Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stash Buster BOM Block #4 - another choice...

Clay's Choice - another easy block!


This is another super easy block - it is made up of only two sizes of squares.  I followed the original color layout of the block and used 4 fabrics.   You can do the same or you can make it even scrappier - it's up to you!

Cutting is easy too - just two sizes

(A) 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" square - cut 4 sqares red print (scraps) and 4 squares of background

(B)  3 7/8" x 3 7/8" square - these will become half square triangles

Cut 4 squares of tan print (scraps)

Cut 2 squares of red print (scraps)

Cut 2 squares of background

Pair one of each of the tan with the red and gold prints, right sides together and then sew 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal line to yield 8 half square triangles once they are cut apart.  Please refer to my blog post "Blue Painter's Tape" for instructions on how to make half square triangles.

Lay out the squares and half square triangle units referring to the layout guide and picture above. (Remember to trim off the points of the HST units)   


Flip the squares in row two over on top of the squares in row one (left had side) and sew 1/4" seam -keeping them chained together as you go.


Remember to press each row alternating as you go. I press after adding each row - makes it easier plus you have to get up and move around which is always good.  Got to get some exercise when we can.  Some people keep their ironing board within reach of their machine but I have mine about 3 feet away so I am forced to get up and move around.

 Remember to keep an eye out for that ever important intersection.  You need to press so you can see that - note how my rows are pressed in alternating directions.

Last row!

Now I need to sew the other direction/rows together.  In this pic you can see that I have already sewn the rows together - I am on the last one.  There are pins....  

There will be times when the intersection I talk about so much is on the underside of the block and you can't see it.  What I do is take my fingernail and "find" it.  There will be a bump so to speak and if you locate that you can see where to sew even though you can't "see" the intersection, you can often times "feel" it and sew accordingly.  With a little practice you can get this down and your points won't be getting cut off.

Success!!!   I love it when things turn out perfect don't you?  


Remember the keys are simple: 

  1. Accurate cutting

  2. Scant 1/4" sewing using a thin thread ( I piece with good quality serger thread)

  3. PRESS as you go - use Magic sizing

  4. keep an eye out for those intersections and pay close attention to the ones on the outer edges of the block  - this will help a great deal when you go to set the blocks. 

    Yay!!!  Block #4 Clay's Choice is complete!  Good job!!!




Stash Buster BOM Block #3 - it's all about choices....

Sister's Choice is up next - a nice easy block!!!


This is an easy block to make, just a few half square triangles and the rest just plain old squares.  

I love blocks that have opportunity for using lots of different fabrics and this is one of those.  You can make it even scrappier than this one - if I make another one I am going to use all different colors in the center squares. 

Many, many years ago I made a quilt of this block in blues and yellows - really scrappy!  I just love scrappy quilts!


Cutting is pretty simple for this one - just two sizes of squares:


(A) 2 7/8" x 2 7/8" for the "squares" 


(B) 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" for the half square triangle squares.



Choose your fabrics any way you prefer, just refer to the photo and graphic above for the blocks original design/color layout. 

Remember like all things in quilting the final choice is up to you - I love that!!!



You can make the half square triangles any way you like - I posted the instructions on the two methods in my blog post last month titled "Blue Painter's Tape" go check it out if you are not sure how to make them.  


In this instance I chose not to mark the squares and am using the painters tape instead.

Once you have the half square triangle blocks made press to the dark.  In my case that is my background fabric. 

 Because I am a neat freak and a perfectionist when it comes to quilting I always trim off the little points that stick out.  I don't like them getting in my way and the main reason is sometimes that little triangle will show through the fabric if you are using lighter fabrics.  I always cut them off.

 Next step is to layout the block - play around with the placement of the squares - I originally had the fabric I used in the very center of the 9 patch as the mid way point squares in the outer part of the block but found they were too distracting out there so I cut the brown check - it was more pleasing to my eye.  The fabric choices can be as scrappy as you like.  Just have fun with it!!!  In this pic you can see that I am taking the squares from the 2nd row and laying them over on the first row - that is setting me up nicely for chain piecing.

 When I am piecing I always end on a folded scrap of fabric - less thread waste and the best part is you don't get those threads dangling all over the quilt block parts while you are working - I like to keep things nice and tidy and this little trick helps as you cut the thread close to the block leaving the scrap in the machine.  Ditto when you start - you just cut the scrap off and then bring it around again to the front of the machine at the end of your piecing chain. 


I have multiples of these little helpers near my machine and when the thread gets built up too much I just toss em and start another one.


It is very important that you press!  


I press after I sew each row as it makes it much easier to keep track of the direction and I don't have to fight with the whole block.  In this pic I have the first row sewn, I then lay that row back down and take the middle row of squares and flip them over onto the 2nd row, pin and away I go - sew that row, press and repeat the process until you have all rows completed!

If you look closely at the pic you can see that I am alternating the direction of the "row" as I press - that way when I go to put them together they will easily nest.  Pay attention to that outside row - you want to press so that you can see the intersection on those triangles - that way you won't cut off the points.  Refer to block 1 & 2 for close up pics of this and why it is important.   If you can't see that intersection you will not know where to sew!

See the point of that pencil - you need to press so you can see that intersection where the threads cross.  That is so very important - press it one direction you can see it and know where to sew, press the other and it will be hidden under the seam allowance.   

Ooops looks like I forgot to cut my thread scrap off before snapping the pic - LOL


You will also note that all the pieces are chained together in this pic - I don't cut the threads between the rows - makes it easy to keep things nice and organized and makes it a piece of cake to sew the rows together in the other direction to complete the block.


It is very important that you take breaks - sometimes you need a reminder that it is time to take a little break.  Winnie has brought me a present and he wants to play fetch...

He can play fetch for hours - honestly he never tires of it.  My arm, not so much....

Almost done with this direction - one last row to add.  I like to pin the squares - just flip them over onto the "block" and put in a pin to hold them, that way when you pick up the block they are in place . 





I find if I put in a pin at this point I am less likely to get something turned the wrong way and I always prefer to use a pin rather than a seam ripper!!!

OK now for the rows the other direction.  By now you know I am not afraid to use pins - I know some of you don't think they are necessary and that is OK.  I love when things match up perfectly and pinning helps me achieve that.  Remember that pressing I was going on and on about - here is why alternating the direction of each row matters - see how the seams just nest together? Proper pressing caused that!   Whenever I am matching up seams I always put a pin on either side of the seam after I get things aligned properly.

This is an important picture - I am about to come to the intersection of that point.  You can't see it very well due to the thread color of the one seam, but I want to sew just to the right of that intersection.  If you do, you will end up with perfect points and they won't be cut off.


Just one more row and the block will be done.  Spencer had to help too - he loves to bat at the lanyard of my camera. 

 Mom, you still need a couple of pins here!

Remember to check your pressing direction as you want to be sure you can see those intersections noted by my pencils - that will help you when we go to set the block.

Give the block a good press and call this baby done!!!  Good job!