Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Block 10 - Twinkling Stars

I have to begin this month by apologizing up front for the difficulty in cutting the pieces out for the the Twinkling Stars block.

Just about all blocks can be simplified to a grid.  Usually 3 x 3, 4 x 4, or 5 x 5.  To give you an example, a 9 patch is a basic 3 x 3 grid.
A friendship star is also a 3 x 3 grid, and similar to a 9 patch, except 4 of the squares are replaced with half square triangles. Our block this month has 8 friendship stars positioned in a wreath.  The block width spans 3 of these friendship stars, left to right and top to bottom.  So the grid for our block this month is 9 x 9. 

The block has a lot of pieces, and that would not be so bad, except the block finishes at 12".  So the issue is that 12 is not divisible by 9 evenly.  Each block in our grid must finish at 1 1/3", which makes the math difficult, and any cutting we do with standard rotary cutter and rulers with be just an approximation of the correct dimensions. Our rulers are divided into neat half, quarter, and eighth inch segments, so when cutting out your pieces this month, be aware that I am going to suggest cutting at dimensions that fall in between your normal measuring lines.

The cutting directions supplied in the pattern are close in some cases, and way off in others, so I suggest you ignore the cutting directions and follow mine instead.

When I say, cut your square at just shy of 2 1/4" x 2 1/4", I mean measure 2 1/4" on your ruler, then slide the ruler slightly, so that you are cutting perhaps 1/16 of an inch less than 2 1/4".  There are several dimensions that require this.  Just aim for halfway between your 1/8" lines on the ruler. I know this is a bit of a pain, and for those of you who are incredibly precise, you might find this a little unnerving, but trust me, it will come out way more accurately, than following the cutting directions in the pattern.

Fabric Choices

I am again using solid black as my background for this block. You should select 8 other fabrics for your friendship stars.  Each should contrast nicely with the black.  Although I did pick one fabric with a small + pattern in the weave, I avoided really busy, large scale patterned fabrics and plaids.  This is my personal preference, as I wanted each of these stars to show very clearly, and not have a lot of distraction from pattern in the fabric.
I also chose several different colors and values from a light golden tan, to a medium dark charcoal (still contrasting with the black background). I used 2 reds, a green, a tan, a brown, and one of teal blues.  The original quilt only had these teal blues in the Tulip and basket blocks, but I love these colors and so I decided to throw one in this block as well.

Cutting

From the black background cut:

A- (16) 2 1/4" shy squares. (Note when I say shy, your actual cutting dimensions should be reduced by approx. 1/16").  Cut all of these squares in half once on the diagonal yielding 32 HST pieces. 

D- (4) 1 7/8" shy squares. 

E- (1) 4 1/2" square (Note this cutting measurement is exactly 4 1/2").

F- (4) Rectangles 5 7/8" shy x 1 7/8" shy

G- (4) Rectangles 4 1/2" (exact) x 1 7/8" shy

From each of your 8 friendship star fabrics cut:

B- (2) 2 1/4" shy squares. Cut each of these squares in half once on the diagonal yielding 4 HST pieces.

C- (1) 1 7/8" shy square

Assembly

I would like to stress that your 1/4" seam allowance is pretty critical in this block.  If in doubt, test your seam allowance first, before sewing your pieces together.  If you are a bit off from a 1/4", it is better to err on the small side (i.e. a scant 1/4" rather than a generous 1/4").

Begin by matching one black triangle to one friendship star triangle, right sides together, and sew them on the long diagonal. Press the seam allowance to the black, and make sure to open the seam fully.  Clip dog ears off.  Repeat with all the triangle friendship star fabrics, matching each with a black triangle.

Organize your friendship star colors by making little piles of 4 HST units and one square on top from each color.

Then begin laying out your block.  Follow the diagram in your pattern to arrange the friendship stars in a wreath with the large black square (E) in the center.  Double check your layout to make sure all of your HST's are facing the right way.  It is very easy to position these incorrectly.  Note that four of the stars are spinning to the right and four are spinning to the left.








Your block layout should look something like the photo to the right.  Remember that not all the pieces will line up evenly spaced at this point, because you have lots of seam allowances that will be lost when you begin sewing your units together.

