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  • 12 Oct 2020 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thanks everyone for a fantastic October Meeting via Zoom.  Without your show and tell we couldn't do this!  

    Next month's challenge is : Bags!  Old or new, large or small, any shape, any size, please share photos along with your show and tell to midwestpatchwork@gmail.com.

    For those that missed our meeting please see below some of the slides presented showing our members show and tell and our Block of the Month Handout here at this link.

    Stay safe and happy sewing!


  • 17 Sep 2020 5:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We had a great turnout for our Zoom meeing.  It was lovely to see everyone again.  Thanks for the wonderful show and tell.  In case you missed it please see some of our presentation below. 

    For the block of the month instructions please see this link for the PDF you can download and print. 

    Looking forward to our next get together in October!
  • 17 Sep 2020 5:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to all our members who completed a quilt top during our Summer Quilt-A-Long.  Congratulations to Suzanne for winning the jelly roll.  We look forward to seeing what you make with it!

    For convenience I have gathered up the PDF files of the pattern at the bottom of this post and the how to's covering:

    • colouring a block design
    • breaking down the block into basic quilt units
    • basic chain piecing & simple leaders & enders
    • a scant ¼” seam and why it can be handy
    • Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese 4 ways
    • Chain piecing a block and a whole quilt
    • Sew & Flip Method to simplify shapes
    • Leader and Ender projects to make scrap quilts
    • Giant Quilt blocks
    • Borders, backing, binding and hanging sleeve

    I hope that you enjoyed the series and will find the above useful for future projects.

    Stay safe and happpy sewing!

    Ruth Bourke on behalf of the Mid Western branch Comittee 2020

    Previous steps:

    2020 QAL part 1.pdf

    Summer Quilt part 2.pdf

    Summer QAL part 3.pdf

    Summer QAL part 4.pdf

    Summer QAL part 5.pdf

    Summer QAL part 6.pdf

    Summer QAL part 7.pdf

    Summer QAL part 8.pdf

    Math1Squares.pdf

    HST templates 1-6 inch.pdf

    FG templates.pdf


  • 3 Sep 2020 5:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Due to government Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to have an in person meeting in September so we are a Zoom meeting instead.  We will have a Block of the Month, small & fun quick make, Show and tell and monthly challenges.  Please contact midwespatchwork@gmail.com for further details.  

  • 25 Aug 2020 7:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long

    We are onto part 7 and only 1 more part to go!  It feels like the past 12 weeks, since we started our QAL, have just flown by.  This week, we are looking at Star blocks and some free patterns available on the internet that you might want to look up.  We will also be making the centre 8-pointed star in our QAL and assembling our quilt top! 

     

    Giant Blocks

    Star blocks are some of my favourite quilts to make.  Most especially I like going big with them.  Have you ever made a one block quilt?  Taken a block you love and made as a 60” or 72” size?  It’s a lot of fun.  Here are a few options for you if you have some fat quarters or layer cakes that you would like to use up.

    Moda Love – this is a free pattern from Moda that makes a 72” Star surround block from a layer cake and some yardage.  Paula Rafferty made the giant block, a wall hanging and 2 cushions for a gorgeous set that just glows!  


    So Frosty – I designed this giant block for a Christmas challenge.  It’s one of three blocks in a Christmas Star Quilt and this one I made large as a free pattern for the Christmas blog hop run by Celtic Thistle Stitches.

    Happy Quilting has quite a few QAL’s with Star blocks including this Star Surround block I made as a baby quilt for a gift a few years ago.  She is very generous with her designs and her QAL’s.

    Jeni Baker from In Color Order made a free tutorial: Giant Vintage Star Quilt and Amy Friend from Diary of a Quilter added a scrappy border to it from the leftovers which I love and am going to make one day.  The pattern uses a minimum of 8 fat quarters and ideally 16 to get a multi-coloured star.


    Polka dot chair has a lovely baby quilt.

     

    Rainbow Rose is available here on the Modern Quilters Ireland Blog using layer cakes or 10” squares to big a big block quilt.

