I'm still messing about with four patches. The blue and white quilt isn't finished but since I started cutting strips for this other project before the blue and white I'm technically not starting something new. Ahhh, rationalization.
I wanted to share this technique for easily making very scrappy four patches so I had to work on this other project.
I keep a stash of 1.5" wide cut strips so they are ready when inspiration strikes. Some days, cutting strips is all I can manage.
I am making 2" x 2" finished square four patches so I cut my strips into 1.5" x 3" rectangles. I have a pile of darks and a pile of lights.
I found something I actually like about my new sewing machine. I can move the needle position just a titch to the right. Moving the needle from the center position to one place to the right gives me a scant 1/4" seam. It's really cut down on my frustration with this machine.
Pair up a dark and light 1.5" x 3" strips and stitch together on the long edge with that scant 1/4" seam.
Press open with the seam toward the dark piece.
Stitch the pairs together into a long strip. Alternate the position of the darks in your strips.
Here is a group of strips I made. For ease of handling I sew about 8 pairs into one long strip. Do not press these seams. That comes later.
Lay your strip on your cutting mat and flip the first pair of strips over so that right sides are together and the stitched seam is on your left.
Measure 1.5" and cut.
After this first cut you will have a four patch (piece in center) and two squares sewn together (piece on left). Set the latter aside for the moment.
Now flip the next little section over so the seam is to your left and cut another 1.5" section.
Keep cutting and flipping and cutting again for the whole strip. When you get to the end, you will have another piece with just two squares.
That can be sewn to the piece you have from the start of this process.
Now is the time to press the seam. I like to press it open. It's quick and the four patch lays flatter.
The reason I like to sew with a scant 1/4" seam is so that it is just a bit bigger than I need and I can trim the finished four patch so that it measures exactly 2.5". Now is the time to trim up the four patches.
It's not much but I got this little pile from trimming about 24 four patch blocks.
Voila! A bunch of scrappy four patches that are all different and I didn't have to mess with a lot of little squares. I think I'm going to need 320 of them for the quilt I want to make.