Lisa Bongean has this weeks block. She certainly know how to challenge us! You can read Lisa's blog post here and get the pattern for Block 11 by clicking on this link:
https://bearcreekquiltingcompany.storage.googleapis.com/uploads/2017/05/17/files/block11lb_lisasstar.pdf. I have always shied away from sewing triangles on the bias, but have learned that sometimes it is best to face the things that scare you head on. So here we go...Oh, and starch is our friend for these itty bitty pieces.
I want to use two colors for my star. In order to achieve that I have cut 12 green blocks and 6 yellow ones for my "B" fabric. I also cut them a little larger in order to be able to trim them to size. Cutting the A and B squares to 1 3/4" gives me a little wiggle room. You can cut them to 1 7/8 inches for a more generous trim amount.
I am starting with my A and B squares. For this step I only need 4 green squares and 2 yellow squares. I have drawn a diagonal line down the middle of the A squares.
With right sides together I sew 1/4 inch from both sides of the drawn line. I always place the pieces to be sewn touching the needle which is in the down position.
Now I just cut on the drawn line to give me two Half Square Triangle units.
I am pressing these two the dark side.
With the diagonal line of my ruler on the seam line I need to trim these units to 1 1/4 inch.
Just have to take a moment and admire my cute little HST's.
For this next step I need to cut the rest of the B squares in half diagonally.
Time to sew these little triangles onto the little Half Square Triangles.
To sew these together I just need to align the edges of the triangle with the edges of the square. It leaves a bit of the triangle poking up but that is okay.
After pressing towards the triangle I trim the extra bit off, lining the ruler up with the 1 1/4 inch mark and the seam lines in the Half Square Triangle.
Same thing on the other side now.
This unit needs to be trimmed making sure that there is 1/4 inch
from the bottom point of the inside triangle.
For the next step I need to cut the C squares in half.
These will be added to four of the units I just made.
It is important to go sew carefully here as this is the bias edge of the triangle and can be stretched out of shape. I try not to tug or pull it as I feed it through my machine.
I am breaking pressing rules here and pressing towards the C triangle.
Again, I am lining the diagonal line on my ruler up with the seam line.
These units need to be trimmed to 2 inches square.
The four units need to be arranged in a windmill pattern.
Sewing the rows together going slowly over the bulky seams.
The seams are pressed in opposite directions so that they nest together for the next step.
I find a pin at the matching seams helps.
It is important to take your time when sewing these pieces together.
The seam here is going to be bulky so I have opened it up allowing
the seams to fall in opposite directions.
And the front side.
This unit needs to measure 3 1/2 inches. By lining up the diagonal line on my ruler with the diagonal seam lines and placing the 1 3/4 inch ruler line on the horizontal and vertical seam lines I know right where the middle of my block is. Now I just trim all of the sides.
The D square needs to be cut twice on the diagonal. A small cutting mat works well for this as I can turn it after making the first cut without disturbing the fabric.
Time to pull out the rest of those triangle units I made earlier and place them with the D triangles I just cut. I need to have my green units on the left in order to achieve the star look I am going for . Sewing on the bias again, hang in there, we can do this.
These need to line up together a little differently than before.
One tip while sewing is to aim for that X where the seams cross-that will give you the sharp points you are looking for. This one looks like it is going to fall right on my 1/4 seam which is just what I want. It doesn't always work out so well, but with practice I am finding more and more of those perfect points in my blocks.
I have chosen to press towards the light triangle.
I am trimming off the little extra bit just on this one side for now.
Time to add the the green units to the other side.
Before I press these I am trimming off the little extra point.
Once again I am pressing towards the light triangle.
These units need to be trimmed to 2" x 3 1/2"
The diagonal lines come in handy again and I need to make sure I have a quarter inch from the point of all three light triangles to the edge of the unit.
Laying it all out to make sure everything is as it should be before sewing the rows together.
To make the seams go together nicely I have pressed the seams on the top and bottom rows towards the E squares. The middle row is pressed towards the center unit. Now I can nest those seams, hold them in place with a pin and sew my unit together.
Oh those bulky seams-I have flared them open again.
To get the seams to lay in the best direction for the block I actually took a little snip on both sides of the seam-right up to the stitches. Now I can fold the fabric back in the direction I have determined will help the block lay flat.
I feel pretty good about this one.
I hope you will be brave and give this a try. I always view these things as my chance to learn and improve my quilting. Just think how good we will be at the end of this project and our quilt blocks will be a testimony to our process.
Until next time...
