Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spangled Stars QAL Star Block Unit A

Time for the next installment of the Spangled Stars QAL!




Those of you who have been quilting along with me, I hope you're have fun! If you're just joining in - Welcome! Here's the schedule, with the links to previous blocks in pink.


Star Block, part 1 - May 28, 2015    
Star Block, part 2 - June 4, 2015
Quilt assembly - June 11, 2015
Completed Top Linky - June 18, 2015
Completed Quilt, Grand Parade - July 2, 2015


The next two weeks feature the last block, the Star Block. 



I'm breaking it into two sections, mainly because a) the instructions for each part are intensive, and b) there's a lot of parts to assemble just to make one block, and precision is going to count here. The other blocks have been pretty easy, but this one needs more attention. So spreading it out causes less confusion.

I'm starting with the units in the corners,


which EQ calls 'checkerboard'. Not quite what I'd call it, and if you know a different name, let me know. For now, I'm calling it Unit A!

Below is the chart for cutting WOF strips for each size, and each color, following the coloring in the diagram above. If your coloring is different, be sure to note that for yourself.


# Star Blocks
# Unit A
Red square
(40” WOF)
White bkgrnd,
(40” WOF)
Light Blue HST,
(40” WOF)
Wall
5
20
2” x 1 WOF
3” x 1 WOF
3 7/8” x  1 WOF
Throw
7
28
2” x 2 WOF
3” x 2 WOF
3 7/8” x  2 WOF
Twin
15
60
2” x 3 WOF
3” x 3 WOF
3 7/8” x  3 WOF
Double
18
72
2” x 4 WOF
3” x 4 WOF
3 7/8” x  4 WOF
Queen
18
72
2” x 4 WOF
3” x 4 WOF
3 7/8” x  4 WOF
King
24
96
2” x 5 WOF
3” x 5 WOF
3 7/8” x  4 WOF

I'm making a twin size, which has 15 Star Blocks,


and each Star Block has 4 Unit A's, which means I'm making 60 Unit A's ( 15 x 4=60). If you're making a different size, I've already figured out how many Unit A's you need, just refer to the chart above.

Unit A is made up using strip piecing. Yes, that's right, strip piecing. There is no cutting and piecing of little squares and triangles. And no waste - that's the best part, because I don't need more little waste pieces to figure out what to do with!

So, let's get started! Cut the number of 2" red strips (for the squares) and 3" white strips (for the background) needed for each size. Sew one red strip to one background strip, and press to the red (dark).

Just as in the making of the other blocks, the strip sets get stacked for subcutting, right sides together, with the red strips on opposite sides.

They must be positioned this way for sewing in the next step, so be sure the red strips oppose each other.

Subcut the strip sets at 2", keeping the pairs together. 



Each pair will make two Unit A's. Use the chart below to find how many subcut pairs to cut.


# of subcut pairs
Wall
          10
Throw
          14
Twin
          30
Double
          36
Queen
          36
King
          48

Head to the sewing machine and chain stitch all the pairs together along the long edge.

Clip them apart, but before pressing, place each long seam against a ruler, aligning the background edge with the 1 1/2" mark.

Make a small clip to the seam line at the 3/4" mark. Do this on all units. This step makes final assembly so much easier!

Now press each side of the long seam away from the red (dark). The clip in the middle allows for that easily.


Now for the tricky part, the step that needs close attention.
Using a 6" square ruler, line the rulers' center diagonal line along the right side of the unit, with the cutting edge going through the center clip (arrows in the center of the picture).

The ruler needs to align along the blocks' outer edge, near the corners, the same amount on each side, somewhere between 3/8" and 1/2", depending on how the center seam was sewn and pressed. Here are closeups of each corner.

If these measurements aren't equal, the angle of the cut is off, making for a smaller seam allowance. So pay attention to this step - it's not hard, just time consuming. And yes, I measured each one, all 60 corners.

Once the measurements are equal, cut along the diagonal, to yield to HST pieces. The picture below shows the front and back of the units.

