Sunday, January 24, 2016


Good morning!

While this blog post is specifically for my Reminisce class, there are loads of tips that you could hopefully use in your current project.  So feel free to read through and if you`re really intriguted - maybe you can join our class at the Hobby Horse.  Note they will be closed for two weeks so if you try to call - you might not get an answer.

Reminisce by Lori Smith - From my heart to your hands

I figured it would be easier for some of you to see these close up pictures of my block to help you put yours together.   

If you have any questions - leave a comment or send me an e-mail. 

The biggest issue for me with this quilt was what fabric to use.  ACK - so many choices. My first thought was to go with red and white.  Simply because I'm intrigued with the red/white quilt thing.  I dumped out one of my baskets of red and decided that it would be too limiting. 

Then I thought about what lectures/classes I have coming up and perhaps I could make something that would suit one of my trunk shows.  AHA - I'm getting smart - trying to kill two birds with one stone. 

I do have a lecture on SCRAP QUILTS which is happening at Quilt Canda in June 2016.  Hmmm - I don't think I have a scrap batik quilt.  Got two boxes of batik scraps - sounds like a plan.  

My two boxes of batik scraps
 Never mind - SHOULD I run out of scraps or can't find anything approprite - I've lots of batiks as a fall back plan.  My goal is to dig through these two plastic shoe boxes and whatever it the appropriate size - that's was the next piece is going to be.  YES - I will try to coordinate it somewhat - but you get the picture.   No matching or being too fussy with this.  We are making do with what we have in those boxes!   It's like a challenge!

I really feel that scrappy is going to be the best look for this quilt.  Another option is to pick certain colors.  Like this quilt - it is very scrappy and was made with reds, greens/ purples, blues and blacks.  Medium to dark values.   No rhyme or reason as to how the colors were placed except I tried to not put a red beside a red, but that was it!  It is one of my favourite quilts and I get lots of comments on it.

Scrappy quilt - blues/reds/greens/purples and blacks

Another alternative is to use up your UGLY fabrics.  Come on - we all have some.  Then you could say that you used those.  As you have probably guessed by now - I love telling stories and to me - the more interesting the story about how the fabrics were found/located/bought - the more interesting that quilt becomes. Yes - I like going to the store to buy new stuff as well, but that's not nearly as exciting as hunting down that exact fabric or digging through scraps to make do.  I guess it's all in how you look at it!!!!!

Since I'm using scraps, I wasn't always able to start with the squares as per the pattern.  I found that using the Template Set A from Marti Michelle was the exact size needed to cut parts of this block.  (Lucy - I'll send the equalivents to you!)

Cutting the scraps with Marti Michelle templates

Now we have to make a lot of flying geese in this quilt so best to start off on the right foot.  After you add the first colored triangle to the left or the right of the bigger light triangle (it does't matter which one you start with), press that seam AWAY from the bigger triangle. Away from the center!   Then add the second colored triangle and also press away from the center.

Now this next step is CRITICAL and I do it for everything quilt I make.  I TRIM as I go!!!!!   So I'm going to trim this flying geese unit.  We chatted yesterday about how to figure out the size.  We know it is supposed to be 2" by 3 1/2".  When trimming, let your ruler do the work for you!!!!   If you're right handed, place that 1 inch and 1 inch markings on the top right hand side of the unit you are trimming.  If left handed, place those markings on the left hand side.

Now there is a center of this unit and it should be where those two colored triangles meet.   So if my flying geese is 3 1/2" wide, the center should be 1 3/4".  You can see on my ruler that the DOT marking the 1 3/4" mark is placed right where that intersection is. I also have the bottom of the ruler (well the 2" marking) along the bottom of my flying geese unit.   See the dog ears - we don't want them.

Now you trim up the right hand side of the ruler and carefully across the top.

Trim right and top
 Rotate the flying geese 180 degrees and now line up the 3 1/2" on the left side and 2" on the bottom.  Now trim again along the right and top.
Rotate unit and trim again
 Have a look at what I trimmed away.  Not a lot, but if you had a lot of flying geese, these small amounts could greatly distort the final look.

This is what I trimmed away. 

OK - now we have to add the flying geese units to the center square in a square unit. But how to get those points to mach up?

First step - place the two pieces right sides together.  Then take a sharp pin and poke it through the wrong side of the top piece (the brown/cream below) and then poke the pin through the EXACT same spot on the piece underneath (green/gold).    |I pulled that brown triangle (middle bottom) out of the way so you can see the pin in the underneath part.

Matching up the points - flying geese to square in a square

You may have to manipulate the pieces but you want that pin to be standing straight up, with the beginning and end edges lined up.  Sometimes the seam allowance at the point will stick over (on one of the pieces) and this is normal as the point may not be exactly the same distance from the edge on both pieces.  Rarely happens that those seams line up exactly.

When that pin is standing straight up, stick two more pins into the work to hold that point secure and remove the standing up pin.

Secure with two pins

Now you're going to sew that seam. Notice the two pins in the fabric - I leave them in and YES - I sew over them. Carefully. If you prefer to remove them - do so just before you get to the pin.  DO NOT readjust those seam allowances to match.  That defeats the purpose of the pinning process.

