Thursday 21 March 2013

Craftsy Block of the Month part 3

This the third post in a series about Craftsy's free online block of the month class from last year 2012 with Amy Gibson.  I cannot say enough good things about this free class and Amy is a brilliant instructor.  It's still available and for a look at the blocks I've made through the year see my two earlier posts and the last 3 months blocks below.

August:  Stars.  I had made the Ohio star before on the Whipstitch e-course with Karavan fabrics by Valori Wells and loved it.  It would look great Giant sized and would showcase nicely a novelty print  for the centre square.  It's essentially a 9 patch with quarter square triangles. 


The second block the Double Star looks more complicated and includes flying geese but Amy's instruction is great and takes any difficulty out of making this block and playing with fabric on this one was fun.  I just love the lavender and pink. 

September:  Curved Piecing.  I was dreading these.  I hadn't done curved piecing before even though there was a Drunkards path block on the Whipstitch course I had completed earlier.  I just skipped that block as I had enough blocks made for my quilt in the other easier blocks.  The curved piecing wasn't too easy but I certainly got better at it by the time I had the first block finished.  Amy provides templates that can be used to cut out the curves and provides a link to a bought template as well that should make life easier in the cutting.  I found the cutting ok.  Just had to concentrate a bit for the piecing.  The effect is really lovely and I'm not afraid of curved seams anymore.  They wouldn't be the first blocks I'd reach for though and I certainly need more practice at them!

I ran into a little bit of trouble on the chain block pattern.  All the squares and subsequent seam allowances left me with one side 1/4" too short.  The other side was perfect so I have no idea what went wrong.  I'm putting this on the back anyway as my hexie challenge block with the bees will be used on the front.  Cleopatra's puzzle block came out fine so big mystery!

October:  Paper piecing.  Agggh - this one nearly drove me batty.  I like the results, crisp clear lines, perfect points and complicated shapes are made relatively easy but this uses a lot of material and my machine Husqvarna Viking 600e does not like to sew with no thread in the needle which you need to do as the first step in paper piecing blocks.  Amy provides the templates which you print and sew along the lines with an empty needle to make little holes in the paper.  My machine would sew for a few seconds and then beep and stop to tell me there was no thread in the needle.  I couldn't find a way to turn this off so I persisted getting more and more annoyed by the time the 4th square was done.

Once pierced you pick your material and put it under the correct shape which is numbered making sure there is enough fabric to cover the entire shape + seam allowance.  This uses quite a bit of material and instead of using scrap pieces I had to mostly cut from my Fat Quarters.  You always work from shape number 1 upwards and re-sew along the pierced lines with thread this time along the full length of the line.  Then trim off the excess  at the seam which always seemed to be quite a bit.   When the material is all sewn to the paper block you tear the paper away without ripping stitches.  The initial piercing weakens the paper sufficiently to allow it to be pulled away easily leaving the fabric block intact.  Then its just a case of sewing these mini blocks together to make the complete finished block. 

The two blocks look great.  The Friendship circle being the easier of the two.  I did make a little mistake on the Flying Geese block.  I printed all the squares for left hand turning and right hand turning  and then accidently picked the wrong direction for my last block and I've got a pleat in the middle where the seams gather.  I'll get there eventually!

The November lesson covered sashing, basting and binding which I have yet to do.  I know its March and I'm 5 months behind.  I got distracted with Bounce and Boo to you Halloween quilt and Christmas lone stars.  So these blocks are coming back out of the plastic tub and I aim to finish by Easter.  Watch this space!

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