Whew! It’s Thursday morning and I’m struggling to get going today. I slept well until the local mob of Gulls decided to kick up a bit of ruckus well before 6am. These pesky birds have set up residence here, some 50 miles from the coast, making up for being low in numbers with their high volume calling. They are constantly patrolling the skies, chasing off Red Kites and Buzzards and skirmishing with the local crows.
My main goal this week has been preparation for the Patchwork Workshop tomorrow. On Tuesday I made the final adjustments to the pattern for the ‘Into the Woods’ table runner. Yesterday I printed out the foundation paper piecing patterns and made some part-finished examples for the demonstrations I’ll give in class.
To recap: The blocks are made using the strip tube method shown by Bonnie Hunter in this tutorial.
I’ve found the tutorial easy to follow. My only sticking point coming when deciding which of the seams to unpick in each of the tube segments. I have now found a sure fire way of opening the tube segments so the fabric squares form the desired diagonal pattern.
All of my scrappy strip sets have a dark pink strip at the top and a gold strip at the bottom. These two are sewn together to form the tube. My intention is for the dark pink squares to run across the centre diagonal of all of the Trip Around the World blocks.
Segment 1: I always unpick the seam between the dark pink and the gold squares.
I then look to the bottom two squares of this open strip and note the fabrics – in this case the beige and the gold squares.
I then take the second tube segment and unpick the seam between the beige and the gold squares.
I lay the open second segment next to the first, look at the bottom two squares of the second segment (the blue and beige squares). I then know to unpick the seam between the blue and the beige squares of the third tube segment.
And so I continue, always looking at the bottom two squares of the most recently opened tube segment to let me know which seam I need to open in the next tube segment.
Works a treat for me! No more time wasted trying to figure out how to proceed 😀
Hope this might be of help to you. Of course, you may fix on another visual clue to aid you in sequencing the strips of a tube block like this. Do share if you found this method helpful or if you use a different way to figure out this little puzzle.
Last Friday I took the short walk to our local Hobbycraft. There were several reasons – I needed some fresh air; I needed to stretch my legs; my Craft Group needed supplies; I was on the look out for a quilt magazine; and, hep-hem, I didn’t half fancy a bar of chocolate for lunch 😀 It was a beautiful day, I felt a lot better for the walk, I made some purchases for Craft Group and treated myself to a copy of Today’s Quilter and a bar of Cadbury’s finest 🙂
The free gift on the front of the magazine caught my eye: a set of templates designed for making Orange Peel blocks.
Of course, I had to have a go … And I was pleased with this first attempt at piecing an Orange Peel block – no wrinkles in the seams and smooth looking curves 🙂 There is a page in the magazine giving a few instructions, hints and tips as to how to use the templates. Yesterday I took the templates, my background fabric and some fabrics from my stash to the monthly sewing day at Brown Candover. Several happy hours were spent creating Orange Peel blocks in the gentle company of friends.
If you are curious about curved piecing here is a little photo tutorial of how I made the Orange Peel blocks along with some of the handy tips I picked up along the way.
I am having one of those weeks when I can be very glad my diary looks fairly blank. The unexpected has been happening and although my to-do list doesn’t have many ticks I have been busy! An elderly friend has had a fall at home and requires a course of treatment in hospital. I’m glad to have had the time to help her and to meet up with more of her friends from her other social circles. Her situation – no close relatives – hi-lights the importance of nurturing friendships. Most of us don’t have a ‘developing friendships’ tick box on our to-do lists but time ‘doing’ friendship should never be counted as wasted time 🙂
I have a finish to share 🙂 Finally I have put the last stitch in the binding of ‘Morning Mist’. Sadly that last stitch was secured eleven hours too late to share this quilt in the April One Monthly Goal linky but, none-the-less, I am counting Misty Morning as my April goal achieved.
I stitched the label to the backing last year – just before making the quilt sandwich, just before the sandwich then became a UFO. The label therefore states the quilt’s date of making as February 2017! Ah! Well!
I will be adding a photo of the quilt to my 2018 Gallery (click the button at the top of the page to see my – small – collection of finishes). And I will be adding the quilt to the collection in my Folksy shop.
So that’s the story of the finish and the missed deadline mentioned in the title of this post. Now for the ‘piecing tip’:
Last Saturday the fifth Beginners Course got underway at Purple Stitches quilt store. In the first of the four sessions I teach rotary cutting, stitching accurate ¼” seams and we begin piecing patchwork blocks. Along with the class notes, I provide a page of little number labels – one label to pin to each of the sixty-four fabric squares required for the quilt. Once the students are happy with the arrangement of their fabric squares and have decided on the orientation of any directional fabrics I encourage them to label each square.
I find this numbering and labeling of patchwork blocks actually saves a lot of time. I number each label like this: the first digit corresponds to the row; the second digit to the position along the row. The numbers work from the top left block of the layout (label 1.1) to the bottom right (for this quilt, label 8.8). In the past I have just used little scraps of paper and scribbled the numbers on with a pencil. For my students I thought it might be kinder (and more professional) to produce a printed sheet.
If you would like a copy of the labels try clicking this link and hopefully you will be able to download the PDF file 🙂 Row and block markers – 8 x 8
I find numbering each block in this way does save time during the piecing process:
It’s possible to stack all the blocks next to my sewing machine and go in for some great chain-piecing action.
If I drop the blocks or muddle the blocks at the ironing board pressing station (Ha!Ha!) it’s possible get them back in order without having to lay them all out again and check the arrangement.
The numbered labels help me keep the blocks up the right way. Otherwise, in the short movement of lifting blocks from the table at the side of my sewing machine to bringing them under the needle, blocks have a strange habit of spinning in my hands and having the wrong edges stitched together!
A few minutes adding labels can avoid having to spend a lot of time unpicking seams 🙂 Caveat – This system is not foolproof. I, Dear Reader, must count myself a fool. Look what I managed to do last night – I placed the higher numbered block under the lower numbered block and stitched them together! Resulting in blocks being the wrong way round – TWICE!!! 😀
I’m adding this and other tips to my newly launched Facebook group called ‘Patchwork Tips and Tales’ – you can access the group via my New Every Morning page. I hope you will consider joining this branch of the worldwide quilty community. My intention is that the group will allow us to share tips, learn from one another and help find solutions to patchwork or quilting project problems members may encounter. I’m very happy for you to share links to your blog posts and helpful tutorials with the other members of this closed, members only, group. I look forward to receiving your membership request and welcoming you into the Patchwork Tips and Tales group 🙂
As I stated at the top of the post I will have to give quite a bit of time over to dealing with the unexpected, and here in the UK we have a Bank Holiday weekend coming up too, so I’ve decided not to create a Saturday Quilting Bring & Share post this week. The posts will be back through the rest of May and on into the Summer – that’s as long as I’m not in for a run of ‘unexpecteds’!
Linking with Connie at Free Motion by The River for another Linky Tuesday – click the link and find lots of patchwork & quilting inspiration, storage ideas and maybe a recipe or two as well 🙂
Also linking with Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday – she’s been finishing a UFO too!