Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Star Struck F-7

What a beautiful little star!  Four main sections, 21 fabric pieces. The seams nest beautifully when sewing the sections together.  In order not to lose the outermost points, you must take care to sew scant seams when connecting the logs.

These are so pretty in their sherbet colors. I'm missing a smidge on the uppermost left corner of the pink square, but not to worry--there's plenty for a seam later. I think I cut this piece scantily because I was running out of this color. I finally decided I had to buy another entire set of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton collection, because it would be a minor disaster if I ran out of fabric.

Next up is Ben's Bow tie H-10.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Family Album I-3

I sewed the black background block using old fashioned piecing, and the white background using foundation piecing, just to test out the time involved and the accuracy.

For the black quilt block, it's a "slice and dice" method--you sew, then cut, then sew together a bit differently.

Sew the red strips with two black strips, cut into three pieces and add the remaining black strips.

The chop and sew method is the one on the left.  It's okay, but it's not nearly as accurate as the one on the right, which is foundation pieced.  The paper stabilizes the fabric and allows you to sew perfectly straight seams, and when you are working with 3/8 inch finished strips of fabric, you need all the help you can get.  Okay, point made and re-learned!

Meeting Place D-7

This block has terrific graphic qualities and practically sews itself!  I recommend sewing the center section in a different order than is shown below.  Sew the center square first then sew both sides.  This allows the seams to be nestled together neatly and accurately.

Not much to this blog because this was such an easy block.  This block sews together quickly and accurately.

Peek-a-boo H-1

Back to foundation piecing for this charming block.  Four sections & 20 pieces.

Oh dear, and things were going so well...

A little unsewing and now it's time to join the sections.

This block sews up fairly quickly.  Here is the black one laid out.

This is a lovely block.  I like it.  Next is a very easy block, Meeting Place (D-7).

Cathedral Window D-5

I think it's easier to construct this block using Doreen's 'piecelique' technique than using foundation piecing requiring 7 sections.  Basically, the technique involves piecing two squares and then appliquéing the smaller square to the larger square using reverse applique.  

The white square on the left is wash-away foundation with the pattern printed on it.

Piece both squares, making sure to nest the seams and open up the intersections on the back of the smaller square, and cut out the small square space from the wash-away foundation.

Iron the foundation to the back of the large square.

Cut away the inside of the opening, leaving a quarter inch allowance.  Cut at the corners right up to the point, then glue the edges to the wash-away foundation using basting glue.

The small block is centered evenly over the opening.

Carefully line up the blocks, pin and hand sew the edges exactly as you would for reverse appliqué.

After trimming with the Dear Jane Square, I'm happy with the results.  Both blocks look symmetrical, lines are straight, and points are relatively pointy. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lakota Sioux C-13

This is a very pretty block and is the only block that requires 3 fabrics.  The construction was very time-consuming and a bit frustrating, and the finished block is a bit wonky.

Difficulty clues: 5 sections, 25 fabric pieces, 3/8th inch finished size for several pieces.

Yep, the wonky element is there already in the lower 2 triangles.

I thought I would try to fix the uneven seam where the wood iron is pointing...

After several resews, I declared a truce and finished it.  It meets the criteria of "good enough!"

Here is the white quilt version laid out.

Sections sewn together.  My quality level is reduced for the 2nd version, so it's not as frustrating as the 1st!

And here are the finished blocks, finally!

My next post will be Cathedral Window, D-5,another block with an inner square on-point.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Rising Sun E-5

Ever since I saw Doreen demonstrate this block in class I've been eagerly anticipating making this block.  It fascinates me with its rays radiating from the center circle.  This is my 51st block, the 4th from January's blocks, and I decided to see if I could make it in the hour or so I had before heading off to the February class.

Doreen did a great job of providing cutting instructions, taking care to note that half the rays are longer than the other half.  She is so good at saving fabric when she gives cutting directions.

Although there are 17 pieces to this block, there are only two sections and one easy applique, so I hope it will sew up quickly.

Here is the difference between an unpressed seam and a pressed seam. In the unpressed seam there is a substantial curve of fabric that can be seen at the two ends of the seam--at least 1/8 inch of fabric billows out from the seam.  If this is left unpressed, it will definitely affect the accuracy and how the pieced section finishes up.

Here is the pressed seam.  Notice that you can see almost right down to the stitches in the seam.  This is now an accurate seam and will not distort the layout of the pieced section.  I used the wooden pressing stick edge to open up the seam.