I begin by sewing each side unit together.  These include two black rectangles and one HST unit in the center.  There is a side unit for each of the 4 sides of the block.  Then begin pairing squares and sewing them together.






Here, on each end, I have sewn a line of pairs together and joined them to a side unit (A + G's).
Then 3 pairs on each side of the center square (E).
When you join the 3 center segments, all that remains is to add the two final side units (A + F's) to each end.

As you are sewing pairs of small grid squares together, press seam allowances in alternate directions, so the pairs join to each other easily. When you add the side units, I pressed the seam allowance toward the side unit.  When joining the two groups of six grid squares to the center black square, I pressed seam allowances toward the center square.  When I joined the 3 large center sections, I pressed the seam allowance open, as there were lots of cross seams coming into this seam, and I felt it would lay flatter if pressed open.

The finished block should measure 12 1/2" square.  Mine was actually just a touch under that measurement, but very close. Sewing with a scant 1/4 seam allowance would probably help with this. 

This was a most challenging block. Partly because the designer chose a very difficult grid measurement, and partly because there are just so many pieces in this block. 

We are now at the point where we have completed all the blocks for the quilt.  The next two months I will focus on the sashing elements to bring all the blocks together into a quilt top, and then a little bit about quilting and finishing the quilt.





Give yourself a pat on the back for finishing your blocks.  Have a glass of wine and celebrate your accomplishment, and I will be back next month with some sashing tips.

Steven



Monday, September 4, 2017

Twilight Garden - Block 9 Flower Baskets

Attention - Pattern Corrections

I am sad to say that again we have pattern corrections this month, and these are very important cutting measurement corrections.

First, I am a little confused, as my copy of the pattern has 3 almost identical pages with instructions for the flower baskets.  In my pattern, they are pages 17, 18, and 19.  I have no idea why these are all in there.  All have the same dimensional cutting errors, so it isn't like there is an older version and then a corrected version.  If you have multiple pages with pattern instructions for the flower baskets, check at the top of the page where it says "Approximate size"  meaning the finished size of the block.  2 of my pages say 12", which is wrong.  One of my pages says 6", which is the correct finished size of the basket block.  Keep this one, and you can discard the others.

Under cutting instructions
From a dark background fabric:

1st line should read:
A  Cut one square 2 1/4".  Cut in half once diagonally to make two half square triangles.

-----------------------------------

From a Contrasting fabric

1st line should read:
D   Cut one square 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"

-----------------------------------

From Basket Fabric One:

1st line should read:
E   Cut two squares 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"

-----------------------------------

From Basket Fabric Two:

2nd line should read:
J   Cut one square 1 7/8" x 1 7/8"

-----------------------------------

Under Block Assembly
Making Flying Geese Units

1st sentence should read:
Pair up half-square triangle A with half-square triangle units D and E.

Please be aware that when cutting out your pieces, the directions are for cutting the amount necessary to make one 6" finished block, and you will need three blocks for the quilt.  It is suggested that you make each of the three blocks scrappy out of different fabrics, but you might want to consider cutting the pieces out for all three blocks at once to save time.

Basket Blocks


These blocks are suppose to be scrappy, like the rest of the quilt, so I am picking quite a few fabrics this month.  I am using a blue fabric for the top of each basket, a different blue for each block.  Then the baskets themselves I am using an assortment of reds, tans, grays, browns, plaids, etc.  For all three backgrounds I am using black, however it might be a nice variation to try using black for one, and a dark charcoal for one, and perhaps even a dark brown for one.  The setting triangles around the outside of each block are dark grays for the top and bottom blocks, and I am choosing a light tan for the setting triangles on the middle block.






After cutting out your pieces, you can follow the basic directions under block assembly.  Make your sub units so you have them all ready - The half square triangle squares, and the flying geese.  Then you can lay them out as shown at the left.  Be sure when you are making the flying geese to make a right handed and left handed one (i.e. watch your fabric placement). 
You will be sewing all these units together.  The bottom 4 can be sewn into a 4-patch, then added to one of the flying geese units.  The second flying geese unit can be sewn to the upper background square.

I pressed one of the interim seams open to reduce bulk.  Flying geese always present a dilemma as to pressing direction for the seams.  They have a point coming into the center of an adjacent seam, and always seem to produce a fair amount of bulk, and so, opening these seams and distributing this bulk helps make your finished blocks lay flat.