    Making a Block a Giant Quilt Block

    When you look at these designs you can see that they are largely made up of Half Square Triangles (HST), Squares, and Flying Geese on a grid of 4, 8 or 12 rows and columns. 

    To size up a block, first decide how big you want to go.  36”-40” makes a nice baby quilt.  60” a nice lap quilt and 72” with some borders a nice bed quilt.

    To make our QAL block a Giant block for example, we look at the number of rows and columns and can see that it is 12 rows x 12 columns so a number divisible by 12 will work perfectly for us. 

    To make a 60” block our grid squares will need to be 60/12=5” finished.  To make a 72” block 72/12=6” finished. 

    We learned in parts 3&4 what to cut to end up with our desired finished size depending on the method we want to use, so, if you want to size up a block or design your own block, the reference sheets are there for you to go back to. 

    Quilt-A-Long

      

    So, onto our QAL!  In the last part we completed the middles of the blocks.  This week we are onto the centre star and assembling the block. 

    The construction for the centre star is the same for both versions of our block: Block 1 and Block 2.

    Our C section is 4 rows by 4 columns or a 16 patch.  We have squares for the corners and the centre and Flying Geese for the star points. 

    Arrange as follows and sew into rows.  Then sew the rows together to make the centre C block.  Make 1 if you are making 1 quilt block or 4 C units if you are making the 4 blocks for the Quilt top. 

    Now we have our A, B and C blocks, it’s time to assemble our quilt. 

    Block 1   

    If you are making 1 block lay out the pieces as per the image and sew the units into rows A-B-A, B-C-B and A-B-A.  Then sew the rows together to complete the block.  

    If you are making the 4 block quilt top you can make 4 quilt blocks and sew the blocks together, or you can lay out the units 6 x 6 to chain piece the quilt top together by sewing into rows as shown.

     Then sew the rows together and a secondary pattern will appear.  


    Block 2:

    For block 2 we have a modification to the block to make a repeating pattern.  The block goes together in rows A1-B1-A1, B1-C-B1, A1-B1-A2.

     

    You can sew these 9 units together to make a block and then sew the 4 blocks together, or you can lay the units out in a 6 x 6 grid and chain piece them together as below.

     

     Option for 1 block quilt

    If you are making an item using only 1 block of the Block 2 design, then instead of A2 in the bottom corner make an A1 unit to have a symmetrical block.


    Lay out the pieces as per the image and sew the units into rows A1-B1-A1, B1-C-B1 and A1-B-A1.  Then sew the rows together to complete the block.

    If you missed any of the earlier parts of our QAL, you will find the instructions on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com.

    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at borders, backing, binding and quilting options. 

    Thanks for joining us,

    Stay safe and happy sewing!

    ©Ruth Bourke

    Mid-Western Branch

  • 10 Aug 2020 4:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long

     

    We are onto part 6!  Time is flying and I hope all are enjoying the fabulous sunny weather we are finally having.

    If you missed any of the earlier parts we have covered so far: 

    • colouring our block design
    • breaking the two different block options down into basic quilt units
    • chain piecing those units with basic leaders & enders
    • how many squares you can get from a fat quarter and a yard of fabric
    • a scant ¼”seam and why it can be handy
    • Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese 4 ways with tables for different sizes
    • Chain Piecing a block and a whole quilt top

    This week we are looking further at the sew and flip method and leaders and enders, and lastly making the middle sections of our block.  If you missed the earlier parts of our QAL, you will find the instructions on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com.

    The Sew and Flip method

    We looked at the sew and flip method in step 4 as one possible method to use when making Flying Geese.   This method is very handy if you want to use different fabrics for the sky and geese. 

    It can also be used for other shapes and is used a lot in the animal designs of Elizabeth Hartman and Lorna McMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts.

    It works really well for the noses, ears and the spines of the hedgehogs in the cushions above.  I had a lot of fun using it to design a baby quilt of a Koala for the River of Dreams Heart Quilts a few years ago.   

    It can be used for more than animal quilts and is a very handy thing to use to simplify the making of quilt blocks. 

    For example, in our Quilt-A-Long the sew and flip method could be used for these shapes outlined in black instead of Half Square Triangles (HST):

    This only works if your fabrics in the shape are the same.  If you are working from scraps using different fabrics of the same colour, you will have to use HST.

