Today is the day the SIZZLE patterns become available. Find Block 1 HERE.
1. Becky has produced wonderful videos with all her tips. Find them here: VIDEOS.
2. The 30 pages of General Instructions are available now. I read them several times, highlighter in hand, and refer to them frequently while working on the blocks. Find them HERE NOTE: the General Instructions were prepared while Becky was making the Warm quilt--the photos are from the Warm quilt but are identical for the Cool quilt--there are not two separate sets of General Instructions.
3. Watch Becky's Show, episode 2401--find it HERE.. NOTE--it is FREE for everyone--encourage your friends to watch too--then get a group together.
4. I have written several blogs about this project:
Get Ready to SIZZLE--making a notebook and other things
Fabric Selection and Preparation--use a Kit or your own fabric palette
SIZZLE Preparation--how to print your patterns and make the Block Corner Template
BLOCK # 1
1. READ all directions carefully. In Month 1 Becky has us cut all the Block Corners--if you are using the Kit, be sure you cut the correct fabrics in the correct amounts.
2. Print 8 pages of the pattern. I used the Vellum in the Accessory kit--it printed very easily and the ink did not smear. Double check the 1" box to be sure the patterns print accurately--this is critical.
3. Cut all the pieces for the block--Becky's method of using squares and rectangles makes this very easy:
4. Be sure there is no water in your iron--no steam when pressing on paper--we don't want to make pulp.
5. Stitch with a SMALL stitch--I use 1.5. Makes it easy to remove paper, hard to unpick--so try not to sew the wrong thing to the wrong thing.
6. When backstitching at the circle, be sure to stop at the circle--our computerized machines have a tendency to do one more stitch. I start at the circle, go forward 4 stitches, then back 3, so I don't stitch beyond the circle.
7. Trim all threads close as you are making the units--a neat unit makes for a neat quilt.
PHOTOS OF MY PROCESS--I won't do this for every block and won't show the same things as Becky does--just my process and tips you may find helpful--this is photo heavy--if you are not interested, skip to the end.
I made one wedge and one diamond to get started--they went together very easily, so I continued to make the units in those pairs. READ THE DIRECTIONS--I didn't and sewed the wedge to the left side of the diamond--the directions say to do the opposite. It doesn't matter, as long as I do them all the same--READ THE DIRECTIONS.
THE DIAMOND: When placing Fabric 1 on the Diamond, be sure Fabric 1 will completely cover the paper pattern, including seam allowance:
|Front Side of Pattern--BUTT side of the fabric to the BUTT side of the paper|
|You might want to use a dab of glue to help hold the first piece of fabric to the paper--glue on paper, not in seam allowance--once the sewing begins, no glue is needed|
|Add-A Quarter used to trim Fabric 2, ready for Fabric 3|
NOTE: These fabric pieces are NOT exceptionally large but they are Large Enough--be sure you place them correctly--if in doubt, PIN along the seam BEFORE you sew it so you can check to be sure the Fabric will cover the space it needs to cover.
|Fabric 3 sewn, ready for trimming to add Fabric 4|
|While sewing, I check by looking under the paper to be sure the two fabrics stay lined up|
Ready to add Fabric 5--note how much fabric is to the right. NOTE--you can't see it, but remember if the seam starts at a CIRCLE, backstitch to the circle, not past the circle.
|Ready to trim to add Fabric 6|
|I love the Add-a-Quarter ruler!|
|Be VERY sure you place Fabric 6 so the 4" length will cover the paper|
|Paper is covered, ready to trim|
|I use this ruler, placing the 1/4" line on the solid sewing line, then trimming the excess 1/4" away from the sewing--this ensures I have a 1/4" seam allowance|
|Very little fabric is wasted|
THE WEDGE: fewer pieces makes this unit easier/faster to sew--we will use this same shape or very similar lots of times for the nine blocks.