You will then need to sew the bottoms of the baskets on (left and right sides and the bottom triangle.  These seams can be pressed toward the outside of the block.

The last assembly step is to add the setting triangles to all 4 sides of the block, making the baskets upright on point.  Do this by folding your block and the long side of each setting triangle in half to find the center.  Align these centers and sew the triangles to the side of the block.





The setting triangles will be a little oversized to allow your blocks to be trimmed down to size.  To do this, the easiest way is to use a 6 1/2" square ruler and center the diagonal lines on the ruler with the actual seam lines in the center of your basket.  (Note the criss cross diagonal lines cross right in the center of the basket design).  This should give you at least 1/4" seam allowance on all sides beyond the darker block background points.  Trim the excess away, and then sew your blocks top to bottom to make a tower of 3 baskets, one on top of another.























Sorry for all the corrections to the pattern every month.  I have been notifying the pattern designer, so she can make corrections on future printings.

Our next block is the circle of friendship stars, really a fun and beautiful block.  Until next month, happy sewing.

Steven

Friday, August 18, 2017

Crazy Log Cabins - Block 8

The Crazy Log Cabin blocks for Twilight Garden can be paper pieced, or if you choose, you can make templates from the diagram on page 15. If you choose to make templates be sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance to your templates before cutting your fabrics.

If you are opting to do the foundation paper piecing method (by far the easiest method), you can follow along with me, as this is the method I have chosen to do.

Fabrics

 For these blocks I have chosen a wide variety of fabrics. Honestly, just about any of the fabrics in the kit will work well for these blocks.  They are very scrappy and I would pick out some lights, darks and mediums, and also some fabrics with pattern, just because they add a lot of visual interest. 
Each block will have a different sequence of fabrics, and, if you want, you can use many more fabrics than I have selected.  I avoided any of the blue fabrics, as I thought that would take away from the tulips, and also avoided the very light cream used in the day lily flowers, for the same reason. I did include some reds, greens, browns, golden tan, and grays.

Supplies

First a word about foundation paper.  If you have experimented with papers for foundation piecing, you probably have your favorite that you use all the time.  For me, this is the paper from That Patchwork Place.  It is not expensive, and comes in large reams of 100 sheets.  The reason I like this paper is that it tears away easily.  There are several brands of vellum paper on the market that are touted as easy tear, but I find that all vellum is too robust for paper piecing.  For me, the lighter the paper the better. I do like the crispness of vellum, and it makes a sharp fold, but I have never found one that tears away easily.  Vellum always rips out some of my stitches, regardless of how small I make my stitch length.
The paper pictured at left works very well, and runs easily through my computer printer.
Make sure when you are copying foundation patterns that you have your printer set on 100% scale, or "actual size". 
Even with that, some printers are not accurate to size.  Be sure to measure your first copy against the original and only continue copying all your foundations when the copies match the original size perfectly.
A very handy tool to use when paper piecing is the Add-A-Quarter ruler.  It is not required, but will make trimming excess fabrics away very quick.  It comes in a 6" and also a 12" length.  The 6" version is adequate to do these blocks, but the 12" is a more versatile size. Here it is pictured butted up against the fold of the foundation paper.  The 1/4" lip on the bottom of this ruler assures you are trimming to exactly a 1/4" seam allowance.
 You will also need a small rotary cutter, and a small cutting mat to have at your work station.  It also is a time saver if you have a small ironing pad and iron right at your station as well.  Paper piecing requires that you press after each fabric addition, so if you iron is a distance from you work space, you will be traveling a bit.

Corrections

There are some minor errors in the numbering of the the foundation pattern.  Not a biggy, but you might want to correct these numbers so you don't get confused as to the order you add the fabrics to the block.  Note in the photo, I have crossed out and re-numbered a few spaces on the pattern.  Please make these corrections before you copy your foundations. Newer versions of the pattern may already have these corrections, so double check just to be sure.

A word about cutting out your fabric pieces on the straight of grain. The pattern author stresses that this is very important, and she does provide a block diagram in the pattern with grain lines clearly marked.  If you wish to take the time to cut your pieces out with correct grain direction it will ultimately make the block more stable and less stretchy around the outside edges.  However, I personally do not bother with this.  I find as long as you use reasonable care when handling your pieces and particularly while pressing, you will have no problems assembling these blocks, or sewing them into the quilt. If you are really concerned about stability, you can always leave the foundation on the block until it is securely sewn into the quilt, then remove the paper.

