Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cutting the Sashing and Building the Rows

Take a few minutes to measure all of your blocks.  If you have used a 1/4-inch seam, they should finish out at 10.5 inches square.  If you find the measurements are larger, you can always trim your blocks down a little.  If they are smaller, you can press the blocks again, taking care to avoid any creases you may have accidentally pressed into the blocks the first time around.  Remember you will have a little give, so don't stress if they're off 1/16th of an inch.  *You know who I'm talking to...*

This measurement is important because you will cut the sashing this length.  Once again, you will cut three-inch strips of your fabric. You need 24 pieces of sashing, each 3 inches by 10.5 inches.

Depending on the width of your fabric once the selvage is removed, you will need 6 or 7 strips.  I allowed for 8 strips on the pattern, just in case.  My fabric measured exactly 42 inches wide without the selvage, so I was able to get four 10.5 inch pieces out of each strip.

Following the pattern, lay out the blocks.  The four all-light blocks go in the middle with the half-and-half ones around the edges.  Nice.

You will sew one sashing piece to the right-hand side of each of the first three blocks in each row.  The last block will not need a piece of sashing.

Pin the blocks to the sashing, stretching as needed to meet the edges perfectly.  Remember your sashing is all the same length, so making the blocks match the sashing will help to square up the blocks.

**Press the seam allowances toward the sashing.  Lay out the rows again.  Now you will sew the block+sashing to the next block+sashing until you have the row complete.

Now you're ready to lay out the sashing rows which go between.  You may want to play with the selection of fabrics you use for the setting squares.  I chose to complete the stars with green setting squares and continue the diagonal blocks with my accent squares.  Try different combinations and choose what you like best.  The row will be:

Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing + Setting Square + Sashing

** Press these seam allowances toward the sashing.  By pressing the rows in this manner, you will be able to nest the seams when you sew them together.

Somebody say, "Ta-Da!"

Constructing a Block

 With all of the half-square triangles completed, you are ready to construct the block.  Using the pattern as a guide, lay out the pieces for one block.  I really enjoy using the design boards I made from Lori Holt's easy tutorial.  You can lay out the pieces and easily move them to another location.

Sew each row together.  Press seams in one direction, alternating rows.  Nest seams when joining rows.

I like to sew the top two rows together and the bottom two rows together.  Then sew the center seam last.  To reduce bulk in the center, you may wish to press this last seam open. 

Make twelve blocks just like this one.  In my case, half-pink and half-yellow.  According to the pattern, half-light and half-dark.

Next make four more blocks using only your light fabric.  Mine are all yellow, with no pink. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Speed Piecing Half Square Triangles

Great job, everbody, on making your first block tonight.  Now that you have a pattern for yourself, you are ready to rinse and repeat...and repeat and repeat.  We will make a total of 12 blocks like the one we did tonight.  Think of these as half-and-half blocks, half light and half-dark.

To make the half-square triangles, we will only be working with the 4-inch squares.  You have 4-inch squares from three of the fabrics.
  • Accent/Medium (red on the pattern)--32 4-in squares
  • Background/Light (cream on the pattern)--20 4-in squares
  • Dark (gray on the pattern) 12 4-in squares

    Since 20 + 12 = 32, it makes sense that each of your half-square triangle pairs will contain a piece of the Accent/Medium fabric. Remember you already made one of each pair tonight, so you should have 30/19/11 left.
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the backs of each of the 32 Accent/Medium 4-inch squares.  Pair each of these with either a Background/Light 4-in square or a Dark 4-in square, right sides together.  I like to pin these on either side of the line.

You will have two piles, one with 12 pairs (Accent and Dark) and one with 20 pairs (Accent and Light).  Here's the fun part.  Sew a 1/4-inch seam on either side of the diagonal line.

Chain these together.  Don't stop and cut your thread.  Just keep feeding them through, one after the other until you've sewn them all on one side of the line.  Leaving the squares chained together, just turn them around and sew a quarter-inch seam along the other side.