|Fabric 1 is cut 3.25" x 3.5"--this looks square but is not. BE SURE you place the 3.5" length so it will cover the paper. The BUTT side of Fabric 1 is on the BUTT side of the paper, covering Fabric 1|
|Fabric 1 and 2 are sewn, ready to trim both sides of Fabric 1 to receive Fabrics 3 & 4|
|Add-a-Quarter--use a heavy postcard, place it on the solid sewing line|
|Fold the paper back over the postcard, put the Add-a-Quarter ruler lip over the postcard and trim, exactly 1/4" away from the sewing line|
|Both sides trimmed, ready for Fabrics 3 & 4--Lace fabric is hard to tell back from front--double check before sewing|
|Before trimming excess fabric/paper, a dab of glue on the paper, pieces 3 & 4, will help keep them in place as you cut|
|First I used the ruler to trim the two straight edges|
|I used Karen K Buckley's Perfect Scissors to CAREFULLY cut the curved edge|
JOINING DIAMONDS AND WEDGES: remember, I sewed the wedge to the WRONG side of the diamond--READ DIRECTIONS. Mine will work as long as I do them all the same way.
My SECRET for accurate joins--I machine BASTE before sewing. Turn stitch length very long--I used 5.5 here. Carefully pin the units, using Positioning Pins as Becky describes. Baste about 1/2" on either side of the important place where the wedge and diamond meet--I would rather be wrong with basting stitches than those tiny sewn stitches. Yes, this takes time, but not as much time as ripping out tiny stitches.
|All that is sewn here is about 1" of basting stitches|
|Unpin, check the join, if happy, TURN THE STITCH LENGTH BACK TO small|
and sew the seam. If unhappy, remove the basting stitches, fiddle a bit, try again
|One unit joined, trim the "dog ears" as they occur|
|Remove the paper in both sides of the seam allowance--much easier to do now|
|Joining two Diamond/Wedge units--my basting goes from 1/2" before to 1/2" after the Fabric 3 joins--note the green pencil lines showing where they start and stop|
|Checking my basting--that's good--repin, and sew the entire seam. Remove paper from the seam allowances and follow the pressing arrows to press the units together|
|Four units become a half. Now make another half, exactly the same|
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG???
Fabrics slip--it happens to everyone at least once:
|This just won't work|
|FIRST, I put a piece of tape on the paper side to protect it--this allows you to carefully remove the stitches from the paper and have access to stitches on both sides of the seam.|
|Use a sharp stitch ripper, working on the fabric side, remove every 3rd stitch, that should do it|
|This time I used a flathead pin to hold fabrics in place before sewing--well beyond the stitching line|
Shadowing Through--when adding a light piece to a dark piece, be sure the dark is not visible--or you will see the dark piece on the front, as a "shadow":
|What NOT to do|
|Place the white fully over the blue fabric|
|No blue shadow through the white--if you get a bit of shadow because the white slipped, you can trim the blue seam allowance away, as long as it's just a bit|
And, of course, at least once you will sew the wrong fabric to the wrong place. We all do. Keeping your fabrics in number order and remembering to sew 2 to 1, 3 to 2, 4 to 3, etc., will help to keep you from doing this. But you will, at least once. The only fix then is to remove the wrong piece and add the correct one. I'm sorry.
CREATING THE CIRCLE: I followed Becky's instructions to join the two halves, creating a circle:
|Two Halves ready to be joined|
Once the two halves are sewn together, remove all the paper. This job took me 20 minutes, not too bad.
Remember to turn the stitch length back to regular piecing now that the paper piecing is done--I use 2.0. Piece the four Block Corners to form the background.
|Block Corners joined to form Background, sitting on top of the complete circle|
|20.5" Block #1|
THE BACKGROUNDS-- just a thought about the backgrounds. If you are using either Kit, with 3 different background fabrics, be sure you select the correct fabrics for the backgrounds--they are determined by where the block is set in the quilt. If you want to wait until your blocks are all done before deciding where to put them, simply make the block circles and wait to create the backgrounds until the end. If you are using your own fabrics and choose to have only one background fabric, each background will be the same so you don't have to wait.
Mine is being made just like the instructions so I can answer questions as they arise. I have one English Cream light gray corner, and three Mist darker gray corners. This block will go in the lower right corner of the quilt.
Future blogs will not be nearly this long--the basic process is the same for all nine blocks. My best advice:
1. READ the directions
2. WATCH the videos
3. Do your best work--this is not a race
4. Read my blogs with photos--I put a lot of "teaching" into them to help you.
5. ASK questions if you need help--the FORUM is a great place--you will reach everyone working on the quilt: 2019 SIZZLE Forum
This first block should take you the longest--it is the learning curve block. Future blocks have similar construction and each block will increase your confidence and skill. Enjoy the journey.