Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tammy's Blocks

Tammy, I had fun making trees for you. I hope that you like them.

I can't believe that it's been a year since we began this fun virtual bee.  It's been a real pleasure creating with all of you.
Look for me to put my blocks together in the next few months as I really want to be sleeping under the blocks you made me instead of just looking at them!I'll post a picture. Promise.

Blessings and happy sewing in 2011,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zig Zag Path Block - November 2010 (Heidi)

Nittany Block Party – November
Heidi Elliott (heidielliott)
Nittany Block Party November

Is it really November already? Boy, time files when your quilting with your online friends :) Here is the tutorial I whipped up for my Nittany Block Party quilting bee for the Zig Zag Path block from Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs. Maggie credits Susan Dague with this block circa 1999.

Zig Zag Path (finished)


(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Dark Grey Background Fabric
(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Orange Swirly Fabric
(3) 5.5” x 5.5” Blue or Green Thyme Fabric

9 5.5" squares

Making Half-Square Triangles

One of the grey background squares set aside for the middle square of this nine-patch block. Then take the remaining (8) 5.5” squares and create the following pairs (right-sides of the fabric facing one another.

(2) green and orange
(1) green and grey
(1) orange and grey

Step 1: Right-sides facing

*Note: The green, blue and orange fabrics are directional prints. We want to make sure they are going in the same direction when we place the right sides facing. Take a look at the folded over edges in the photo above. The green fabric’s print is going up and down with the bulb part at the top. The orange print’s swirls are also going up and down with the fatter part of the swirl at the top.

Get your ruler and marking pencil

Now take you ruler and marking pencil and create a diagonal line down the centers of the squares. This is a 45-degree line down the center of the square.

Line up along the diagonal

Use your washable pencil to make the guideline

You will be sewing 1/4" seams on either side of this line. Start off by placing your first paired square underneath your sewing machine’s foot. Align the guideline mark to the right where it touches the 1/4” guide on the foot.

Line up guideline at the 1/4" mark

Sew from one corner of the square along the guideline to the other corner. Now, you might normally pull off the finished square and add the second one. During which you would have to cut the thread to remove the square completely from the sewing machine.

Let us chain piece these squares instead. Chain piecing is where you keep feeding your squares or pieces of paired fabric though the foot of your machine. It creates this long line of stitched pieces. It speeds up piecing because you are not stopping to cut away each individual piece after you sew it together.

Now back to your freshly sewn squares sitting just past your foot. Pull slightly on the finished square to pull it a little away from the needle and foot area. This will give you a little slack in the thread between your first sewn set of squares and the next.

Then lift up your foot slightly and slide in the second set of squares to be sewn under the foot. You align the guideline to the right of the foot at the 1/4” again. Now slowly start to sew.

You can easily chain piece these

Repeat these steps for the third and fourth sets of squares.

In the end, you have all four sets sewn connected to one another by small sections of thread.

Result of chain piecing

All tied together

Now before you take that last square off, you can cut it away from the rest of the chain and continue to chain the squares through to sew the other seam for the Half Square Triangles.

Before removing the final square

Leaving the fourth set of squares under your foot. Cut the threads between the three sets still on the chain.

Pull slightly on the squares still under your foot a little away from the needle and foot area. This will give you a little slack in the thread between your last set of sewn squares and the next.

Then lift up your foot slightly and slide a set squares to be sewn under the foot. You align the guideline to the right of the foot at the 1/4” again. Since you have already sewn one seam down the square you will need to sew another seam on the opposite side. Once the square is under your foot, slowly start to sew.

Start sewing your second seam

Cut away the square that has only one seam sewn of the front of you new chain. Then chain sew the other three squares. Once again, you already have one seam done on the remaining three squares. Feed the squares into the foot so that the new seam is on the opposite side.

You do not have to do the chain sewing at all. I just like to do it because it makes piecing go faster.

You should now have four squares with two seams on each square.

All seams finished

Take them to your cutting matt. Place your rotary cutter ruler a square where the 1/4” line is aligned with one of your seams.

Place your ruler on the seam

The edge of the ruler should be aligned with the center guideline you drew. Cut the square in half creating two triangles.

After cutting

Cut all three remaining squares the same way. You should end up with 8 triangles.

Finished cutting

Take your triangles to your ironing board and press the seams out. Flip it over to the right side facing you and press flat.

Press seams open

You have finished 8 Half Square Triangles, HST for short :)

You now have 8 HST

We are going to square up our HSTs a little before combining them to make the finished Zig Zag Path block. So take out your trusty ruler that has a 45-degree line across it. I use my 6” square-up block.

With the right side of the fabric facing you, place the 45-degree guideline of the ruler on the diagonal seam of the HST. Move your squaring template so that you have a little bit of fabric on the side and bottom past the 5” marks of the template. You should see excess fabric now at the top and side.

Square up

Cut off the top and side excess with your rotary blade using the sides of the template as guide. Then flip the template around and align the 45 degree guideline with your center diagonal seam. Align the 5” marks of the template with the sides you just cut the excess off.

You should see excess on the bottom and side of the block now. Once again use your rotary cutter and template to cut away the excess.

