Sunday, January 1, 2012

Castle in the Air

Castle in the Air
I am part of a row robin that is just getting started.  That means all the members in the group – we are 7 – makes a row of 48”in length.  Then the row is sent to a member and that member adds a row.  Until it has made the rounds.  Everyone ends up with a unique top.  Additionally we make an extra block that is signed and dated.  This block will be incorporated into the back and documents who contributed to the quilt.

So I selected Castle in the Air as the pattern.  I figured it was an easy pattern, should someone decide to replicate it.  It seems at least one member in the group is a beginner unsure of her abilities.  Since it is a 9 patch based design, almost any other such design should work well with it.  I’m curious what my top will look like at the end!

The basic pattern is found here.  However, I found some of the measurements a bit too stingy and I have another way to piece it that is easier.  So I thought I would share that with you here.

This pattern uses three colors.  I used green, yellow and a print.  I will call them colors A, B and C respectively.

You will need to cut the following pieces:
For the center block: one 4 ½ by 4 ½ inch piece of color A and four 2 ⅜ by 2 ⅜ squares of color B.
For two of the corners: one 5 by 5 inch of color A and one 5 by 5 inch of color B.
For the other two corners: one 5 by 5 inch of Color A and one 5 by 5 inch of color C.
For the middle side blocks: one 5 ½ by 5 ½ inch blocks of colors A and B and one 5 by 5 of color C.

To make the center block:  
Rights sides together.  Align one of the small squares on corner of the large square and sew the diagonal (best to mark this first) from the middle of one of the large square sides to the other.  Trim the outer part to ¼ inch and press the seam open.  Repeat for all four corners.  Trim this snowball block to 4 ½ by 4 ½ inches.
Snowball sub block: trimming the corners after sewing
Snowball sub block completed

To make the corner blocks: 
Right sides together.  Lay the lighter colored square on top of the darker (Colors A and B).  Mark the diagonal and then mark a ¼ inch line either side.  Make sure you account for the marker width and needle width when marking and sewing so that your seam is truly ¼ inch away from the diagonal!  Cut along the diagonal and press the seam open.  Trim the two half square triangles to 4 ½ inches square, making sure the diagonal seam ends cleanly at the corners.  Repeat this with the blocks of colors A and C.
Corner block: diagonal and sewing lines marked.
Corner block trimming to 4.5 inches.
To make the side blocks:
Using the same technique as for the corner block, sew ¼ inch away from the diagonal line using the 5 ½ inch square blocks (Colors A and B).  Trim these two half square triangles to 5 inches square.  Lay the 5 inch square of color C right side up and one the half square triangles you just made on top, right side down.  Mark the diagonal that runs perpendicular to the seam.  Mark the ¼ inch seam lines either side and sew.  Cut along the diagonal and trim this quarter square – half square combination to 4 ½ inches square.
Marking the diagonal and seams for the side blocks.
Lay out the blocks according the pattern shown in the picture at the beginning of this post.  Sew the blocks together in rows and then the rows together to form the blocks.  Be careful to match seams and to sew just outside of the points as needed.  Trim the final block to 12 ½ inches square, making sure you leave about ¼ inch space at the outer points.

Here's what the row looks like:
Castle in the Air row
With respect to pinning, I have discovered a neat pin that makes this much easier to do: Clover double pins.   They are pricey, but you really only need them at the places to be matched. Use regular pins for in between.  I imagine you could go halfsies with someone and still end up with plenty of pins.  They are made of steel, so you really don’t want to hit one while sewing, but they hold the match point firmly and totally worth getting.


Erilyn said...

Hi Monica. Happy New Year! I like this block in a row (more than by itself) - it looks great with the 3 colours you have chosen. Hope you have fun with the challenge.

Monica said...

Thanks, Erilyn
I wanted a block that wasn't intimidating and would play well with most anything else. I am very interested in seeing what will happen with this row as it wanders through the group!