Assembly

I will not go into great detail about the process of paper piecing, as it is covered extremely well in many books that focus on this technique.  I will tell you a few hints to make your work easier.
First, sit next to a window, or have a light box handy so you can see your fabrics through the foundation paper to get proper alignment.  Second, if you are worried about your fabrics slipping while flipping over the foundation pattern and sewing.  Use a pin to hold the fabric to the foundation.  Just make sure your pin does not cross the sew line you will be sewing on. And Third, reduce the stitch length on your sewing machine so you are sewing about 15 stitches per inch or more.  This will help perforate the paper and make tearing away your pattern much easier.

Begin by placing your 1 and 2 fabrics right sides together and place them on the back of the pattern with the 1 piece wrong side to the paper.  Align them so their common edges overhang the sew line between 1 and 2 by at least 1/4". Pin these in place, flip the pattern so the printed side is up and sew on the line between 1 and 2, beginning your stitching a little before the line starts and continue your stitching a little past the end of the line. Clip threads and remove from the machine. 
With the printed side up, fold the pattern back on the line you just sewed. and trim the seam allowance to no more than  1/4".  The Add-A-Quarter ruler comes in handy for this. With the fabrics on top, flip piece 2 and press.
Add each new piece in numbered order, making sure to align each piece, pin if necessary, sew on the common line between the two fabrics, then fold and trim.  Very quickly you will get the hang of it, and most people really enjoy the process.

The pieces of fabric can be much larger than you actually need.
Just so long as once they are sewn in and flipped into position, they have to completely cover their numbered area on the pattern, plus have at least 1/4" seam allowance all around. 

This is particularly important when you reach the outer edges of the block.  Here, the numbered pieces must cover their numbered area and extend beyond the dotted line along the outside edge of the block.


Once all the fabrics are added, the block will be trimmed on this dotted line and that space along the outside edge is your seam allowance to sew you blocks to the adjacent blocks in the quilt.

You will be making 4 of these blocks, then they will be sewn together in line. Once you have your row of Crazy Log Cabin blocks, they can be sewn onto the bottom of the Day Lily block from last month.

We will then need to sew together chains of 1 1/2" scrappy squares (using lots of fabrics from your kits).  We will need one single chain of 16 squares to go along the top of the Day Lily block, and a double chain of 2 squares wide by 13 squares long, which will be added to a 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle and sewn onto the left side of the block as in the diagram on page 16 of your pattern.  This is a great way of using up your leftover 1 1/2" squares from the Picnic Block.
We will be making more of these sashing filler strips as we begin assembling the quilt top, so don't worry about cutting out a few extra of all the little squares.  We will also be making one large piano key strip set (scrappy) from lots of 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" strips of all these same fabrics.  So if you have some 1 1/2" strips cut out, cut some 5 1/2" segments as well as your squares.  You will eventually need 39 of these rectangles.

Our block next month is the basket blocks.  Just a warning, there are some rather important corrections for the cutting directions for these blocks.  I might suggest you wait for my article in September, with corrections before cutting, or, make some sample blocks with scrap fabrics so you can make adjustments before cutting your kit fabrics.

Thanks for following along!

Happy Sewing

Steven

























Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where Do I Buy These Fabrics??

Taupes

Even before I closed the One World Fabrics website, I had numerous emails from customers who were worried they would not be able to find continuing sources for Japanese Taupe fabrics.  It is difficult to find them unless you are buying directly from retailers in Japan.  I know this. That is one of the reasons I created One World Fabrics several years ago, as I saw a real need for a store that would bring all these fabrics to the Western market.

Fortunately for you, there are a few other sources in the U.S. and Canada, and during the time I was running the business, a few other people opened stores in competition with me, carrying some of the fabric lines I did.

What follows is a list of retailers who sell Japanese Taupe fabrics.  Some are walk in stores that have a website where you can order some or all of their offerings, some are Etsy stores.  There are also a few in other countries that I have found by doing internet searches.  You might find more than my list here, and I am sure there will be more stores that will carry these fabrics in the future.  The number of people using Taupe fabrics, and decorating with this color palette is growing every day.

