Itching to finish!

I was just itching to get this next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” finished!  But it just seemed to go on and on.  I started working on the red ribbons.  As you can see, this section of the ribbon was really skinny!  Here is how I tackled it.  Even though the freezer paper template was barely an 1/8″ wide, I still cut my 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around.

block 4

Once I prepped the first side, I trimmed the seam allowance so that I could  just see the edge of the template.

block 6

Next, I prepped the other side and trimmed it down also…

block 7

…and stitched it in place.

block 2

Then I prepped and stitched the second ribbon in place and added a pretty bow.

block 3

I thought I was done (and was high-five-ing myself!) and realized, no, I still had the bluebird to stitch.  So, here is the finished block…all tidied up after it’s bubble bath!

block 1

I took a close look and saw that,  once again, I forgot to stitch a tiny piece.  Drat!

oops (2)

Now, on to the exciting part!  The reason I wanted to finish this block so much, is that I now have enough blocks to sew another row together…I know!!!  So I dusted the cobwebs off my sewing machine, and started to make some half-square triangles.  You can read a little more about the method I use here.

It’s one thing to sit and sew a bunch of half-square triangles together.  It is another thing entirely to stitch them together in a row and arrive at the measurement it is supposed to be.  Here is a little tip I use to make life easier.

First, I sew my half-square triangles (HSTs) together in pairs.  Then I press the seam open.

stitched togethe in pairs

Then I stitch the pairs together to make sets of 4.  And I press the seam open.  And then, I measure the piece.  These HSTs finish at 1″, therefore, 4  HSTs sewn together should measure 4 1/2″.

four and a half

Then I stitch the sets of 4 together to make sets of 8.  I press the seam open and measure the piece.  It should measure 8 1/2″.  This section needed a nip and tuck!

eight and a half

Now, I take my sets of 8 and stitch them together to make 16 HSTs.  And, hopefully, it measures 16 1/2″.

sixteen and a half

So, now I can start to sew the row together!   Bruin always likes to be in on the action!

bruin helping

First, I sewed on  the bottom sashing, and then the side sashing on both blocks.

bottom and sides

And…two blocks sewn together!

2 rows sstitched together

I would like to continue, but look at the time!

nine o'clock

Keep stitching…



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.


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….


..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…