    Shape 1 as Sew and Flip Method

    Shape 1 covers 4 squares, 2 rows and 2 columns.  In our QAL we are making a 24” block so each square is 2”.  Shape 1 then needs to finish up at 4” square.  To make it as 1 piece we need to treat it as a Half Square Triangle (HST) with the tips added on as a sew and flip unit. 

    Remember to make HST two at a time we cut two squares Finished Size +1” and 8 at time we double it (See part 3 of this QAL for details on how to make HST).  E.g. for a 4” finished HST we start with a square of 5” for both fabrics for two at a time or 10” squares for 8 at a time.  You will also need 2.5” squares for the corner fabrics.

     When you have your HST made, add a 2.5” square to the corner.  Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner as shown in blue.  Sew a scant ¼” seam along this marked line. Cut ¼” away from the sewn line marked above in orange.  Press and flip open.  Repeat for the other side.  

    You will have some scraps to throw away or keep for leader and ender projects.  More on those below. 

    Shape 2 as Sew and Flip Method

    This second shape is very like a Flying Goose unit. You start off the same way as making a flying goose. When you add the second square you mark the diagonal differently, so it flips open towards the bottom right instead of the top right to make a diagonal slanting piece. 

    If you want it to slant in the other direction you will have to make another with the squares positioned like this.

    Leaders and Enders

    We looked at leaders and enders in basic terms earlier,  as scrap fabric that could be used to start a chain of piecing, but it can be used to sew your offcuts from the sew and flip units into Half Square Triangles (HST) for a scrappy project later on.   

     If HST are not your thing, you can make a leader and an ender project with squares. 

    Left over 2.5” binding strips or jelly rolls can easily be cut to 2.5” squares as can spare charm squares. 

    Square blocks like these make for a nice and simple quilt that can be a fun way to use up scraps.

    Bonnie Hunter has written two books on leader and ender projects and features these on her blog Quiltville.   Adventures with Leaders and Enders and More Adventures in Leaders and Enders can be found on Amazon and there are fun Pinterest groups that do challenges using them here and here.  Some are very complex, but I guess if you are organised and well prepared it can make short work of repetitive sewing.

    Quilt-A-Long

    So, onto our QAL!  In the last part we completed the corners of the blocks.  This week we are onto the middle sections. 

    Block 1:

    Our B sections are 4 rows by 4 columns or a 16 patch but made up of a mix of flying geese and HST.

    Lay out your pieces in rows and sew toghether as per the diagram below:                                                                               

    Then sew the rows together.  Make 4 for each block, 16 in total. 

    Block 2:

    Our B1 sections are also 4 rows by 4 columns or a 16 patch and made up of a mix of flying geese, HST and squares.

    To start with sew the HST to the Background squares as shown.



    Then layout your pieces, as shown below, and sew togheter in rows.   

    Sew the rows together.  Make 4 for each block, 16 in total.


    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at star blocks and complete our block.

    Thanks for joining us,

    Stay safe and happy sewing!

    ©Ruth Bourke

    Mid-Western Branch

  • 28 Jul 2020 2:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long

    So far, in our Summer QAL we have looked at:

    • colour for our block design
    • breaking the two different block options down into basic quilt units
    • chain piecing those units
    • leaders & enders
    • how many squares you can get from a fat quarter and a yard of fabric
    • a scant ¼” seam and why it can be handy
    • Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese 4 ways with tables for different sizes 

       

    This week we are going to piece the corners of our blocks and talk about using chain piecing to make very short work of sewing our blocks and how chain piecing can be used on a quilt, to quickly sew a quilt top together.  If you missed the earlier parts of our QAL, you will find the instructions at the links below or on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com. 

    Step 1: Introduction, Design and colouring on 01/06/20

    Step 2: Breaking down the block into basic quilt units on 15/06/20

    Step 3: Half Square Triangles (HST) 29/06/20

    Step 4: Flying Geese 13/06/20

    Step 5: Chain Piecing the Corners

    Block 1:

    Block 1 has 4 identical corners shown here as A.  As we discovered earlier, A can be treated as a 16 patch or 4x4 block with 4 rowns and 4 columns.  

