Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Modern Sampler Block 8

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I'm falling a bit behind again on blogging my sampler blocks. This one is the Memory block. I really should have written down the names when I picked out all of the blocks because having to go back and figure it out after the fact is proving to be a chore. I like how bold and graphic the design is, though I kind of wish I had chosen a light solid for the center star because I feel like the red is overpowering it.

I should add that for the most part, I don't use the tutorials for the linked blocks. I just wanted you to be able to reference it if you're interested.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Modern Sampler Block 7

This block is called the Maple Star. I really love how this block looks. The problem with this sampler quilt is that I keep getting ideas on using the blocks for other quilts and there's just not enough time to make them all. But seriously though, I think this would look great alternated with an Irish Chain block.

I'm happy to report that my flying geese are improving. This set was made using the 4 at a time method and this time they came out the correct size.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Modern Sampler, Block 6

I've started on the 18" blocks now, so my speed should start picking up. This Ohio Star was really simple and straightforward to assemble. I could see myself revisiting this block to make a future quilt.

I found a tutorial to create 4 QSTs at once. It's very easy to do though it did take some thought to make sure my fabric placement was correct. The tutorial does create bias edge blocks. I haven't quite made up my mind but I think I'm beginning to prefer straight-grain blocks, no matter how easy the bias methods are.

This covers all the blocks I completed over the past weekend. I am really happy with my pace so far. The diagram is starting to slowly fill in.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Modern Sampler, Block 5

Next up was the last large block, Aunt Rachel's Star. I made this block once before using the linked instructions to paper-piece a 12" block. I remember it being very difficult and a huge PITA. This time I drafted it to use 2" HSTs, so not quite as difficult to work with.

I bought Triangles on a roll paper to try out for the first time. For the most part, I really liked it. It did produce nice accurate HSTs without having to trim. I also used my trimming tool to precut the dog ears and that saved a lot of time as well. I also used my flying geese ruler to cut out the triangles for the star points.

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So the issues I had with this block: For the rest of the quilt, I've been pressing all of my seams open. For this block only I decided to press them to the side. Because there are so many points to match up I thought it might be easier to nest the seams, especially since I am not planning to quilt it myself and don't have to worry as much about bulk. Well, I was wrong. I still had a pretty hard time getting the seams to match. Though to be fair, there are so many seams that I think there would be issues no matter what way I pressed them. I also had a brain lapse and pressed all of the seams for the primarily green star points the wrong direction so I had to twist my seams to get them to match. *sigh* This is one of the reasons I press my seams open. oh well, it's not like you can tell from the front.

I am really happy with my fabric choices for this block. I love how the large floral gets showcased because of the 24" size, and the solid/small scale print combo makes the design look cohesive throughout. I was dreading making this one a little bit but for the most part I enjoyed the process.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Modern Sampler, Block 4

I've been wanting to make a Swoon quilt/Carpenter's Wheel quilt for several years but haven't taken the plunge. I broke down the block to eliminate as many seams as possible without introducing any Y-seams.

Unfortunately when I was working out the math I made a snafu and a bunch of pieces that I cut out were too small. so I had to swap out one fabric entirely because I didn't have enough to complete the block, and I had to substitute some of the yellow fabric because I ran out of it as well. I think the block would have been much stronger if I had stuck to three fabrics but it just didn't turn out that way.

Also, if I had it to do over again I wouldn't have cut the HSTs on the bias. The gingham background fabric shows it really strongly and those blocks look out of place compared with the rest. Live and learn.

This time I used the no-waste flying geese method, but the first time I sewed them they still turned out 1/8" too small all the way around. I finally broke down and switched out the 1/4" foot I had been using to my open toe foot and did another seam test. There are definitely some things I don't like about the 1/4" foot and I think I'll be happier using the open toe from now on.

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Except for the snafus I did enjoy making this block. I could see myself making an entire swoon quilt someday. This block is 24" square.

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Modern Sampler, Blocks 2 & 3

I won't lie, Block #2 gave me some headaches.

I couldn't find a traditional name for the flying geese block. The closest I could come up with was a similar block that has the geese tilted at a 45 degree angle in an X shape. I believe that one is called Geese Crossing, or something like that. I used the Fons and Porter flying geese ruler that I've had for years. For some reason all of my blocks were consistently 1/8" too small. I even unstitched one, shifted my needle position to be a scant 1/4" and it came out to be exactly the same size as before. I didn't want to waste the fabric and do them over again so I tried to make it work, which I am now realizing was probably a mistake.

ETA: I found the block in a book I own. they call it "Jacob's ladder" which is very confusing because I know there are other quilt blocks also called Jacob's ladder that don't look like this one at all. but anyway.

The points on my geese aren't quite perfect and most distressingly the center doesn't line up exactly with the hourglass block. I also accidentally attached one long edge upside down. And because I typically press my seams open, I use a very short stitch length which is a PITA to rip out. so there was definitely some cursing on Block #2 and I'm not super happy with it. If I have enough fabric leftover when I'm finished I may go back and redo this block entirely, but we'll see if that actually happens. My perfectionist tendencies are often at war with my laziness, and laziness usually wins. This block is 30" square.

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Block #3 was produced because the method I used to create the hourglass block for the center of Block #2 makes two QSTs. I'm trying to be as efficient with my fabric as possible, so I eliminated one of the 6" blocks and replaced it with this one. I basically used this tutorial except that I cut my triangles for both the HST and QST before sewing because I am too lazy to draw a line. I don't find it difficult to sew the bias cut seams on the diagonal and it saves time not to draw the line.

I'm hoping that once I get through these larger blocks the process will start to be more enjoyable. Right now it's feeling like a bit of an ordeal to cut out all the pieces and get them sewn together in the proper order without tearing my hair out.

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Modern Sampler, Block 1

I've been working on finishing up other things, but I finally got around to starting my sampler quilt. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled 110 different fabrics from my stash and washed and pressed them. Previously I had been using a pinking blade on the edges pre-washing. Unfortunately I was finding that the blade dulls very quickly and it still leaves little threads to clean up after washing. I switched to serging all of the edges first, which was time consuming, but ultimately more successful.

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Generally speaking, I'm starting with the largest blocks first and working my way towards the smaller ones in order to make the most efficient use of my fabric. So first up is the Trip Around the World block. I modified it slightly to remove unnecessary seams. I did this throughout the quilt so it'll come up again.

You can see the construction in the diagram. I cut out 4.5" strips and subcut them into squares where necessary. You can strip piece parts of this block but I chose not to because the block is so large I figured I'd be more accurate just piecing the squares. The block is 36" square, large enough to be a baby blanket on its own.

The nice thing about doing a sampler quilt is that by only making one block at a time I can take the trouble to be concerned about details. I made sure that the background text print strips all face the same direction. normally i can't be bothered. I am pressing all of my seams open for this quilt, which does make the intersections a little harder to match up. It's not perfect but I've decided I can live with some variance.

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I wanted to make the first block an easy one to finish. Block #2 will be a bit more complicated.

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