Notice also in the photo below, that I'm using a quilter's awl or stiletto to control the fabric (metal pointy thing in the bottom middle).  As those thick points go under the foot of your sewing machine, they will have a tendency to shift to the left. Keep them in place by using the quilter's awl.  It will feel very cumbersome at first, but once you get used to it - your accuracy will be way improved.

Sewing the seam with the points - use a quilter's awl

In the next two photos, you can see where that vertical seam line hits the point which is formed by the intersection of those two diagonal seams.  In the first sample, the vertical seam is just a smidgen too far to the left and when you open up the sample, the point will be slightly gone on the gold.  I'm talking teeny tiny!!!

Seam is about one thread wide too far to the left of the intersection

This one is just a smidgen to the right of the intersection - perfect
 By having the seam just a smidgen to the outer edge of that intersection, you're allowing for some ease as the fabric goes over the seam allowance.   It is very hard to get BOTH of them perfect.  You usually get one or the other right, rarely both.

Let's just say that I'm happy with the results below.   (I did modify the seam on the upper sample so the point wouldn't get lost).

Perfect points!
Two things when pressing this point.  USE STEAM -  set the seam first (by placing the iron on the seam on the wrong side).  Then gently flip the top piece over and press.  These seams were pressed to ONE side and while there is a bit of bulk at that intersection, I'm very happy with them.   In addition to using STEAM - use a HOT iron and PLEASE  press from the front as described above.  You CANNOT successfully press these from the wrong side.  You might get lucky - but from the front is way better.  The other thing is that I may have to manipulate those two points with my fingers as I am pressing.  You can see that the thickness of the seam allowance will interfere with how the points show up.  Try it with your piece.  By pushing with your thumb nail against that intersection - you can have a matching point, where you didn't think you did!  Gently pull those fabrics OPEN or APART at the point to expose the point!

Perfectly FLAT

And there is the very center of our quilt.

Center block

Seams pressed flat.  
 Notice that I was consistent and pressed all the seams toward the center.  I didn't twirl anything here as sometimes it throws the block out of whack.  I would rather have the seams all go towards the center - if I twirled, that wouldn't have happened.  Sorry - that is just something I've learned from years and years of practise.  Remember - 10,000 hours!!!!!   Then you can call yourself a professional!

Pretty darn close to 6 1/2".  Close ENOUGH!!!!!
 Now let's look at those four patches in the corners.   You have to make the half square triangles first.  Remember - those get trimmed to 2". Always trim!!!!!   Then lay the four patch out and sew it together.  I chain piece everything and when I cut the four patches apart, I leave them in pairs.  Here is the first pair ready to be pressed.  (you can't see the half square triangles as they are underneath these squares).  Press one to the left and one to the right.  In this case, I press to the plain square.

Pressing the half square triangle

Yes - I twirled the seam on this one - it makes the center lie flatter
 Since this is the more consisent way to press this block - yes - I twirl the seam.  For a tutorial on twirling the seams - check out this link.  

Now let's have a look at those bigger flying geese units in the second round of this quilt.

You can see below that I have started with the small flying geese unit.  I added a triangle to either side of it and then lastly, I added the triangle on top.   You can see that the diagonal edges are pretty straight.  What you don't want is a big jog where the top triangle meets the bottom part.  It would be next to impossible to sew the next piece on.

Straight edges along the diagonals
 To square up that unit - use the edge of a ruler.  Check - is the unit pretty much a 90 degree "square".  If so, trim off those dog ears (again - do the side and top without moving the ruler).

Trim off dog ears and check for the 90 degrees

Sew on those two bigger colored triangles to get the bigger flying geese unit.  Notice that my seam along the top isn't perfectly lined up, but I measured with the rule and will trim a bit of the one on the right away - phew - I don't have to rip.  Remember - it doesn't have to be perfect, but you don't want to cause problems when you go to sew the next seam.

Flying geese unit is together
 And them trim the unit - this one is 3 1/2" by 6 1/2".

Nice flat seams - always press away from the center

My nine pieces are assembled and waiting for the final step.

Components are assembled and waiting final seaming

Pressing scheme for the block

VOILA - quilt center is DONE

I'm pretty happy with that.  I notice that I mostly used browns/creams and greens.  Nothing bright, nothing blue.  Hmmm - going to have to sneak something in - I've got a lot of that in the scrap box!!!!   I guess we'll just have to wait until next time to see what comes out of the box!!!!!  OK - I did cheat -  the ligher colors, I pulled from my batik stash box. 

Have fun with the block - remember it is better to be done, than perfect.   Oh yes - notice how the edges of the block are SMOOTH.  No jagged edges.  As I mentioned before, that is CRITICAL to getting this quilt to work.  And yes - it measures 12 1/2".    TRIM each component as you work.  Don't wait until the end. It never works. 

Have a great day - if you have questions - PLEASE PLEASE e-mail me or leave a comment so I can help out. 


No comments:

Post a Comment