But wait! One corner is missing on each unit! Don't worry - it works just fine without it!

Once those are all ready, cut the 3 7/8" light blue strip, subcutting it to make 3 7/8" squares.

Lay one light blue 3 7/8" square right side up, and place a red square unit from before right side down, matching two edges.


Lay another red square unit on the other corner, right side down, matching up edges. The corners are hard to see, so go by the edges. Pin both pieces in place, preferably with flat head pins. The diagonal edges will overlap slightly.


Using the 6" square ruler again, align the rulers' center diagonal line with the left edge of the block.

The corners are hard to see for alignment, but do the best as possible. Draw a pencil line along the diagonal, being careful of fabric shifting.

Sew a scant 1/4" from the pencil line on each side, aligning the start with the cut off corner (see the bit of blue peeking through?)

and stitching just at the edge of the cross seams for the red square. Notice in the next picture how the needle is headed straight to that seam intersection? 

This is why the fabric was clipped and pressed away from the red square - to improve visibility so the red square point doesn't get cut off or that seam doesn't land close enough. Oh, so smart! 


Sew down one side of the center line, turn the block around, and sew the other side. Then chain stitch to the next block. I don't recommend chain stitching down one side on every block, then going back and doing the other side, as this unit needs to stay positioned correctly. 

Using the 6" square ruler, cut on the center pencil line.

Tiny bits from each side are the only waste. Press the seam towards the light blue. Trim off the little dog ears, and do a measurement check - 3 1/2" square. If there is any trimming to do, do it on the blue piece, not the red/white, as that shouldn't be any smaller. And notice that the missing corner was no big deal - just fewer dog ears to trim! Aren't they pretty both front and back?


Have fun, enjoy the process, and link up those blocks!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fusible Placement Tip

Yesterday, I was working on the applique name blocks for the t-shirt quilts,

and came up with a great way to keep the writing at the same slant and spacing as I had printed it. 

To make these letters, I used Inkscape, a free drawing program, and chose the Forte font. Printing it the correct way gives a reference piece


then printing a mirrored version,



makes the template for use in tracing on the fusible.



Keeping the letters together as one fusible piece, the name is fused to the backside of the fabric,



and roughly cut out as one piece.



Starting at the middle of all the letters, they are cut out, leaving top and bottom scrap outline pieces, and the paper is removed from the letters, using a pin to score it.



After marking placement on the background fabric, the scrap outline pieces are laid down to help place the letters.



One by one, the letters are put into their respective places, 


and the scrap outlines are carefully removed. The letters are fused, and look just like they were written in the Forte font!


If I hadn't have figured this out, I would have placed that 'B' straight up and down, changing the look of the font. Sometimes it's just those little things that make life so much easier!

And, here's a t-shirt quilt update:  only one remains on the living room floor



a big change from this



to this.



Another unfinished one still resides on my bedroom floor.

As for the three finished ones, they hang on my longarm frame.



Once I'm done putting the five tops together, they'll all get borders based on how much fabric I have left.

Now I'm off to work on #4!

Have a great day quilting!








Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spangled Stars QAL Block 3 - Stripe and Cross Block

Time for the Spangled Stars QAL Block 3 - Stripe and Cross Block! Here's a recap of the schedule:


Stripes and Cross - May 21, 2015
Star Block, part 1 - May 28, 2015    
Star Block, part 2 - June 4, 2015
Quilt assembly - June 11, 2015
Completed Top Linky - June 18, 2015
     Completed Quilt, Grand Parade - July 2, 2015

After today, the majority of the blocks are done, as there is just one block left, with it's construction spread over two weeks. Hang in there - it's almost a top!  

Now on to the Stripe and Cross Block!

The number of blocks to make is much less than last week, and it is composed of 3 units (A,B,C). The following chart displays how many blocks for each size, and how many of each unit to make for those blocks.



