Saturday, 20 February 2016

Not enough fabric!

I know what you're thinking after reading that title. But it's not what you think!

My Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses BOM sent out the second month's box of fabric. Before, we'd worked with a quarter inch seam allowance, but I think a few people still struggled with that, so Jessie at Sew and Quilt, increased the seam allowance to half an inch. 



I started sub cutting the fabric for the honeycombs and the squares (remembering to fussy cut this time!) and there was one strip of the main connecting Liberty fabric that said I had to sub cut 32 two inch squares. So I did.

And only squeezed 30 squares out of it.

Eek! I panicked. I checked and double checked. I recounted the squares. There was nothing for it, but to email Jessie and ask her to send me another tiny strip. Then I went onto the FB page to suggest other people check to make sure they had enough.

Thankfully, Jessie was on hand and realised there had been a TYPO in the instructions. We were only meant to sub cut 28 squares!

Hurrah! Panic over!

I immediately updated my thread posting on the Fb group, so that others would know and not be startled. And it's such a great little group. Very supportive. Busy. I really think that little group will carry us all through the year, so that none of us fall by the wayside.




Once we've finished making up the blocks for this month, we can piece together the first row of blocks, so that will be exciting. I will post pics of it when it is done.

In the meantime, I've pieced all four cornerstones of my Trail Mix and I've been looking on eBay for bags of scraps to help boost my tumbler mix. There are some good offers about, so take a look, if you haven't already.



So, that's it for today. I'm back to hand sewing for a while and editing my new book, which is the sixth I've written for Mills and Boon. Book 4, One Life-Changing Night will be released on March 1st, so do please take a look and if you'd like, pre-order!

Happy quilting!

Louisa xxx

Friday, 12 February 2016

Making blocks!

Today, I started putting together the first block for Trail Mix. I had to cut out squares and triangles of my backing fabric and then start assembling the stars, using Y-seams.



Two diamonds were sewn together along one seam, using a quarter inch seam allowance, not going all the way to the end, to allow for the Y-seam. Once I'd sewn them in pairs, I'd sew two pairs together to make half a star and those two halves together to make a full star as shown.



Then I started insetting the triangle backing fabric, marking where i needed to stop with a pin and flipping the star from one side to the other, to create the seam. I did this for all of my triangles first, then I finished the block by doing the same seaming with the squares, until the block was complete and squared off to measure 14 and a half inches.



I'm really pleased with how well the first one has come out. These are the cornerstones and I need to do four. It feels really good to finally be piecing these!

What are you working on right now?

Happy quilting!

Louisa xxx

Monday, 8 February 2016

Trail Mix Update!

Today, I finished the pile of four patches and nine patches needed for Trail Mix. 252 four patches and 9 nine patches.

Hurrah!

Then I looked to see what I need to do next. Another big batch of half square triangles and quarter square triangles!



I will be very busy once again!





I'm using the Nurture jelly roll as my fabric mix, by Howard Marcus for Moda. Along with a few batiks, a few random bits that match from my stash and Gutermann threads for sewing. (A 50wt) I find this works quite well for piecing. It's strong, but fine enough, not to bulk up the seams.

I'm really hoping that after all of this piecing, I will be able to start putting the quilt together. My husband told me, "it seems rather a lot for a quilt"

Well, yes. But they're worth it. Don't you think?

Happy quilting!
Louisa xxx

Friday, 5 February 2016

Achieving Perfect Flying Geese Units

Craftsy usually do a free Block of the Month class and this year is no exception. The 2016 class is '2016 Block of The Month with Lynette Jensen'

For the February class, I learnt something that has been bothering me for ages and that is how to achieve a perfect Flying Geese (FG) unit.



Before, my FG units had always been, shall we say, hit and miss. Some would come out wonderfully, but the majority would usually be too small, or the points would get cut off or the fabric wouldn't fold right, there wouldn't be enough to cover the corners, etc. 

It was maddening! I really didn't know what I was doing wrong! I would be so careful with my measuring and cutting, but I would sew those units and end up unpicking them, time and time again, or even just giving up and staying away from quilt patterns that had FG. Which was difficult! Because a lot of the patterns I did like, had them!

And watching Lynette's class showed me where I had been going wrong and I therefore had my lightbulb moment! I had to get to my machine and test it out and bingo, perfect FG!

My problem? Eyeballing the seam.



I honestly thought I could sew a straight line of stitching when you have to sew that wing on and sew diagonally across the fabric. It wasn't far. Just across a square. A straight line. How hard could that be?

Doh!

Lynette advises drawing that diagonal line across the backs of your squares. Do it with a pencil. 



Nothing that will show through. Nothing with a thick nib, like a Sharpie. And then -and this is the magic bit- sew just a thread outside of that line, on the side that the corner is that will be trimmed down. And press, before you add the next 'wing'.

Hallelujah! (*cue angelic chorus*)

Perfect Flying Geese every time!

There's even plenty of seam allowance so that you don't cut off the corners with a quarter inch seam.



You have no idea how much this means to me! A whole new world of quilts has opened up, all because I thought I could sew a straight line, but I can't. I need to draw my line. I need to sew a thread's width outside of it. I need to press and then and only then, will I achieve what I have been trying to achieve for years!

So Thank You Lynette Jensen and Thank you Craftsy.

You have my undying gratitude forever more.

Louisa xxx