I’ve been cheating a little and looking ahead to see what’s to come in my Craftsy BOM class (as I’m already way behind!) and I decided to skip the May blocks for now as they seem more scrappy and I’d rather do the bigger blocks first to make sure I don’t run out of a particular fabric I may need. So I decided to give the June BOM, a LeMoyne Star. This block was very intimidating to me as I’ve never worked with diamonds, with so many points and biased sides, or even Y-seams. I’d read a few posts from others about how complicated the process is, and how careful you need to be, so needless to say that as a beginner sewer, I was thinking I might be way out of my league. But I hunkered down and got into it 🙂
I started by colouring in my chart to decide which colours/fabrics I wanted where, and then proceeded to make strip sets which I then cut down to two 2.5″ wide parallelograms to make all of the star parts. The next step was the trickiest part, attaching the parallelograms together to make each of the star diamonds. I’ve never before worked with these shapes (while quilting), and so I had a hard time following the instructions here. I ended up by creating my own method which ended up working perfectly every time!
I started by drawing a line 1/4″ across the seam on each of the sides to be joined. I then stuck a needle exactly through the point where my line intersected the diagonal seam and did the same on the second piece, making sure that good sides were together. I then pinned it like crazy to make sure it wouldn’t move and then sewed across. Give it a go, it really works!
The rest of the star went pretty smoothly. As I had marked all my pieces, sewing Y-seams was actually pretty easy, simply a matter of going from point to point, and never beyond. I have a fancy option on my sewing machine that allows it to stitch three time in place before moving on to sew, which was great as it reinforced my stitches without my having to backstitch and risk going too far.
Here is my completed LeMoyne Star, in fact, my very first star block! I’m really happy with it. Only a few of the sections got a little distorted and for the most part, my points/intersections match up 🙂 Wow, what a sense of satisfaction! I’m really happy that I decided to give it a go, even though I was warned it would be tough. I learned a TON on this one, and I can’t wait to give my next BOM a go!
So it’s finally time to show you my Fan Block! This was a serious trial and error as I wanted my block to look quite different from the Craftsy class one, and so I had to slightly modify the instructions for it to work. These were the templates I created from template plastic and some of my work in progress about a week ago.
At this point, however, I have to say I had a pretty serious mental block. I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t seem to get the hang of a proper 1/4″ seam. I always ended up with wider seams then I intended, and thus my blocks always ended up smaller than they should. Since this block was full of curved seams, I was worried that my pieces wouldn’t fit if I continued as I had been. And so I put the block aside and stopped working on it… I saw a video of Leah Day on getting past Quilting Ruts yesterday, and it pushed me to give my fan block another go.
So this evening, I practiced over and over again. I measured out 1/4″ and gave myself a guide on my sewing machine, and eventually I got very close. The curved seams weren’t too bad either, I simply used a TON of pins to keep everything in place as I sewed, and it worked out great 🙂
The centre piece was appliqued on using some fusible web, my first experience with a glue-based quilting product. I used “Heat n Bond Lite” which worked very well and easily on my first try. After ironing the centre on, I then machine sewed using the Applique Stitch Pattern on my sewing machine. And so, without any further ado, here is my finished Fan Block!
Have you ever done curved piecing? Did you find it a difficult process? I found it to be quite time consuming, but I have to say, it feels pretty good to have successfully completed the block! This Craftsy 2013 BOM is such a wonderful class. As a true beginner sewer, I love the challenges it forces me to deal with. Already I have learned so much, and I’m excited to get started on my next block! I’m certain my final quilt won’t be perfect, but I can’t wait to put it all together and feel that sense of accomplishment. It’s going to be awesome 🙂
So I just completed my first ever Economy block! I was a little nervous with this one as it involved triangles and I wasn’t really sure how things would go when sewing along points. As you can see, things did work out pretty well in the end.
The large majority of my triangle points did line up, but I have to say there were quite a few instances of seam ripping and trying again. About 10 minutes in, I realized that my 1/4″ piecing foot requires me to move the sewing needle of my machine over to the right to the 4.5 mark for a scant 1/4″, and to the 4.0 mark for a proper 1/4″. I wish I’d realized this before, but I didn’t even know I could move the needle over! Have any of you ever had to do this?
Another sewing machine question I have that I still don’t know the answer to is: “is it common to have to hold the threads when you start sewing”? If I don’t, my machine sucks one of the thread ends into the first dozen or so stitches and it becomes all jumbled in the back. It doesn’t stop the stitches from looking nice on the top, but it seems odd all the same. Is this normal???
So I’ve completed my next set of blocks. It was my first strip set block and I definitely made an error of not properly measuring my seams/ironing properly as I was creating it – and thus my overall strip set was a little short, by about 1/4″… I’m soo annoyed about it, but I’d already cut all my pieces before I realized and so couldn’t simply redo them. So again, everything is a little off, but another lesson learned. Hopefully (again) it won’t matter in the final quilt.
Overall, my blocks simply aren’t quite square. I don’t want to cut them down or square them off until I know exactly how they’ll fit into the final quilt. I will say, however, I had no problems with the partial seams, so yay for that! I do like the way they turned out though, very cheery with all the pink! Would you have chosen to mix up different colours or stick to one like me?
So I have to say I am soo mad at myself at the moment. I totally forgot to photograph my first attempt at quilting… Needless to say I am not impressed with myself. The first couple steps went very well, I was able to cut some nice strips and squares. I still can’t believe I just found out about the rotary cutter, SOO much easier to use trying to cut many pieces with scissors. All my lines were straight, and my corners right angles!
I do have to say I had one major mishap… I was chain piecing on my last strips and it wasn’t until I was ironing my seams that I realized that I had forgotten to place the right sides together. That’s what I get when I start trying to watch TV while sewing… Clearly I can’t handle distractions :S So needless to say, the seam-ripper came out, I undid each of the final rows and then re-stitched them together – properly this time!
As you can see, my end product isn’t all that bad, although some of the sides don’t quite seem to be long enough… I’m off by about 1/8″. I was trying to figure out why they weren’t quite right (I was using my 1/4″ piecing foot so I knew my seam size was right), and I realized it’s my iron. It’s such a crappy one that it really doesn’t flatten everything properly, so I’m losing some length because of it. Do you think it’ll affect me in the end? I’m hoping it’s a small enough error that I’ll be able to correct it when it’s time to attach all the blocks together. Fingers crossed!!!
Since I decided to get into quilting, I’ve been creating a list of things that I will need that I don’t already have. I am an absolute list person, I have them for everything: packing, shopping, to do’s, things we’re running low on, wish lists, everything! And now it also includes quilting! Thanks goodness for my iPhone app “Awesome Note” which has allowed me to easily manage my life (and my lists!). Do you have an app you absolutely couldn’t do without??
So back to the point, the main items I need include:
- Quilting rulers (which explains how to get around my early frustrations mentioned here!)
- Rotary cutter
- Flat-headed pins
I decided a few weeks ago my first quilt would be a sampler quilt from the Craftsy Block of the Month 2013 with Laura Nownes. I’ve ordered my fabric from the class kit, mainly because I really found it a little overwhelming to pick out fabrics for my own first project. I figured it would be easier to focus on the quilting if I wasn’t worried about the fabric choices… And happy news, it arrived yesterday!!!! Here is a look at what I received in the mail.
Now I just need to go to a Quilting Shop (a.k.a. Fabricland) and grab the few remaining items.
Can’t wait to get started! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