Thursday, June 25, 2015

More Ships!

Lynn over at has been making a whole bunch of boat blocks! I took a screen pic to pique your curiosity.  Check out Lynn's blog she's got a bunch of recent posts with some great projects.
I just love the way these blocks look together!  Picking a good BOM is hard but I think this one really holds up to the test of 'what works'.
Next month I'm kicking the idea around of a Scrappy Modern block.  We'll see...
Thanks to Lynn for linking with me it's been fun seeing her collections of boat blocks grow!
Cheers, CW

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June BOM- Accurate Piecing the Continuing Saga

The genesis of choosing this block for BOM was a picture of a quilt from one of Barbra Brackman's blogs.
 Here's the link:

I liked the quilt right off and the thing that made me think it might make a good BOM is that it really did not seem to make a difference what the background was (as long as the sails and background had good contrast) because the bright solid sail boats are really what catches and holds your attention.  I figured maybe I could supply a batch of solids for continuity and the fun could be in choosing the prints!
I started by making some sample blocks.
Well, yes, I got a little carried away but they were so much fun to make I just kept experimenting with background prints and they all seemed to play well together!

So here's how I put these blocks together to get accurate 10.5" blocks unfinished.

Cutting instructions:
From the solid: cut 1- 3.5" x 10.5" strip 
                           1- 3" x 5.5" strip
From the print: cut 1- 3.5  x 10.5 " strip,  
                             2-  3" x 5.5" strips 
                            1- 3" x 10.5" strip

Sewing Half Square Triangles =HST
There are lots of ways to sew HSTs.  When I am sewing small numbers of them this is my go-to technique.  I like to cut the squares a smidge big and then cut them down after they have been sewn for better accuracy:
Start with the 3.5" x 10.5" strips of both the solid and the print.  Put them right sides together and press them.  The pressing creates 'Static Cling' between the 2 layers which makes for very accurate cutting!
Cut the strip into 3- 3.5" squares. 
Cut these in half being careful not to disturb the 'Static Cling'. 
I usually stack them up like this to take to the sewing machine 
                      See my last post if you need more info. on getting an   
                                  accurate 1/4" inch seam.
When you get to the end of the seam it's important to put your pointer finger right next to the presser foot so that the last bit of the seam does not 'fishtail' out from under the presser foot.

Holding the very end of the triangle may also keep it from sliding.  You might need to experiment a bit to see which method works best for you.  Some people use what's called a stiletto ( a metal pointy thing) but I find that a bit cumbersome.
      Here are the 6 HSTs all ready to be ironed, toward the solid. 
These units need to be trimmed to a perfect 3" square!
                                                         Assembling the Block.
 I think sometimes people think that all it takes is an accurate 1/4" seam and their blocks should come out right, right?
There's a lot more to it than that!
Congruency:  If two things are the same size they should fit over one another exactly.
Can you tell if there are two patches stacked or only one?  There are 2 but it's really hard to tell because they are congruent.
Below are the same two patches only I've messed slightly with the way they are stacked.
If sewn in this position they will not make a perfect  3" x 5.5" unit.  It's only a hair off but those little errors add up if you don't make your patches really congruent every time you sew them together. 
Oh, Ironing!  You don't want to scrub across your patches as if they were laundry it can pull your patches out of square!
Iron toward the top sail here
And iron toward the bow and stern on the boat.

Next up: sew side rectangles to each sail pair.
Be careful which side you sew your patches to the sails, one is on the right the other on the left.
Also sew bottom rectangle to the bottom of the boat and iron toward the boat.
You may ask why sew in this order rather than sails together first and side patches second.
I think it's a little easier to match up the middles this way?!
In order to match up the sails in the middle of the seam I stick a pin straight through the seam making sure it goes through right at the seam line on both sides then rotate the pin to secure it in place.
You can see the seams are going the same way,  it's a little bulky but it keeps the pressing of the sails going the right way. 
Iron toward the bump in the seams if you do this slowly the presser foot should ride up over the bump and give you a good match 

Pin the top of the block to the bottom.  The seams should nest with each other. 
Press toward the bottom of the block.
10.5" on the button!
I hope you have fun making this block!
Your feedback on these instructions would be most appreciated!
Cheers, Claire W.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Have you checked your quarter inch lately?!

This month I start a year long commitment to provide the BOM (Block of the Month) for my local guild.  I will be posting each project the second Monday of each month.  So I have been thinking a lot about accuracy and that 1/4 inch thing.

 Accuracy is not a huge issue for most of the kind of piecing that I like to do but for some and particularly people receieving the winnings of the BOM it can be a big deal.  So I thought I would do a pre-BOM post about how to check ones 1/4".

 If you are new to the game, have trouble getting things to turn out the right size or if you are like me with a new machine this is a worth while exercise!

I recently bought an old model Singer from my friend Randy.  It's such a cute little machine I could not resist!!  And since my Bernina is in the shop this week I got out the 301A to give her a test run.
This machine did not have a 1/4 inch foot.  The seam allownances are marked on the metal throat plate.  This is a system I don't use much so I thought a little warm up activity was in order.  Not only will I be able to check my 1/4 inchers but also the stitch length.
Here's how: 
First off all accurate piece work begins with accurate cutting.  The red strip is exactly 2" so once the 1.5" white strips are sewn on either side  I should have a perfect 1.5 inch red strip flanked by to perfect 1.25" white strips.
Make sure your edges line up perfectly. 
Press seams toward the outside strips.
Looks pretty close.  I think I'm good to sew!
If you've never done this exercise or you have trouble getting things to turn out the right size or you've got a new machine, I suggest you try this little procedure. It may help!
I will be posting all the projects here for the BOM through the year . I invite you to stop by and sew along.  I've got some really fun project planned!
Cheers, CW