I was able to up my donation block production in October a little bit, which makes me really happy. I did forget to bring the blocks for the past couple of months to the meeting, however, so I will, with any luck, have a huge pile to bring in November.
As usual I added to the stash of donation blocks that the guild needs to keep our charities well supplied.
As mentioned, I spent some time with the Accuquilt cutting 2.5 inch squares. I have to cut more scraps as my scrap drawers are overflowing. Aside from cutting with the Accuquilt, that is something I can do it bits and pieces of time I find while dinner is cooking or when I am waiting for DH to be ready to leave.
I decided to make this block after finding I needed one more block to complete my Aqua-Red Sampler. I have never made one of these, so I thought “what the heck?”. I had seen some directions for it and it caught my attention. As mentioned, I had to cobble together instructions from at least three different tutorials to be able to make the block. Below is my version. The tutorials I referenced are noted below.
Finished Block Size: 12 inches (12.5 unfinished)
In this tutorial, the background is turquoise and the foreground is red.
Thread – you might want to use your regular piecing thread for the first part of the directions, then switch to a thread that matches the background fabric for sewing the curves shut
1/4 inch foot
applique’ foot (foot with a center mark)
square ruler at least 12.5 inches square
long ruler at least 12 inches long
snips or scissors
Tool to poke out corners
A pen or pencil you can use to draw on fabric (I like Sewline pencils)
Stiletto or dental pick type instrument (something thin and pointy)
hand sewing needle
Instructions for making a 12″ (finished) Cathedral Windows block
1. Cut 4 squares of background fabric 12.5 inches by 12.5 inches
2. Cut 4 squares for inset pieces 4 inches by 4 inches.
3. Fold each of the 4 background squares in half. This will make your 12.5 x 12.5 inch squares into rectangles (e.g. do not fold NOT along the diagonal).
Hint: I sew all four one after another, but you can sew one at a time, if you prefer.
3A. Sew along the short side, backstitching at the beginning and the end.
4. Open your rectangles and match up the raw edges.
Hint: I nest the center seams and pin, starting in the middle
Hint: leave an opening 2-3 fingers wide for later turning. I mark this with two pins right next to each other.
5. Sew your pinned seam shut except for the opening you have left.
Hint: I backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams including next to the opening. Yes, it is a hassle to start and stop, but I don’t want the edges of the seams to come apart when I turn.
6. Place recently sewn squares on the ironing board and smooth out wrong side out (above). They should make nice squares.
7. Press nested seams in opposite directions from the center out.
8. Press long seams in one direction, being careful to line up edge of opening as best you can. You can press this seam open if you want.
You should now have 4 nice flat squares with wrong sides out.
9. Turn squares right sides out.
10 Poke out corners carefully. I use a knitting needle whose mate broke.
Your squares are now on the bias, so be careful when you handle them.
11. Fold corners into the center. Do this with all four corners and make a new square. The square should be 6 inches.
12. Lay out the blocks in a 2 x 2 grid, so you can see what you have
13. Pin the center triangles of the two top triangles together. Do the same for the bottom triangles. Now your 2×2 grid will be pinned together in two rectangular sections
14. Using a ruler (I use a 3.5 x 12.5 Creative Grids), and your marking implement (I like Sewline pencils), draw a line in the crease under the triangles you are about to pin
15. Line up squares with backs together and triangles pointing to the right.
16. Put your applique’ foot on your sewing machine.
17. Sew along the crease on both sets.
18. Lay out the 2×2 grid again. Now you will have two ‘rows’. You are going to sew the rows together.
19. Fold up the top triangles from the bottom row and the bottom triangle from the top row.
20. Draw a line along the crease at the bottom of the two triangles.
21. Sew along the line. After, you will have your 2×2 grid of squares sewn together and the triangles will be flapping around.
