Saturday, February 28, 2015

Simple Whatnots Club Collection #2 Session 2

WARNING:  this post is long and photo-laden.

Last night we  had the second session of the second whatnots club, in the second month of the year.  This is a club from Henry Glass Fabrics designed by Kim Diehl.  It runs 6 months and we meet monthly for my lecture/demo class.  There are 35 people signed up and about half were there last night.  It was postponed last Friday due to an ice storm and this week we had 8" of snow so everyone's schedule is somewhat upside down.  I thought those who missed would like to see what we did and you can see what this is all about.

Here is the project I featured for February, Hen Pecked, 10.5" square:

Those are 1" finished half square triangles (HST).  My method for making HST is to use a triangle ruler--I use Omnigrid, there are a couple other brands that work the same way.  With a 1" finished HST, cut strips 1.5", lay them right sides together and cut like this, placing the light background fabric on the bottom:
With this ruler, place 1" line on the left, cut

Rotate, do not flip, the ruler, 1" line is at the top, yellow tip line is at the bottom. Unit on left was moved slightly so you can see the process.

I pressed the seam open, and trimmed carefully to exactly 1.5". 

Rotate the unit 180" and trim other two sides.  I am willing to throw away that much fabric for perfect piecing/cutting
Pressing seams open, some do, some don't.  I don't usually because I burn my fingers and my motto is "I want the fastest method that gives me the result I want." So pressing to the darker side  has been my fastest method.  Then I discovered this tool and now it's easier:

It's made from heat resistant rubber, does not roll, does not get hot, has two different end tips to allow for turning corners in things like pockets, pillowcases, etc.  Press Perfect by Joan Hawley from Clover.
As I only made 2 HST from each set of fabrics, after cutting the red set, I placed a different dark fabric on top of the background strip, cut 2 of those, added a different dark, cut 2, etc.  I used 5 different background fabrics, use only one if you please.  It's your quilt, do it your way.

When I got this done I looked at it for a few days on the design wall and thought What If?  Those 1" HST are pretty small and I can't see the fabric very well so I made another middle, using 2.5" strips for a 2" finished HST.  Instead of 35 1" HST, I made 20 2" finished HST:


The original border treatment of using different fabrics really appeals to me--with the one on the left I think I will add only 2 borders per side, from 8 different fabrics.  Time will tell.
Seams pressed open, top is flatter on the front than if I had pressed to one side, alternating rows
Another discussion we had was how to keep your sewing straight.  This is how I pin and sew:

I pin at each intersection, pinning IN FRONT of the seam, not after the seam.  I remove the pins as I get to them, I don't sew over them since I sew at a pretty good speed.  If you use fine pins and sew slowly you can probably get away with sewing over the pins without damaging your machine.  Once I get right up to the intersection the pin has done it's job, so I remove it.

 Notice the last pin, at the very bottom on the left.  I put that pin about 1/2" away from the corner and leave it in place as I sew off the piece.  This helps me stay straight all the way to the end.  It is easy to get lazy at the end, reach over to grab what you plan to sew next, and sew less or more than a 1/4" at the most important part, the outside edge of the piece. 

This happens at the beginning too--notice I have a leader/ender unit at the very top--I  LEAD with two 1.5" squares together at the beginning of any piecing I am doing, and END with two 1.5" squares as I finish chain piecing.  This photo shows the pieces at an angle so you can see them, they would actually be straight behind the machine in real life:

Here is the ENDER for the small quilt top shown above:  two 1.5" squares being sewn on the end of the quilt.  Place the ENDER, or any of your piecing, right up against the needle when you start to sew, this keeps your piecing straight at the very beginning too:

 What do I do with those small squares? I make four-patches, of course:

I have a small box full of these and have a project in mind to use them, later, when I finish some of the other things I'm currently working on.  Beside my machine, I have two small plastic tubs, one with light 1.5" squares and one with dark.  Easy to pick up two and sew as I go.
Here is a neat trick I learned on the Internet that I was so excited to share with the class.  This comes from Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet.  I love to make flying geese four at a time, but the slowest part for me is drawing the diagonal line on the back of 4 squares, as I describe in my Flying Geese tutorial.

Lori shows how to cut one large square the size that will give you four squares, draw the lines on that one large square, then carefully cut the large square into 4 squares and there you have it, four squares with the lines marked perfectly!  Brilliant!  Another plus to this method is, if you are using a fabric with a direction, for example, a stripe, this insures you can have all those striped star points going in the same direction, IF that is important to you.  Lori draws both sewing lines, I only draw one line down the center diagonal and sew with the 1/4" foot but either way works.  Here are my photos, hers are better:

To get four squares, each 2.75", cut a square 5.5", draw pencil line down both diagonals

Carefully cut in half, ruler on the left is set at 2.75"

Being careful not to move the two halves, cut again, 2.75" from the bottom

Four squares, 2.75" each, with perfect pencil line--the fastest method that gives me the result I want--thanks, Lori!

Lori has lots of great ideas for speedy processes, check out her entire blog when you get a chance, Bee in My Bonnet.   Here is her Mini Design Board Tutorial--you'll want to make several.

OK, we are almost done.  In planning for the March project, Honeycomb, I decided to English Paper Piece the entire top:

To prepare those papers quickly, I drafted the design in Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7), and printed the block out onto terrific heavy duty freezer paper, from Cut Rite:

The paper is about the weight of card stock, has a good amount of waxy stuff on the back side, and printed perfectly in my deskjet printer.  All I had to do was carefully cut out the pieces and I was ready to go. 

To make it easy for Club members, I will print them a page onto the Cut Rite Heavy-Duty Freezer paper for a small fee.  If they prefer, I will print it onto copy paper and they can trace it if they like, onto regular freezer paper or cardstock.  They will let me know before the March meeting which page they want, if they want one at all. 

Next month I'll show details of the English Paper Piecing process. 

So there you have it, some of what we talked about last night.  And a reminder, Monday, March 2, all the Kim Diehl Heritage Hollow collection fabric goes out on the store shelves for any customer to buy--until then it is reserved ONLY for Club members.  Yesterday we got in 8 replacement bolts of the most popular fabrics, and two of those were sold out again last night.  Get it while you can.

Let's Quilt!



  1. For a small fee, would you be willing to print it off on that lovely freezer paper for non-members?! I *love* the March piece -- it's just precious! No worries if you're not comfortable doing that -- I can probably figure it out in EQ! Next year, if you do the Whatnots Club again, I'm going to figure out a way to make it happen!! I love Kim's quilts and I've heard it from reliable sources that the class is lots of fun! :)

    1. I'll take care of you, Denise. This will be the last Whatnots Club for me, it takes more time than I want to donate in the future. The quilt show will take up Fall 2015 and I have special quilts to make in 2016.

    2. Awwww, thanks, Barbara! And bummer at the same time! I need to take another of your classes soon -- you're such a terrific teacher . . . you make it FUN! :)

  2. Looks like a fun class where folks can see some great gadgets and techniques! If you have to make a lot of hst with the same fabric, check this out too:

    1. Lori, that is my method for multiple HST too. I really need to get a swap group together for your quilt, I just love it!