Yesterday was a mostly not-sewing day. I played “Neighborhood Grandma” to a 6-month old. Both parents work and Day Care was closed so I had a “Play-Date.”
I mentioned in my last post that I am working on a top for Fabric Café. Donna is teaching a class and needs this one in a hurry. The nice part of her 3-yard Bundles & patterns is that they do work up quickly.
The top is finished and it will head to Tyler, Texas, this morning.
First things first. I’ve been doing a lot of sewing, so before starting a new project I give my sewing machine a ‘Spa Day.’
- Clean the lint from under the needle plate and around the bobbin track. Actually, I clean this at the beginning of my sewing almost every day. You’d be surprised how much lint accumulates.
- TIP: You can buy disposable mascara wands (curved or straight) at a beauty supply store. They cost about $2-3 for a dozen and are handy to have around your machine for quick link pick-up. I keep one with my traveling sewing kit and use them to clean classroom sewing machines before using them.
- Put in a new needle.
- TIP: I put the old needle in my small ‘tomato’ pin cushion that I have marked the wedges with the needle sizes. I may use old needles for stitching on paper or practice free-motion quilting.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oiling your machine.
- TIP: Best Buy Ever! At a quilt show I found this handy needle-point oil dispenser and now I never make a mess or over oil my machine! It was about $5!
- Just generally wipe down my machine with a damp (not wet) paper towel. I might add a drop or two of vinegar for cleaning.
Now we’re ready to sew! Here’s some pictures of the top coming together.
Before cutting my fabric I make “Cutting Cheat Sheets” for each one. I list the number/sizes of my cuts and then include any instructions for sub-cutting. I print these instructions and keep with my fabric, making checkmarks as I go to make sure I do all the steps.
This pattern uses Half-Square Triangle blocks. I mark my stitching guideline diagonally from corner-to-corner using a Pilot FriXion gel ink friction/heat erasable pen. I bought a multi-pack with several colors from Staples. Many quilt shops are now carrying them.
- TIP & Caution: The ink in this pen is ‘erasable’ using the heat of an iron. So, obviously, do not iron your piece until you are finished using the line.
- I recommend using the lightest color possible to mark on your fabric – don’t use black ink to mark on white or very light fabric.
- Also, I have only used these to mark stitching guidelines that DO NOT show on the right-side of the fabric. I have not used them to mark quilting lines. I have heard there may be some issue with markings re-appearing if the fabric is exposed to extreme cold. I guess I will have to mark some scrap fabric and “store” in the refrigerator and/or freezer to check it out.
After marking my squares, I chain piece my scant 1/4” seam on both sides of the marked line. My machine allows me to move the needle to the right or left. To stitch my scant 1/4” seam, I just move my needle one click to the right and run my fabric under the pressure foot as if I were stitching a regular seam. This keeps my stitching consistent.
Press with a hot iron to set the seams and see the ink/marked line disappear!
All of the blocks stitched twice down the right/left of the diagonal line. I love chain-piecing!
Next step, cut on the diagonal between the stitched lines.
Now see all the HST’s, ready to trim.
Personal Note: Try as I might, as careful as I can be, I am unable to stitch HST and not have to do some trimming/squaring of the block. I suppose some people are able to do this. And I cannot say it’s not because I haven’t tried. Really I have! I have come to accept the fact that I will need to trim/square my finished block. So I prefer to cut the squares a bit larger and trim/square the HST and have the resulting block the accurate size rather than have wonky blocks!
I have found a trick that cuts down on the necessary trimming. In the past, I pressed the blocks open and trimmed all 4 sides to make the correct block size. This block is to be 6-1/2” square and I happened to have a 6-1/2” square ruler. This tutorial explained to line the diagonal line of the ruler along the stitches while the HST is still folded. Using this method, you only have to trim 2 sides and not have to flip the block and trim 4 edges.
This cuts your trimming in half and results in a nice, square, accurate-sized block. Ta Da!!
TIP & Tutorial: Click Here to see this method demonstrated in detail. You can even do this if you do not have the exact size ruler. Use a larger square ruler, and mark your own diagonal guideline using a Dry Erase Marker!
Oh! Trimming the blocks this way was so much faster!!
The HST Blocks are pieced into rows. It takes 2 rows to design the Pinwheel motif. All that is left is to stitch the rows together and add the borders.
Here’s the completed Top which is 46” x 58” – a nice size throw or youth quilt. If you want a larger quilt, just buy multiple bundles of the same fabric. Lap or Youth – 1 bundle, Twin – 2 bundles, Full/Double – 3 bundles or Queen/King – 4 bundles.
If you want an extra long drop, you may want to add an additional bundle depending on the size of the pattern you’ve chosen to make.
This top is made from the Pin Wheel Quilt Pattern and 3-yard bundle from Fabric Café. If you are attending the quilt show in Paducah, KY, this week, check out their bundles in Booth #1722 and tell Donna this top is in the mail!!
Join me next week and follow the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 9 Blog Tour. I get to finally show off the 15 blocks I tested from October to February. I can honestly say I loved the blocks I made and cannot wait to see all of the others.