22. Take your foreground triangles and lay them on top of your background
23. Tuck the flaps in towards the center and pin in place. Watch out that the edges of your foreground squares don’t show. Make the edges curve slightly
Note: this was confusing to figure out and it turned out that I did not have all the sewn triangles in the right place. After you sew the triangles together, make sure you flatten them back in their original places, e.g. one layer of background on top
Note: I had to use a thin sharp tool, like a stiletto or dental instrument to tuck in some of the foreground edges. I sometimes use a seam ripper, which is a very bad habit, because if you aren’t careful, you can rip your fabric. You can definitely trim the foreground fabric, but trim a little at a time very, very carefully
24. Pin each edge in three places with the heads of the pins facing the center of the foreground fabric. This is not micro management; this technique will allow you to sew as long as possible with the pins in place
25. Sew very close to the edge of the background. I sewed slowly and carefully. I used the above mentioned sharp tools when I needed a little help. Leave LONG tails so you can knot off and hide the threads
26. Handstitch the other triangle flaps closed with a few stitches. The other tutorials said to use the machine, but 2 stitches is a pain and an irritant on the machine, so I hand sewed the flaps closed when I was sinking threads.
I never thought of making it before, but this block did kind of take my fancy. This is kind of a strange block, partially because of all of the layers. It is lumpier than I expected. Warn your longarmer about it.
Fons & Porter Cathedral Window block– I originally found the instructions in one of their magazines as part of their ‘learning to quilt* series’. I had to go looking for other instructions when I found the directions had no sizes or actual cutting instructions. Directions are brief.
Sometimes Crafter Cathedral Window block – some missing detail, but has the instructions for cutting the right sized patches. I also don’t like it that the viewer cannot enlarge the photos to see the details.
*Nota bene: not sure if this is the correct name, but it describes the basic idea of the series.
I found some directions for a machine pieced (machine sewn?) Cathedral Window block and it was bugging me, so I decided it would be the last block in my Aqua-Red Sampler. It wouldn’t be the same as all the other sampler quilts and I would get to finish something today while progressing on something else.
I started with the Fons & Porter directions I found in one of their magazines. 🙁 These directions did not tell me what size blocks I was making or what size to cut the patches. The directions were not that helpful either. I am not sure what the company that owns Fons & Porter is doing, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors by hiding this crucial information.
I went to the web and found two tutorials. I used them in conjunction with each other, because neither had all the information. Sometimes Crafter had the right size, so I could tell what sizes to cut and Lovely Little Handmades had excellent directions though used different sizes patches.
My block is still in process, but it is coming along very well.
I have some hand sewing to do, which neither tutorial recommends, but I don’t care. It is the way I want to finish my block.
I decided to create a tutorial. I think the quilt world needs a more complete Cathedral Windows block tutorial in the 12.5 inch (unfinished) size, so look for that soon.
When I finish this block, another decision will be made and I will be able to put the Aqua-Red Sampler together.
Outside of the Sisters Retreat, I have had very little time to sew. We have a lot of house stuff to do and we can only do it all on the weekends. None of it involves a sewing machine. :(.
Saturday, we had a party to attend, but I a had time between a haircut and making food for the party to sew a little. I also had almost all day on Sunday, so I got a bit of work done. It was awesome.
I worked on finishing the Ends Donation Quilt n.5, but I also worked on some donation blocks. Since I haven’t had much time to sew I also haven’t had much time to make donation blocks. I’ll have some time before the next meeting to get a few more finished.
I made the black with the leftover black scraps from the back of the Ends n.5 Donation back. I used the greys as the alternate and I know that isn’t very popular, but it is a good way to make some other people push their own envelopes.
I think I’ll use the aqua block for part of another Spiky Stars donation quilt.
Christa Watson has a new pattern out called Stepping Stones. It looks like a reimagined Rail Fence to me, but who am I to say? I had to stop contemplating the names of blocks, however and get back to sewing.
I try to make a CrockPot meal for Mondays so that we can come home, eat and I can go to Craft Night in a timely manner. Craft Night was at my house on Monday and the meal was over and done before I even needed to prepare the tea and all. I had about half an hour of time, so I raced up to my workroom and sewed! I didn’t have a lot of time over the weekend to sew, so this was a good way to scratch that itch for sewing.
I wasn’t able to finish a lot, but every little bit helps. I had cut some fabric, so I could work on a couple of border blocks, which I did. These blocks will allow me to put together another row of the top.
The green and blue HSTs indicate the middle of the quilt and prove I am halfway finished with the top. I know you believe me, but sometimes I need to prove to myself I am making progress as slow as that progress might be.
