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Thread: Easy, no waste Granny Square block tutorial

  1. #1
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    Easy, no waste Granny Square block tutorial

    I am currently making a Granny Square quilt to use up some of my 2" squares from the scrap bin. I scoured the internet for tutorials, but came up with (I think) a simpler way of making the block that any that I saw. I'm sure others have thought of this, but I did not see anything like it. If someone else has posted this anywhere before, my apologies... (Note: You can use any size square you'd like, I just happen to be using up 2". This is more of a guide than an actual pattern.)

    The first method involves placing 1 square in the middle, 4 around it, 8 around that, then 12 white (or other "background" color) around that. Like this...Name:  gs tute 1.jpg
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    Then, you proceed to turn that block into a square by cutting off the 12 outer background squares so that they are now triangles. Like this...Name:  gs tute 2.jpg
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    Which leaves you with 12 small waste triangles (yuck) and all edges are now bias. Double YUCK!!

    I got to doing the math (I'm weird like that), and figured out that 12 wasted triangles per block, at 80 blocks equals 6 wasted 2" squares x 80. That's 4 square inches x 6 x 80= 1,920 square inches. A yard of fabric (36x42) is roughly 1,512 square inches. So, my little lap quilt was gonna waste over a yard of background fabric! There had to be a better way!!

    So, the "no-waste" tutorials have you making 12 setting triangles per block; not something I was looking forward to doing...

    I had my fabric squares on the design board (nothing sewn yet)...
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    and looked at sewing everything in long, diagonal rows, but knew I would flub up somewhere and sew squares together wrong and end up ripping. Then, it occurred to me that I was looking at a bunch of 9 patches like this...Name:  gs tute 4.jpg
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    So, I am treating the center 9 squares like a 9 patch, then when I have the final layout the way I want it, I will sew the 9 patch between them. That secondary 9P will have those white background squares and the side square from each color block that it will be touching. Then, sew the 9P's together, and the only setting triangles will be around the edges of the quilt as each block will be on point.

    I am still making the initial blocks, but as I do each step, I will post the "how-to" pictures. Most of you will be able to take off from this point though.

    This is a great scrap buster pattern, just like the initial granny square crocheted afghan which allows you to use up those tiny balls of leftover yarns. I am mostly keeping the same fabrics in each round, but occasionally I have only a couple of squares left of some of the fabrics, so that round will be all the same color, but not the same fabric. My self-imposed challenge with this quilt is to not try to "match" every color perfectly, but to allow myself to play and use some more daring color combos.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    Easy, no waste Granny Square block tutorial Part 2

    Here is part 2 of the Granny Square tutorial...
    I have the main 9 patches put together, so now it's time to sew the secondary 9 patches. It is very easy to lose your place and sew them together wrong (ask me how I know...I actually have only sewn 3 together wrong so far). It's handy to keep your design board close by and only work on 1 at a time. I laid out the 4 that surround the secondary blocks so that I could see which colors went where and worked from the top left across each row.Name:  gs tute 5.jpg
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    The rows are numbered 1 through 9 top to bottom. The letters are from left to right. Keep doing this until you have all the secondary blocks done. You will notice that you take the first 2 from rows 1 and 2 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B. Then it will be 1B, 1C, 2B and 2C.

    FYI, that blue leaf print in the 2nd picture is not an accident , but some in some of the rounds I have used a similar color, different print.

    Part 3 will be how to make the setting triangles around the edges to make the quilt square. They're not your typical triangles, since each one will need to have a couple of colored squares in them to finish out the pattern.

    If anything is unclear, please ask and I will try and help. It really makes sense once you get going and can see it for yourself.

    Thanks for looking and happy sewing!

  3. #3
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    Thanks....
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  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for taking the time to post this great tutorial
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
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  5. #5
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    I'm putting this on "the list" thanks

  6. #6
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    I all makes sense after I study what you did. Very good idea.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  7. #7
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    Thanks for posting this (with pictures) I have never seen this block done this way, I'm off to give it a try!

