Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Why didn't someone warn me this quilting business is addictive?

When I showed you my Union Flag cushion, I pointed out that I'd pieced the blue block rather haphazardly and that it only occurred* to me later that I could have done a pinwheel block.  I rather fancied a pinwheel block and I knew I had to get cracking on some Christmas presents so I cracked open my layer cake of Petite Ecole and using this tutorial at Modify Tradition I started cutting.  I made a test block first.  It doesn't meet very well in the middle, but hey, it's my first one!

*occurred is one of the words that I just can't spell.  I have no idea if this is right.

Test block done I started by cutting my squares, I did them 5" to make the most of my layer cake.  Then I pinned them all.  I had to draw the line in disappearing ink as I went along as it kept disappearing!

With the squares sewn down the middle, I cut them in half to make my HSTs.  Wahoo, I made HSTs!!

Then for the tedious part.  Open 'em up and iron those seams flat.  I hate this part!!  Anyone got any tips for making it easier than having to prize each seam apart with my finger?

Ta da!  Half an hour, a full water reserve of steam and lots of cursing later...

Here they are all trimmed and laid out with the trimmings.  I hated trimming them almost as much as the ironing bit.  Or maybe more.  No, ironing was worse.  I trimmed them down to 4.5 inches.

I matched them all up into a nice order, then I chain pieced them.

More tedious ironing!  Anyone want to come and be my seam-ironer?

I then laid them all out to see what they looked like and make sure I had enough pairs.

Then I sewed them into blocks.  It was not particularly successful.  Here are all the blocks with points that don't match.

Want a closer look at my imperfections?

And here are the ones that do match!  5 of them.  Yes, just 5.

But what was I making?  A table runner, imperfect points and all, this will be a Christmas present!  I've just got to wait for my quilting pins to arrive and I'll be backing and quilting and binding it.  Yes, binding it.  I'm scared!

P.S. there was more ironing of seams and trimming after the blocks were made, then more ironing when they were sewn in pairs, then more when I sewed the two columns together but it's tedious even typing about it.


pausina said...

I'm hooked on the same addiction ... unfortunately!!!!!!! :-D

SewHappyGeek said...

They look great for a first try! Part of the reason they misbehaved when you sewed them is because they were exposed to steam. The bias is exposed when you make anything with triangles, and even a puff of seam can make them stretch. I know this because I nearly ruined a quilt top with steam. The local quilting teacher helped me out a bit and I learned a lot!
So if you press them instead of ironing the seams and use spray starch before you start sewing, your seams will be easier to line up. Promise!
If you need anything else, let me know and I'll do my best to help out!

lovestitch said...

Wow! Perfect for the first try! It turned out so beautiful! Well done!!!

Farm Girl said...

Your pinwheels look fabulous. Matching points are definitely over-rated. lol
The bias business gives me a headache, I struggle with triangles every time!

Allie said...

Haha - now you know, it's VERY addictive! I think your blocks came out lovely, I've never used hst's because I'm afraid of bias and stretching. Good tip you got about the steam.
One tool that I love is a wallpaper seam roller - it's made of wood and instead of pressing my seams with the iron I use that. Til I'm done, anyway. I can use it right at my sewing machine.

When I have a quilt that needs points matched and they don't, which happens to me ALL the time, I like to add a bit of applique to hide them, lol. But really, they look just fine - don't worry about it!

Holly U said...

Those are pretty close matches in my book. Not that I wouldn't rip them out too, just sayin'. I turn on music, a podcast or a book on CD when ironing, to make the time pass more pleasantly.

cauchy09 said...

welcome to the quilting cult! your initiation patchwork looks great.

as for pressing seams...i don't like to press open b/c i always burn my fingers. so i press to one side almost always. you can often hide the seams under the darker fabrics that way.

Just-Do said...

Welcome to Quilters Anonymous!! Great advice you got about steam and ironing. Myself I always iron both seams to one side, like cauchy09 already said.And just lightly until the whole top is finished.

Nancy Lee said...

I think these blocks look lovely -- and as for matching up, relax. It will happen or it won't. You know, there are some cultures that deliberately leave errors in projects so that it isn't perfect. I don't know if you can get it over there, but there is a product called
Mary Ellen's Best Press. It is not a starch, but it adds body to the fabric. It comes in nice scents too!

Nancy Lee said...

Just checked on Amazon UK they do have it, and it nicer than spray starch to use. No flaking and shiny bits. I use it on my applique work.

Sandra :) said...

DESIGN DECISIONS, not errors! So what if your points don't match perfectly? You're just learning, you tried your best, they look pretty good to me, and the world won't end if your points are off by 1/32 of an inch! Now if they were off by 3", I'd say rip them out (or cover the rude intersection with a button, LOL) but minor little design decisions are part of life - not worth stressing over. I do think that pressing (as opposed to ironing) will cause less distortion, but I belong to the "steam it into submission" group - I use steam on pretty near everything :)