Monday, March 31, 2014

Some Really Tedious Sewing

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a lot of leftover cut fabric to sew into blocks so the fabric wouldn't be wasted. One would think that by now I would have learned to count.  But, I guess I never did too well in math (tongue in cheek, I actually have had two years of college calculus, but then, that isn't the same as counting, is it?) and so now have lots of little triangles to sew into something useful. I haven't counted all these little flying geese blocks, but I'm estimating that there are about 150 or so.

They are now being sewn into six pointed star blocks. I'll make all the blocks, then see what quilts I can make with them. I think I can get another full size quilt and maybe a lap quilt.

I have eight of these, and two of the reverse color combination. Since they are 12 inches square, 20 blocks will make a nice lap quilt if I put a small border around it. I hope I have enough in my stash to make these from the smaller stars. I really don't want to buy any more fabric.

In the last post I mentioned that there was a mistake in the finished quilt. This is a Rising Star block, and it is sewn correctly.

This one isn't! In the photo of the quilt top hanging over the banister, the Rising Star in the lower left hand corner is the one that's off.  As it turned out I had an extra block that was sewn correctly, so I changed them out. There are also four six inch star blocks in a row, when they are supposed to alternate by two's. But they are staying right where they are.

As you can imagine, this sewing isn't too exciting. In fact, it's really, really, boring. But I'm listening to books or music while sewing and trying not to do too much at once.

I hope to bring the finished quilt top to the quilter sometime this week. One of our local quilt shops, the Orange Quilt Bee in Orange (of course!) has a "B&B" day on the 25th of each month. If you bring in your quilt to be measured you get 25% off backing and batting. That saved quite a bit!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Piecing the Quilt Top

As you know, this Blue and Cream quilt top is pretty big, about 100 inches (254 cm) square, and to make piecing it really hard, it's put together on the diagonal. I mentioned in an earlier post that I bought a set of square rulers which have turned out to be extremely useful. Notice above that the six inch (15 cm) block is just a bit larger than the ruler. To make matters worse, it's not quite even all around the block.

Trimming it to size (including the seam allowance) squares up the block, making it much easier to accurately piece the blocks together. It is so easy to stretch the fabric out of shape with all the bias seams, no matter how well starched the fabric is or how slowly you sew.

I found some little sandpaper dots to affix to the wrong side of the ruler. This keep the ruler from slipping over the fabric, which is particularly easy to do when you are holding the ruler down over a seam. The edges always seem to slip.

All of the smaller blocks were sewn together to make 12 inch (30.5 cm) blocks for each row.

This might seem pretty picky, but to sew the rows together, I pinned the blocks at the seams so they would match, them evenly spaced pins along each block. Then I steamed the pinned blocks to help shrink out any excess fabric. It seemed to take forever, but the results were worth it. All the blocks are pretty well matched. I only found one tiny pleat in the whole quilt, and I was able to rip out several inches and ease the seam back into place.  Also notice that the fabric is double pinned. This helps tremendously to keep the fabric together while transporting such large pieces to the machine. Once you train yourself to do it it really doesn't take much time, and it is so worth the effort.

Here is part of the finished quilt top. I don't have anywhere that I can hang this so you can see the whole thing. It's just too darn big. Over the next week or so I'll find some backing material and send it out for quilting. By the way, can you see the mistakes? They are staying in!

What to do next? I still have an awful lot of cut fabric left over! I have three of the large stars, one Rising Star (that's the swirly block), a few small stars, and hundreds of half square triangles for flying geese blocks. I also have enough of the Rising Star partial blocks (all sewn wrong, of course) to make a lap quilt. I'll be slowly sewing them together, as the goal is to rid myself of all cut fabric, then see what I can make with what I have. I'll definitely have enough for a couple of lap quilts or maybe a full size. It's a good thing I love the blue and cream combination.