    There are four corners per block and if you are making the quilt top four blocks so 16 corners in total.

    You can make each corner one at a time or you can use Chain Piecing to sew the corners together in one go. 

    To Chain Piece the A corners, begin by laying out your units into piles according to the following diagram:

    Sew the pieces in column 1 to column 2 by sewing the 4 pieces on the top pile and then the next 4 pieces under those until you have all of column 1 sewn to column 2. 

    Don’t snip the thread between the pieces of each corner but you can snip the thread between the corners themselves.  There is no need to press seams at this stage.

     Tip: The trick with chain piecing is to keep the pieces in the right orientation.  Some people like to add a piece a masking tape to the top unit with the column number to keep things in order.

     

    Repeat to add column 3 to the above column1+2.





    Finally do the same for the last column.  Again, snip the threads between each corner to make 16 identical corners with each row loosely connected with thread by rows. 

    Now is the time to press the seams.  This version of the block has so many seams coming together that pressing the seams open is a good idea.  If that isn’t your preference for piecing and you prefer to nest your seams (I hold my hand up as a nester!) then now is the time to press the 1st and 3rd row to one side and the 2nd and 4th to the opposite to allow the seams to nest when placed right sides together.

     

    Sew each row together as below to make your corners for Block 1. 




    Block 2:

    Block 2 has 3 identical corners shown here as A1 and 1 corner A2 that has an extra colour to make a star when all 4 blocks are sewn together. 

    Similar to block 1 above the A2 corners in block 2 can be treated as a 16 patch or 4x4 block with 4 rows and 4 columns.  

    If you are making the quilt top with 4 complete blocks, you will need 12 A1 corners and 4 A2 corners.

    As above, you can make each corner one at a time or you can use Chain Piecing to sew the corners together in one go. 

    To Chain Piece the four A2 corners begin by laying out your units into piles according to the following diagram:

    Following the instructions above sew the units in column 1 to column 2 and then add column 3 and finally column 4 to make 4 rows. 



    Finally sew the rows together to complete the A2 blocks.



    The A1 blocks are a little different as they have squares and rectangles.  To make the A1 blocks we are going to chain piece the 9 patch and add the top and sidepieces. 

    Layout your A1 blocks as per the diagram. 


    Sew the long and short rectangles to the HST as shown and set aside.

     

     



    To make the remaining section of the block as a 9 patch sew the squares and HST in column 1 to column 2 and then sew to column 3 using the chain piecing method described.






    Sew the rows together to complete the 9 patch. 





    Sew the short rectangular pieces to the left hand side of the 9 patch and finally the long rectangular piece to the top of the 9 patch to complete the block A1.

     

    That takes care of our corners! 

     




    Chain piecing a quilt

    The same principal applies to a quilt consisting of blocks or pieces that can be sewn into rows.

    Sew the pieces, column 1 to column 2 and then pieces in column 3 to the previous etc. to make rows of blocks.  Then sew each row together, to complete the quilt top. 



    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at assembling the middle sections and have fun with some patterns for leader and ender projects that we can make while Chain Piecing.

    Thanks for joining us,

    Stay safe and happy sewing!

    ©Ruth Bourke, Mid-Western Branch

  • 13 Jul 2020 7:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long

    This is part 4 in our Quilt -A-Long and this week we are looking at different ways to make Half Square Triangles (HST).  If you missed part 1 and 2 of our QAL you will find the instructions at the links below on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com. 

     

    Step 1: Introduction, Design and colouring on 01/06/20

    Step 2: Breaking down the block into basic quilt units on 15/06/20

    Step 3: Half Square Triangles (HST) 29/06/20

    Step 4: Flying Geese These are my favourite shapes to make.  I love flying geese for their versatility in how they look with different fabrics and how you can stretch them, have them flying in curves or just straight up and down. 

        

    Like HST, there are many ways to make them and in this week’s instruction, we are going to be looking at just a few of these, with some handy reference tables for you to keep, and refer to when designing your own quilts.

