't look hard and I have a few done, but for the life of me I can't remember what to do first. I know you eventually twist the colors so that the colors are opposite each other. I don't know--do you sew the 5" or 4" blocks together, one color on each side, then cut them into half and turn them and them cut them again? So you eventually end up with a 4" block with two colors kitty korner from each other. Hope someone understands and can explain it to me verbally. How stupid..... :oops:

  2. #2

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    I don't know what the size of your blocks are but let's pretend they are going to be 6" finished. Cut your two colours in strips 3 1/2" wide. Join the strips along the length of your fabric and press. Then cut the joined strips into 3 1/2 " pieces. Reverse some of them and sew them to make your four patches. Hope this helps. Remember to use 1/4" seams all the time.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Winnie. I guess what is puzzeling me is a quilting teacher I had had me cut the blocks 41/2". And as you said, cut into strips 2 1/2". Why cut them into 4 1/2" squares, then, cut them down the center, reverse and sew. I think this was suppose to be some sort of way to keep the blocks intact without too much distortion. Anyone else have any ideas why I would start out with blocks, reduce them to strips and sew the strips together to make a block? Thanks for the info. Time for bed.

  4. #4
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Ummm..perhaps the instructor was mathematically challenged? Perhaps they wanted to make a 4 rectangle instead of a 4 square block? So... you got it. Cut the strips 2 1/2 wide. sew together. Cut the sewn strip 2 1/2 in wide again. Reverse one half and sew to make your 4 1/2 inch squares, to make 4 inch finished squares.

    How many squares are you making?


    tim in san jose


  5. #5

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    The only thing I can think is that every time you cut and sew there is a chance for a little distortion or she thought she was keeping it simple.
    There is a method for making two 4 patches at a time. I'll try and explain it.
    Cut 2 squares, one light and one dark, 1" larger that what you want your finished block to be.
    Place the squares right sides together and sew 2 opposite edges. Press.
    Cut the squares in half (cutting line parallel to seams)
    Open and press seams toward the dark side.
    Pin the sewn and pressed squares back together with dark to light and light to dark.
    Sew 2 opposite edges together (seams going the opposite way this time.
    Cut squares in half again.
    Open and press.
    If you get all your squares cut and placed together and assembly line sew , you can put a quilt togwther pretty quickly.

  6. #6
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    I know what the outcome is suppose to be: perfectly matched points, as all my others which I previously made are. Somehow you end up by overlapping the seam lines by twisting the seams together and in this way you are able to make your points match. Well, I am still confused. I thank all of you for your help and suggestions, they are all wonderful. But, I think I will e-mail by former teacher and see if she can explain it via e-mail--not easy--especially for me as I am a hands-on, sight, visual person. Will let you know if I figure it out. Thanks once again.

  7. #7
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Can you scan one of the blocks you completed before you forgot? Then attach the image so we can all see what the finished block looks like? I'll bet it would be easier for folks to give you the help you need. I haven't thrown in my 2-cents because I don't know which of the 8 zillion possible combinations you're shooting for. For example, I don't want to tell you how to put a pinwheel together if you're trying to make something else. :mrgreen:

  8. #8

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    Yes, a picture would be good. Somehow I'm beginning to think what you're trying is not just a basic 4 patch. The word "points" makes me think there's more involved. There are many quilt blocks which are considered "4 patches" because of the way they are constructed. Hope you get it all sorted out one way or another.
    Winnie

  9. #9
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    No it is just a normal 4 patch with two contrasting colors in each opposite block--4 small blocks, making one big block. Sorry I don't have a scanner. Thanks for the idea though.

  10. #10

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    Well, now you've got me curious!! A question--- When you seam your pieces are you using a consistent seam width (that famous scant 1/4") and then are you always pressing to the dark fabric? Then when you turn one set around your seams are on opposite sides and if you put a pin through the seams to correctly line them up when you stitch, your pieces should match up correctly in the middle. I think when you're talking of points matching you mean the center where the seams all meet. Sorry to go on about this but I'm puzzled why it isn't working for you.
    Winnie

  11. #11
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    If you're trying to make a PinWheel (and if I can attach the files correctly) maybe these will help.

    If you're trying to make Broken Dishes, somebody posted this link to another thread in this forum:
    http://www.equilters.com/library/blocks/broken_dishes-hstB.html
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

  12. #12
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    If you can't remember how to make those half-square triangles, check the thread "Triangles" in the "Main" forum index. Bazillions of ideas.

  13. #13
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Hmmm ... another link to Broken Dishes instructions. These assume you're using only 2 colors

    http://quilterscache.com/B/BrokenDishesBlock.html

    Or ... because I am apparently feeling REALLY full of myself this morning ( :shock: ), you could try these ...
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  14. #14
    Norah's Avatar
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    Sondra,
    Maybe the purpose for constructing the 4-patch in that manner is that the quilt was designed to use scraps, instead of yardage. You can't make strips out of small pieces, but using that method, one could use most any piece of fabric, and have a large variety of patches when done.