Repeat the squaring up process on your 7 remaining HSTs AND the 5.5” grey background square we set aside earlier. You should end up with a pile of small slivers like this :)


Now arrange your HSTs and the one solid grey block in the following configuration:

All three rows in place

Sew the rows in the following order, pressing the seams open after each step.

Flip center vertical row on 1st row

Flip the final vertical row

Horizontal Rows finished

Flip top horizontal row down onto middle on

1st and Middle row attached

Flip bottom row up onto center row

You now have the final Zig Zag Path (nine patch) block :)

Zig Zag Path (finished)

Friday, September 10, 2010

september block

Half square triangles.
16 of them sewn together.
I'm sending out 3" squares today.
Here's how I made mine:
Begin with a white and a print.
Draw a diagonal line on the back.
Sew a seam on each side of the line.
You can see I was chain piecing these.

Cut along your line.

Press towards the print.

Trim to 2 1/2"

Put 16 of those little blocks together.
Your block should now be 8 1/2" square.
I am also sending some extra white squares.
IF you would like to make a second square for me,
please use something...
I'm not picky....
from your scrap pile that KIND of goes along with this
and make a second block.
I would love to add some of YOU into my quilt!
Thank you so much.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Catching up on the blocks!

I'm finally getting some quality sewing time! I've finished Kelly's blocks:

I also finished Ruth's blocks!

Tomorrow I'll finish up with Joan's block. All will be shipped out Tuesday or Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

July and August by Carla

Sorry to be a bit late on these cute half log cabin blocks, Ruth.  I've always liked pink and green together.  Can't wait to see the finished quilt!
Joan's grey/brights color combo is so great!  It was fun choosing some little squares from my stash to add to your lovely fabrics to create this block.  It will be a stunning quilt!
I'll get these both in the mail tomorrow!

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 2010 Scrapbuster Block/Instructions

Hello, Everyone! I just mailed my fabrics to each of you for the August block. My block is Little Miss Shabby's scrapbuster block, and the easy-to-follow tutorial can be found here:

Please make one scrapbuster block. I have sent 1 square of Kona Coal + 1.5" and 2" strips to each of you. I also included about 24 small precut 1.5" print fabric squares. This should be 1/2 of what you will need (for the print squares) and save you a little cutting. I think it's fun to get to add a little of my own fabric when making bee blocks, so I hope you do too. If this is difficult for anyone, please let me know and I will send you more. I already have quite a few cut, so it won't be a problem at all.

This should be a fun way to use up some tiny scraps and result in a nice, scrappy quilt. I only ask that you do not use batiks (sorry, if you love them, but I really don't care for them). And there is no rush at all. I did the same block in June for another bee, and I'm still collecting those blocks. Just to be clear: Please take your time. I am in no hurry at all.

Hope everyone has fun!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

July block instructions

You guys are going to laugh at me... this is seriously WAAAAY too much instruction for my blocks. I'm sure all you need to know is "half log cabin - fabric is in the mail" but I started writing and then I couldn't stop and now I guess I might as well post it. So here we go:

Block size: 12” x 12” finished – 12.5” x 12.5” raw. Please leave the blocks untrimmed, I will do that when I have them all.

Fabric: You will get 16 strips, enough to make 2 blocks. There is not a much extra fabric, so be conservative with it. Please try to spread the fabrics more or less evenly, rather than creating a “pink” block or a “green” block.

Seams: Please press all seams open.

Block instructions:
  • The layout of the half log cabin block is shown below. When you look at the finished block, strips 8 and 7b, for example, will appear to be one “layer,” but for our purposes while constructing we are going to treat 7a and 7b as one layer, since the pieces are the same size. The strips that I sent are perfect length so that a pair of pieces can be cut from each one. If the first piece cut is size 1, the remainder of that strip will be size 7. If size 2 is cut, the remaining piece will be size 6. Size 3 goes with 5, two of size 4 can be cut from one piece. Size 8 is an uncut strip. Some of the packages have one or two strips that are shorter than the others.  If you have a short strip, it needs to be used in position 8.

  • It’ll be easiest to make both blocks at the same time and you will have the most flexibility in choosing colors.
  • Select your starting strips and cut a square each from the ends. The strips are not equal widths, so you will have to check the width to make sure your first pieces are square. I think it improves the look of the block if you chose thickish pieces as your starting point.
  • Select two more strips and sew a square onto the end of each. You can trim before or after you sew it on, but don’t cut the piece too big or you will run out of fabric later. Set the cut off piece of the strip aside along with the remainder of the first strip.
  • Press the seam allowances open and trim before adding each new strip. You don’t need to trim to a specific measurement because I would like the strips to be variable thickness but NOT wonky. Use the sewn edge of the initial square as a guide when cutting the edge square.
  • Continue this way until you have used all but two strips. These will be the level 8 strips. Switch to using the leftover ends, starting with the smallest ones.
  • I know this is going to be very tight as far as fabric, so if anything goes wrong, don’t fret! Just use the next size up strip, and then send the block back without the final layer. I can add that when it gets to me. I will confess that this happened on my practice block. I cut the strips for your guys a little bit longer because of that, but I didn’t do another test of them. We’ll see how it goes! 
In case you are wondering, the quilt is going to be for my cute little niece.