Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Piecing quilt blocks using Fibonacci numbers

As promised here are the instructions for making a quilt block using Fibonacci numbers. I decided to put some pictures in, too, for clarity.

In case you don't know, Fibonacci numbers are those in a series where the next number is always the sum of the 2 previous numbers. the series always starts with 0 and 1.
so, the series is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc.

If you google Fibonacci numbers you will find all kinds of interesting info concerning these numbers and nature, architect and history. quite interesting.

But for our purposes today, we just want to make a quilt block (or 12). LOL

You start with 2 yards of fabric...1 of each light and dark  or contrasting   or coordinating   or whatever you like. if you cut the fabric exactly as the numbers indicate, you will be able to make 4 blocks from the 2 yards of fabric and your blocks will come out 18" square. if you add 1/2" to the numbers for seam allowances you will only get 2 blocks for your 2 yards of fabric and your block will be 19 1/2" square (19" after using it in a quilt.)

take a piece of paper and draw 5 little squares on it. this will be your 'pattern'. in those squares put the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, no particular order. but once you put your numbers in, don't cheat and change them.

in my first blocks with my black and white fabric like this i used 3 2 8 1 5 as my number sequence that went into the little squares:


they became these blocks. i cut them as indicated without adding seam allowances and came out with 4 blocks that were 18" square. you will get 2 of each colorway.

Pay no attention to the wonky blocks...that are hanging crooked. LOL

For this demonstration i went to the stash to see what i could find. i wondered if a stripe would work...only one way to find out. so i am using this purple floral stripe and a light purple dot. now take your paper with the squares drawn it and put the numbers 1,2,3,5,8 into the any order. for this fabric i am using: 5 1 2 8 3


i laid out my fabric on top of each other so i could cut them both at the same time. fold your fabric with the selvages at the top so you are cutting across the width of the fabric.

you are going to cut (from both fabrics...across width of fabric) a strip 1"; 2"; 3"; 5"; and 8".
here are the fabrics cut into the strips...i pulled them apart a little so you could see that i have a strip of each fabric cut into each width.

now you are going to look at your little squares with the numbers in them and pile your fabrics into 2 stacks according to your numbers. remember, mine were 5 1 2 8 3 .  so my fabrics are stacked up with the 5" strip on top, with the 1" under that, and the 2" under that, etc.  you will alternate between the 2 fabrics when you stack. look at the photos and notice the top stack has the dot fabric on the top and the bottom stack has the floral strip on top. that is what you want. in the order of your numbered squares.

now take these stacks to your sewing machine and stitch the rows together, in order. you will have 2 large pieces. here are mine....but i just noticed they are upside down in the picture. ignore that part. LOL   they are stitched in order, 5 1 2 8 3...this picture shows them from right to left..yours should be left to right. or, it really doesn't matter which way you long as you are consistent with each stack and follow your number sequence. remember, no cheating.

now press them a bit. if you press each piece the same they will nest nicely together when you stitch them again. for instance, press both pieces to the left.

now, lay them together like you did with your beginning yards of fabric. you can put them on top of each other. this shows my fabrics on top of each other. you want to make sure that the various widths line up correctly. for instance, the 5" strip of one on top of the 5" strip of the other. both pieces should match according to the width of the strips. if they don't you will have to take them apart and resew correctly. (i did that once.)

now we are going to crosscut these pieces. again, cutting the same widths: 1", 2", 3", 5", 8". if you are cutting exactly, you can cut 2 of each of these widths and get 4 blocks. if you are adding 1/2" seam allowances, you will only be able to cut 1 strip of each and get 2 blocks. here they are, crosscut into the proper widths.

Now we are ready to stack them up again...according to the numbers in your squares. remember to alternate between the colors of fabrics. here are mine in my sequence of 5 1 2 8 3. take them to your machine and sew them together once again.

now press and your blocks are done. you might want to trim them up a bit if needed. now you have 2 (or 4) blocks and you can make a wallhanging, table runner or small quilt. or make more blocks and make a bigger quilt.  here are the 2 that i made. i think i will make a table runner with these 2. i'm not sure i like the stripe and dot but they gave their life willingly for this demonstration. LOL

I promise this is much simpler than the instructions look. once you start and do it once you will see it is a piece of cake. if you have any questions or problems let me know.

have fun and let me know how you do.

1 comment:

Ellice said...

This is a very good explanation, I have been searching for this for 18 months. Thank you for sharing this & I will now be able to plan my second " from scratch" quilt. I will actually know what I am doing this time. lol

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