Thursday, January 28, 2016

365 Challenge Blocks 15 - 27

 Block 15 Triple Rail

Pieced just like a four patch.  I fanned the seams in the centre.

Block 16 Maggie's Mystery

When cutting for this block I focused on the direction of the prints.

Block 17 Thrifty

Not sure if I like how bright the centre square is but it stays for now.

Block 18 Double Four Patch

As the pieces get smaller I use tweezers to pick them up and transport from my cutting station to my pressing and sewing station.  Tip:  When seeking precision always stand while cutting.

Half-Square Triangles

Following are techniques I use to create half-square triangles.

The half-square triangle to the left has been distorted by pulling, tugging and vigorous pressing.  Notice how the centre seam is discoloured, tends to turn up at the corners and the seam isn't straight?  This square will be challenging to square up and that wow in the seam will really show when the finished size is 2" and smaller.

This half-square triangle has been accurately pressed.  The centre seam should remain at a consistent 45 degree angle.

Pressing Tips:
1.  Place the square on the ironing surface with the fabric that you will be pressing the seam toward on top and the seam allowances towards you.  Keep the pieces right sides together as they came out of the machine.
2.  Set the seam by placing a hot, dry iron on cotton setting on top of the seam.
3.  Lift the top fabric and gently finger press along the seam.  Molding the fabric to the thread.
4.  Place the tip of the iron on the seam and press against then up and over the seam allowance.  Hold the iron in one place while pressing.  No need to move it back and forth as this will create a sheen on the fabric.

Tips for cutting half-square triangles: 
Creative Grids Ruler Itty Bitty Eights 6 x 6
This is my favourite ruler for cutting half-square triangles.  This ruler not only provides great accuracy but also has a bit of grip under the ruler which helps to hold the fabric while cutting.

If you don't have one of these wonderful rulers I have used the Olfa 6 1/2" square ruler for years with great precision.  Tip:  If the top corner of your block tends to run away from the blade and shift under the ruler no matter how sharp your blade is place a 1" or longer piece of 1/8" wide double sided tape on your cutting mat.  Set the half-square triangle on top of the tape and cut.  I started doing this when I was cutting 100's of 1 1/2" half-square triangles and the corners kept shifting.  With the tape there is no more shifting.  Hint:  You can easily remove the tape from your mat by rubbing your index finger on top of it.

Block 19 Half-Square Triangle

I created my half-square triangles as per 365 Challenge quilt  tutorial

I cut my squares a little larger than suggested in each of the patterns for a bit more wiggle room.
 Block 20 Triangle Combination
I pressed the seams to the dark fabric.

Make sure to watch the direction of the print when creating these little half-square triangles.  Placement of fabric before drawing the line for the centre seam is important.  To avoid unpleasant surprises after placing the fabrics right sides together fold the top fabric back and take a peek to make sure print will be in the direction you are intending.

Block 21 Broken Wheel

Sew the top two squares together.  Press seams to the left.

Sew the bottom squares together.  Press seams to the right.

Sew the centre seam and fan.

Note:  I have pieced these little pinwheel blocks in several different ways and have found that following the above stitching order provides the most accuracy with all those seams in the centre coming together like magic.

Block 22 Broken Dishes

Tip:  When pressing seams press two to the light and two to the dark so they oppose.

Piece like a four patch.

Block 23 Small Triangles

Pieced same as Broken Dishes.  Remember to press opposing seams.

Block 24 Mixed T

Cut and sew according to the pattern.  Press the seam for the bottom left triangle to the light all the rest to the dark.  This will help eliminate bulk in the seams and provide greater accuracy when piecing.

Just when I thought they couldn't get any cuter...

January 25 Lost Ship

Block 26 True Blue

Things are getting a little smaller with this cute little block.

Pressing.  Fan the seams between the four patches.

I think this is my favourite block so far...

Block 27 Jacks on Six

or maybe this one...

Remember to really study your blocks and oppose seams when needed for a perfect match.