  8. #8
    Senior Member rilene's Avatar
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    Thank you so much! I'm looking forward to seeing Part 3!
    Rilène

  9. #9
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    Part 3 coming soon. I am almost done making the secondary 9P's and should be able to get the setting triangles with pictures figured out tomorrow. Hopefully some nice QB expert will merge the 3 together or tell me how😉

  10. #10
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    I think I would make the initial 9-patch and pin the four extra squares onto that and continue with all those 9-patches until there were enough. Then they could be laid out so you liked the order of the colors, pick up a square from each nine patch around, keep them in the correct order, and make the 9-patch with the background squares.

    I think I could get excited about doing a Granny Square quilt this way.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  11. #11
    Junior Member Walter'sMom's Avatar
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    Very clever - might just try your method, thx

  12. #12
    Super Member annette1952's Avatar
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    Great way of doing them. Thank you for sharing!

  13. #13
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    This is a great idea!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    Easy, no waste Granny Square block tutorial Part 3

    Okay, so I've sewn all the main 9P's and the secondary 9P's, it's time to put the setting triangles on and sew the rows. I started in the top left corner. I sewed a background color (white), the green to complete that block, and another white together. Then center a white on top of the green, it should be about 1/4" over on both sides...Name:  gs tute 8.jpg
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    For the side setting triangles, sew as shown (a picture is worth 1,000 words!)... you are completing the 1st block in rows 1 and 2, then 2 and 3, 3 and 4 and so on... I did each setting triangle as I was ready to sew the whole row so that I didn't get confused. You will also need to make one for the each row on the right side as well.


    Name:  gs tute 7.jpg
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    Then I sewed the corner setting triangle and the first diagonal row together...Name:  gs tute 9.jpg
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    Keep adding diagonal rows...Name:  gs tute 10.jpg
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    There will be a small amount of waste when you have all your rows sewn together as you will square up the entire quilt. But, it will be much less than squaring up each block as the traditional way calls for. When squaring up, use your ruler and line each colored point up on the 1/4" line, you want to trim so that you have 1/4" for the seam allowance. You will only be trimming off the outer white squares. You may add a border at this point or simply baste, quilt and bind it with no border. I haven't decided if I will add a border or not, I'll see what I think when it is all put together.

    I would like to finish the top this weekend and get it ready to quilt. I'll probably be big stitch quilting this, but am going to try something different than my usual straight lines.

    Enjoy, and if something isn't clear, feel free to comment...I will check frequently and update if needed.

  15. #15
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    Thank you, you've certainly eliminated a lot of waste and hopefully saved time too.

  16. #16
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I am going to try to print both of your tutorials and use this for a summer project. Thank you for taking the time to spell it out. I love how your granny square quilt is coming along.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  17. #17
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    This does look good.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by maviskw View Post
    I think I would make the initial 9-patch and pin the four extra squares onto that and continue with all those 9-patches until there were enough. Then they could be laid out so you liked the order of the colors, pick up a square from each nine patch around, keep them in the correct order, and make the 9-patch with the background squares.

    I think I could get excited about doing a Granny Square quilt this way.
    That is the way I do the single Irish chain. Works for me.
    GeeGee

  19. #19
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial. I especially appreciate how you explained your thought process and posted pictures of that too.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  20. #20
    Super Member helou's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for taking the time and for all the pictures.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DebJ's Avatar
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    Really pretty. I guess I better start saving square & cutting leftover scraps in the size to make this someday. Lovely quilt.
    wonderfully and beautifully made, even if you can't see it on the outside

  22. #22
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    I had never seen this either way. How perfectly pretty. It does remind me of some of my great grandmother's quilts. Great tutorial. There are so many things I want to do, I end up saving future project ideas and... well, I imagine you can guess the rest. THIS quilt though, makes me think that maybe a prairie point edge would be fun. (Hey, you save waste in the mid-section, so there's be a wee bit of a start on it.)

  23. #23
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    very clever simplifying this wasteful pattern.

  24. #24
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    Wonderful idea! I was just looking at a granny square quilt on pinterest and added it to my to do list. I believe I will be making it your way now.

  25. #25
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    Wow! Thank you for making this pattern simple for me to understand. Love how you worked it as a diagonal. Going in my pile of to do quilt projects!

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