Monday, February 28, 2011

4sq blanket tutorial, part one

as i'm starting my sixth 4sq blanket, i'll be photographing the process and sharing the "how to" with you. it'll come in bits and pieces as i work on the blanket, but since it must be completed by thursday night, it shouldn't take too long. i'll be writing for the complete beginner, with lots of details that i hope will answer any questions you might have. if something is not clear, please let me know!

first, we'll start with supplies.

you'll need 4 coordinating fat quarters of 100% cotton material for the front
one yard of coordinating cotton flannel for the back
two skeins of embroidery floss for the blanket stitching around the edges. (there are two different colors of floss here only because i was debating which to use. any thoughts?)

if your fabric source doesn't sell fat quarters, you can get 1/2 a yard and cut it in half across the width. you'll then have two fat quarters.  normally, when you purchase fabric off the bolt, a 1/4 yard would be cut skinny along the length, from selvage to selvage, measuring 9" by wof (width of fabric), which is commonly 45" or so. but a fat quarter is 1/2 a yard cut in half across the wof so it measures 18" by 1/2 wof. you get the same area, just arranged differently.

on the left is a fat quarter, on the right is a traditionally cut 1/4 yard. you can see a fat quarter is half the length, twice the width. it's short and fat, hence the "fat" quarter.

everyone understand what a fat quarter is now and how to make one if you can't buy it cut that way? good.

step number two once your supplies are assembled will be to prepare the fabric.

at this point, the debate to "wash or not wash" comes in. there's lots of people on both sides of the fence. i've even done both with this blanket. i prefer working with unwashed materials. the theory is that prewashing preshrinks the fabric, saving possible problems later. unwashed fabric is easier to work with. the blankets i've made all used premium fabrics, so there wasn't a problem with shrinkage after washing. totally up to your personal preference. i like quilter carrie nelson's compromise. when she presses all fabric before using, she makes sure to steam them. this causes fabrics that will shrink to shrink some before you start without having to wash them. that's what i do.

so if you have all materials ready, steam press your fabrics, then square them off with your rotary cutter or make a paper pattern and cut them out. i'll explain how to do that next! go get your stuff and press it, then see me back here.

1 comment:

  1. You are inspiring me! I get to come for a visit in April! I'll give you details soon.


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