    1 at a time

    Flying Geese are traditionally twice as wide as they are tall e.g. 2” x 4” or 3” x 6” but they can be stretched to odd sizes and still be recognisable as a flying goose unit.    They are made up from two corner triangles known as the sky and a centre piece known as the goose. 

    They are normally made from a starting square and a rectangle but they can be made from templates. 

     

    Templates for the size 2” x 4” are in this PDF for you to download.  Templates can be handy when you are working from scraps and trying to make the most of odd pieced fabrics and don’t have enough fabric on hand to use the starting square methods below.

     1 at a time sew and flip method

    The sew and flip method uses a starting square and rectangle that is + 0.5” bigger than the finished size of your Flying Goose. This method is very handy if you want to use different fabrics for the sky and geese.

    Cut 1 rectangle for the Goose piece finished size + 0.5” seam allowance and 2 Sky units as squares finished height +0.5” e.g. to make a 4” x 2” finished flying goose unit you will need a rectangle 4.5” x 2.5” and 2 squares 2.5” x 2.5”. 

    Place a sky square right sides together on the corner of your goose rectangle and draw a line on the diagonal as shown. 

    Sew along this line

    Tip: some people find it easier to sew a scant ¼” or a fraction to the outside of the line.  The thickness of the thread and the fold line can take up a bit of room in the seam allowance and leave you a little short when the fabric is flipped open.  Sewing a few threads outside your marked line can give you a little wiggle room and any excess fabric can be trimmed back later

    Trim ¼” away from your sewn line shown here in orange.

    Tip: If you take the waste triangles you just trimmed, you can sew ¼” along the diagonal and create a HST and use it later.

    Flip open and press.

    Repeat for the other side and you have 1 Flying Geese unit.

    Trim to size if needed e.g. 2” x 4” unit trim to 2.5” x 4.5”

    Here’s a handy reference table for sizes 1”x2” up to 6” x 12” Flying Geese:

     

    4 at a time no waste method

    This method makes 4 identical Flying Geese at a time and is called the No Waste Method as you don’t have to cut off the corners as is needed in the 1 at a time method above.

    To start with, cut a square of Goose fabric, finished size + 1 ¼” e.g. for 2” x 4” Flying geese cut a square 5 ¼” x 5 ¼”.

    Cut two squares Finished Height +1”for the Sky pieces e.g. for a 2” x 4” Flying Goose cut four 3” x 3” squares.

    Place 2 Sky squares on opposing corners, right sides together.  The small squares overlap in the centre.   

    Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner.

    Sew a scant ¼” seam along either side of this marked line.

    Cut along the central marked line to create 2 identical pieces.

     

    Press seams open to the Sky side.

    Place remaining Sky squares on the opposite corners as shown.  It will overlap the first Sky triangles.

    Mark a line along the diagonal of your Sky squares and sew a scant ¼” seam on either side of the marked line.

     Cut along the marked line into 2 pieces and press open.

    Repeat with the remaining piece to make 4 identical flying geese.

    Trim to required size making sure the point is in the centre and you have a ¼ seam allowance above the point of the Goose where the sky units meet.

    To make other sizes here is a reference chart for the size of starting squares needed for the Sky and the Goose Fabric:


    Foundation paper piecing

    Foundation paper piecing is a very handy method for making lots of Flying Geese stacked one on top of each other in rows.  It’s also the easiest method to use when Flying Geese don’t follow the 2:1 ratio described above. 

    There are a few different ways of approaching Foundation Paper Piecing. 

    • You can print the template for 2” x 4” Flying Geese on to special paper that tear easily like Carol Doaks Foundation paper. 
    • You can trace the template onto Magic paper or a leave in interfacing
    • You can print on standard copy paper and perforate the lines in the template with an unthreaded sewing machine by sewing along all the lines in the template.

     Reduce your stitch length to something like 1.5 to make tiny stitches for a strong seam that won’t rip when pulling out the paper afterwards. 

