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Ed is certainly happy his favorite quilt is new clean!

Ed is certainly happy his favorite quilt is new clean!

I am trying to get more done in the same amount of time, and, surprisingly, doing okay about it. I’ve been keeping up with my NaNoWriMo word counts (you can see my meter on the left side of this blog) and still cooking, transporting Peg and even doing laundry.

I’ve also been working at my new quilt. Black and White and Red All Over? A Tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins? X Marks the Spot? As you can see, I haven’t settled on a name yet, but I do have 20 blocks done.

Actually, I can’t decide if these blocks will form the quilt or the border.

The 20 blocks I've completed so far on this Nameless Quilt (not to be confused with that other nameless quilt...)

The 20 blocks I’ve completed so far on this Nameless Quilt (not to be confused with that other nameless quilt…)

Now, I don’t like making the border before the quilt, but it seems if I set these blocks in twos around the outside of… something… it might make a nifty border. Otherwise, maybe it’s just too bland the way it is…

Okay, so I’m waffling about the design, but at least I’m continuing to make blocks!

What makes the quilt interesting to me is that I’ve adapted a technique that I used to use all the time.

You see, the X blocks are actually 4-patches of what Mary Ellen Hopkins called a “Kansas Dugout” block.

You could make each Kansas Dugout block  by using two solid blocks and two half-square triangle blocks in a 4-patch.

A somewhat blurry version of the Kansas Dugout block, but you get the idea!

A somewhat blurry version of the Kansas Dugout block, but you get the idea!

What Mary Ellen Hopkins did is to cut one big square (in this case, the red one) and lay two smaller squares on diagonal corners, sew down the diagonal, flip back the triangles to the corners.

Then you could trim the center of the three layers (keeping the back one to show you how big the block was really supposed to be if you wobbled on your sewing and couldn’t make the top triangle make it to the corner.)

I’ve modified it so that I do the “persnickety part” (i.e. the trimming) up front:

Cut out your large square, in my case it’s a 4.5″ square)
Cut out your small square.In my case it was 3″ square. I determined this by knowing that if I had used half-square triangles, I would have had a finished size of 2″.To cut the triangles for a HST, I simply add 1″ to the desired finished dimension (the “official rule of thumb” says 7/8, but it’s easier to just add a whole inch.)  DSC03487
Cut your triangle on the diagonal.(Remember there’s probably a diagonal line on your ruler which you can use to line up on the bottom of your square to make sure your diagonal line is a perfect 45 degrees!)  DSC03489
If you were following Mary Ellen Hopkins’ instructions, you would have cut your square at 2.5″ So, at this point, trim your triangle so it looks like it’s been cut out of a 2.5″ square. DSC03490
If you’re not sure about your ability to sew from corner to corner, you can mark a line on the “wrong” side of the fabric.(Again, use the 45 degree line on your ruler to make sure you draw your line at the correct angle.)  DSC03491
This is how the back of your truncated triangle should look after you’ve finished cutting and marking.  DSC03492
Now you will need to place this triangle in the corner of your larger square. With Mary Ellen Hopkins’ technique, it’s easy. You just match the corners.But, you don’t have a corner to match. so I just place my rule 2″ from the side of my big square (since the big square is 4.5″ and the small square would be 2.5″ if it were, indeed, a square.)Put one flattened tip of your triangle against the top, one long side of your triangle against the ruler, and the other flattened tip should be on the adjacent side of the square.  DSC03493
Now you’re ready to sew, flip and press as in Mary Ellen Hopkins’ original instructions.But, you no longer have to trim the middle, so you’re saving that step and the fabric you may have felt you “wasted.”

Sorry if the post is not edited as nicely as usual. I may come back and fix it later. If anyone has any questions, please leave them in the comments.

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