I came home from Quilt Market last Spring with a fun little bundle of nine fat quarters from Cotton + Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics:
These are prints I would not normally choose for myself, which I think is one reason I bought the bundle. The real reason is that they were on sale. I’m shameless that way.
Now what to do with them?
I wanted a quick project that would use as much of each FQ as possible, and the project I came up with is something I call the “Swap Meet”.
The math worked out beautifully – each FQ will yield enough pieces for one block, so you need only to figure out how many blocks you need and buy that number of FQs!
I had nine FQs, and needed twelve for a 42″ x 54″ quilt, so I added three more FQs.
I bought enough of that teal solid to add a 3″ (finished) border.
I divided my bundle into pairs. Each pair needs contrast in value and scale.
I opened and pressed each pair of FQs.
Oops! C+S sneaked a regular quarter-yard cut into the bundle…and it’s a border print to boot. That will not work with this pattern, so I swapped it out for another pink print.
Now it’s time to cut, swap and sew. I decided to work with just one pair of FQs at a time, to avoid confusion. I cut one pair, sewed the blocks, then cut the next pair of FQs. If you prefer to do all your cutting at once, cut a pair, put all the pieces in a zip-bag, then cut the next pair and repeat.
From each FQ, cut one 6.5″ x 20.5″ strip and two 3.5″ x 21″ strips.
Cut the 6.5″ strip into one 6.5″ square and four 6.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles.
Cut each 3.5″ strip into six 3.5″ squares.
Now swap the 6.5″ squares and eight of the 3.5″ squares.
You now have the makings of two blocks. One will have a light star on a dark background, and the other will be a dark star on a light background.
Use the “stitch and flip” method to make four 3.5″ x 6.5″ flying geese units for each block.
If you are not familiar with this method, click HERE for a very good tutorial from Quiltmaker. You’ll notice that Diane folds her squares to find her diagonal sewing line. I prefer to mark mine lightly with a mechanical pencil. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to. You’ll get the same results with both methods.
Sew one flying geese unit to opposite sides of the 6.5″ square.
Sew the remaining 3.5″ squares to the ends of the other two flying geese.
Sew these strips to the top and bottom of the center strip.
Each pair of FQs will give you two blocks.
When all of your blocks are complete, lay them out in a pleasing arrangement, and sew together. I added a 3.5″ (unfinished) border for a 42″ x 54″ quilt top.
For a 54″ x 66″ lap quilt, make twenty blocks, set four across and five down. A 66″ x 90″ twin-size quilt would need 35 blocks, set in seven rows of five blocks. In this case, you would need 36 FQs, and would have one block left over. The dimensions listed also include a 3.5″ (unfinished) border.
Who among us doesn’t have a bunch of FQs that don’t seem to match anything in our stash, whether they are leftovers from project bundles, spoils from the last guild raffle, or FQs purchased in a weak moment when they were on sale. Pair ’em up and the next time you feel like sewing, but don’t want to start a new project, cut a pair or two up and make a few Sawtooth Swap blocks. Set them aside, adding a few to the pile now and again. You’ll be amazed how quickly these blocks multiply! You’ll have a quilt’s worth in no time.