Here are the two sections, mirror images of each other, not trimmed in any way.  I'll trim only the straight edge that joins the two sections.  The way Doreen set up the order of sewing ensures all the seams will flow in the same direction when the two sections are sewn together.  I chose not to sew the seams down to the center point, because 7 seams meeting at the center would be very bulky.  This area will be covered by the appliqued circle anyway.

I use two pins to line up the circle and seam intersections.

I use the Dear Jane square ruler to trim the outer edges.  This ruler is the companion to the triangle ruler and is a MUST when making this quilt!  I focus on the 4 points where the outer edge seams come together to line it up.

After years of avoiding and dreading anything involving applique, I now love it!  I consistently use one of the several applique techniques Doreen taught us.  It is totally reliable, avoiding all frustration, and uses wash-away fusible and basting glue.  One other tool that makes it so easy are these tweezers that came with my Bernina 830 machine.  The tips are angled just right to grab the tiny fabric pieces to pull over the fusible, then I use the flat edges to coax the folds into a smooth edge. 

Here is the block ready for hand sewing the applique piece.  What a terrific block--so wonderfully graphic--very symmetrical.

Here is the white quilt version.  It occurred to me that it would be prudent to trim the block after appliqueing the center circle in order to avoid fraying.  Also note that two of the tips are right at the edge of the fabric, testament to the necessity to line up the fabric pieces very carefully and test before sewing!

Completed blocks.

My next post will be about block C-13, the 'Lakota Sioux' block.  This block looks complicated!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tennessee Valley triangle for white quilt

Today I'll cover how to sew sections together.  Here are the 3 sections of this block ready to sew together.  Notice that the inside edges of the two top triangle sections to be joined are trimmed, but not the bottom edges.  The bottom edge won't be trimmed until the two sections are joined and ready to be sewed to the bottom base section.

This picture shows the seam edges on the back of each section pointing in opposite directions, which will allow the new seam of the sections to nest together. I've started to pin the sections together, taking advantage of the little ditch at the seam.

Here you can see the pins are piercing the fabric just to the left of the stitched seam.

On the other section, the pins are piercing just to the right of the seam.  This placement of the pins ensures that the pins are exactly in the ditch and will help join the stripes at exactly the right point. The pins locating the exact joining points are standing up, and will be removed after I've placed more pins outside the stitching line.  This will avoid distorting the stitching line.

These are the pins joining the stitching line.  Now that I've pinned outside the stitching line, these are ready to be removed.

When I join sections together, I do not stitch exactly on the printed line.  I stitch just to the inside, resulting in an ever so slightly smaller seam allowance to account for the bulk of the joined sections.

I'm happy with how the stripes meet in the seam.  I pressed the seam open on the back.  Now it's time to join the top triangle sections to the bottom base section.

I trimmed the bottom of the triangle section, ensuring the cut was perpendicular to the middle seam. I pinned the two sections together keeping the cut edges exactly even and placing the pins away from the sewing line to avoid distortion.  Again, I stitched just inside the printed line.

I kept the points of the white triangles in the base section, but I'm not so happy with the point my index finger is pointing at.  I ripped out the seam (very carefully!!!) just to about a quarter of an inch to the left of this point and repinned and resewed.  It came out better, but still not perfect.  In other words, it came out good enough!

Time to trim the entire triangle using the Dear Jane Triangle by Brenda Papadakis (ezQuilting at www.simplicity.com).  I take a lot of time lining up the triangles and blocks.  So far in making this quilt, the squares and triangles don't ever line up exactly, so there are compromises to be made.  Today, it looks pretty darn good.  I'm especially pleased that all the seams are in the right places and are very straight with no wonkiness.  I use a rotating mat, such a handy tool when you have to cut all 4 sides of something.

Here are the two Tennessee Valley triangles.  See the slight wonkiness of the very bottom seam in the black triangle?  But as is noted on the Dear Jane Triangle, "Finished is better than perfect!"  (And this little saying is trademarked!)

The finished blocks are tucked away in their own baggy with their pattern inside for future Dear Jane quilts!

Finally, I get to put a little sticker on my design patterns to indicate that this block is finished.  Below are the patterns for the white and black quilt, respectively.  The pinned squares on the bottom left are the colors for the triangles.

I've finished all the blocks and triangles for December, a total of 47 (but really 94, since I'm making 2 quilts).  Now on to January!