Once you've run the chain of squares through on the second side, you are ready to cut them apart from each other.
You will then cut each square along the diagonal line you drew.  Press open, and make stacks of your half-square triangles.

These squares are going to be larger than you need.  Remember our other pieces are 3-inch squares.  Trim each of these half-square triangles down to be 3-inch squares.  Unwonkify as necessary.  Use the 45 degree line on your cutting mat to help keep that center diagonal seam straight.

Now you're ready to make some blocks!

Our next meeting will be on November 19.  There is no pressure to have a certain amount done by that time.  This project is not a race.  Just do what you're comfortable doing, at the pace that makes you happy.

I'm so glad you were all able to be there tonight.  This project is going to be a lot of fun!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Pattern

Okay, Gang.  Here is the pattern we will be using for our Road to Oklahoma project.  The highlighted portion pertains to the initial fabric requirements which I underestimated.  Please let me know if I still need to cut this piece for you.

Here's a little explanation for my chicken scratch.  

I called the light fabric the Background because I wanted you to think about this one like the background we used in the sampler.   You will need 60 3-inch squares.  The easiest way to cut these squares is to fold your fabric very neatly selvage to selvage.   The selvages are the finished edges of the fabric.  Press so the fabric will stay straight while you cut.  I like to fold the fabric in half again.  This time the folded edge will be on top of the selvage edges.

Lay the fabric on your rotary mat and trim one cut end to be straight.  Make sure that the cut you make trims all of the layers even.  Now move the ruler over and cut a strip that is 3 inches wide.

You have now cut a 3-inch WOF (width of fabric) strip.  Say, "Wahoo!"  Dance a little jig.  Celebrate with a French Vanilla Cappuccino.  You've earned it.

You will need 5 of these strips. Each strip will still be folded double. Sub-cut the strip into 3-inch squares.  You will cut two squares at a time.  Be sure you cut off the selvage edges first.  You don't want to use that part of the fabric.  Depending on the width of your fabric, you will get 13 or 14 squares from each strip.

The 4-inch squares will be cut the same way.  Cut a 4-inch strip and subcut into 4-inch squares.  You should get 10 4-inch squares from a strip.

In the column beside the number of squares, I have listed the number of strips needed.  The next column shows the total inches of fabric needed to cut the total strips and hence, the total squares.  From the inches I figured the yardage we needed to purchase, allowing a little extra.  Or trying to add a little extra.  *sigh*

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Road to Oklahoma Project Begins

Our first meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 15 from 6-8:30 p.m.  We will make one Road to Oklahoma block.  Please bring these pieces already cut and ready to go:

Background (Light) shown in cream on pattern/white on my sample square
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

Color (Medium) shown in blue on pattern/pink on my sample
4 3-inch squares

Accent (Medium) shown in red on pattern/gray on my sample
2 3-inch squares
2 4-inch squares*

Dark (shown in dk gray on pattern)/black on my sample
3 3-inch squares
1 4-inch square

*To be really ready to go, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the backs of these two squares.*

You will need your sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, etc. 

Road to Oklahoma

After a delightful shopping trip last Saturday, the 31:22 Quilters are ready for their new project.  You are all ready, aren't you?  I am so excited to be working on a new quilt with all of you.  Fall seems to be the perfect time of year to begin, and this rainy Saturday has me raring to go.

 I spent some time this morning cutting my squares.  Aren't they yummy?  I love, love, love these colors!  (That's the edge of my Grandmother's Flower Garden, still in process.  All it needs is the binding.  Hooray!)

I have marked the backs of the 4-inch squares with a diagonal line.  Now I'm ready to speed-piece some half-square triangles.  Buckle up and hold on, 'cause here we go!

Here's the sample block I made from scrap fabrics. This pattern doesn't look like much when you just have one block.

 But check out what happens when you begin to put them together.  Here are four made from paper that I played with while drafting the pattern.  Shazam!