    TIP:  Fold over the paper along every line before starting i.e. fold over on the line between A1 and A2, A1 and A3, A1-A2-A3 and A4, A5 and A4, and lastly A4 and A6

    The first sewing line is between A1 and A2 so to begin, place a piece of fabric big enough to cover A1 plus ¼” seam all around on the back of the template with the right side facing down and wrong side to the back of the template.  Place a piece of fabric for A2 right sides together on top of A1. 

    Tip:  Don’t cut your fabric too small, with Foundation Paper piecing you always need pieces bigger than you think especially when flipping open on a diagonal line.  Pin A1 or glue basting in place helps with holding all the pieces together.

    Making sure there is an overlap on the line between A1 and A2 sew directly on the line through the paper and the two pieces of fabric to create your seam.  Flip open and check that the fabric completely covers A2 plus ¼” at least all the way around.

    Turn the piece right side up, with the fabric right sides together, fold back the paper along the A1-A2 line and trim the excess fabric in the seam using a ¼” seam allowance.  Press the seam with a dry iron, flip open and press open.  Repeat for A1-A3 and follow the numbering sequence until you have all the pieces covered.

    Tip: If you are making flying geese with different colour fabrics, it can help to mark the colours needed on the printed side of the template

    Quilt-A-Long

    For the purposes of our QAL, the first 3 methods described here will work best for the Blocks we are making.  Foundation Paper piecing is included to cover the normal methods of making flying geese and to show how versatile these units can be. 

    Block 1:


    Block 2:  


    Depending on the fabric you have on hand, using scraps or yardage, select the method that suits your fabric best.  So go ahead and make the required number of Flying Geese units for your chosen block.

    If you are wondering how many squares you will get from a fat quarter or yardage here is a link to our handy cheat sheet, more of which can be found on our website under Resources, available to members after logging into our site. 

    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at assembling our blocks starting with the corners.

    Thanks for joining us,

    Stay safe and happy sewing!

    ©Ruth Bourke

    Mid-Western Branch

  • 28 Jun 2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long

    This is part 3 in our Quilt -A-Long and this week we are l

    ooking at different ways to make Half Square Triangles (HST).  If you missed part 1 and 2 of our QAL you will find the instructions at the links below on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com

     

    Step 1: Introduction, Design and colouring on 01/06/20

    Step 2: Breaking down the block into basic quilt units on 15/06/20

    Step 3: Half Square Triangles : Half Square Triangles or HST are like Marmite or Oxtail soup – you either love them or put up with them as something that exists in the world and necessary to make from time to time.  There are many ways to make them and in this week’s instruction we are going to be looking at just a few of these, with some handy reference tables for you to keep, and refer to when designing your own quilts.

    • 1 at a time

    The HST is made from 2 right angled triangles.They are normally made from a starting square and cutting it in half but they can be made from templates if you don’t have enough fabric for a square.  

    Templates for sizes 1” to 6” are in this PDF for you to download.  These can be handy when you are working from scraps and trying to make the most of odd pieced fabrics and don’t have enough fabric on hand to use the starting square methods below. 

    Using a starting square is the more usual way to make HST and you need a square big enough to take into account the seam allowance on the long angled side when sewing two triangles, right sides together.

    The starting square is at least Finished Size + 7/8”.  I prefer to use Finished Size +1” as it is quicker to cut and gives you a little wiggle room on sewing a ¼” seam.  It does mean that you have to trim the HST to the finished size after sewing though, so an extra step is needed, but it is very satisfying,  when you see all the little slivers of fabric together in a pile and you have perfect HST at the end.  e.g. 2” Finished Size +1” = cut 3” starting square.  Trim to 2 ½” after sewing together.

    This method is handy when you want all sorts of different fabrics to mix and match and you can pull what you need to make all different HST units.

    The drawback with this method is you have bias edges that if handled too much can pull out of shape. 

    Tip:  When using this method, it can help to use spray starch or a starch alternative such as Best Press.  This will give some stiffness to the fabric and help with controlling biased edges.
     

    Trim using the 45-degree line on your ruler or cutting mat by aligning the HST diagonal line with the 45-degree line on your ruler and cutting down to the desired size.

    2 at a time : Drawn Line Method

    The drawn line method is similar to the method above in that you use a starting square that is the finished size of your HST unit at least +7/8” or 1” that I prefer to use e.g. 3” Finished HST would need a starting square of 4”.

