Thursday, March 29, 2018

Northwind, a tutorial

So I like traditional blocks! My sister found me this booklet at the local thrift store, known for its craft supplies, and when I was assigned my palette, and was thinking about what to do with it, I thought, it’s the perfect time to bring out Northwind!

My finished mini! It's about 12 inches square, though not square.
So, the booklet (Northwind Quilts by Sharyn Squier Craig) does of course have instructions for making the block, but at a larger size (actually three sizes, 4.5, 6, and 7.5 inches and Quilter's Cache has a 12" block). My block finishes at 3.75” and it is a bit haphazard, so if you want an exact block where the points are perfect this may not be the tutorial for you. (Also the booklet has alternate pieced blocks and setting ideas, so I'm not saying don't look at the book. It certainly was my starting point! I just like to work small.)

Unpieced pieces verses finished block, please forgive the 80s color scheme!
For the large triangles I cut 3.75” squares of fabric with my 3” half square triangle die for my sizzix big shot - which is approximately equal to a 3 3/8" square bisected. And I used 2” squares, bisected, to make my small triangles. I just free cut them with scissors. This is where I suspect the wonkiness of the blocks come in. (Also I didn’t trim the complete block to be the same size. I just let it ride.)

NB- I find it easiest to lay the pieces out on a design board by my machine so I can keep track of which goes where.

Take three light triangle and pair them with three dark triangles to make the hst squares that run across the center of the block. Trim the ears and press.

Then, add to each a further little triangle. I don’t generally pin tiny seams, but I did with these, because when I skipped pinning I occasionally sewed the triangle to the wrong side. Trim the ears and press.

 Add the last leg to the triangle you are forming for the center of the block, trim ears and press.

 It will look like this.

 Assemble all the subunits into a line of alternating triangles, trim ears and press. This is a pretty fun shape with possiblities of it's own. Something to think about later, I guess.

Once the center is together, you attach your larger triangles to the sides, trim ears if necessary. Trim the blocks to size if you want. I assembled mine on point, so I made a few blocks that were not complete blocks to fill out the design. Then I quilted it with some walking foot straight lines.

And because I didn’t want to lose too much of the blocks which admittedly were not lined up well, I didn’t trim it square but in a more organic way in order to preserve a few extra points which would otherwise be lost. Putting the binding on was a bit awkward this way, and a bias binding would probably be recommended.

For the record, my color palette for this challenge was pink, grey, black, and pale blue. Not something I would have put together myself!

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