Friday, 20 July 2012

Instruction 2 - Turn the block ‘on point’ and add corner triangles.

This stage is a simple one, but needs care to make sure it’s right. First, choose your fabric. Try laying the completed block on various fabrics to see what works.

When you’ve decided, cut 2 squares each measuring 9⅜” x  9⅜”.  Then cut them in half diagonally. Handle them with care, as this cut edge is stretchy, and easily pulled out of shape. Put one edge of the block against the longest edge of the triangle, and pin carefully. Use more pins than you think you need, as they will hold it in place while you stitch and will stop the seam stretching out of shape.
Stitch the two pieces together from the block side. That way, you can make sure that your line of stitching goes though the point made by the half square triangles in the block. So it will look neat and crisp.  Then repeat with the opposite triangle. Press the triangles away from the block. If there is any dark fabric showing through from the block, now is the time to trim it, as before.

Repeat with the other two triangles. There will be some little bits sticking out from each seam, as before. Just trim them off, and check that there is ¼” seam allowance at the 4 points of the centre block.  Now measure the piece, across the centre, both ways. These measurements should be 17½”. If not, don’t panic – we can sort that at the next stage, which is to start the first border.
If you are feeling inspired (or brave), you could make these triangles out of patchwork, (maybe strips), or add some appliqué to them. But plain ones work fine, and you could always add appliqué later on if you felt it would work.

You now have the option of adding a very narrow border, which will bring the size up to 18” (finished size). This will make the next instruction easier, but if you’d rather skip this stage, don't worry. If you want to add this border, then cut 4 strips of fabric, two x 1” wide x 17½” and two x 1” x 18½” long.  Stitch the shorter strips on opposite sides, then press the seams away from the centre, and repeat with the other two. You should now have a piece of patchwork measuring 18½”square. If you feel these strips are a bit narrow to work with, cut them a bit wider and trim them afterwards. Just make sure you trim them equally.
Instruction 3 – Cornerstones – using Foundation Piecing
The next step is to surround your patchwork with a border. We’ll do this in 2 stages. Firstly, we’ll make the square blocks to set at each corner – known as cornerstones. They will measure 4½” x 4½” when finished, including the seam allowance. I’ve chosen to make them using Foundation Piecing. If you haven’t used this technique before, it’s very simple to do, and very accurate, especially for small pieces. However, it’s not particularly economical so far as fabric is concerned.
When you've chosen a design, make 4 copies.  I’ve used the square-in-a-square block – it’s an easy one, and the shape echoes the centre block. If you aren't sure how to do foundation piecing, or would rather do something else, then please do! 
For the second quilt, I used the twisted log cabin blocks, which are slightly more complicated. Whichever you choose, if you haven’t done Foundation Piecing before, you could try a sample first, in some scrap fabric.

Instruction 4 – The First Pieced Border
At the end of Instruction 2, you had the choice of adding a narrow border or not. If you did, then your centre panel measures 18½” x 18½”. If you didn’t, then your centre panel measures 17½” x 17½”.

In both cases, this includes a ¼” seam allowance, so we now have to make 4 sides, each with a finished measurement of either 18” or 17”.  17” does not divide easily by 2, so I’ve had to adjust the measurements for this one slightly to fit. This won’t be noticeable, and it means that if your centre panel measures more or less than 17½”, it will be easy to adjust.

