Wednesday, July 31, 2019

SIZZLE Block 8

This is the  2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show. This quilt pattern designed by Becky Goldsmith is FREE to Star Members.  Join Today  to be part of the fun.

Be sure to READ ALL THE GENERAL DIRECTIONS and WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS. Each month's pattern has detailed instructions as well. 


Block 1
Block 2

Block 3
Block 4
Block 5

Block 6
Block 7

CUTTING NOTE: for the last few blocks, I check to see if I have leftover pieces of the required fabrics I can use to cut some of the pieces BEFORE I cut the strips called for in the pattern. I have been able to save at least one strip each month--this will come in handy for the pieced border I will be doing with my Cool Kit version.

Here we are, with only two blocks to go. This month we have the pieced-in center circle again, as we had in Month 4:

Remember, the paper patterns for the center circle were printed in Month 4. You saved them for this month and Month 9. They are not printed again now.  Becky has provided specific instructions for the circle on page 16 of the General Instructions:

 I use Karen K Buckley's Perfect Scissors to trim the curved edges:

This block has wonky angles so be sure you have the fabrics placed correctly to cover the paper pattern. Here I have a pin on the seam so I can open the dark fabric BEFORE SEWING to be sure the positioning is correct:

Once I knew I had the fabrics in the proper place, I stacked up all the white #1 fabrics right sides together on top of the dark #2 fabrics, being sure the lower right corners were lined up. This made it very easy to chain-piece all the units one right after the other.

Once the 4 fabrics are sewn on the Diamond paper pattern, I used a small dab of fabric glue to secure the fabric to the paper before trimming the outer edges, at the tip of fabric #1 and #4, avoiding the seam allowance:

STOP! Now is the time to go back and READ THE DIRECTIONS--both on the Month 8 pattern and in the GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS, pages 16-19. If you did not print them, you can find them under Month 1. There are 27 pages of excellent advice and photos. Think of it as FREE book of directions.

Before trimming the paper, READ those directions. The lines are NOT STRAIGHT--they have slight angles. Here I used a red pencil to show where to stop as you cut the long edges in 3 steps:

Only trim as far as the line is straight, being careful not to over-cut beyond the seam allowance. Becky also advises to tear the paper where it changes direction:

Once the diamond segments are trimmed, join them in pairs, then pairs of pairs, then into two halves:

What if you really didn't enjoy piecing in that center circle in Month 4? You don't have to make this block just like this. Replace it with one of the blocks you liked, changing color/fabric placement.

OR start with the Diamond shape from Month 1 and  change the lines. As long as you draw the lines in exactly the same place on all 8 Diamonds, they will fit and you will have your very own Block design.

You may choose to applique' the center circle rather than piece it in. Choose the method you like, that gives you the result you want. It's your quilt, you get to decide!

Happily, I followed Becky's instructions, putting pins on the Circle and then lining them up with the intersections on the Ring. I sewed slowly, using a stiletto to hold the edges in place and was completely satisfied with the pieced in Circle when sewn. Slow and steady is the way to go here. It is a lot of bulk but with the Circle on the bottom, the bulk is on top, use your hands to control it.

Hopefully, you won't find this as daunting as in  Month 4 and can now look forward to doing it one more time in Month 9.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Handwork is Still Alive

Quilters still want to learn handwork Having a project that can be taken on the go allows us to use bits of time to create when we cannot be at the sewing machine.

Recently I taught a group of women the basics of both English Paper Piecing and regular hand piecing of quilt blocks:

Class samples:

We started with a small English Paper Piecing project, a hexie flower. They learned how to either glue or thread baste the fabric to the paper shape. Then they learned to join the prepared shapes with either a whip stitch or by laying the pieces flat. Try both methods to determine your favorite.

Next we took on the 60 degree diamonds for regular hand piecing with a small running stitch. They learned how to quickly cut the diamonds with no templates, only rulers.  They learned to make short work of drawing the sewing lines, if they wanted those lines as a guide.

In less than 4 hours each of the women had gotten a few new skills and can go on to make whatever they like. This was a "process" class, not a specific "project" class.

The biggest hit of the supplies I showed was the Clover Desktop Needle Threader--we sold several of these. Do you have one or more of these? I couldn't sew without it, a great tool:

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sometimes Things Happen

There I was, zipping along on my Warm/Combo Sizzle quilt top, eager to get to the applique' borders. When what do you know? There is a huge OOOPS that has to be fixed. Can you see it?

Of course, you can see it. So obvious and it must be fixed. But which block needs to be turned into a corner for the upper left? The one that is there now, or one of the other blocks?

After rearranging them a bit, I decided on this layout, the block colors seem the best balanced here:

Now to fix that upper left block...