These are in order of my personal favorites.  Some specialize more in general Japanese fabrics and Sashiko supplies.

1. Quilted Threads in Henniker, New Hampshire (http://www.quiltedthreads.com) - For a walk in store, QT has one of the very best selections of real, authentic Japanese Taupe fabrics, and has an especially good selection of yarn dyed wovens. If you have a chance to visit the store in person, do so. You will be pleasantly surprised with lots of Taupe samples, Sashiko samples, and a very friendly staff. They also offer a Taupe fabric club online, and several Taupe BOM programs.

2. Kallisti Quilts in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (http://www.kallistiquilts.com) - Michelle has been carrying Taupe fabrics for quite some time.  Originally just an Etsy shop, she now has a new website.  She also carries a few batiks and other imported fabrics.

3. Willow Lane Quilting Company, Seattle, Washington (http://www.willowlanequiltingcompany.com) - This store is run by Priscilla Knoble who many of you know as the owner of Stitch Publications. Priscilla has a passion for Taupe fabrics and carries not only a very good selection of fabrics, but also a wonderful assortment of notions that are regularly used by quilters in Japan.

4. Quilting Foxes in Mt. Vernon, Washington (http://www.quiltingfoxes.com) - Also originally an Etsy store, they have a new website that offers Taupe and other Japanese fabrics, and Sashiko supplies.

5. Kimonomomo in Alameda, California (http://www.etsy.com/shop/kimonomomo) - This is an Etsy shop and is not focused on Taupe per se. They carry a wide assortment of Japanese fabrics and also Sashiko supplies.  They do have a good selection of indigo prints, and kimono silks.

6. Shibori Dragon in University Place, Washington (https://shiboridragon.com/) - A large store carrying a nice selection of Taupe prints and some yarn dyes.  Lots of other Asian fabrics, and an excellent selection of Sashiko supplies.

7. Holly and Ivy in Ripon, Wisconson (http://www.etsy.com/shop/fromhollyandivy) - This shop is closing their walk in store and going strictly to Etsy at the end of Summer.  They currently have some sales going.  They carry a few Daiwabo fabrics, but mostly reproductions, wool, and a bit of perle cotton.

This next shop I almost did not include, because it has been difficult to order from, however, they now are handling their orders through a brokerage business in Japan that handles shipping of orders.  I have ordered from them with delivery to Oregon with no problems.

8. Quilt Party in Japan (https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/quiltparty/) - This is the store owned and run by Yoko Saito.  I was fortunate enough to visit this shop in person while visiting Japan in 2014, and there really is no better source for Taupes. The shop carries all of Yoko Saito's fabrics, but also beautiful Taupe fabrics from many other designers.  The shipping is a little expensive, and time consuming, but for the true fan of Taupe fabrics, you will find a great selection here.

And, finally, this last shop is out of the U.S. and I have not ordered from them.  I found them through internet searches and links off of Pinterest.  You should do a little more digging for information on them before trying to order.

9. Quilt House Russia in Moscow (https://www.etsy.com/shop/QuiltHouseRussia) - Seems to have a beautiful selection of Taupe fabrics, particularly yarn dyes.  Many I have never seen.  Intriguing.

Good luck in your search for beautiful fabrics!

Please, when you shop at any of the above shops, mention that you were referred by Steven Lennert from One World Fabrics, and that you heard about their shop through my blog.
I hope you will continue to follow my blog, as I do plan to share some of my projects and continued fun things to do with Taupe fabrics.  Most of these last few months has been spent on completing the Twilight Garden BOM, but I will also have articles sharing many other projects in the future.

Happy sewing to everyone.

Steven


 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Block 7 - Lillies

Applique

As with any applique project, there are numerous ways of doing the applique.  Block 7 can be done with needle turn applique, turned machine applique, or fused.  The flower shapes on this one are a bit challenging for needleturn, although that is the method I have used. I believe the pattern designer chose to fuse her flowers and then do a decorative hand blanket stitch around the edges. This gives a little more folk art look to the block.

Fabric Selection

There is one fabric included in the kit which is specifically for the flowers in this block.  It is the lightest cream fabric, included with your Dedicated Fabrics bundle. For those selecting their own fabrics, choose a fabric here that does stand out.  This block is really beautiful and you do want your flowers to be a focal point.