    For quick reference see this table:

    Instead of cutting on the diagonal first to create two triangles, instead we place two different fabric squares right sides together.

    Mark a line on the diagonal on the back of one of the squares and sew ¼”on either side of that line.

     

    Press seams, cut along the diagonal on the marked line and flip open.

    Press and trim to size for two identical HST.

    8 at a time Drawn Line Method

    If you have a lot of the same HST to make, then the 8 at time version of the drawn line method is for you.  To make 8 at a time you need a bigger starting square.  This time we take the finished size +1” and multiply by 2 e.g. 2” finished +1” =3” x 2 = 6” so we would cut a starting square of 6” to make 8 identical 2” HST.

    The trick is in the marking and cutting.


    As before, take two different fabric squares and place them right sides together.  On the back of the square facing you mark a line along both diagonals.  Sew a ¼” seam on either side of both marked lines.


    We are going to make 4 cuts without lifting the fabric.  Divide the block into quarters by cutting in half twice as per orange lines on the diagram.

    Then cut along the diagonals on the marked line to create 8 identical HST.

    Press and flip open.  Trim to size.

    If you prefer a table here’s the starting square for 8 at a time:

    4 at a time Quick Sew Method

    I first saw this method on the Missouri Star Quilt Company when Jenny Doan was making HST from layer cakes.  This method is a bit controversial as unlike the drawn line method above where you are capturing the bias edges in a seam, this method is like the 1 at a time where you are cutting on the diagonal and exposing the bias edges.  So be very careful handling your pieces and try using some starch to keep them in shape.  This method is not recommended for hand sewing as too much handling will lead to distorted edges.

    Take two different fabric squares and place them right sides together.  Sew a ¼” seam inside all four edges.  Cut along both diagonals to make 4 identical HST.  Flip open, press and trim to size.  

    But what size to use as a starting square I hear you ask?  This is the tricky bit.  The math’s on this one is a little difficult.  When I first saw that you add 7/8” for HST instead of ½” my engineering brain had to figure it out and a bit of trigonometry later I felt like I had it and got HST.  Then I saw this quick method and so I looked up the math and after going ouch, that hurts my brain, I got to grips with a formula square root( (Unfinished size squared) x 2)) +0.5 gets close to the finished size.  I know it’s mental, so here’s a table instead:

    So what does all of this have to do with our QAL?  Well from step 2 we know how many of each HST we need for our block.


    Block 1:

    Block 2:

    Depending on the fabric you have on hand, using scraps or yardage, select the method that suits your fabric best.  So go ahead and make the required number of HST units for your chosen block.

    Chain Piecing

    Chain Piecing is when you have all your pieces assembled and you feed them through the sewing machine one after the other without lifting your presser foot or breaking thread between them.

    It’s like sewing your pieces together in a little assembly line and it saves on thread.  It can also take away the tedium of sewing a lot of the same pieces one by one.  The key is to have all your pieces prepared and stacked up ready for sewing. 

    Tip:  Some people like to use a scrap piece of fabric to start the chain off called a leader.


    The leader piece can be a scrap piece of fabric or some small squares or triangles that you can use to make another project.

    You can also use an ender piece, which can be handy for HST so when you turn the chain around to sew the other side you have a scrap piece ready to get you started. 

    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at Flying Geese and again 4 different ways of making them including the No Waste 4 at a time method, sew and flip method, foundation paper piecing and 1 at a time from templates.

    Thanks for joining us,

    Stay safe and happy sewing!

    ©Ruth Bourke

    Mid-Western Branch

  • 15 Jun 2020 6:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to our Summer Quilt-A-Long.

        

    This week we are looking at our block and breaking it down to determine what pieces to cut.  We have 2 blocks for you to choose from and if you missed part 1 of our QAL you will find the instructions for part 1 here or on our branch page at www.irishpatchwork.com along with a colouring diagram, suggestions on colours and what the block looks like when tiled 2 blocks x 2 blocks (4 blocks in total).

    If you are making block 1 read on if not skip ahead to block 2 on page 4.

