Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blocks From The Past - Part 2

Today, I'm continuing to share my techniques for the Blocks From The Past Quilt Along. All of the details for the quilt along can be found here.

Clay's Choice (page 17) has 8 half square triangles, so I thought I would share a quick half square triangle tutorial. I started with 5 1/2" squares because I'm using charm packs. If you are cutting from yardage, you can cut your squares 4 1/2". You will need 2 from your background fabric and two from your choice of fabric.

Lay one background fabric and one regular fabric right sides together. Using a 1/4' seam allowance, sew completely around all four edges. Press.
Cut diagonally from corner to corner, rotate and cut again from corner to corner. This will give you four triangle sections. A rotating cutting mat makes this super easy.
Press each section open and you will have four half square triangle blocks. Do this again with the other two 4 1/2" blocks. Trim them to the size that you need. For this pattern, it is 2".
Sew the blocks together to make four rectangle units. 
For the next step, rather than cutting eight 2" squares and sewing them back together again, I cut four 2 x 3 1/2" rectangles from the background fabric. Sew one rectangle to each of the rectangle units that you just made.
Sew them all together and you have your block!
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

The last block that I had was Jack in the Pulpit on page 18. I used the same method for the four half square triangle units in the corners. Other than that, I followed the instructions in the book. My only tip is to use Maggie's Classy Hooch Press or your favorite spray starch to press your fabric before you cut your triangles out. It will help to keep the bias side from stretching.
When you complete your blocks, leave a link to your blog post in the comments below, I would love to see them! You can also post them on Instagram with #BFTPqal and add a @aprilmaedesigns so I see it :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blocks From The Past Quilt Along

This week it is my turn to share my techniques for the Blocks From The Past Quilt Along. All of the details for the quilt along can be found here.

I'll be sharing my tips on the blocks from pages 17,18 and 65. I'm going to split my tips into two posts.

The first block that I worked on was an applique block called Plume on page 65. I decided to work with Jelly Bean Batiks from Moda with a few other bright batiks from my stash mixed in.

Applique has been something that has titillated me for a few years now, but I've never really had a chance to get serious about it. Since my pattern was all one piece with narrow curves, it made the most sense to try using the back basting needle turn applique method. Marion and I learned about it at our local quilt show and she has had great success with it.

After tracing the pattern on the back ground, I pinned, hand basted and cut out the extra fabric leaving a seam allowance.
The idea is to remove the basting a few inches then turn the fabric under and hand stitch it down. After struggling with it for about an hour, I ended up with something that looked like a two year old made. I ditched it and started over with the freezer paper method.

For this method, trace the pattern onto freezer paper, cut it out on the drawn line, then iron it to the wrong side of the applique fabric. Cut the fabric out leaving about an 1/8th inch seam allowance.

Now you'll need some spray starch, a paint brush and your iron. Spray some starch into the plastic lid. This will be your paint. Working with a small section at a time, paint the fabric with the starch, then turn it up onto the freezer paper and iron in place. You will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Try not to get the paper too wet, or it will curl up and leave you with sloppy curves. On the sharp inside curves, you may need to clip a little of the fabric to get it to lay flat.

Once your applique piece is prepped, pin it to your background fabric with the freezer paper side touching the right side of your background fabric. Hand stitch in place leaving the freezer paper in. Once you are done, flip it over and carefully cut away the extra background fabric under the applique and remove the freezer paper from the back.

I didn't want to fuss with the circle in the center, so I just left it off.  I love the way it turned out! This just goes to show that the same method doesn't work for everyone. Before giving up on hand applique, try a few methods until you find the one that works the best for you. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll see you tomorrow with tips for the other two blocks :)