The MMQ – Modern Monochromatic Quilt: Block 1 and Border

Urban. Contemporary. Modern.

One might consider those odd words to use to describe quilting – and age old art form.

MMQ - Bordered Block

MMQ – Bordered Block

Blacks and Greys – monochromatic colors were used to create simple blocks for a Modern Monochromatic Quilt.

MMQ - Square in a Square:  Block 1

MMQ – Square in a Square: Block 1

When piecing these simple 10″ blocks with these fabrics, precision becomes most important – and the simplest construction method for precision piecing is Paper Piecing.

Paper Piecing provides a stitching line drawn on paper – which when stitched creates perfect seams every time!

Three Generation Quilt Detail of 1/2" triangles

Three Generation Quilt Detail showing 1/2″ red triangles

The 3-Generation Quilt triangles – some as small as 1/2″ – were all Paper Pieced.

There are many how-to’s for Paper Piecing, this one, by Quilter’s Cache, is very good.

The next few posts will include Paper Piecing Diagrams, block sketches, and finished blocks as the MMQ comes together.

Each finished MMQ block is a 10″ square.  The smaller “design” area within each block is a finished 4″ square.  To create the larger square, the design square is enclosed in a finished 3″ border.

The first 4″ design block is a Square in a Square, based on the Paper Piecing How-To from the Quilter’s Cache Link.

Paper Piecing Diagram for Square in a Square

Paper Piecing Diagram for Square in a Square

Materials:

  • Five or so fabrics in a monochromatic color scheme.
  • Graph Paper (1/4″ squares – best)
  • Sharp pencil
  • Rotary Cutter – with new blade
  • Rotary Cutting Board
  • Rotary Cutting Ruler

This graph paper shows the piecing order for the Paper Piecing.

Square in a Square drawn on Graph Paper

Square in a Square drawn on Graph Paper

The Paper Piecing Diagram should be drawn on graph paper as shown in the Photo.

The seams shown in the Diagram are sewn in rainbow color sequence (ROYGBIV – or Red, then Orange, then Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet!)  All this black and grey just cried out for some color to be used somewhere in the process!).  The pieces are sewn in the numbered sequence

Square in a Square 4" Design Block Sketch

Square in a Square 4″ Design Block Sketch

Here is an electronic sketch of the completed 4″ design block

Using graph paper with diagram drawn on it, place Piece 1 on the back side of the graph paper – right side showing.

Hold up to window to verify Piece 1 is positioned correctly.

Hold up to window to verify Piece 1 is positioned correctly.

I was using a scrap piece of fabric that was just large enough for Piece 1.  To verify that it was positioned correctly, I held it up to the window.  Once all seam lines were covered, it was pinned into place (and held up to the window again – just to be sure!)

Piece 1 and Piece 2

Piece 1 and Piece 2 – flipped and pressed.

Piece 2 was placed right side down directly onto Piece 1 and the Red Seam (between Piece 1 and 2) was sewn.  Piece 2 was then flipped open and the seam pressed.

Pieces 1, 2 and 3

Pieces 1, 2 and 3

Then the same process was repeated for Piece 3 and the Orange Seam.  The seam allowances may be trimmed to 1/2″, but trimming the excess fabric will occur later.

A Square in a Square???

A Square in a Square???

When all four seams are sewn, the resulting design square might look something like this on the right side.  Although it might not be quite what you were expecting – it is correct.

From the paper side, stitch all the way around the 4″ design square, 1/4″ outside the design edge to baste all fabric in place prior to trimming.  Then trim the square to 5″ by cutting 1/2″ from the design edge.

Basting completed.  Green line is cutting line.

Basting completed. Green line is cutting line.

Using 1/4″ graph paper makes these steps very easy –  the basting and the cutting lines were just the next two graph lines.

Cutting away excess fabric.

Cutting away excess fabric.

Square in a Square trimmed and ready for Borders.

Square in a Square trimmed and ready for Borders.

Once the excess fabric and graph paper are cut away, it will form a 5″ square.

The design will more closely resemble the Square in a Square – all ready for the borders!

Border:

Using the rotary cutter, ruler and board, cut a 4.25″ strip of another fabric for the border of the square.   For simplicity, this strip can be the entire 42″ – 45″ width of the fabric.

Four border pieces.

Four border pieces.

Cut two pieces from the strip approximately 6″ long and two pieces approximately 14″ long.

Sew the strips to the top and bottom of the design square along the line defining the edge of the 4″ square.  This should create a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seam allowances toward the border.

Match seam lines (red) and paper piecing sewing lines (blue) to lines on ruler.

Match seam lines (red) and paper 1/2″ seam lines (blue) to lines on ruler.

Place the square with the two border pieces wrong side (paper side) up on the rotary cutting board.

Match the horizontal seams just sewn to horizontal lines on the ruler (red lines in the photos).  Match the left and right 1/2″ seam lines to the 1/2″ line on the ruler (blue lines in the photo).  Matching in two directions helps with “precision.”

Using rotary cutter, carefully trim excess border fabrics from sides.

Trimmed and ready for final border pieces.

Trimmed and ready for final border pieces.

Sew the remaining strips to the sides of the design square along the line defining the edge of the 4″ square.  This should create a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press seam allowances toward the border.

To Square the Squares:

Trimming Required.

Trimming Required.

Obviously, more trimming is required as the final square needs to be “squared.”

Care must be taken at this step to ensure the center 4″ design square remains in the center of the border as the border edges are trimmed.

Trimming more from the top than from the bottom might still result in a square, but the center design square would be off-centered.

Pink Lines - seam lines for center design square.  Green Lines - trim lines.

Pink Lines – seam lines for center design square. Green Lines – trim lines.

To make the process of keeping the squares squared, I placed tape on my rotary cutting board at important measurements.  The center 4″ square should fit between the tapes at 5″ and 9″ on the left and right edges and between the 23″ and 27″ marks on the top and bottom.  Placement is verified with the ruler.

Once the center design square is squared to the taped measurements, move the ruler to the position shown, using the upper tapes as guides, and trim the upper edge.

Move the ruler to the lower edge (the tape at 1.5″ fell off) and trim.

Trimming left edge after aligning edge of ruler with tape.

Trimming left edge after aligning edge of ruler with tape.

Move ruler to left edge and trim (tape is at 30.5″).  Repeat for right edge.

The borders will now be 3.5″ wide – which includes a 1/2″ seam allowance for sewing to the sashing.

Completed Block 1 Front

Completed Block 1 Front

However, sashing is another day…Many squares to complete first!

Completed Block 1 Wrong Side - still has paper on it!

Completed Block 1 Wrong Side – still has paper on it!

The back of the design square still has paper on it!  Time to remove it.

Completed Block 1 Wrong Side - Paper Removed

Completed Block 1 Wrong Side – Paper Removed

Pulling off those last tiny little pieces of paper might require a pair of tweezers!

Block 1 completed!

Only 15 more to go!!!

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This entry was posted in Beginner Sewing Projects, Home Decor, Modern, Quilting, Sewing, Sewing for a Teenager, Tutorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The MMQ – Modern Monochromatic Quilt: Block 1 and Border

  1. Pingback: MMQ Blocks 2, 3 and 4 | The Destashification Project

  2. Pingback: MMQ Blocks 5, 6 and 7: Pinwheel and Variations | The Destashification Project

  3. Pingback: MMQ – A few more blocks | The Destashification Project

  4. Pingback: As Ye Sew, So Shall Ye Rip | The Destashification Project

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