I have no idea how I did this other than I wasn't paying attention when making Block 3--which is in the bottom row, middle. That was supposed to be a corner, not a N S E or W block. I wasn't following any real color plan either, just mostly warm colors with bits of blue and green.

So, never fear when you discover a big OOOPS--it happens to the rest of us too. Just fix it and get back on track. ALL DONE:

Now, on to those applique' borders.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Too Much Stuff

My guild meeting is this week and I have not been there for the last 3 months due to traveling jobs.

The other day I knocked a bunch of miscellaneous stuff on the floor and just left it there while I put bindings on 2 large quilts. When I picked it up I put most of it in large bags to put on the "Free to a Good Home Table" at guild. I opened my closet and said "this has to go", "why do I have this?", "you, out!". I will continue to do that over the next two days until a bit more breathing room has been achieved in the closets.

The pile so far, the tote bags will be full of fabric soon:

Deep closet de-stashing:

Hauling it all to the car then in to the meeting place is the worst--once it's gone, it's gone!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Binding Time

After a lot of secret sewing, it's time for some binding.

First, I cut and prepped this, for a top that is finished but the not yet quilted:

I store prepared bindings in a small tote bag. Before starting to sew, I spread large quilts on my bed and pre-check that no seams will land in the corners of the quilt. It is easy to carry the tote and quilt and pins to my bed--I pin the binding in place and IF a seam will be at or near a corner, I back up the starting point until that problem is avoided. This take a few minutes but is well worth it to not get to a corner with a seam and have to make a major fix:

Another quilt needed to be bound--with "sky" fabric on 3 sides, and "ground" fabric on the bottom:

Then I tackled Ruffled Roses, a beast of a quilt but one I am thrilled is done:

I have Binding Tutorial here.  It also discusses other topics about finishing a quilt, like creating a permanent label.

Lots of time will now be spent hand-stitching the Ruffled Roses binding in place. It takes 2-3 hours to create the binding, trim the quilt edges, and attach the binding and sleeve by machine. It takes 10-12 hours for me to hand-stitch the binding in place on a queen-size quilt. While I enjoy this process, it does take time and care.  This quilt is taking a trip to Denver in August so has to be ready for that.

There is ONE more queen-size quilt that needs binding before Denver--secret sewing I can't show you but here is the border, back and binding--I think you will like it...

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Student Photos

Most quilt teachers I know love to get photos from their students of class projects, either by email or by being tagged on social media.

This morning I got this lovely top in my email inbox:

Carolyn F. made this in our 5 Easy Pieces class in Panama City, FL--I was there in early April. Isn't it beautiful?  Carolyn says:

Barbara this is what I made after taking your class. I don’t think I will add a border what do you think?  I am trying to decide how to quilt the top.  I’m thinking about circles but not sure if my idea would work. This was an exercise in color for me.  I used tone on tone where the colors met. In the intersections where four colors converged I used fabric with the colors in it. I like the result. I enjoyed your class very much.

Circles will be a great way to quilt this and a border isn't necessary unless the quilt needs to be larger.

Carolyn's timing was perfect--yesterday I shipped my sample quilt for this class to VA to inspire students who will be attending the VA Celebration of Quilts (VCQ) next April--sign  ups start in August and they asked to have the quilts there for students to see.

Look how different my quilts are:

The Light Version with Easy Piecing
The Dark Version with Complex Set-In Piecing
It is so great when a student can make a quilt the way she wants to make it and is pleased with the final result. Thanks, Carolyn, for sharing your top!

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Secret Sewing and a Piecing Tip

For the last two months I have been doing lots of Secret Sewing in between several teaching trips. I still can't tell you about it yet but here's a teaser:

If you like quilts with lots of piecing and lots of fabrics, this is for you.

Now on to the Sizzle borders--lots of applique' in my future:


In piecing these 20" blocks together, I found my block corner seams, which are pressed open, were coming apart. I had to sew them back again and that took time and wasn't all that easy--the seams joining the circles to the Block Corners  are pretty short.

What I wish I had done:

1. Check each seam on each block after trimming it to 20.5". I had oversized my block corners so when trimming I was cutting away any backstitching I might have made on the block corner seams. Re-sew any seams that were coming open.

2. Stay-stitch the open seams as soon as the block was done--this stitching is done within the 1/4" seam allowance:

 I dragged these blocks to two classes a month, for six months, where they were often passed around so they were handled more than I would usually have blocks handled. With the seams stay-stitched they would have held up to that better.

Now to get my Warm Sizzle blocks assembled. Then I will prepare and start the machine applique' of the borders.

Let's quilt.