Aside from cutting more pieces, which I have mentioned, I have to make a few more HSTs. I can’t actually see one corner of the quilt, because there is some stuff piled in front of it ( 🙁 , I know). Once I sew the latest row to the top, I’ll be able to pull the quilt up and really work on the bottom.
Progress might be painfully slow, but I am making progress. It would be really great to finish this top before July 7, but we will see.
As mentioned, I finished the fourth Spiky 16 Patch Block I worked on over Memorial Day weekend. I found some interesting directions for cutting side triangles for an on point setting and wanted to try them. Yes, I have rulers galore that are supposed to deal with this problem, but I can’t seem to get them to work.
First, however, I needed to look at the piece laid out. I laid it out on my design wall and decided that that giant plain square in the middle would be a nuisance. If I were a master quilter, that would be a great square for a feathered wreath. Since this is a donation, I thought it would be a pain for whomever decided to quilt it and I should make another block to fit in that spot.
Even if I ultimately decide not to put the block in the center, it won’t be wasted. I can’t use it for another quilt. Pam suggested another block in the center, which is a good idea and would make a great variation. Not sure what it would be though. I’ll keep it in mind if the center block ends up not working out.
My goal is to have this done to turn in at the meeting. We’ll see.
As I mentioned the other day, I have been in a sewing drought and that affects all aspects of sewing, including my donation sewing. I took some time over the long weekend to sew as much as I could. Part of that included sewing some 16 patches.
I am trying to use similar fabrics so there are sets of blocks that people can use. My colors, especially the backgrounds can differ from what others use. I felt like making some blocks that would work for boys. It was fortunate I had some greys left over from the Triple Star. Not many, but some to add to my pile to donate when I go to the meeting in June. And this group does not include my work on the Spiky 16 patches.
I am back to working on the second Spiky 16 Patch donation quilt.
Over the long weekend, I got a chance to sew together some of the bias rectangles I had prepared. It turns out I made a lot of the ones I already had and very few of the ones I needed. Sigh.
I sewed the ones I had prepped together anyway and cut the 5 inch strips required for the rectangles. I was cutting for the Stepping Stones, as mentioned, and just used some of the same blues and greens I was using for the Stepping Stones to prep more.
There is something comforting and satisfying about making these Bias Rectangles. I really like the Split Recs ruler. I think it works really well. Yes, I trim, but I get really nice HRTs out of the process and they are a joy to sew. I am trying to think of different blocks to make from HRTs. I have units to make several more of these Spiky 16 patch blocks, except for the HRTs of which I am chronically short. 😉
I did finish this block and I am pleased with it. These are really nice blocks. I will lay out the piece on point when I get a chance.
I have been looking at my three Spiky 16 patch blocks and trying to decide if I can get away with a quilt made from 3 blocks. As I mentioned, I need to make some HRTs and I haven’t had a chance to finish them up.
I had an idea to make sort of a square with the on point blocks offset. the effect wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
I tried to offset the blocks again leaving space for a fourth block. It still didn’t work the way I expected. It isn’t what I want.
A lot of what I am doing at the moment is prep. Cutting fabric that I can’t sew together now, but will do so later. Pressing fabric that will be cut whose small pieces will eventually be sewn back into a large piece of something. This is the sad nature of Hunting & Gathering.
As I mentioned the other day, I have been cutting clues for more Spiky 16 patch blocks. I have quite a number of 16 patches waiting to be spiked, so there is a never ending need. For some reason that I can’t remember right now, I couldn’t actually get fabric under the machine, but I could cut and I cut a lot.
I have to say and I am really liking the Split Recs ruler by Studio 180 Designs. I can cut gazillions of these pieces without thinking twice. Watch the video!
In between all that sewing for the Octagon 9 Patch, I made a few 16 patches and another Spiky 16 Patch. The center 16 patch is actually one of the 16 patches I made. Instead of putting in the pile and taking one of the centers I intended for the Spiky blocks, I just started adding bias rectangles to it.
I won’t be able to make anymore of these until I make some more of the left facing HRTs. I am almost all out and I always forget to make them.
Now I have three blocks for this donation quilt. I am thinking 4 or 5 blocks will make something nice. I want to set it a big asymmetrically like the giant Sawtooth Star quilts I made. I’ll have to play around as these 16″ blocks are larger than the Sawtooth Stars.