Saturday, October 24, 2015

I've made thirty of my Blue Chains block, so I'm ready to set that together, but I've allowed myself to be sidetracked.

I've been making red and cream HST for a Split Nine Patch for most of this year, and this little box had over 400 stacked inside, (which should be more than enough I hope!)

Bonnie showed a picture of a red and green top on one of her posts and I thought it would make a lovely Christmas quilt.

Jo from Jo's Country Junction is having a UFO challenge to finish a project before Bonnie's new mystery comes out. I don't know whether it's supposed to be a Bonnie pattern, but  this seems as good a time as any to move this to the front of the queue.

Out came the green scraps,  light, medium and dark, and I've been cutting bricks and squares, enough to make 100 blocks to start with.

Having the HST already made means this is flying along, I've made 50 blocks already and I'm beginning to wonder if I need to go back to the red scraps as well. I do love cutting out fabric, especially when I can use up so many scraps in one pattern.
But in some ways it's quite annoying that I can say "No yardage was harmed in the making of this quilt".....When am I ever going to get to cut into the real stash?


Sunday, October 18, 2015

 This block is so simple and versatile, I think it will become a favourite to use up scraps.

I quite often use an Easy Angle ruler to cut half square triangles, but in this case it made more sense to use 3 7/8"  squares.

I cut my strips about 4 1/4" and trimmed a 3 7/8" square first, and then I cut two 2" strips. Those strips were cut into four 2" squares, and that's it.

 If you layer a light 8 1/4" piece and a dark one you can cut the whole block out at the same time, a nice time saver. (I would of course lay them right sides together but the  blue piece had a white back and didn't show up properly for the photo)

I like to leave a bit of wiggle room when cutting like this- I could use a 4" strip, but somehow trying to make two 2" cuts always leaves one a little short. It's easier to have the extra to play with.

There are so many ways you can use these units together, if you reverse the darks and lights it becomes a Jewel Box block...

(which is much more  effective with scraps I have to admit)

 I also realised that Bonnies  Blue Ridge Beauty from Adventures With Leaders & Enders uses the same units in a different arrangement....use the link to see her hints on pressing.

 or what about a plain old Anvil block?

That reminded me of a little quilt I made years ago, with a border of Broken Dishes blocks. I always meant to make a bigger version of this- perhaps I'll keep cutting out those blue scraps!


Thursday, October 08, 2015

 Recently I was looking through some older magazines, and came across this photo of a blue and white quilt.

I've been meaning to clean up my blue scraps, especially the non reproduction ones, so this seemed like  a good candidate. Each block is made of four smaller blocks, so all the little bits could be used as well as the larger pieces.

The instructions in the article were for an 11" block, but I changed that to 12" because it was easier.  I don't have a lot of white shirtings, most of them turned out to be cream but I think I'll have enough to make thirty blocks. If I run out I might have to raid Keryn's stash, it's handy having a backup.....


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Keryn has had  a Go Cutter for quite a while, and seems to have a lot of fun cranking fabric through it, making piles of strips and triangles. I appreciate it's efficiency  but up to now I've been willing to bumble along with my slower cutting methods. I actually like cutting, it's a sort of Zen activity for me which I find calming and very satisfying. All that fabric dealt with....Yeah! I look forward to cutting up scraps and putting them away, and since Keryn bought the Go cutter I've accepted the bits  leftover from her cutting sessions so we're both happy with the investment.

I did try piecing with some of the strips, but I found I had to use a really scant 1/4" seam, and the pieces didn't fit together with the bits I'd cut on my own. The cutting measurements really are exactly what they say they are, and I must have a little bit extra built into my pieces. I come up with a perfect final result, so it works for me, but I didn't like mixing the different cuts.

Then Keryn bought this die on the right, and I decided to give it another go. The whole block is cut out at once, so I can use my really scant 1/4" seam allowance throughout and not have to bother about adjusting it.

For each block you need two light rectangles and two dark, each measuring 6 3/4" by 7 3/4" so I got to work and cut a heap of them- that was tremendous fun and much fabric disappeared very quickly. Then I went round to Keryn's place and acquainted myself with the equipment!

I had to fiddle a fair bit to get the pieces cut smoothly, there were some bits that didn't quite get cut, or the edges were pushed into the foam and frayed when I eased them out. On Keryn's advise I tried all sorts of different things, more layers, less layers, changing which end of the die to feed through, and finally found the recipe that seemed to work best for my fabric. A sheet of junk mail on the bottom, 7 layers of material, another layer of paper and feeding the wider cutting shape in first. I really don't know the recommended practice, but this had the best results for me.

The first block I made was a little bit wrinkly in the centre, but the next one I trimmed each quadrant to 90 degrees before I sewed them together. There was a tiny bit of excess fabric in the middle- the outer edge was fine- and then it went together perfectly.

I'm aiming for 35 blocks, and I've got about half cut out, so this weekend I plan to have another cutting session and then pack this away as a kit to make in January when it's so stinking hot I won't want to iron piles of fabric and heat up the sewing room.

I might even look through my files of antique quilts and see if I can make one in another colourway. I've always adored this pattern and the ease with which I can cut out a whole quilt is certainly tempting....


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