The background I chose for this block is black, as are most of the blocks, and for the stems and leaves I chose a brown hombre plaid.  I love the look of the hombre value changes along the flower stems and it gives the leaves a bit of variation so they all look a little different. This fabric also shows up well on the black background, but does not compete with the flowers.

For the centers of the flowers I chose a soft, small scale plaid that is actually a green/gray color with accent threads in both blue and cream. The very small scale of the plaid gives the look of a check in the center of the flowers.
A note of caution however, the fabric I chose to use for the centers is really soft and has very little body.  I was very concerned that I would not be able to create the crisp round shape I wanted to with this fabric, so I fused a Pellon featherweight interfacing (#906F) to the back side of this fabric before cutting out my circles. This stabilized the fabric and totally prevented any stretching.  It is a technique that I have used frequently on lightweight or stretchy fabrics, such as Japanese Kimono Silk, to allow me to cut and piece them along with my standard quilting cottons.  Try it, you will like it.



 

 

 

Assembly of the Block

You will need to copy your applique pattern pages (2) and tape them together to make the complete design.  I like to use a light box to trace the design onto the background fabric.  You may be surprised to learn that, yes, you can see the pattern lines through black fabric.  I learned how to do this when copying Sashiko designs onto dark Indigo fabric.  Make sure your pattern lines are dark and bold.  When you copy the pattern, go over the lines on your copy with black Sharpie Marker.  The fine point, not the extra fine.  Then use a light box with a bright light.  I have been using one of the newer LED flat panel light boxes and it works great.  If you plan on doing this tracing on a window, do it on a bright day in the middle of the afternoon.

On dark fabrics I love to use the Clover white marking pen #517. These pens are fine point, roller ball point pens that go on clear and dry quickly to a chalky white, very fine line.  This line will not wipe off while you work and handle the fabric, but instantly come off with water, or just the steam of your iron.

I demonstrated how to make bias stems for flowers in a previous blog article on applique, so I will not repeat that, or the basic technique of turned edge hand applique.  Just a few pointers. 
Make plastic templates the finished size of your applique pieces.  Trace around the templates on the good side of your fabric (not the back), with a marking tool that will come off (test this).  Laying the fabric on a sand paper board will prevent it from slipping while you are tracing. The line will be your turning line, so you want to be able to see it clearly.  Cut out your pieces leaving a 3/16" seam allowance beyond your marked line.  This is about half way between 1/8" and 1/4". It is not critical if this varies a bit, as it will be turned under during the applique process.  Just be aware, 1/8" is not really enough, and 1/4" is often a bit to much, so something in between works best.
When you are sewing, turn under the edge of your fabric right to the turn line, then finger press with your thumb and take a couple of stitches.  Only turn under the fabric just 1/2"-3/4" ahead of where you are stitching.  As you go around outside curves, take small stitches and adjust the fold of your edge frequently (sometimes every stitch) so you have a nice curve and not several flat sides like a stop sign. When you are approaching an inside point (like the notches between flower petals), clip your seam allowance once right at the base of the valley just up to the turn line. As you sew and get closer to this valley, your seam allowance will get smaller and smaller until there is no seam allowance at all.



Your stitches should get closer together, and you need to take a deeper stitch, beyond the turn line, creating a bit of satin stitching right over the valley. Then begin increasing your stitch spacing, back to about 1/8" apart again. Note the satin stitching over the base of the valleys on my flower.  Choose a close matching thread for this so it does not show much.

To make perfect circles for your centers, use a template form the correct size.  I like Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley.  This pack has all the circle sizes you need for most projects and they are heat resistant, so you can baste around your fabric circle then pull and tighten the basting forming the fabric around the circle template.  While you have the basting tight, iron the circle, setting the perfect circular edge, then remove the template.




 















Stitching down your circles is just a breeze as the edges are already turned perfectly!
Here is our finished applique.  We will be trimming this block later when we make the blocks for next month and attach them to the bottom of the flowers.
Thanks for following along.  Happy stitching.

