It's Monday and you know what that means--time for the next block in my Sew Along. This week's block is one I came up with while playing with my quilt design software-I decided to call it Puzzled Star. We have had a cold and snowy week here in Oregon and when I started putting this block together for my color version I was reminded of a colorful summer garden full of flowers so I did not stop at one, but made two color versions. And look how different they are when you change things up a bit. The one on the left is the one I designed for my quilt-but then I wanted to see what would happen if I popped in some more yellow and added a bit of my fuschia's. I may have a tough call as to which one makes the final cut!
Click on the link for a pdf of Block 5
Before I begin with the tutorial for this week's block
we have a winnner in last week's giveaway to announce.
Congratulations Suz Alpine!!!
You will be getting your very own Bloc-Loc Half-Square Triangle Ruler!
I hope you love it as much as I do.
Thank you to everyone who particpated, I took notes on your comments of what you would like to learn. I hope to incorporate all of your suggestions into future posts. Giveaways are fun, we all like the chance to win free stuff, but my favorite part is learning more about each one of you.
BLock 4: Girl's Favorite Block-Debra's Variation
To get the pattern for Block 4 click here.
Previous blocks and instructions are available by clicking here.
This is a block where I decided starch would be a good idea.
Before cutting my pieces to size I starched my fabric.
I also have included some very detailed pressing instructions with this block.
I find that my seams match up so much better if the two are pressed in opposite directions.
So some of these pressing instructions may sound strange but they work out well in the end. This is a block where you need to make sure your 1/4 inch seam is accurate. I wrote a little tutorial on this a few years ago that you might find helpful and it can be found here.
I start with the C and D squares and first draw a diagonal line down the middle of the C squares. I make sure that my line is as perfectly centered as I can get it. I place the C squares right sides together with the D squares and sew 1/4 inch from each side of the line.
After sewing, cut apart on the drawn line and press two of the Half-square triangles (HST's) towards the dark side and the other two towards the light side.
Before continuing trim the HST's to 5 1/8" x 5 1/8" One of the things that ensures you end up with sharp points is making sure that these are trimmed correctly. It is important to lay your ruler with the diagonal line on top of the seam line of the HST trimming the first two sides and then rotating to rim the last two sides.
Notice how the corners where the two fabrics meet come to a point together. That is the result you want for your Half-square triangles.
Next I take the B squares and draw a diagonal line on the back of them.
The placement of the B squares on the HST's is very important. The drawn line on the B square needs to go across the seam line of the C/D HST.
Before sewing I check to see that the seam will be facing away from the needle as I sew.
Then I just proceed to sew 1/4 inch from each side of the line.
Cut apart on the drawn line and press towards the B triangles.
The trick here is in the trimming.
We need to trim these to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
Line up the diagonal line of your ruler with the seam line of the C/D section of the square. Place the 2 1/4" mark of that diagonal line at the point where all three seams come together (The circle in the middle of the photo) This is the measurement for finding the middle of the unit. Also note where the 4 1/2" marks are on the top left and bottom right of the unit. Ideally you want the 4 1/2" line to come right to the seam line
I zoomed in here to show you how the 4 1/2" line should come to the seam line of the unit.
Rotate the unit. Line up the diagonal line on the ruler with the diagonal seam line of the C/D triangle again; making sure the middle measurement-the 2 1/4" mark- is at the center where all the seams come together. Then line up the 4 1/2" lines with the previously trimmed edges and trim the last two sides of the unit.
Here is my trimmed unit.
Once they are all trimmed to 4 1/2" it is time to join them together to make the "B units"
Joining diagonal seams can be a bit tricky so I often use a positioning pin.
I place a pin through the back at the seam putting it in right about where the 1/4" seam will be. I never measure this; just sort of guess.
Now look what happens when I turn the unit over and look at it from the front. I thought I was pinning so straight, but as you can see the pin did not come out at the seam line but to one side of it. So I need to make an adjustment to fix that.
It looks like I am off in the photo as the shadows are hiding the fact that I now pin through from the top the piece I want to join to this unit.
One last check to make sure the seams are lining up nicely before doing the final pinning.
There are two ways to proceed from here. The first is to use the positioning pin to hold everything in place a nd slide in two more pins, one on each side of the positioning pin. I then remove the positioning pin before sewing.
The other method I use for pinning starts just the same with the positioning pin.
But this time I jsut slide it into place and will not add the other two pins. I use the first method-with the two pins-when the seams are laying in the same direction-when they do not lock each other into place. The two pins seem to keep those seams from shifting when I sew. I use just one pin when I have seams that are locking together nicely but I want to ensure they do not move out of place while I am sewing.
