Friday, January 23, 2015

Charm Square Quilt Along Part 3

Hello everyone!  It's time for the second block in our Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along.  Today we will work through the Diamond 4-Patch Block.

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

To get fabric requirements and ideas, click HERE.

Just so you know where we're headed, I've organized this QAL according to which block I think is easiest and progresses to the most difficult (the spinning centers).For today's entry, we are working on #2, the Diamond 4-Patch block.

This tutorial assumes that your half-square triangles (HSTs) are already sewn.  To sew them as you go, view the tutorial HERE.
  • First, select 16 half-square triangles and lay them out according to the block diagram.  We are looking at #2 in the picture above.  There are two ways to construct this block.  The traditional method creates 4 diamond-square blocks (shown in the second photo below), then joins them to form the bigger block.  I think it is easier to use the column method introduced to you in the previous Sawtooth Block tutorial.  The reason is that when you turn a full right-side column onto a full left-side column, the sewing pairs taking to the machine are in correct alignment.  You don't accidentally rotate an HST and end up unpicking.  It also ensures proper pressing to create sharp points.  For this tutorial, I used my column method, however, both methods work equally well.

Lay out all 16 squares.

This is the traditional method of sewing this block.  Creating 4 diamond-square units and then joining them together along the light-blue drawn in seam-lines.  This works fine if you want to do it this way; however, I am using the column method shown in the previous Sawtooth block tutorial.

Using the column method, the seam-lines are the light blue lines.
  •  Second, use the column method to construct the block.  Starting in the upper left-hand side of the square, flip the HSTs in column 2 on top of the HSTs in column 1.  Now your right-hand side of the HST pairs is in the correct orientation to take to your sewing machine.  Important!  Please do not clip your threads.  These align later steps when you sew it in rows. Repeat with the remaining columns.
In this picture, the seams between columns 1 and 2 are sewn on the left hand side and the seams between columns 3 and 4 are sewn.  All that remains is to sew the column seam between columns 2 and 3.  Do not clip threads in the columns, this maintains block alignment.

    All of the columns are now sewn.
    • Third, press seams of the rows in opposite directions.  This will allow seams of the rows to nest and create sharp points.
    You can see how the columns of this block are pressed opposite of one another so the next rows can nest.  Yes, the threads are still not clipped.
    •  This is our first block where we can choose to match seams to create sharp points.  We know where our columns need to align because we have not clipped our threads.  The trick is knowing where we need to pin and sew with the machine needle exactly to create a sharp and non-blunted point.  I call this trick "X marks the spot!"
    Close-up of how our points are going to match.

    "X marks the spot!"  If you look at the seams highlighted by #1 yellow and #2 blue, you see that the seams form an "X".  Pin through the crossing lines of this X, matching the X on both sides of the seam.  Then sew through this "X".  You will get a perfect point.
    Pin matching the seam through the top of the "X".
    The pin coming out through the bottom of the seam, also in the "X".
    •  Pin-match all HST intersections in this method and you will get a perfect point.
    Close-up of a pin-matched seam.  As you can see the "X marks the spot" trick works!
    • Fourth, sew all rows using the "X marks the spot" trick and press flat.  You now have a  completed Diamond 4-Patch block.  Enjoy!

    Share your work!  I have thoroughly enjoyed those of you taking the time to sew these block and linking up.  There are so many color combinations being used, it is inspiring.  For your convenience I have a flickr pool and a link party at the bottom of this tutorial.


    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Beginning to Catch Up

    Sometimes we just get behind.  I am finally getting some of my own quilt projects completed.

    How many of you remember the Punky-Wunkin Quilt Along from last September?  I finally got around to quilting my full-sized quilt top.  I purchased a pantograph from UrbanElementz to do it.  Usually, I'm not much of a pantograph fan, but I like the cute-factor it adds when I don't want to take forever to get a project done.  I came up with a new rule for me--when doing pantograph work.  Just quilt it!  Then....wait 48 hours before you look at your stitching.  That way you forget where all those little bobbles are and it looks great.

    My Punky-Wunking full size top is finally quilted.

    48-hour rule:  I'm not allowed to look at my pantograph quilting for 48 hours after it is sewn--that way I forget where any little bobbles may have gone.
    I also challenged myself to push my quilting to a new level on my latest design.  Nope, I can't show it all to you yet, but I do have permission from the publisher of Make Modern Magazine to show you snippets of the quilting.  This project will be featured in their next issue--Issue 4 of their magazine.  I am so excited!

    I pushed my skills to a new level on this project by pre-marking a lot of ruler work--including curved cross-hatching, curved borders, straight-line ruler work for piano keys borders, feathers, and micro-stitched swirls.  My husband was so proud of it he said, "That one is going on the wall!"  He's never let me hang a quilt in the house before (not enough wall space I suppose) and's hanging up on the wall, like an old castle tapestry.  It's worth the time (if I have it) to go this extra mile.  This quilt took 4 times as long as it would have if I had done mere pantograph work.
    This is my first time using my ellipse arc ruler.  I really liked it.  It gave great definition and separation between the piano keys border and the feathers.
    Awesome photo of the back--ha ha!

    I used Rhonda's Rulers to create curved cross-hatching.  They work great.  I really like their 1/4" and 1/2" increment markings.
    Here's another sneak peak....more to come (yes, it's another "Nordic" style).

    I hope you're enjoying the QAL, more information to come on Saturday.  I've decided to do KISMIF twice a month.  Weekly wasn't getting enough participation.  Take care!