quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

4th UFO Quilt-Top Finished: Disappearing Four-Patch

The Disappearing Four-Patch quilt top is done— ready to fold and put away until it’s time to quilt it.  

Last time I wrote, I was still putting the blocks together.  That went pretty quickly, and then the step I’d been dreading had arrived:  It was time to figure out which block was the smallest and trim down all the blocks to the same size.  

I’d expected this to be unpleasant.  Either boring or difficult.  Maybe even both.  As it turned out (who would’ve thunk it?!), it actually wasn’t too bad.  

At first, I thought I’d hold two blocks together, choose the smaller, and work my way through the whole stack this way until I was left with the smallest block.  I started doing this, but immediately decided that I hated that method and that it might be easier to just use a ruler.  (I know.  Using a ruler to measure things?  Unheard-of!)  

I’m not a big measure-er.  I have vague memories of not liking the “learn to measure things with a ruler” lessons in elementary school, and some of that has stuck with me all these years.  I don’t trust my ability to measure things with precision.  Yes, I do use rulers all the time in quilting, but I still don’t love the idea of measuring a stack of blocks.  But… It really didn’t take long at all.  It was almost instantly obvious what size would work best (18″ squares), and before long I’d measured all the blocks to double-check that they were big enough.  

Phew.  That was done.  Next, I needed to trim them.  Because I didn’t have a singe ruler large enough to simply put down and cut around the edges, I also dreaded this step, so I left it for the next day.  

Next morning, I figured out how to use three rulers to get the job done:


Step 1:  Put the 12.5″ square ruler on the block, with the 6″ lines in both directions lined up as near as possible along the central seams of the block.  

On two sides of the ruler, I needed to measure an additional 3″ to reach my goal of 18″ (9″ from the central seam).  On the other two sides (the ones with the extra half inch), I needed 2.5″ more from the edge of the original ruler. 

Step 2:  Put a weight on the ruler to help hold it steady.  (I used a heavy stack of two ceramic bowls that were nearby.)  

Step 3:  Lay a 3″-wide ruler along the two sides of the 12.5″ ruler that need an addition 3″.  Trim those sides, rotating the cutting mat between cuts, if necessary.

Step 4:  Lay a 2.5″-wide ruler along the remaining two sides of the 12.5″ ruler and trim them, as well, rotating the mat as needed to get a good angle for trimming.  

I was lucky that I had both a 3″ and 2.5″ ruler.  The narrower of the two was a bit short, but it wasn’t difficult to just scoot it up the edge of the square ruler and finish each side in three shorter cuts instead of one long one. 

So, with that, all the most-dreaded parts of this project were done!  I finished trimming down those blocks before the end of the day, tackling them a few at a time between other things.  

Next was choosing a layout.  I tried to find a pleasing arrangement, spacing out the colors, prints, and contrast for the best effect.  (This is always more difficult than it seems.)

And then I sewed them all together!  Because these blocks are so large, I didn’t even attempt any webbing.  I just joined each row, then put the rows together.  

Now this new quilt-top joins the rest that are waiting for their final transformation into fully-fledged quilts.  (Someday…)

– – – – – – –

At this point, I don’t have many quilt-related UFOs, unless you count the quilt-tops that need quilting.  (In my mind, those are two very separate things.)  There are many quilt projects I have in mind, and materials waiting to be used for them, but not much that’s been started and abandoned or “paused”.  I think I’ve done enough, at present, to get the UFOs under control.  I’m allowing myself to start something new for piecing in the next day or two.  (…But maybe I’ll try to get back to work on the FMQ backlog soon, too…)


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

Recent Posts