Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zig Zag Path Block - November 2010 (Heidi)

Nittany Block Party – November
Heidi Elliott (heidielliott)
Nittany Block Party November

Is it really November already? Boy, time files when your quilting with your online friends :) Here is the tutorial I whipped up for my Nittany Block Party quilting bee for the Zig Zag Path block from Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs. Maggie credits Susan Dague with this block circa 1999.

Zig Zag Path (finished)


(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Dark Grey Background Fabric
(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Orange Swirly Fabric
(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Blue or Green Thyme Fabric

9 5.5" squares

Making Half-Square Triangles

One of the grey background squares set aside for the middle square of this nine-patch block. Then take the remaining (8) 5.5” squares and create the following pairs (right-sides of the fabric facing one another.

(2) green and orange
(1) green and grey
(1) orange and grey

Step 1: Right-sides facing

*Note: The green, blue and orange fabrics are directional prints. We want to make sure they are going in the same direction when we place the right sides facing. Take a look at the folded over edges in the photo above. The green fabric’s print is going up and down with the bulb part at the top. The orange print’s swirls are also going up and down with the fatter part of the swirl at the top.

Get your ruler and marking pencil

Now take you ruler and marking pencil and create a diagonal line down the centers of the squares. This is a 45-degree line down the center of the square.

Line up along the diagonal

Use your washable pencil to make the guideline

You will be sewing 1/4" seams on either side of this line. Start off by placing your first paired square underneath your sewing machine’s foot. Align the guideline mark to the right where it touches the 1/4” guide on the foot.

Line up guideline at the 1/4" mark

Sew from one corner of the square along the guideline to the other corner. Now, you might normally pull off the finished square and add the second one. During which you would have to cut the thread to remove the square completely from the sewing machine.

Let us chain piece these squares instead. Chain piecing is where you keep feeding your squares or pieces of paired fabric though the foot of your machine. It creates this long line of stitched pieces. It speeds up piecing because you are not stopping to cut away each individual piece after you sew it together.

Now back to your freshly sewn squares sitting just past your foot. Pull slightly on the finished square to pull it a little away from the needle and foot area. This will give you a little slack in the thread between your first sewn set of squares and the next.

Then lift up your foot slightly and slide in the second set of squares to be sewn under the foot. You align the guideline to the right of the foot at the 1/4” again. Now slowly start to sew.

You can easily chain piece these

Repeat these steps for the third and fourth sets of squares.

In the end, you have all four sets sewn connected to one another by small sections of thread.

Result of chain piecing

All tied together

Now before you take that last square off, you can cut it away from the rest of the chain and continue to chain the squares through to sew the other seam for the Half Square Triangles.

Before removing the final square

Leaving the fourth set of squares under your foot. Cut the threads between the three sets still on the chain.

Pull slightly on the squares still under your foot a little away from the needle and foot area. This will give you a little slack in the thread between your last set of sewn squares and the next.

Then lift up your foot slightly and slide a set squares to be sewn under the foot. You align the guideline to the right of the foot at the 1/4” again. Since you have already sewn one seam down the square you will need to sew another seam on the opposite side. Once the square is under your foot, slowly start to sew.

Start sewing your second seam

Cut away the square that has only one seam sewn of the front of you new chain. Then chain sew the other three squares. Once again, you already have one seam done on the remaining three squares. Feed the squares into the foot so that the new seam is on the opposite side.

You do not have to do the chain sewing at all. I just like to do it because it makes piecing go faster.

You should now have four squares with two seams on each square.

All seams finished

Take them to your cutting matt. Place your rotary cutter ruler a square where the 1/4” line is aligned with one of your seams.

Place your ruler on the seam

The edge of the ruler should be aligned with the center guideline you drew. Cut the square in half creating two triangles.

After cutting

Cut all three remaining squares the same way. You should end up with 8 triangles.

Finished cutting

Take your triangles to your ironing board and press the seams out. Flip it over to the right side facing you and press flat.

Press seams open

You have finished 8 Half Square Triangles, HST for short :)

You now have 8 HST

We are going to square up our HSTs a little before combining them to make the finished Zig Zag Path block. So take out your trusty ruler that has a 45-degree line across it. I use my 6” square-up block.

With the right side of the fabric facing you, place the 45-degree guideline of the ruler on the diagonal seam of the HST. Move your squaring template so that you have a little bit of fabric on the side and bottom past the 5” marks of the template. You should see excess fabric now at the top and side.

Square up

Cut off the top and side excess with your rotary blade using the sides of the template as guide. Then flip the template around and align the 45 degree guideline with your center diagonal seam. Align the 5” marks of the template with the sides you just cut the excess off.

You should see excess on the bottom and side of the block now. Once again use your rotary cutter and template to cut away the excess.

Repeat the squaring up process on your 7 remaining HSTs AND the 5.5” grey background square we set aside earlier. You should end up with a pile of small slivers like this :)


Now arrange your HSTs and the one solid grey block in the following configuration:

All three rows in place

Sew the rows in the following order, pressing the seams open after each step.

Flip center vertical row on 1st row

Flip the final vertical row

Horizontal Rows finished

Flip top horizontal row down onto middle on

1st and Middle row attached

Flip bottom row up onto center row

You now have the final Zig Zag Path (nine patch) block :)

Zig Zag Path (finished)

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