A Mathematical Miracle!!

My Challenge was to have a complete row stitched together by December 31.  Well! It’s only December 29 and I have met my Challenge!  First I stitched a couple of blocks together.

2 blocks

Then I added another block…

3 blocks

…and another one.  Finally, the row was finished.  And to top it off, I added a side border!  Jenny is thrilled!

jenny and blocks

Some people asked me why I pressed my seams open for my half-square triangles.  Here is the reason:  When I stitch and press all my seams open, I have a ready-made guide for my seam line.

seam allowance

I don’t exactly know why this works, but I consider it a Mathematical Miracle!!

Til next time….

Kerry

Half Square Triangles 101

Oddly enough, I found myself with a spare couple of hours on Christmas day…with not much to do!  So I decided to start cutting and sewing together the 967 (are you kidding?) half-square triangles needed for the sashings and borders for my “Friends of Baltimore”.

Here is my method for cutting half-square triangles.  Beware!  It is time-consuming but extremely accurate.

First of all, I always cut my triangles bigger than what is called for in the pattern.  In this case, the pattern called for 1 7/8″ squares to be cut.  I wanted to cut the squares 2 1/4″, so I needed to cut my strips 2 1/4″ wide.  To make the stitching go quicker, I layered a blue and a white strip on the cutting mat…

2 strips together

…then I cut my squares 2 1/4″.

cut 2 and a quarter

Next, I cut all my squares on the diagonal to make lots and lots of triangles.

bunch of triangles

Now I just pick up a set of triangles and stitch away!!

ready to stitch

Once they are stitched together, I pressed the seam open.

press seams open

Now it’s time to trim the HST down to 1 1/2″ square.  I place the HST on the cutting mat with the seam line running from the bottom left hand corner to the top right hand corner.

HST

Then I line up the diagonal line on the ruler with the diagonal line of the seam.  All I want to do right now is to square up the top right-hand corner.

trim 1

trim 2

Next, I flip the HST triangle around and line up the diagonal line of the ruler with the seam.  But…this time, I am lining up the edge that I just squared up with the 1 1/2″ lines on the ruler….

trim

..and trim it to the perfect size!

trim 4

The sashing consist of 15 half-square triangles stitched together.  And they have to measure exactly 15 1/2″ long, (the blocks measure 15 1/2 unfinished) so an accurate seam allowance is very important.  I did a test and realized my seam allowance could be tiny bit bigger, because the sashing  was too long.

test 1

I re-stitched a few of the seams and voila!  It fits!

test 3

Til next time…

Kerry

Another block finished!

So I finished stitching the remaining tail feathers in place on my Civil War Bride block.

finished tail feathers

Then I gave the bird’s feet and beak a bit of thought.  The pieces were just too tiny and detailed to use cotton fabric to applique.  I have a good selection of Ultra-Suede and found a color that I would imagine a bird’s feet and beak to be.

I cut the feet and beak pieces out of freezer paper and ironed it directly onto the Ultra-Suede.  I carefully cut the pieces out and stitched them in place.  I decided the pieces could use a bit more definition so I very carefully drew around the very edge of the Ultra-Suede with a brown Micron permanent marker.

pen

The right foot has marker on it and the left one doesn’t.  Can you see the difference?

ultra suede feet

And here is the finished block!

finished block (2)

Til next time…

Kerry

Sunday afternoon stitching…

My Christmas baking is finally done!

christmas baking

So that means I have more time for important stuff…like stitching!

My Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met today.  We all agreed we should have been shopping/baking/wrapping, but it was sure nice to sit and stitch (and relax!) for a couple of hours with a great group of ladies!   I decided to work on the tail feathers of my Civil War Bride block.  Long, skinny pieces can be tricky to stitch.  Here are a few tips:

Remember, there is no need to fold the seam allowance over if it is going to be covered with another piece.  Leave it “raw”.

raw edge

Begin stitching here…

start here

…and end here.end here

When I am finished stitching the piece in place, I  baste along the raw edge, just inside the seam allowance.

basting

So when I put the next feather in place, the piece I am covering lays nice and flat.

next one 2

I still have a few feathers to stitch!

tail feathers (2)

I have chosen the fabric for the half-square triangle sashing for my Friends of Baltimore quilt.   The fabric is not royal blue or navy blue…just somewhere in between!  I am going to start to sew the half-square triangles together, and maybe start to stitch the finished blocks together!  So exciting!

blue fabric

Til next time….

Kerry

Spare time??

This time of year, spare time is a rare commodity.   But I still managed to find the time to finish this block from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.

finished block

And here is a close up.

detail

My Sunday Afternoon Group meets the third Sunday of every month so that means we meet this Sunday….already!  Every year we begin a new project so I offered to design next year’s quilt.  Here is a preview of the first block.  They haven’t seen it yet, so mum’s the word!

sneak peak

I am taking the plunge and using my collection of batiks.  (I’ve never really used batiks but somehow I ended up with an amazing batik collection!!)  So far, I love them!  The colours are so vibrant and saturated.   The best part is the fabric does not fray.  I am now an OFB… Official Fan of Batiks!

I pre-washed every last one of them…

DSCN2316

…and Bruin found yet another (!) cat bed!

bruin and fabric

I have started the next block of The Civil War Bride.  First, I stitched some branches and some leaves..

block 4

I used every inch of the branch fabric!

every inch of fabric

The tail feathers have me very intrigued!  They seem to fit together like a puzzle.  I love puzzles!

tail feathers

And here are the tail feathers just waiting to be stitched!

prepped tailfeathers

Til next time…

Kerry

Time…please slow down!

Saturday? Already?

We all know what a busy and stressful time of year this can be. From what I am hearing, social protocol dictates that I should be baking!!   We all also know the best way to get through the busy-ness and the stress is to find a quiet, relaxing activity…like quilting!

The very moment I sit down to quilt, whether its hand-applique, hand-quilting or even stitching a block together on the sewing machine, I can feel the tension and stress melt away.  Like this snowman!

SNOWMAN 4

SNOWMAN 3

SNOWMAN 2

SNOWMAN 1

I have been slowly working away on the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I opted to do the flower buds flat, rather that dimensional, as the pattern suggested.

WREATH 1

Also, I am still stitching the evenings away with a quilt (and sometimes a cat!) on my lap.

BRUIN ON CHAIR

Til next time….

Kerry