Anita's piecing and quilting tutorials

A new year, a new house, a renewed blog, a new focus on my quilting. My plans are to show more "how to" posts about quilting.

Ten to what tutorial

I rarely use an actual pattern to piece a quilt. I prefer to see the design in a photo and come up with my own dimensions and piecing steps.  I wrote this post way back in 2016 but never actually published it.  I no longer have the magazine or the finished quilt but thought I would go ahead and publish it to clean up the blog dashboard.  Maybe someone will find it useful.

This is a picture of the inspiration for this quilt. I want to give credit where credit is due.  The photo I saw as inspiration was from the magazine Fabric Trends for Quilters, Spring 2008 issue, page 44, a design called Opposites Attract, by Kathy Brown for Troy Corp. 

Kathy Brown gives cutting and piecing instructions to create twelve 18″ blocks which make a quilt that’s 70 x 88.   She cut individual pieces of fabric to make her quilt.  I prefer to start with a square of fabric then piece a block backwards.  What I mean is to start with the square, make a cut, sew back together, make another cut, sew back together, etc until the finished block is pieced.  Some might call it “slice and dice” or “disappearing” or something similar.

I’m putting the instructions here so you can try out my technique yourself. I started with 30 squares of fabric cut 10″ square. I used 15 light and 15 dark.

I start by pairing up one light square with one dark square, right sides together.  You will have a stack of 15 pairs.  Cut these in half right down the middle of each pair.  They will be 5 x 10.  Pin the cut halves together and sew at the newly cut side.  Half will be sewn on the right side and half will be sewn on the left side.
You should then press the seam toward the darker side. Pressing is a very important step in the creation of this quilt. You must press correctly at each step. If it isn’t pressed the right direction you will get fabric warts at the corners.  Fabric warts are not good in a quilt.  Fabric warts are thick spots of fabric that can break a needle.

Now turn the sewn blocks a quarter turn and cut down the middle again. The blocks should now look like this.  Half will have the pink fabric at the top and half will have the green.

Turn the stack on the right around so it looks like this.  You are going to sew them together into a four patch.
I always pin my pieces together before sewing. For this quilt, I match the center seams very carefully and pin there first. If I’ve done this correctly the seams will lock together because they are now pressed in opposite directions.  Next, I pin together each end.  Ok, another bit of caution here. Be sure you sew the blocks back together correctly. If you get one turned wrong it won’t work.  Every time you sew the pieces back together they must be sewn at the same side as just cut.
So here they are pinned and ready to sew together again.
This next step is done so that the pressing can be done correctly and to give you very flat intersections. No fabric warts.  You have one seam going vertical and one going  horizontal.
You want to frog out the stitches of the previous seam just to where it meets the newest sewn seam. I colored this with a blue marker so it would show up on camera.  Click the photo for a closer view.  With my machine the picking out is only two stitches.  Yours might be different.
You will now press the seams with one side going up and one side going down on the back. This forms a tiny four patch at the seam intersections on the back. Isn’t that cute? Turn the block over and press again. Feel the intersection with your finger. It’s very flat. No wart.
Now you will cut the block again. This time measure from the center seam over to the right 1 1/2″ for the cut. If you are left handed you will want to cut on the opposite side for all the cuts.

Turn the cut piece on the right around so that the dark is next to the light and pin together being careful to match the center seam so it locks together. In this picture it looks like I pinned a dark to a dark but that’s only because the piece underneath is just 1 1/2″ wide.  Its hidden.
Once again you are going to frog out the previous stitching just until it meets the newest sewn line and press the seams in opposite directions.
Now you have two tiny four patches on the back. You will repeat this step of frogging and pressing for every seam you sew. I won’t bore you by repeating it each time.
Your block should now look like this from the front.  You are going to turn the block 180 degrees so the newest sewn seam is now on the left of the center seam.
Measure from the center seam 1 1/2″ to the right and cut again.
Turn the cut off pieces so that you have a dark next to a light.
Pin together being careful to lock the center seams first and sew these back together.

By now you can see that you are getting a pretty good collection of four patches on the back.

Ok, now you will need to turn your block so that you are cutting across all the previous seams. measure from the center seam over to the right 1 1/2″ and cut. Like this.
Turn the cut off pieces so that dark is next to light and pin together. Be careful to match up all your seams so they lock together. I find it easiest to start with the center one and move out. Sew these back together and make your tiny four patch on the back.
Take a look at the tiny four patches now. See how I continue to press the seams in opposite directions? Not one fabric wart in these blocks.
Now you are going to turn the block 180 degrees and cut 1 1/2″ from the center on the opposite side. This should be opposite the last seam sewn. Be careful not to cut the wrong side.

 Turn the cut piece around, pin locking the seams, and sew back together.

 Oh look, now there are several tiny four patches on the back.
This is what your block should look like now. A four patch in the center and squares in the corners. If necessary, square up the blocks before sewing into rows.

 Sew all your blocks together matching a dark and a light then you’re done. I sewed them in 5 rows of 6. Oh? You thought you could stop making tiny four patches? Well, to avoid any fabric warts do the pressing the same as you did for creating the blocks. Ta Da! A finished charity quilt top. Hmm…. Should I put a border on it to make it larger before quilting? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll decide that when this top gets it’s turn on the quilting machine.

I wrote this tutorial post about two years ago then forgot all about it when life got in the way.  I came across it while doing a declutter of my computer and my blogs.  I don’t know what happened to the top. I’m pretty sure I finished it and gave it away.  I can’t find any photos of it finished though.

2 comments on “Ten to what tutorial

  1. Maria Geary
    February 5, 2018

    Wow! This is some detail and definitely worth bookmarking. Thanks for sharing and the work you put in to make the instructions very clear.

    • Anita
      February 7, 2018

      Thank you Maria. I hope to write more instruction posts soon.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 1, 2018 by in QUILT PIECING, Slice and dice to a top.
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