    So let’s look at Block 1:


    The block looks complicated but when you break it down you will see that is made up of some basic quilting elements such as squares, half-square triangles (HST) and Flying Geese.

    It is designed around a central star, with a number of surrounding frames and is laid out on a grid of 12 rows x 12 columns. 

    The block can easily be made in any multiple of 12 and for the purposes of the QAL, we are making a 24” block so each of the squares on the grid is 2”. 

    Tip: The big square in the middle could be made from 4 smaller squares or a larger square if you have a nice patterned piece of fabric that you would like to showcase.

    To construct the block you could go row by row but an easier way to make this is to look at the block as a giant 9 patch and break it down into identical sub blocks. 


    You can see from the dividing lines above that the block is made up of 4 identical corners, 4 identical middle pieces and a centre section.


    So if we make sub units we are only dealing with a 4 x4 grid or 16 patch at any one time and can assemble them together later to make the complete block. 

    This will help us figure out how many pieces of each shape we need in the colours we want to use for the quilt.  Take out your colouring sheet from step 1 and follow along with me as I break the block down into basic quilting units.

    Taking sub block A first, we have the following:


    *Don’t worry if that seems like a heck of a lot of HST.  With chain piecing and making them 2,4,8 at a time it won’t be so onerous.

    Sub block B


    Sub block C


    We will cover how to make HST in part 3 and Flying Geese in part 4.  For now go ahead and cut out your square pieces.  The seam allowance for squares is + ½” to the finished size.  In our case, each grid square is 2” so 2 ½” x 2 ½” for each square is needed in our block. 

    The centre square is a 2 grid x 2 grid = 4 + ½” seam allowance and can be made with a 4 ½” square if preferred.

    If you are making block 1 go ahead analyse your version of the block from your colouring sheet for each of the corners, middles and centre block and cut out your squares.

    If you are not making block 1 but prefer block 2 read on!

    Block 2:

    Block 2 has a similar design with a centre star and 4 identical middles but this time to get that repeating pattern when 4 blocks are sewn together there is a modification to one of the corners.  So, we have 3 A1 corners, 4 B1 middles, a C centre star and a final A2 corner.


    Let’s have a closer look at each of the sub blocks. As with block 1, if we make sub blocks, we are only dealing with a 4 x4 grid or 16 patch at any one time and can assemble them together later to make the complete block.

    The centre star block C is the same construction as the star block in block 1 above but the corners A1 and A2 and middles B1 are modified to have more background fabric and use only 4 colours instead of 5. 

     Take out your colouring sheet from step 1 and follow along with me as I break the block down into its basic quilting units.

    Taking sub block A1 first, we have the following:

    Sub block A1


    Sub block B1


    Sub Block C


    Sub Block A2


    We will cover how to make HST in part 3 and Flying Geese in part 4.  For now go ahead and cut out your square and rectangular pieces.  The seam allowance for squares and rectangles is + ½” to the finished size. 

    In our case, each grid square is 2” so for each square 2 ½” x 2 ½” is needed.  The star centre square and large Square in the midde B1 blocks is a 2 grid x 2 grid = 4 + ½” seam allowance and can be made with a 4 ½” square if preferred.

    The rectangles in sub block A1 are 2” x 6” and 2” x 4” finished so cut 2 ½” x 6 ½” for the longer rectangle and 2 ½” x 4 ½” for the shorter rectangle.

    If you are making block 2,  go ahead and analyse your version of the block from your colouring sheet for each of the corners, middles and centre block and cut out your squares and rectangles. 

     Lastly…

    I hope you have enjoyed breaking down the blocks with me and can see that a block that seems complicated at first is usually not. 

    I also hope you are enjoying seeing how to use you own coloured blocks to figure out how many of each shape and colour you need to make your own quilt block or if you are following along using our block colouring in your own fabrics,  that’s fun too.

    Please join us in two weeks time, when we look at chain piecing and 4 different ways of making Half Square Triangles 1, 2, 4 and 8 at a time, which will be very handy if pulling fabric from scraps or cutting from yardage. 

    ©Ruth Bourke

    Mid-Western Branch

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