Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Quilt Step 3: Piecing Squares

Friday, March 09, 2012

Before we get started with the next stage of our Strip Around the Block quilt, I want to share with you one of the quilts that was just finished by Sue, one of the sweet ladies in my quilting class.  Isn't it beautiful?  I can only hope that my first attempt comes somewhere close to looking so good.

This was just one of the beautiful quilts that she had just received back from the machine quilter.  Looking at all her work just made me more excited about getting my first one done.  So let's get back to work!

In my last quilting post, our homework was to get all the light and dark strips sewn together in pairs, press the pairs open, and then cut them into 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles.  

We now have 8 sets of light rectangles and 12 sets of dark rectangles and we're ready to start piecing them together.

The next step is to start assembling the center of our squares.  The square are formed by taking two rectangles of the same fabric, turning one of them 180 degrees, and then sewing them together on the long edge.  We'll need a total of 20 light-colored squares and 12 dark-colored squares.  Since we don't have that many individual fabrics, you'll have multiples of some of them.  I just did one set of each color to start and then did additional sets in my favorite fabrics until I had the right number of squares put together.

As you put these together, it's really important that you pay attention to whether or not the points of the squares will line up in the middle and form a perfect "+".  If you've cut your initial fabric carefully, you can actually feel the seams lock together and the outside edges of the fabric squares will also line up perfectly.   I was REALLY careful (a.k.a. "anal retentive") about getting my cutting right, so this part was pretty easy for me.   

A pic of some of my centers put together.  The strip on the bottom is part of the next step.

Now that we have our square centers done, let's focus on the band of strips that go around them.  If you have a light-colored fabric in the center, then the band of strips will be dark-colored and vice-versa.  The top is made up of 2 rectangles sewn together lengthwise so that the fabrics alternate (as shown in the above pic).  The bottom is made in this way also.  The sides are just the plain old 2-square rectangles. 

Here's an example of a square where I've sewn the top and bottom rectangles together and I'm getting ready to sew the entire square together.

Start by sewing the two sides on the center square first.  Then sew the top strip on, followed by the bottom strip.  Rinse and repeat until all of these squares are put together. When finished, you'll have 20 squares with light fabric in the middle and 12 squares with dark fabric in the middle.  

You'll probably want to play with your fabrics to see what colors and designs go well together before you start sewing.  I needed a much bigger work surface, so I'm going to use our pool table at home for this purpose.  But you could simply lay it out on the floor if you like.  If I had done that, a certain puppy would have stolen some of my pieces!

Who?  ME?

Well, I have lots of sewing to do (as do you if you're following along!)  Next time, we'll complete the squares and then start putting everything together.  I can't wait!


  1. I just love the fabric you chose for this quilt... Is it readily available at Joannes Fabrics or is from a specialty quilt shop? I cant' wait to see it finished! You"ll be sure to share it with us right? :)

  2. Oh, thank you, Deborah Jean! I'm absolutely in love with that french hen fabric. I bought all but 3 of my fabrics at Joann's and, when I was there yesterday evening, they still had them all in stock. In fact, I had to stop myself from buying an entire bolt of that fabric!

    I'm starting to piece now, and it's so exciting to see everything come together. My hope was that someone might follow along with me, so I will definitely keep posting the steps and the final quilt when it's finished.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  3. I like the chicken material! That will be a very pretty quilt. I'd like to do something vintage after I complete my big one. The biggest issue with getting mine completed is the actual quilting at the end. My machine isn't big enough so I have to pay a long arm quilter. I completed the one for my granddaughter but have 2 sitting here all pieced and nowhere to go. The one I am currently working on (BOM) will be custom quilted so the patterns will be different depending on what part she is working on. The others can have a simple repeat. Good luck on yours. I can't wait to see more photos!


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