  15. #15
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    I'm going to try and scan--not sure about this, but my daughte gave me her scanner. Here goes, let me know if it works.
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  16. #16
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Are you trying to remember how to get the BACK of your new blocks to look like the first ones you did? If so ... here's the deal ...

    First, do as Winnie suggested above:

    Cut strips along the width of your fabric. Cut the strips 1/2" wider than you want each of the individual squares to be when the patch is done. [If you want a 12" block, each patch will be 6", so each square will be 3", so the strips need to be 3.5" wide.]

    Sew the strips together - right sides of the fabrics facing each other - down the length of the strip. Use a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the doubed strips open, to the dark side.

    In our example, your strips will now be the width of your fabric and 6.5" "high". Cut the long strips into pieces that are 3.5" wide by the 6.5" "high".

    Flip every other piece, and sew them together - right sides facing each other, and the dark square from the top piece laying on the light square from the bottom piece. Again ... be careful to use a 1/4" seam allowance.

    Before you press them open, undo the FIRST FEW stitches of the short seam. Then when you press the patch open, you can press each of the 4 short seams to the dark side. The result is no lump in the middle.

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  17. #17
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    Yes, that is the idea---but the only difference is that I don't initially cut strips. For instance, I am making 4" blocks, so I cut the blocks 4 1/2"--a block of each color--you sew them somehow--then you cut them into 2 1/4" strips--sew, then cut again, place them together, first interlocking the seam lines, and you get a finish like on the scan, except you really can't see the interlocking seams. I will send the info when I get it. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. Anyway, I'm never going to get it until I see it face to face.

  18. #18
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Can you tell? This challenge has really taken hold of my imagination! LOL

    The only other way I could think of was the one illustrated below. If you start with 2 pieces measuring 4.5" x 4.5" you will end up with 2 patches measuring 4" x 4".

    When sewn together, each block of 4 patches will measure 7.5" x 7.5" (which finishes to 7" x 7")

    If that isn't what you're shooting for, please call your teacher and tell her to FedEx those instructions overnight! This question is driving me batty from curiosity. (I think I need a life! LOL)

    :shock:
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  19. #19
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    Looks pretty close to being what I am striving for. thanks.

  20. #20

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    I'm feeling the same way as you do, Patrice. I'm quite curious and anxious for Sondra to solve her problem. What you illustrated makes it so much simpler to follow and is similar to what I described several posts back except that you end up with 2 four patches in my description. It's so true that a picture is worth a thousand words.
    Winnie

  21. #21
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    What really has me perplexed is that her teacher's process starts with a 4.5" block instead of a 5" block. I kept thinking the end result was supposed to be 4.5" 4-patches, which - as you pointed out earlier - would require starting with 5" squares.

    I'm so left-brained I automatically think in terms of 10 or 12 inch finished blocks. A 7 or 14" block just didn't make it to my mental list of possibilities. I kept trying to figure out how to star with 4.5" squares and end up with 4.5" patches. If it can be done, it takes greater skills with a slide rule than I'll ever have. LOL

  22. #22

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    As I said, I'm quite puzzled by the the teachers instructions, but In making 4 patches I guess it really doesn't matter what size squares you start with as long as you're consistent throughout and the whole quilt is made up of the same size four patches. I think we always think in terms of an even measurement for the finished block plus 1/4" all around for seaming, but with this, any size is O.K.
    So, Sondra, if you want to go ahead and work on a simple 4 patch quilt, I say make a whole lot of four patches , using whatever method and size you're comfortable with and join them together or alternate them with same size plain squares and you'll have a nice quilt in no time.
    Play around with your fabric and it may all come back to you in a flash. It's only fabric and there are no Quilt Police out there.

  23. #23
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    Well, I got the scoop on the 4 patch and why using a block instead of strips. There is no reason. You would use the block if you wanted to make more elaborate blocks. By using strips you would be limited. So, yes, you are correct, broken dishes would be a good example of why you would use a 4 patch block. She just had me do it this way because of no reason other than that is how she does it. Actually, I would have probably saved fabric by using strips instead of blocks, especially since I have no intention of doing anything elaborate, just a 4 patch with 2 contrasting colors. So there you have it--no reason just that she told me to do it that way--looks like a not so good way for doing this simple block. Maybe, however, by getting good at doing blocks this way I will be able to make more elaborate ones----huh? I have enough trouble just cutting my material into perfect blocks--each one always seems to be a little off--just like me. Once again thanks for all the good advice. I am sure I will use it. You are all great. I am glad I got you all to thinking, especially for me. :D

  24. #24
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    p.s. By doing the blocks this way you can sew them one after the other--I think it is called chain sewing. Right?

  25. #25
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    Is there any way to get a copy of those wonderful colored pictures for making various blocks?

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