Friday, May 27, 2011

Elm Creek Quilts - May reveal

Time to play catch up. We had the May show n tell last week and I HAVE to get the results posted. Now to remember which blocks belong to whom. Gosh - is that the correct grammar????   all those "whichs" and "whos" and "whoms". I really need to get a grammar refresher, But I digress.......













And there we have the show n tell for May. I have to say that I am VERY IMPRESSED with the blocks so far. There are 140 blocks in total and NOT everyone is going to make all 140. There is no penalty for not completing any of the blocks and life gets in the way so some months may need to be caught up later and some blocks - well - I wonder whether I would make them if I wasn't making them for the class. However there is the challenge of making all 140. Whether they all go in the quilt or not is another thing!!!!

And now the homework for the next group of 10. Hopefully you are all getting the hang of it by now, but here goes with a few tips to keep you on track.

Remember there are MANY ways to assemble these blocks. The book has one way - sometimes I agree with the pattern and believe that is the easiest way, however if you have a different way - then I say DO IT YOUR WAY!!!!   There is no WRONG way to assemble anything and there are NO quilt police!!!

Above all - remember these are learning experiences and some blocks may not as successful as you would like - well we will have our work session to help you with those. I will send you an e-mail with those dates.

Album Block 1 - Page 14 - This block is paper pieced. If you are comfortable with paper piecing, then use the pattern in the book. If not - your hand out includes instructions to rotary cut the block. Note - the sizes are slightly smaller than the paper pieced pattern - why cut 16s when we can cut 8s???   Because of that rounding down in sizes, the center is a smidgen smaller than it is supposed to be. Hence I made the background a bit bigger to compensate. Simply trim the background away and VOILA - your block is 6 1/2".

Lay out of some of the Album Block pieces

Notice how much bigger those background triangles are from the coloured strips.

Trim the excess points away and mark the center of each section and sew together

One half of the block. Always find the center and sew the sections (strips) together

Center complete WITHOUT the corners - they are the last to sew on.

Album Block - yes the corners are bigger than they need to be, but better bigger than too small. Now using your 6 1/2" square ruler - center the coloured strips and trim to 6 1/2"

Clay's Choice - Page 26 

Autumn Leaf - Page 17 - First round of applique. There are MANY ways to applique. My favourite is to use starch to turn the edges under. But fusible applique would work perfect here as well. Note the templates in the back of the book ( E is the wrong length). We are NOT using templates in this block except for the point - Templates C and G - which I cut from freezer paper.

Autumn Leaf - what the section looks like after the first C is sewn to G

Notice the overhang when sewing C to G. This little notch will ensure that the edge is smooth when pressed. See the bottom edge of the block in the photo above.

The two Cs sewn to G - again notice how the side edge is nicely lined up because of the little dog ear left  when sewing.

This section needs to be trimmed to 2 7/8"

The machine applique stitch (wrong side). I use a zig zag - width = 1 and length = 1.5

Using a "matching green" (I don't worry if the colour isn't exact) on top and on the bobbin (if a bobbin is wound - otherwise - something dark or neutral)
Autumn Leaf block

Boy's Nonsense - Page 21  Again - this block is paper pieced and I provided the instructions to rotary cut it. This means that I rounded DOWN the sizes slightly to avoid the 16s measurements. The center design is slightly smaller and I made the background bigger so it can be trimmed down.

The center section

Trim to 3 1/4" - you will trim a "fair" amount away.

The flying geese may not have points exactly in the corners. I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference. 

A little trick for these diagonally pieced blocks. Once you get two sides on - you can place your 6 1/2" ruler on the piece and you can see here that I have lots of extra on both diagonal corners. I can proceed with the block knowing that it will be big enough. 

Adding triangles to the flying geese. Again - see how big the background triangles are - you will need to trim off those points. Find the center of the two sections and then sew together and then sew to the rest of the block. 

Boy's Nonsense - again - see how large it is (well trust me on that one), but there is LOTS of room to trim  and still get the 6 1/2". Don't forget to center the design. If not sure - we will cover that in class.

Cats and Mice - Page 23 - Pretty straight forward. If you have difficult with the size - (mine is slightly too large). I am going to remove the orange tips and shave a little bit off of the green squares on each of the four corners. I can then resew the orange tips on. Again - don't be afraid to use that 6 1/2" ruler in the construction process to see where you are with size. Yes - I will rip down the seam between the background and the green BEFORE I take the small shaving off. 
Cats and Mice BEFORE trimming
Courthouse Steps - Page 28 - Again - this pattern is paper pieced. I gave you the rotary cutting directions.

Courthouse steps - you can see that my pieces are NOT matching. I fixed that issue with the sizes I gave you. I need to trim this to 6 1/2"

|Chicago Pavements - Page 24 -  Another paper pieced block. Again - we are going to reduce the center ever so slightly so we can rotary cut in decent measurements. Make the background slightly larger and trim to 6 1/2"

Chicago Pavements - pieces laid out. The small triangles (from the 3" squares) attached to the squares and rectangles

Trim the points off the background and sew together

Sew two sides to the center - trim those background points and sew the remaining two corners on.

Chicago Pavements - trim to 6 1/2"

   Cut Glass Dish - Page 29  -

Cut glass dish

Cut glass dish - the pressing plan. I sewed the half square triangles in groups of 4 and twisted the seam. 

CAUTION - this is the way I FIRST sewed this block together - oops - that is NOT right. A little surgery and I got the right orientation on those half square triangles.

Double Nine Patch - P 30 - While this block looks complicated it is NOT. It just has a lot of fiddly little pieces. You can cut strips if you wish - I just cut a bunch of small squares the size of the template which is 1 3/16".  Here are some tips for working with small pieces - Note - I use these techniques for ALL my sewing. 

I use a stiletto (the long pointy thing) which is also called a quilter's awl. This allows me to get my fingers in to arrange fussy little pieces as my fingers are TOO FAT to get that close to the presser foot. 

Here I am using the stiletto to hold the pieces in place while they go under the presser foot. Notice how close the stiletto is to the needle. You wouldn't do this with your finger!!!!   And you get MUCH MORE CONTROL and therefore accuracy. 

 See how I use the stiletto as an extension of my finger and it is right under that pressure foot.

 I also use enders and leaders with all projects. This saves time - cutting and trimming thread and it prevents messed up starts and saves thread. I use half square triangles (cut off triangles from borders and bindings or you could use squares or whatever)

Once the small nine-patches were made, I trimmed them to 2 1/2". There wasn't MUCH to trim, but I did so they would fit no problem with the plain squares

Double 9-patch

Dutchman's Puzzle - P 32 - this is easy and nothing new. 

Dutchman's Puzzle

And there you have it - all 10 blocks for the homework in May. 

Have a great day!!!!


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