Swap Block Tutorials

Welcome to the tutorials page of past Fun With Barb Swap Blocks.  Here you will find tutorials for:

3" Nine Patch
4" Bow Tie
4" Broken Dishes
6" Churn Dash
6" Star Block

Nine Patch Tutorial - 2014 - 3" Finished Block
**You can make any size by taking your finished size + 1 1/2" for the starting square**
Cut 2 squares of contrasting fabrics, 4 1/2" each - (one light and one dark)
Place right sides together.
With right sides together, sew the outer edges (all seams 1/4").  I pinned in the middle to keep it lined up nicely.

Cut a 1 1/2" strip from the raw edges on both sides that have been stitched.

Press the pieced strips to the dark side.  Line up the free strip with the stitched strips to form opposite sets.  Stitch and press again to the dark side.

Now sandwich the them together finger pressing to nestle the seams.

Stitch each side on the short side as shown.

Cut 1 1/2" strips from the raw edges on the sides you just sewed.

Arrange the free strip to make 2 opposite 9-patches (an X and a O patch)

Stitch to complete the set (2 opposite blocks).

I like to press the last seams open to make them lay nice and flat.

In no time at all you'll have a nice little pile of 3 1/2" (3" finished) nine patches!

Bow Tie Block - 2015 
This is a 4" finished block
2 - 2 1/2" squares of printed fabric (the bow)
2 - 1 1/2" squares of printed fabric (the bow)
2 - 2 1/2" squares of background (muslin or grey)
Mark a line diagonally on the smaller square.  Take care, you may want use a sandpaper board as the pieces are quite small.  I glued sandpaper to a clip board for mine.
Sew the small square onto a corner of your background just to the right of the drawn line.  This allows for the tiny bit you loose when you press.
Press toward the dark side.  I like to use a hot dry iron for this as steam sometimes causes skewing of the fabric.
Trim away the background and the first layer of printed fabric.
Sew the 2 1 /2" printed patch to the to the background patch.  Press toward the bow fabric- please don't skip this step!
Sew the two units together.  Press the last seam OPEN.  Please press this seam open so they lay flat.  Last time a few swappers who didn't do this step.
Now admire your little 4 1/2" (unfinished) little bow tie block.

Broken Dishes Swap Tutorial - 2016
The block finishes at 4"
Method #1 - This is my preferred method, as it made the most accurate HST.

Trianges on a Roll - Thangle Method
Here is a link to Amazon You can also find them at some quilt shops.

Place fabrics with right sides together and pin the paper to secure it.  I like to leave a little around the edges.  Be sure to line it up straight on the grain.  We don't want wonky blocks.
 It is so easy to follow the arrows - you won't miss a minute of the Olympics.
Use a sharp rotary cutter and ruler to carefully cut the units.
Once you have removed your papers, you are ready to press - please use starch as it helps keep them square. Press toward the red.
Please trim your dog ears before you continue.
Arrange your block before sewing.  I sewed several incorrectly while watching TV -  is is easier to mess up than you think.
Press the first units before finishing the block.  I used to try to skip this step - but don't it makes a real difference.
Press the last seam open for a nice flat block.

Method #2 
Making 8 HTS at a time.  This works well, but it is necessary to mark the fabric and trim each unit.

Start with a 6 inch square of each fabric.
Mark a diagonal line cross-wise from each corner - sorry, it's a little hard to see.
Stitch on both sides of the drawn line.  I'm using white thread so you can see it - please use red for modern and off white for repro.
Cut the units apart using a good sharp rotary blade and ruler.
Press well to the red side.
Measure!! and trim units as needed - be sure to keep the angle square.  2 1/2" unfinished.
Snip those ears.
As in Method #1 - arrange and sew.
 Press sub-units
 Press the last seam OPEN.

If you like to do them 2 at a time that is fine.  If you have another method of making HST that is fine too as long as your measurements are correct.

2018 Churn Dash -  2018
6" Finished Block

For each block you will need:  (measurements are unfinished)
4 - 2 1/2" half square triangles
4 - 2 1/2" strip sets made with 2 1 1/2" strips
1 - 2 1/2" center square.

I like to use Triangles on a Roll because there is no trimming and they are accurate.  You can use your favorite method but you must achieve a 2 1/2" unfinished HST.
Pin with flat pins, sew in the direction shown on the paper, shorten your stitch length for easy paper removal.  You can purchase this at your LQS or on line.

Check to make sure your HST is 2 1/2"

Make strip sets with  1 1/2" strips.
 Cut 2 1/2" units.
Cut 2 1/2" center squares:
Layout your block
Sew together into 3 horizontal sections and PRESS LIKE THIS:  Ooops - there is a pressing error here !!  yikes.  don't do it like this.
Viola!  Please check your size NOW.  You have to be with 1/8" of 6 1/2" unfinished.


Sandy said...

Excellent tutorials. The 9-patch one is brilliant!

QuiltGranma said...

Thank you so much for these tutorials! Very helpful!