Now I can sew the B units together-removing the pins as I come to them.
I am sewing slowly here which also helps with accuracy.
Press three of these to towards the left and one towars the right.
The B Units need to measure 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" when done.
Now I move on to making the Center Unit and get to make more Half-square triangles.
Starting by drawing a diagonal line on both E squares
I decided to do the E/F and the E/G combination at the same time.
Sew 1/4 inch from each side of the drawn line.
Cut apart on the line and press the E/F units towards the dark side and the E/G units towards the lighter side.
I am actually using my Bloc-Loc ruler to trim these but by way of reminder for a regular ruler be sure to line up the diagonal lines before cutting.
Trim to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
Lay out the units. Sew together in pairs and press towards the E/G HST's.
I just have to show you that even I have those kinds of moments...this is the second time I sewed that bottom row together the wrong way! But the third time was the charm
Use a positioning pin on the diagonal sams if desired to join the two rows together.
Press towards the top row.
The center unit measures 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Everything is now ready to lay out for putting the block together. As you lay the pieces out the B Unit that I pressed differently from the rest goes on the bottom. You will need to check how your seams are laying as you put the pieces in place. I really prefer to have my seams going in opposite directions from one another so now is the time to make any adjustments to that.
Now I am ready to join together into rows sewing slowly over the areas with seams.
The top row I pressed towards the A squares.
The middle row I fanned the seams open.
The bottom row I pressed towards the center B Unit.
Here is a closer look at that fanned seam.
After pressing I checked to make sure the center sections of the rows measure 8" across.
All of the rows are ready to be sewn together.
And my block is complete!
I really like this block and had an opportunity to play with some scraps in a new color way this week. Here is my color version and a blue and tan combination. One of the nice things about the size of these blocks is I have discovered they are the perfect size for making some new couch cushion covers. The blue and tans are the perfect fit for that need. I am also thinking I might need to make a table runner-perhaps with three of the blocks set on point
One of the things I love about these larger blocks-they are just the right size to make some pillow covers for our sofa. So I think I will be transforming these plain pillow into something with a little more life. I do tend to use a lot more blue in my home-which I like, but my poor husband is color blind and blue is the only color he sees. Though he does happily indulge me when I ask to branch out.
I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy making your block.
It's week 3 in our little sew along. I hope you are having fun making your blocks. There are some beauties being shared in the Facebook Group. This week's block is a bit of a puzzle to put together and makes use of Half-square triangles and Flying Geese.
Click here for pdf pattern
Click Here for Previous Blocks and Instructions
I am having a Giveaway this week for one of my favorite rulers-entry details will be at the end of this post.
This week the cutting directions are the same for each colorway. I decided to starch my fabric this week-starching before cutting my pieces out. I have found that if I starch the pieces after they are cut I sometimes get a distorted square. I do like the sharpness adding starch gives to my project and it will all be washed out after the quilt is done.
I begin by making some Half-square triangles (HST's) using the A and B squares
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the B squares right down the middle. I like to line up the diagonal line on my ruler with the edge of the square then I know I am getting a precise line down the middle.
With right sides together, place the B squares on top of the A squares
and sew 1/4 inch from each side of the drawn line.
Cut apart on the line.
And press towards the dark side.
Now I just need to trim these little beauties to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
I like using my Bloc Loc ruler for this. It has a little groove that the seam fits into and it basically locks the HST in place so I can cut it accurately to size. I have found that I prefer to make the first cut with the pressed seam facing away from me, so lay my HST and ruler as shown and make the first two cuts.
Then I flip everything around,
line up the 4 1/2" lines with the cut edges of the HST, and trim the last two sides
Set these aside for now as they will be used when the whole block is put together.
Now I will do exactly the same thing with the F and G squares which will be used to make the center unit. This time I will show you how to trim these accurately with a regular ruler.
The trick when using a regular ruler to trim HST's is to make sure that the diagonal line on the ruler lines up with the seam line. Then I make my first two trims.
Flip everything around, line up the 4 1/2" lines with the trimmed edges as well as the diagonal line, and trim the last two sides. If you have not tried the Creative Grid rulers I highly recommend getting the 6 1/2" square to try-it is my goto ruler that is always out on my cutting table. Slowly I am replacing all of my old Olfa rulers with these as they really slip a lot less when cutting which saves me a lot of heartache.
With all of the F/G half-square triangles trimmed I lay them out to form a pinwheel block. This will become the center of our star this week. (I love adding pinwheel blocks to my quilts-they are just so cute.)
When sewing the squares together there are some diagonal seams to deal with. When the seam is facing up towards my needle I just sew without adding a pin-after having made sure everything is lined up nicely.