This border is simply made from rectangles of fabric, stitched together. You need to cut 9 rectangles for each side. For an 18” side, cut all 9 rectangles 4½” x 2½”. If you have a 17” side, then  7 measure 4½” x 2½”, and 2 measure 4½” x 2”. (In this case, if your centre panel measures more or less than 17½”, then you can adjust the width of these smaller pieces to fit. If you choose the same fabric for these end pieces as you have for the outer shapes on the cornerstones, then any adjustment shouldn’t be obvious.)
Stitch your rectangles together for each side, and press the fabrics towards the darker ones. Measure this strip – it should measure the same as the measurement across the centre of the panel. If it’s slightly too large, you can trim an equal amount from each end. If it’s too small, you should re-cut your end pieces a bit bigger and re-stitch them. If it’s very much adrift, either way, please check you are cutting accurately, and stitching an accurate ¼” seam. Don’t guess – measure!
Pin a strip to the top of your centre panel. Make sure the centre of the panel matches up with the centre of the middle patch of the strip. Then pin the edges carefully, and stitch the strip to the panel. Make sure the stitching line goes through the point where the Churn Dash block and the background meet up.
 Repeat with the opposite strip. Press these strips away from the centre of the piece. Then stitch a cornerstone to each end of the remaining 2 strips, and press towards the centre of the strip. Pin these borders on as before, matching up the centres as before. Stitch carefully, then remove the pins and press. (You will notice in later photos that this border is slightly different – that’s because I decided the centre rectangle didn’t look right, so I took out 3 from each side and changed them slightly.)
Instruction 5 – A narrow plain border
Again, there are 2 versions of this, depending on whether or not you added the narrow border at the end of Instruction 2. If you didn’t, then you should cut 2 strips, 1½” x 25½”, and 2 strips, 1½” x 28”. If you did,  then cut 2 strips, 1” x  26½”, and 2 strips 1” x  28”. Stitch the first strips to opposite sides of your patchwork and press towards the new piece. Trim darker fabrics if necessary, as before. Then stitch the longer strips to the other 2 sides and press. At this point, you can remove the paper from behind your foundation pieced cornerstones. Measure the piece across the middle again, then trim it so that it measures 27½” across each way.  Make sure you trim an equal amount from each side to maintain the symmetry.
Instruction 5 continued – A chequerboard border
I’ve chosen to use 2 colours for this border, but you could use different ones if you wanted.  It’s constructed from 3½” squares of fabric. If you wish to use just 2 colours, then cut strips of fabric 3½” wide and stitch them together along the long side. 
Then press the seams towards the long side and cross-cut to make pairs of squares 3½” wide (If you don’t have long enough pieces for strips, then cut squares and stitch them together in pairs.)
Then stitch 2 pairs together to make a square, and press the centre seam open. This means it will lie flat, and will avoid dark fabric showing through.
You will need 9 pairs stitched into a row for each side, and 2 pairs stitched together to make each corner.
Then stitch the top and bottom borders onto the centre panel, press towards the centre, stitch the corners onto each end of the other borders, and attach them. Your piece should now measure 39” square.
Instruction 6 – Applique
If you want to finish the quilt at this size, then this is the last stage. If you would like to make it larger, you can choose whether to appliqué or not.
However, if you have finished with it, and want to appliqué, please read on. Rather than add a plain border and appliqué all the way round, I have chosen to add Orange Peel segments to the 4 corners of the chequerboard border. The method you use is up to you. If you want to bond your shapes to the background, then that method is detailed below, but if you would rather hand appliqué, that’s fine too. Just don’t forget to add an extra ¼” to the applique shape for your turning under.
Draw an Orange Peel shape - it's very simple to make your own. Take a rectangle of paper 5" x 2", and fold vertically. Make 2 marks just over 4" apart along the fold, and draw one side of the Orange Peel curve between these 2 marks. Then cut with scissors and open out. You might have to make more than one until you are satisfied, but when it looks okay, then make a sturdy copy either in cardboard or template plastic.
Trace this shape onto the paper side of your Bondaweb 49 times. You will need 12 shapes for each corner, making a total of 48; the 49th is a practice one! Then cut enough shapes out of the Bondaweb for each fabric you wish to use. If your fabric is directional, you’ll have to cut the shapes individually, otherwise, you can just cut out the area of Bondaweb with the correct number of shapes on it. Bond the glue side of the Bondaweb to the wrong side of your fabric, using a hot dry iron. Protect your iron and ironing board with some baking parchment. (Try your practice one first.) Then cut out the shapes on the pencil lines. At this point, you can try different arrangements of your shapes.
When you are satisfied, peel off the backing paper and attach the shapes to your patchwork, again using a hot dry iron. Don’t forget the baking parchment. Each of these segments should fit a 3” square corner to corner. Don’t forget to leave a ¼” seam allowance at the outer edges.
Then use your practice segment to decide how you wish to stitch the segments. I used a machine buttonhole stitch, but you use whatever you like. Hand stitching is another option, but stitching through 2 layers of fabric and the glue layer might be a bit difficult.
Then when all the shapes are stitched down, the quilt top is finished!  All that remains is quilting and binding.


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