Jan Patek has given us another cute applique block for the Moda Blockheads Block of the Week. Jan's directions state to use whatever method of applique we choose so I am sticking with fusible applique for now. You can get a copy of the pattern at this link:
A couple of years ago I was given a light box for my birthday. I love it for projects like this. I can easily see to trace the pattern pieces onto my fusible with it. Sure beats trying to hold it up to the light from my window! The fusible I prefer is Heat N Bond lite. I use a fine tip Sharpie to trace the pieces onto the paper side of my fusible. Be sure and leave space between your pieces as you will not be cutting on the lines at first.
With my pieces cut out I fuse them to the back of my fabric.
Now I will cut them out on the drawn lines.
To get ready for placement on my background fabric, which has been cut to 7" x 7", I need to find the middle by folding and pressing with my finger first one direction and then the other.
The fold lines will help me in placing the applique pieces.
I have done the same with the pattern.
Laying my fabric on top of the pattern I have lined up the
fabric folds with the folds on the pattern.
As I looked over the pattern I decided I wanted to stitch the handle in
place before adding the other pieces that go on top of it.
It is the only piece I am fusing to my background fabric at this point.
These are the settings I use on my machine
Important Note: For the best results when doing machine applique a stabilizer
added to the back makes all the difference. I have actually fallen in love with
Floriani's Stitch N Wash Fusible, but any stabilizer will work fine.
With my stabilizer attached to the back of my block
I begin with a straight stitch along the bottom of the basket handle. I am using Superior Masterpiece thread in my machine for this. My other favorite for machine applique is Superior Magnifico, which has a higher sheen. I use it on the top and Masterpiece in the bobbin.
As I turn to start up the handle I switch to my buttonhole stitch. I want the straight stitch part of the buttonhole to be right at the edge of my applique, not on it.
You can see here how the buttonhole stitch takes a bite into the fabric. When I need to make adjustments for curves I have my needle in the down position, lift the presser foot, adjust the fabric just a bit, lower the presser foot, and resume stitching.
When I came to the other end of the handle, in order to keep bulkiness to a minimum, I switched to my straight stitch to go across this bottom edge and back to the buttonhole stitch for the rest of the handle.
Back to the beginning location, I switch to my straight stitch and sew across the bottom edge again. Not really necessary since this will be under the basket,
but sometimes I believe in overdoing it. Those stitches are NOT coming out-lol.
Back at my light box I need to put the flower together next. There is a handy little thing called a pressing sheet that is heat resistant and you can see through it. A light touch of the iron holds the applique pieces in place while I put the pieces of the flower together. When my flower is all fused together I carefully peel it off of the pressing sheet.
At the ironing table I have the pattern underneath my block in order to see where to place my little flower along the handle.
Back at my machine I begin by taking 4-5 straight stitches towards the point
at which I want to begin my buttonhole stitch. I will be working from back to front on the flower, so the stem that is on top will be done last.
I turn my work around now and begin the buttonhole stitch.
This will "lock" my stitches in as I go over the straight stitches I just did.
I finish off the flower in the same way that I began, turning the applique and going back over the buttonhole stitches with a straight stitch and ending with a locking stitch.
The leaves will be done in the same way; taking a few straight stitches towards the point where I want to start my buttonhole stitch then turning and doing a buttonhole stitch around each leaf.
And I end the leaves in the same manner as the flower, going over the buttonhole stitch with a straight stitch and ending with a locking stitch.
Now for the stem. I start by using a straight stitch across the bottom that will be hidden by the basket then proceed with the buttonhole stitch around the rest of the stem.
Just like with the basket handle I finished the stem with a straight stitch across the bottom.
This is how my block looks so far-now for the final piece.
After fusing the basket in place I was hit with inspiration...so with a glue stick and a piece of lace I added a special little touch to my basket. I am pretty new to the whole idea of embellishing a quilt so have no idea if I approached this correctly but it worked out fine for me.
With the lace in place I used a zig zag stitch to attach it to my basket.
For the basket I started with a few straight stitches along a section that was fairly straight.
I then proceeded with the buttonhole stitch all the way around the basket, going right over the lace as well.
I have made it back to my beginning straight stitches and will sew right over them
with the buttonhole stitch.
When I reach the point where my buttonhole stitches began I switch back to the straight stitch and finish off with 5-6 stitches and a locking stitch.
Just for fun here is what the back of my block looks like.
Since I started with a 7" x 7" piece of background fabric I need to trim it to 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"
Time for a little math: Half of 6 1/2 is 3 1/4 so I need to place the 3 1/4 marks on my ruler in the middle of the block to know where to trim.
Just like I did when figuring out the placement of the applique pieces I have finger pressed
fold lines into the block using the applique piece as my guide.
A close up of the placement of the 3 1/4 inch lines.
I have been watching the snow fall off and on while making this basket. Yes in the middle of May it is snowing here again after several warm summer like days.
Ah Spring in the mountains!
