Today's block has me thinking about chains. At first I thought about the chains that are used to confine people and their movements. Fitting I suppose. But then I thought about the chains that bind us together and how strong we are when we are linked like a chain. That is the picture I want to go with today. So for Day 15 let me introduce you to the Malvina's Chain Block.
For this block I went into my scrap box again and pulled out a couple of colors from the same family but with different values (one is darker than the other.)
This block is an Hourglass lollapalooza. The Hourlgass units themselves are pretty easy to make once you get the hang of them. As I mentioned yesterday I found that I need to use a scant 1/4" seam allowance for these, which is just a touch narrower than my usual. What worked for me was to move my needle over one position to achieve that. You could also cut your fabric squares 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" instead of what I call for below if you have trouble with getting the correct finished size Hourglass units. This will give you leeway for trimming.
For this block you will need:
(cut 3) 3 1/4" x 3 1/4"
(cut 2) 3 1/4" x 3 1/4"
(cut 5) 3 1/4" x 3 1/4"
So let's start by making the Half-square Triangles. Since I making several HST's I chain-piece them all. I have found that if I start sewing with my piece butted up against the needle I get a much straighter seam. So each time I start a new piece I lift my presser foot slightly and carefully lay my fabrics in place.
I pulled out my starch for working with this block. It is amazing what a difference starch can make for getting these Hourglass units to lay flat. I think the stiffer fabric is also easier to work with. Today I am using my Best Press which I buy in a refill size and add to a spray bottle that is dedicated to this purpose. I have also used the Faultless spray starch with good success but am getting away from aerosol cans; though the price is great and it is readily available at least in the states. One tip: I use a towel on my ironing board whenever I am using starch. It keeps my ironing surface clean and free of starch and I can just toss it in the wash when I am done with it.
After pressing the HST's I drew diagonal lines on the back of half of them. I want my line to go from one corner to the other and do not concern myself with the sides of the HST being square at this point. A piece of very fine sandpaper works like a charm to keep the farbic from slipping while I draw the lines.
I place the HST's with the drawn line right sides together with the matching HST's that I did not draw the line on. (So the Dark fabric HST's get matched up with Dark fabric HST's and same for the Medium fabric HST's) When I sew these I work with the seam facing the needle. This will help push those two seams together when you sew over those locking seam allowances. Sew a scant 1/4" from each side of the drawn line. I need to remember to switch my needle position when I sew on the other side of the line since I move to the other side of my presser foot to keep that seam allowance facing the needle or I will be sewing a seam wider than 1/4" which would be really frustrating. So, looking at the photo that means I am sewing with the needle moved one position to the right here.
When I sewed the other side my needle was moved one position to the left just like when I made the HST's.
Today I decided to try my Bloc Loc Ruler for trimming these to 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". It wokred pretty well. Now I could not see my center marks of 1 1/4" which I showed you yesterday. (See here for trimming with regular ruler.) Instead I looked at all four corners to make sure that the lines met right at those intersections of the two fabric colors.
I am not sure which ruler I prefer, but it did seem to work for me.
Now to lay the Hourglass units out to make the block.
You will find that not all of the seams lay in opposite directions. Though at least one of them will. I would sew with the seams that locked together first and then sew carefully over the seam at the bottom to keep them lined up as you sew. SOmetimes that meant that I flipped the units over to sew them together. Just check to make sure you are sewing the correct sides together if you need to flip them. Press as indicated by arrows above.
My advice for joining the rows together is to sew very s-l-o-w-l-y over those bulky seams. I found that at times it helped to use a stiletto to hold the seam down and keep things aligned.
I really like the finished block-not perfect, but still beautiful.
And isn't that how it is with us as well, not perfect but together we are beautiful.
I hope you have a truly blessed day!
Welcome to the site of Debra Davis-a woman who loves the Lord and loves to quilt.
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My other blog where I share about my walk of faith:
Sitting at His Feet
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