Steve

Friday, June 9, 2017

Twilight Garden - Block Six - Picnic

Fabric Selection

 This month we are using quite a few fabrics in our block to give it that scrappy look.  My block is going to lean more toward the reds, beige and gray.  I like having a couple of very distinct reds in this block, both in the center checkerboard design, and in the bordering rectangles.  I also am using a couple of plaid, gray fabrics.  These are only being used in the checkerboard, but really give it a lot of visual interest and some motion to carry your eyes from place to place.

The fabrics pictured at right show the color range and the value changes from light to dark.  The darkest at the top is the pure black that I am using for the background setting triangles.

 

Pattern Errors

I am just going to begin this month's article by pointing out some rather big errors in the pattern for block six.

I had been really looking forward to making this block, as I think it is one of the prettiest in the quilt, and it is very scrappy, including many different fabrics.  I had pre-cut all of my pieces as per the instructions and sat down to make the block.  As I was assembling the different units and pieces, it became clear that the measurements for some of the pieces were wrong.  Fortunately, some pieces are too large, and can just be cut down to the correct size, but some are really too small and will require re-cutting if you have already cut them out.

Under "Cutting Instructions", where it says from a Dark Fabric:  The pieces for A are correct and will work, but the pieces for B - Cut four squares 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" should be larger squares.  This change is necessary because of a measurement error for the center part of the block. The entire block center is a bit smaller than what is stated in the pattern, so the setting triangles, cut from the Dark Fabric, need to be a little bit larger.  I would recommend cutting your B pieces from 3 3/4" squares, cut twice diagonally to create sixteen quarter square triangles.

Then under the section "From the Light Fabric"  It says to cut two rectangles (piece E) 1 1/2" x 6 7/8".  These should be 1 1/2" x 6 1/2".  Also, for piece F, the two rectangles should measure 1 1/2" x 8 1/2" not 1 1/2" x 9".

If the center checkerboard is assembled as called for in the pattern, after pressing, the 6 x 6 checkerboard will measure 6 1/2" square.  After adding the 4 border strips and pressing, it should measure 8 1/2" square, not 9" square as stated in the pattern.

Do not be alarmed by this.  Continue your assembly as the pattern indicates, only substituting the larger cut B pieces as your setting triangles.  This will give you enough overhang to trim your finished blocks down to 12 1/2" square.  (The other error I found was under the title of the block where it says "approximate size 12 1/2" x 12" finished - this should read 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" unfinished)

I guess I was a little disappointed that this pattern was not tested and proof read, but having written patterns myself, I know how easy it is to make a error and not see it.  In any case, it should not cause you much trouble, and the block will come out fine.

Assembly

 The assembly of this block is pretty straightforward.  You are essentially sewing little squares together in rows, pressing the seam allowances in opposite directions on each row so they will "nest", then sewing the rows together.  The final row seam allowances I pressed open to avoid too much fabric build up.


The photo at left shows the final row seams pressed open to reduce bulk













Here is the block center with the intermediate border installed.  These are your light rectangles (E and F).  Remember to adjust your pattern and cut these at 6 1/2" and 8 1/2".  They should fit perfectly.

Your next step is to assemble the corner units that will finish the block.  The cutting directions of the rectangles used in these units is correct.  Simply add a setting triangle (B) to each end of the rectangles, trim off the dogears, then sew the large rectangle to the smaller one, centering each piece with one another by folding in half and matching the center lines.



 Add the larger corner setting triangle (A) to the smaller rectangle side of the unit, again centering the pieces together.  The edges with not align properly and that is ok.  They will be trimmed in the final step. Press the seam allowances toward the large setting triangle. Repeat and make 4 of these units.
 Now you want to sew the corner units to the center block.  Again, find the center of each side of the block, and the center of the long side of each triangle corner unit and match them when you are aligning the corner unit on the side of the block.  Sew on the top and bottom first. Press. Then sew on the sides.
Your block should then look something like this, all irregular around the outside edge.  If you used the larger cutting directions I gave you at the beginning of this article, you should have plenty of trimming room around the edge of your block.  The easiest way to trim is to use a 12 1/2" square ruler and line up the center point of the checkerboard with the measuring lines for 6 1/4" in both direction on the ruler, then adjust the rotation of the ruler so it's sides parallel the sides of your block.  The setting fabric should extend beyond the ruler on all sides, and there should be at least 1/4" of space beyond all "points" on the block. 



Trim block to 12 1/2" square.