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Friday Tuts – Granny Square Block Tutorial

Friday’s tutorial this week is one of my favorite quilt blocks.

Several years ago, a little after my love affair with crochet began and I started making pinterest boards about it, I finally sat down and let my grandmother teach me.

It’s slow, time consuming and utterly relaxing.  And it’s for me.  I rarely share my makes or even speak of it much.  It’s just for me.

Our first project together was my granny square afghan (don’t know what granny squares are?  See here.) which took me two years.  Yes, two years!  I told you I was slow.

Anyway, this path down crochet took me to a path of a quilt block called Granny Square.  A quilt block that mimicked a crochet square.  I loved it.

Need to see more?

Here is the breakdown of a granny square.

The middle ring or very center is baby.

The ring around the baby is momma.

The ring around momma is granny.

This quilt block has other names as well like Grandmother’s Choice or Grandmother’s Pride, but you get it.  They are all about the same thing.

What’s cool about this block is that the squares are set on point within it.  AND color combination possibilities are endless.

You can do the momma ring all the same fabrics, as well as the granny ring (just like a crochet square).  OR you can say, “hey, this block here with empty out my 2.5″ scrap bin ALL DAY LONG.”

The Tutorial

For a 9″ block – (13) 2.5″ prints and (12) 2.5″ background squares

Pull out that scrap bin and let’s get to it!

First, lay out your blocks as shown above.

Let me give you a little hint that I use.  This block is a little time consuming and hard to chain piece which is probably a reason I’ve never made a whole quilt with them, but that’s coming for me this summer.  I’m determined!  Cut pieces of batting, let’s say more than 16″ square, and several of them like 20-30 or whatever you want.  I don’t know about you, but I always have lots of unusable leftovers of batting so this isn’t too wasteful.  With your scrap bin on one side of you and your batting squares on the other, you can lay out each block on your batting squares, then take all of them to the sewing machine and start sewing one block at a time.  This might speed things up a bit and keep you from going back and forth from your sewing machine to your scrap bins over and over.  Read more about this method from Lori Holt’s blog here.

Next, sew each row together.

Press each row in alternating directions.

Pin your rows together, nesting seams.  And sew them together, then press.

You will run into rows that come up short, but that’s okay, just start where the blocks start.

Note that each row has an extra background square on each end and should look like the above picture.

Keep pinning rows together until they are completed.  Don’t forget those single background squares on the top and bottom.

Keep going!

You should end up with something like this.

Take it to your cutting mat.  Line your ruler up 1/4″ from the corners of your print squares like the picture above and cut.

Just like this.

For this step and since you have to cut all the way around the block.  I pulled out my tiny rotary mat, that way I could swivel it around for each side.  It’s completely unnecessary, but I did move faster because of it.

Then, voila!

So when I make this block later this summer for a full quilt.  I’m going to be making the 10.5″ block and then I will be adding 2.5″ borders all the way around it to bring it to size of 15.5″ (I am on a I WILL NOT USE SASHING rule for awhile.  I found that it really irritates me to make a quilt that way, so no more.  Do what you love right?  And I love piecing blocks, not sashing).

I’m doing this because my 2.5″ square scrap bin is bursting.  I’ll be using low volumes instead of the white of course too.  Extra scrappy.

And using magical camera tricks, here is what a whole quilt of this block would look like.

Eek!  I’m excited to get to this one.  Maybe you will join me?  Let’s say, July?


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  1. If I wanted to make all blocks the same could I strip piece the rows? So sew 5 strips for middle piece then sew 3 strips for next row etc?

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