I hope this post will encourage you to give applique a try. I stayed away from applique for years but, maybe like me, once you try it you will be hooked too.
Until next time...
What a fun block from Jo Morton this week. You can find the pattern by visiting Her blog here: http://jomortonquilts.com/2017/05/03/block-9-2017-moda-blockheads-bow/
There have been a lot of beautiful blocks posted on the Facebook page for this
Block of the Week. I hope you will come join in the fun.
For this block I have cut some of the squares larger than the directions give
in order to trim them to size. I cut squares C and D to 3-3/4 inches. (A and B could also be cut larger-2 inches instead of 1 1/2 inches if you want to trim these down as well. I mention this later in the tutorial so be sure and read through first.)
I find it really helps to starch my fabrics before beginning.
So I begin with the A and B squares. I love making little four-patch units.
With right sides together I join an A square to a B square. This is perfect for chain piecing.
I have my needle in the down position so that when I add the next two pieces to be sewn together I place them right at the needle. My stitch length is 2.1 or 12 stitches to the inch.
It feels rather like a party after stitching these together-reminds me of a row of pennants.
Time to press these little units. First I set the seam by setting the iron on the unopened seam. Next I open the unit up and again, set the iron on the piece to press it. I do not slide my iron around on the fabric as this can distort the seam, instead I lift it up and down to "press."
It is time to put these units together to make a four patch.
The wonderful thing about this is that my seams will naturally nest together.
With this small unit I am not pinning at the seam.
A handy little tip: As you sew these units have the seam allowance facing up towards the needle. This will help to push those two seams together.
Before pressing I check to see if my seams line up nicely-Yay, they do!!
Here is a little trick I use to get these seams to lie flat. I use my thumbs to pull the seam apart so that it goes in opposite directions. Can you see that little four patch that appears in the middle now?
I finger press this open before pressing with my iron on the back and front.
I want to check on the size of my unit now. Time for a little math.
This unit needs to measure 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches. That means my center needs to be 1/2 of that, in this case 1 1/4 inches. You can see how I have lined up the 1 1/4 inch marks on my ruler with the center of the block and the seam lines. I trim away any extra on the right and top sides, rotate the unit and trim the remaining two sides if needed. This method is helpful if you want to start with bigger A and B squares to be sure you get the needed 2 1/2 inch size. (You could cut your A and B squares to 2 inches if you feel more comfortable trimming these to size. As you can see the given cutting directions do not leave you much extra for trimming.)
Now I can set these aside and begin work on the hourglass units. To start I draw a diagonal line down the middle of each C square.
With right sides together I join the C and D squares
sewing 1/4 inch from each side of the drawn line.
I cut on the drawn line between the two rows of stitching
which will give me two Half-square Triangles.
I bring these to my little pressing table and set the seam then press open.
Placing the two Half-square triangles together I match the seams.
Just like before I draw a line down the center of these units.
I sew 1/4 inch from each side of the line. Notice I have the unit so that the seam allowance is facing towards the needle. This will help push those two seams together.
Checking to see if my seams match up before sewing down the other side of the line.
Once I have sewn 1/4 inch from each side of the diagonal line
I cut the units apart on the drawn line, just like we did before.
These seams can also benefit from opening them up like I did with the hourglass units. Sometimes you have to loosen up those threads at the join.
Now I just need to press them and I have my hourglass units ready to go.
Time to trim. There are a couple of important things to do in this process. First make sure the diagonal line on the rule is laying on top of the diagonal seam of the unit. Second, I am using the center measurement for the 2 1/2 inch size I need so have laid the 1 1/4 inch mark of the ruler at the center intersection. Now I can trim the first two sides.
I rotate the block and line up my ruler again before trimming the last two sides.
Okay, time to put all of the pieces together!
First I will join the units together into rows.
I am going to press these so that the top and bottom row have seams going to the left and the center row seams will go to the right.
With my rows sewn together I can join them now too.
Before I proceed I check to see that my center squares measure the correct finished size- 2 inches across. If not I need to make some adjustments to my scant 1/4 inch seam.
I would rather find out now how I am doing instead of wondering
why my finished block is the wrong size.
I prefer to put a pin in where the seams join.
It is also helpful to slow down as you come to the bulk of the seams.
Here is how I deal with those seams. I slow down, and stop with my needle in the down position right as I come to the pin. (A stitch away.) I carefully remove the pin, make sure the edge of my fabric is still lined up with the edge of my presser foot and begin sewing-very slowly as I go over the seam right where the stitching intersects.
There it is with a butterfly in the middle and a couple of ladybugs scampering in the edges.
I have heard from so many of you how much help these tutorials have been in successfully making your blocks. Your notes of encouragement are very sweet. Thank you! I enjoy seeing your blocks when you post them to our Facebook page too.
Until next time...
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