# of Stripe and Cross
blocks
# of A units needed
# of B units needed
# of C units needed
Wall Hanging
4
4
8
8
Throw
8
8
16
16
Twin

15
15
30
30
Double/Full
18
18
36
36
Queen
18
18
36
36
King
25
25
50
50

See? A lot less! Let's start working on Unit A, 



then at the end, we'll sew all the units together to make the block. The following chart for Unit A gives the number of 40" width of fabric strips to cut for each size quilt. I'm making a twin, so I'll cut (3) 2" background strips, and (5) 2 1/4" red strips, to then make a total of 15 Unit A's.


WOF=40”
A unit
White
background
A unit
Red
for stripes
Wall Hanging
(1)  2”x WOF
(2) 2 1/4” x WOF
Throw
(2)  2”x WOF
(3) 2 1/4” x WOF
Twin
(3)  2”x WOF
(5) 2 1/4” x WOF
Double/Full
(3)  2”x WOF
(5) 2 1/4” x WOF
Queen
(3)  2”x WOF
(5) 2 1/4” x WOF
King
(4)  2”x WOF
(7) 2 1/4” x WOF
In the picture below, I've got cut strips on the left; a red and white strip sewn, with seams pressed to the red, in the center; and a full strip set of red/white/red, on the right.


For efficiency, the strip sets are stacked,


and subcut to 5 1/2", 


making (15) Unit A's at 5 1/2" x 5 1/2".


On to Unit B.


From the top chart, I need 30 Unit B pieces, because they are going on two sides of Unit A. For the twin size, the next chart says to cut (4) 2 1/4" background strips, and (2) 2" BLUE strips. Notice the color change!

WOF=40”
B unit
White
background
B unit
Blue
for bars
Wall Hanging
(1)  2 1/4” x WOF
(1) 2” x WOF
Throw
(2)  2 1/4” x WOF
(1) 2” x WOF
Twin
(4)  2 1/4” x WOF
(2) 2” x WOF
Double/Full
(5)  2 1/4” x WOF
(3) 2” x WOF
Queen
(5)  2 1/4” x WOF
(3) 2” x WOF
King
(7)  2 1/4” x WOF
(4) 2” x WOF

The assembly of this strip set is the same as Unit A, except the background pieces are on the outside. In the picture below, I've got strips, on the left; a white and blue strip sewn, with the seam pressed to the blue, in the center; and a complete white/blue/white strip set, on the right.


Stacking those strips sets again,


they are subcut to 2 1/2"


yielding (30) 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" Unit B pieces.


Unit C is last, and again, from the topmost chart, my twin size needs (30) Unit C pieces, for the remaining two sides around Unit A.


This chart displays the number of strips to cut for Unit C


WOF=40”
C unit
White
background
C unit
Blue
for bars
Wall Hanging
(1)  4 1/4” x WOF
(1) 2” x WOF
Throw
(2)  4 1/4”x WOF
(1) 2” x WOF
Twin
(4)  4 1/4”x WOF
(2) 2” x WOF
Double/Full
(5)  4 1/4”x WOF
(3) 2” x WOF
Queen
(5)  4 1/4”x WOF
(3) 2” x WOF
King
(7)  4 1/4”x WOF
(4) 2” x WOF
and for the twin size, I need (4) 4 1/4" white strips, and (2) 2" BLUE strips.

In the following, the strips are on the left; a 4 1/4" white strip is sewn to a 2" blue strip, with seams pressed to the blue, in the center; and a complete white/blue/white strip set on the right.


Layering yet again,


the strip set is subcut to 2 1/2", yielding (30) units 2 1/2" x 9 1/2".


Now all three units are ready to be sewn together.


Make sure all Unit A's are oriented with stripes heading up and down (vertical). 


Chain stitch all of one side of the Unit A's, then chain stitch the other side. I have my Unit B's on the bottom because I have red thread in the needle, and want that on the red fabric. But you can stitch your Unit B's on top!


Press the seams to the red.

Now attach the Unit C's,

carefully nesting the blue bar in with the white strip of Unit A.

Chain stitch one side, then repeat for the other, saving on time.



Press the seams toward Unit A.

Now stand back and admire that beautiful block!


Happy Quilting!

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