Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Flag Block

By Brandi M. Seals

When you start any quilt you have high hopes that things will turn out just as you envision them. Yet somehow things never quite come out exactly as you envision. The quilt ends up slightly smaller than you had envisioned, the colors do not meld quite the way you had hoped or maybe the colors pop a lot better then you ever could have imagined. Whether the difference is good or bad, there is always something that comes up that you could not have quite foreseen.

So it is no surprise that when I go to make a quilt, I try not to envision the finished piece to much. I work one step at a time; creating block after block and then work those blocks into the completed piece.

For this pattern I have provided you with just the block design. You can do with it what you like. Use it any size quilt that suits your needs. Use it as the only design in the quilt or alternate it with one, two, or however many other designs you like. This block is not hard to create but it may be a little rough getting the hang of it at first. To me it is reminiscent of a flag and I like that quality about it.

To make this flag block, start by purchasing your fabric. You will need at least three different colors. You could use the colors I have chosen in the design or feel free to experiment with your own color choices.

Once the fabric has been picked out and purchased you will need to wash, dry and iron it. The washing is done because fabrics tend to shrink in size after being washed. The colors may also bleed. You do not want your bright blue fabric bleeding into the pure white right next to it, so always prewash your fabrics and only wash them with like fabrics. The ironing is necessary to make sure the fabric is straight. You want to make sure all your cuts and seams are straight and that will be impossible to do one wrinkled fabric.

For each block like this you decide to incorporate in your quilt, you will need the following:

From the 1st fabric (represented in the diagram by the color yellow):
1- 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch square
4- 6.25 inch x 1.25 inch strips

From the 2nd fabric (represented in the diagram by the color white):
4- 4.5 inch x 4.5 inch squares

From the 3rd fabric (represented in the diagram by the color blue):
4- 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch strips

Cut this these pieces out of your fabric. An easy way to cut strips is to first fold the material in half. Square the sides so that you are guaranteed a straight edge, then cut out the strip width that you require. Next, unfold the cut strip and divide it up into the size you need. For example, with the blue fabric I would first cut a 2.5 inch wide strip from my material. I would then cut that long strip into 4.5 inch long pieces. Do the same thing with the squares.

Once all of your pieces have been cut out for the entire quilt, you can begin to piece the blocks together.

Start with the yellow square. Attach a blue strip to one end and another to the opposite end so that you now have one long strip. Next, take the white squares and lay them out. Put the yellow piece over the square so that it runs from one corner to the other. Mark on the back side of the white square where the strip will run. Then cut the square into two equal triangles. Attach the yellow strip to one of the triangles and then sew on the other triangle to make a complete square.

For the next step, sew together one of these yellow striped squares and a blue strip. Then attach the final yellow square in the row. Make sure the yellow strip is running in the correct direction. When all is said and done, you should have 3 rows that need to be sewn together to form the block. When the blocks are completed, sew them together in the pattern you desire to form the quilt top.

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