Here you can see how I have pressed the two rows in opposite directions.
Then I check to make sure everything is going in the right direction before sewing together.
Place a pin at the intersection if you like, I did not as the seam was pointing up towards the needle which tends to push the two locking seams together. The spot where the stitching lines intersect here is going to be the center of the pinwheel.
I do not want to stitch on the inside of that spot or I will lose my points-
I will aim for the place where those stitching lines cross each other.
Remember to slow down when you come to these kinds of bulky intersections-
it will help with accuracy.
All of those points coming together make for a very bulky intersection so there is a little trick that will help it to lay flat.
Before pressing I use my fingers to fan out the seams-opening them up so that one side goes one direction and the other side the opposite.
You do not need to worry about taking out those few stitches to open up the seam here-
it will hold together and you end up with a tiny pinwheel too.
After pressing it lays nice and flat- I pressed from the top, but wanted to show you how neat it looks from the back.
Before moving on to the Flying Geese, I check to make sure this square measures 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"
I want the 4 1/4" lines to fall right on the seams in the middle-vertical and horizontal-that is the center of my block so I measure out from there.
Now for the Flying Geese. I am going to use a different method for making them this week. Since we are using three different fabrics the No-Waste method will not work. The measurements for cutting these pieces are a little larger than what we need so that they can be trimmed down to size.
To begin, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the D squares. I used a pencil as there is a possibility that the line could show through with this method.
With right sides together place the D squares on the left side of the C rectangles. Be sure the line is going the right direction.
We are going to sew right along the line this time. I flipped the unit around so that I could sew with my needle to the right of the line. It is important not to sew on top of line, but with the needle just to the outside of it.
Sewing along the line...
Trim off 1/4 inch from the seam line. Save those triangles for another project.
Press the triangle open.
Next, draw a line on the back of all of the E squares. Place them on the other side of the C rectangle-paying attention to the direction of the line.
Once again, sew just to the right of the line.
Trim away 1/4" from the seamline.
Then I just trim these like usual, trimming the Flying Geese to 4 1/2" x 8 1/2"
If using a regular ruler the middle mark you place at the point is 4 1/4"-leaving 1/4 inch beyond for seam allowance. (see the Block 1 Tutorial for more detail about this step.)
Now I have four perfect Flying Geese
and it is time to put all of the pieces to this puzzle together.
After arranging everything I like to take a step back and compare what I have laid out to the pattern. It is so easy to turn a piece the wrong way and not even notice until after everything has been sewn together.
The rows go together pretty easily-there are those diagonal lines to deal with again.
And I need to watch for the point on my Flying Geese.
Some of the diagonal seams will face away from my needle so I place a pin in. I like to place the pin so that it is approximately 1/4 inch in from the edge-about where my needle will land. I stop just as my needle comes to the pin to avoid sewing over it, then with my needle in the down position I can safely remove the pin and finish sewing.
I always check my measurements when joing rows. The middle sections should now be 8 inches. If you look at the bottom left of this row you will see that I am about an 1/8 inch off. Just at the bottom though, so I know I lost concentration and did not sew a straight line-very easy to do where you begin and end sewing. When there is just a little fabric under the presser foot things sometimes end up wonky if you do not take extra care to make sure you feed these end little bits as straight as the rest. If I am going to run off course it is most often when I come to the end of sewing a piece.
Some time spent with Jack the Ripper (like many quilters that is what I have named my seam ripper) and things are looking much better now. That little 1/8 inch may not seem like much but is enough to end up with mismatched intersections where the seams join or even a bit of a wrinkle.
With all of the rows now measuring the way they should I get ready to join them together. Once again I take the time to step back and make sure I have everything going the right way.
A pin or two helps keeps things in order and I do slow down over those seams.
This has been one of my favorite blocks to make. I think I tend to say that about almost every block I finish.
I doI like this one a lot because of the pinwheel center-They make such cute quilts. Here is one I am wokring on from a free pattern I found not long ago. Works up quick and easy with a charm pack too. The designer wrote a tutorial for it over at Moda Bake Shop if you are interested.
And with Block 3 finished the first row is done! Yay! Time to celebrate!!
So, for my Giveaway. The makers of Bloc-Loc rulers are sponsoring this one and will provide one 8.5 inch Bloc Loc Half-Square Triangle Ruler (valued at $51.00) just like the one I use. The deadline for entry is Sunday, February 25th. The winner will be chosen by a random drawing and announced on Monday Feb. 26th. This contest is open to everyone.
To enter just tell me in the comments something new you would like to learn.
You can get a bonus entry by going to my Facebook Page (<---click on link)
and saying "HI" to me there.
That's it for now, so until next week...
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