Well that's all the blocks I've done so far.  Two more have arrived since finishing block 27.   We have TopStitchers Club starting up in a couple weeks so I'm designing and creating our new project.  I'll post pictures.

Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

365 Challenge Blocks 6 - 14

After taking a good look at Kathy's 365 Challenge Quilt I saw that her Nine Patch has blues and browns in it so of course I had to redo mine.

Block 6 Four Strips

Block 7 Two-by-Two

Create the units and sew together like a 4 Patch.

Since our blocks will progressively get more challenging now is a good time to get into the habit of "fanning" seams.  Fanning seams helps to eliminate the bulk created by pressing all the seams to one side.

Usually the seams are all pressed to one side along the last long seam of a unit or block.  When fanning seams place the block so the seam you want to fan is parallel to you.  Press the left half up and the right half down thus splitting the seam through the centre.  Press.

Block 8 London Stairs

Pieced the same as Two-by Two. 

Block 9 Uneven Nine Patch   The picture is certainly uneven!

For strip piecing:
2 B) 1 1/4" x 3"
1 C) 2" x 3"
Sew a BCB unit.  Press seams to the dark and sub-cut into 2) 1 1/4" strips
1 A) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"
2 C) 1 1/4" x 2 1/2"
Sew a CAC unit.  Press seams to the dark.

Sew together as a 9 Patch. 

Block 10 Double Four Patch
Directional fabric:

2 B) 1 1/4" x 4"
2 C) 1 1/4" x 4"
Sew 1 BC unit and 1 CB unit.  Press seams to the dark.
Sub-cut into 1 1/4" strips.

 2 A) 2" x 2"

Sew the BC and CB units together to create 4 patches.  Fan the seams.

Sew the 4 patch together.  Fan the seams and press.

Block 11 Checkerboard
Select non-directional fabric for this strip piecing method.

2 A) 1 1/4" x 7"
2 B) 1 1/4" x 7"

Sew ABAB.  Press seams to the dark.

Sub-cut into four ABAB 1 1/4" strips.  Turn the strips so the fabrics create a checkerboard effect.

Sew the strips together.

Block 12 Plait

Of course I decided to make this block more complicated than it needed to be by selecting directional prints.

Cut fabrics as suggested in the pattern making sure to watch the direction of the print if working with directional fabrics.

Stitch the units together.  Press seams to the dark.

A sweet little Plait.

Block 13 Mountains

Follow along with the pattern to create this sweet Mountains block...

Block 14 Six Strips

and this Six Strips block.

I've stitched all the blocks with the exception of today's block.  I'll add more blocks here tomorrow.

If you haven't signed up to stitch along with the 365 Challenge Quilt click here and follow the easy steps.  I would love to see your blocks.

Happy Stitches,
: ) Shelley

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Momma Made It and Mom's 75th Birthday Celebration

Mom turned 75 this month so we headed down to Crooked River, OR to celebrate.  Along the way, just off the I-5 in Longview, WA is one of my favourite quilt stores, Momma Made It.  Jennie is the new owner so we stopped by to introduce ourselves and shop.
I shopped while Bernie kept Jennie company cutting fabrics for me : )

Here's the newest addition to my stash.  It was a challenge to keep to just blues and browns as the entire store is full of fabrics all organized by colour. It's such a beautiful store. 


I can hardly wait for my next visit to Momma Made It.  For more information click here.

Next stop was Crooked River Ranch.  Bernie is a very talented cook.  Mom calls him "My Chef".  She planned the menu before we arrived.    

For her birthday dinner she ordered Bernie's famous spaghetti...well it is in these parts... 


For dessert a delicious Banana Cream Pie from Shari's.  No small piece of pie for this birthday girl.  The celebrating was over way too soon and we were headed back up North towards home.  We enjoyed our visit and look forward to another one soon!

Since returning home I've been working on the 365 Challenge Quilt.  I'm all caught up including today's block. I'm not sure about some of the fabrics I selected for the blocks.  There may be too much contrast for that dark centre frame.  Once we start working on the lighter frames I will know for sure if I need to make any changes. 

Happy Stitches,