Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lots of cutting, lots of sewing

I fully intended to take photos of my quilt class project at every major step, but with the pace that we work at in class, I kept forgetting to get out my camera. And then it seemed like anytime I was at a 'photo spot' during the week there wasn't any decent light. So, I'm going to cheat a little and just skip past the fact that I don't really have any photos of my pieced blocks coming together. I did manage to take a photo of this interesting step in the quilt process (at least this particular quilt process), since being a novice quilter myself, I had never even dreamed you could construct blocks this way.

Class Quilt - strips cutting

Basically, for each of the pieced blocks, you put together one side made of three smaller pieces and one side of 2 larger pieces. I had assumed before I started the class, that all five pieces would be cut out and sewn together for each of the blocks. Wrong! You create each side of the block by cutting long strips of fabric, sewing them lengthwise and then cross cutting them into the final 1/2 block size to get this:

Class Quilt - pieced blocks

It seems this method would lend itself best to projects where you are buying the fabric specifically for it or if you have an amazing fabric stash because you really need the lengths (we cut the first strips from bias to bias) to be most efficient. Fat quarters would require some adjustments since you don't have the length to do all your pieces in one strip.

Now the other cool thing we learned how to do was match our corners. I was thoroughly intimidated by this when our teacher showed us her sample quilt and it was perfect! Each little corner made a perfect intersection with its three mates. I had resigned myself to the fact that this would not be the case on my quilt...and to be honest it isn't for 1/2 of mine. But! I pulled out a fat quarter pack of fabric I had and set about to practice! And look!:

Matching corners - front

It's all about alternating the seams on the back! Who ever would have guessed!?! Basically the technique is that when you plan out your quilt, one of the things that gets planned is which direction each row's seams are going to be pressed. So for the quilt top above that is made of 6 rows of 5 squares, I alternated the direction of the seams from one row to the next. This makes for a nice little interlocking seam at your corner that you can match up, bump end to bump end, pin together and sew a perfect corner. This is what it looks like from the back:

Matching corners - back

You can see how the seams when alternated make a pretty little spiral, letting everything lay flat and line up evenly! But you know what else I think is pretty? The scraps. I love the little pile of coordinating scraps you get when you are cutting everything up. They are almost too pretty to throw away!

Fun with a rotary cutter

So I took a picture...It will last longer.


Jennifer said...

That is really cool! It sounds like you are learning a lot.

mehitabel said...

It's such fun to learn all the tricks of the trade! Here's a little idea for your snips and scraps: you can put them in a glass jar and enjoy them that way! There are also some techniques for making "art" pieces out of them that are fun and easy. This is why quilters never throw anything away, and we wind up with bags and boxes of "scraps too small to use!"

mames said...

i love the quilt pictures, shannon. i have that heather ross fabric...cannot wait to see the finished product for inspiration (ahem, copying, i mean). tim loved the cupcake, he was impressed i made it home with them intact...i did consider eating them both but i thought he deserved one for watching the boys.

Cora said...

Quilting shortcuts rock!!!

Becki said...

I love the animal fabrics you chose!

Rachel said...

It sounds so complicated to plan out ahead of time which way you will press your seams -- I mean, there's so much else to be thinking about even without that! -- but I'm guessing that, like just about every other craft project, it makes more sense when you're actually doing it.

I love your fabrics, both in quilt form and in scrap form!