Value Added, Bargain Basement - part 23
This is part 2 of the Bargain Basement quilt along. Before going on, you might want to pop back to part 1 for a refresher about the overall quilt structure and its inspiration.. Bargain Basement is a one-patch value quilt organized as interlocking crosses. This is an intermediate to advanced quilt. While there aren't any fancy techniques, it does involve bias edge sewing or foundation piecing. I am demonstrating on a square quilt, but you can easily make things bigger or smaller by adding more rows or columns of crosses.
Picking Fabrics and the Background
Each cross section has a total of three fabrics - one light, one dark and one for the quilt background. You can choose any background fabric that you'd like or you can omit the background all together. I used a black and white tight pinstripe that reads a dark grey. You'll noticed some of my fabrics are darker than the background fabric. Some are lighter. It's up to you to decide if you want your background fabric to stand out quite boldly (with a very dark or black) or blend subtly (with a mid-level value in line with your dark fabrics) I'd suggest a solid or a design that is subtle like pinstripes, small dots or a cross hatch.
The background is used in two ways. It is the filler around the edges quilt which helps bring things to square.
Combined in these ways, background fabrics give additional repetition and continuity to the quilt. Of course, you can omit the background fabric all together or vary the placement for other interesting effects.value is relative. The contrast in these blocks can be subtle or strong as long as the darker print is always in the same place.
Can you see the lights and darks? Sometimes the difference is quite strong and other times it is quite subtle. The lower left and right hand corners of my quilt illustrate both high and low contrast. Don't stress though. Even if you get one set of values wrong, you're quilt will still be gorgeous!
Layout and Templates
Now let's look more at the layout:
I've highlighted one of the interlocking crosses in red.. For visual simplicity, I've rotated it and broken it into it's square parts. I hope that part is clear. Each cross is comprised of five squares each with four triangles 2:1 triangles. There are a few special cases at the edges to bring the quilt to square which I'll cover later. In the mean time, you should have enough to get started today!
Whether you are doing traditional piecing or foundation piecing, we generally want to make five squares of four triangles each. Three of those blocks are made using two each of light and dark fabric. The other two blocks use two light, one dark and one background fabric. How easy is that?
For those who want to forge ahead, you can download the documents. My templates make 2" x 4" triangles. Because this is a one patch quilt though, you can make the triangles any size as long as you maintain the 2:1 aspect ratio.
- foundation piecing templates, page 1 standard cases
- foundation piecing template, page 2 special cases
The templates are A4 - please be sure to print with no scaling and check the test box to make sure they are correct.
If you are doing traditional piecing and you want to save yourself trouble cutting templates, I have a few shortcuts for you. First, Sizzix and Accuquilt make dies in the right aspect ratio. This is the easiest way to save time!
I cut all of my triangles using Sizzix die 657622 which was designed to make 4" squares using triangles. In the spirit of disclosure though, I should mention two caveats with my recommendation: early versions of this die are mislabeled as having an equilateral triangle. It is correctly called isoceles. Secondly, I personally avoid the clear Sizzix dies . I think they are a bit of a gimmick because they aren't laid out as efficiently and aren't as robust as other Sizzix dies. I truely love my Sizzix machine, but I don't think their clear dies with their silly layout are on par with the original quilting dies. I'm recommending the 657622 because it's the right size and saves cutting. Not because it's a great die with efficient layout. I bought mine specifically for this project from Tracy at Annie Designs.
If you own an Accuquilt, the Triangles in a Square also has the right aspect ratio, but results in smaller 1.5" x 3" finished triangles. I haven't personally tried this die, but mathematically it should be spot on resulting in a smaller project. You'll want to add more rows and columns if you use this smaller size.
A third easy option is to have an acrylic template with a 26.57 degree 2:1 triangle made up for you. Many shops provide this service or you can use Ponoko, where I've successfully designed and cut templates for myself.
No matter how you decide to cut your triangle, you'll need the same number of pieces. You'll need 10 light fabrics, 8 dark fabrics and 2 background fabrics for each cross.
Make sure you cut all the triangles in the same way with the right side consistently facing up. It's tempting to cut folded fabric. If you do, you'll end up with triangle oriented in the opposite direction. No fun there!
Assembling the triangle together is going to take a bit of practice. Due to the 1/4" seam allowance, you need to carefully very carefully align the pieces so that the sewing needle intersects both triangles at exactly 1/4" in. from the edge. This is going to take practice. At first, you may want to mark the points of the triangle and pin them in place. (Tip: You can mark the by using your ruler and lightly drawing the 1/4" seams on the fabric. After a few times, you'll get the hang of it and may be able to skip this in the future!)
Practice a bit and eventually, you'll get the hang of it. When you do, the result should be a rectangle that is 2 1/2" wide by 4 1/2" tall including seam allowance. You'll have a tiny dogear to trim away from your seams. Just chop that puppy right off.
This is the building block to make our squares which in turn makes the crosses. . Your piecing should look like this: Notice that the seam does not intersect the corners of the rectangle. The seam sits exactly 1/8" in from the long edge of the rectangle. This is due to the 2:1 slope. You may be tempted to trim the rectangles so the intersection is in the corner. Don't! That will only cause you grief later on.
You'll need to make ten 2:1 rectangles. Eight will be made of your light and dark fabrics. Two will be made from your light and background fabrics. Then join them together into pairs as shown above resulting in 5 squares. We're going to hold there for today.
If you prefer to do foundation piecing, I've provided templates for 2"x4" finished triangles. You can, of course, draft your own in smaller or largers. For now using page 1 standard cases will get you exactly up to the same point as the tradional piecing tutorial above. In the next post, I'll talk about the special cases on page 2 and the filler templates.
Enough for now...
I think that's probably enough to take in for now. It's a challenging quilt. Hopefully that gets you started. If you do have questions or problems with the templates, feel free to ask in the Value Added group or in the comments. I'll try to help you out.