Category Archives: Tips and Tutorials

Sunny Lanes–more tips than tutorial (and weather update)

Last year I participated in Foot Squared Freestyle (F2F). The time came for me to receive my blocks, and I did (link here if you want to see them all; scroll down to March for mine). I had planned to make my three after I saw if any color/shade was needed to balance things. I’d also made Sunny Lanes for everyone and planned to make one for me. That is what stalled the process. I needed yellow-orange and didn’t have any. I finally bought some and prewashed it, but by then I was on to other projects. So I am finally back, and here is my finished Sunny Lanes.

sunny lanes orange finished

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

Since I made one for everyone, I thought it would be fun to see what variety color differences can make for one block pattern. (There are only 11 because I started a month late.) A reminder of the rules: Members could make any pattern 12 1/2-inch block using the colors chosen by the recipient.

After seeing all those, you want to try one, right? I foresee a quilt in my future using scraps for the squares and a unifying pair of colors for the HSTs.

A 12-inch block requires 8 HSTs (Cut four 4-inch squares of two colors–I allow oversizing and trim to 3 1/2 inches.) and 32 2-inch squares (they will finish at 1 1/2 inches).

When I have plenty of fabric, I cut 8 squares of each potential color and make my HSTs and play around. I add the extra squares to my collection for scrap quilts for later use. So I tried three color groupings for the current block.

I started out thinking I wanted the medium brown in the corners, then saw the bright red beside the stripe and thought I’d like it. Last I tried the gold, just in case. In the abstract it was my least favorite, but I ended up liking it best. I thought the medium brown too distracting and the red too bright. I wait till the 4-patch pieces are sewn to fiddle with the direction the corner ones will go–sometimes a diagonal line, sometimes more rounded. Much easier to rotate one piece than four each time.

After making 3 or4, I finally had a system.

Three challenges for assembly: keeping the HSTs going the correct way, keeping the colors where you want them, and pressing the seams so they will nest when assembling the next seam (of course people who press open don’t have to worry about the latter).

I lay the pieces out on my 15 1/2 square ruler.

I start chain piecing with the small squares, L to R, top to bottom. I do not cut them apart until after they are pressed, and I leave the thread bunny (or leader/ender) attached to mark the top. I press seams in alternating directions. That way each pair will nest.

SL string

It would have been smart to show the wrong side, but you can see some of the fold directions. And the thread bunny.

I snip the pairs in twos as I lay them in their place on the square ruler. Then, again moving L to R and top to bottom, I stitch each four patch segment.

This time pressing is a major issue only for the center 16 squares because they will meet up. The corner ones do not matter. I lay all pieces back in place on the ruler and carry it to the ironing board. I press the seams in the two in the center-left column down and the ones in the right up.

Now you have the choice of assembling the center and the pairs of HSTs then assembling the whole as if it were a 9-patch block or assembling row by row. I have found the latter easier as it requires fewer breaks.

I sew pairs down one side, then down the other, then sew the middle seam, making four strips. I lay them out and press in alternate directions. Nothing left to do except the final joining seams.

I hope to see some of your variations on Sunny Lanes.

10/3/17 Linking with Quilting Jetgirl’s and Late Night Quilter’s Tips and Tutorials

And after I come back from vacation, I’ll lay out blocks, make my last two and start setting them together.

BTW I will be without WiFi on most of vacation, so won’t be responding to comments till I get back.

Also while catching up on blocks, I finally made June and July for the weather quilt.

June block

June 14 1/2 x 14 1/2

Yep, that orange is for highs in the 90s and that is what we had at the beginning of June, 97 to be exact.

July

July

July was cooler and pretty boring colorwise. Too bad I hadn’t planned on different colors for each 5-degree increment.

And here are all the blocks so far.

weather-Jan-July

There will be cream sashing between eventually. Most weather quilts are done in rows (some samples here) instead  of blocks and look better, but I’ll finish what I started.

See you in three weeks.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under quilting, Tips and Tutorials

Practice Stitching Curves

Buried among my orphan blocks were these strips of squares. It amazes me how almost modern the print, and the setting is even gray.

O-strips

They have a long history, only part mine. They lived in a basement among other sewing things, as squares, not strips. I don’t know how long they had been there, but they smelled musty, so much so that I got accused of smoking (in a non-smoking apartment) when I pressed them. The owner of the house was moving to a nursing home, and her relative, who was in my guild, was giving out the UFOs. This was at least ten years ago.

I took them along to a retreat as a filler in case I finished other projects faster than expected; sometimes it happens. I did,  so stitched the squares into these strips. It was before rulerless cutting was in vogue, but these irregular squares appeared to have been cut without a ruler or marking. Add to that my inexperience at machine piecing (hand piecing comes out right because you sew on the seam line) and irregular 1/4 inch seams, the strips were quite wobbly.

So they sat, waiting for me to trim them straight and do something about the bubbles. Also they needed something to  double them to make an adequate sized quilt.

They were sitting out when a member of Sunshine (link in the sidebar under quilt groups) issued an Olympic challenge–make a quilt using the Olympic colors while watching the Olympics. Noting that the colors in the print were all the colors except black, I started to plan.

Instead of trimming to straight edges, I decided to use Sherri Lynn Wood’s curved seam approach to the irregular edges and darting to control the bubbles.

And I ended up with this.

O-top

Close to 40 x 60

If I can find my black, I’ll border and bind it in black. The border is needed because darting shrank some strips to 39 1/2, and that is without quilting or binding seams.

Now, about sewing curves. As you can see, these are quite gentle. I marked match-points on the first seam and noticed that they always met. So I didn’t mark any more, nor did I pin other than the first pin so that I’d start in the right place. I didn’t have to redo any seams.

Now we are told that it is easier to stitch when the concave curve is on top. In the past when I had S-curves I’d even start twice so that both halves could have concave on top. But on these gentle curves I didn’t bother. Yes, it is a little harder with the convex on top, but I developed a trick or two as I progressed.

This is one time to watch the needle. Even half an inch before the needle is too far away to match edges. I stitched till the two fabrics diverged to almost make a V at the needle, then with needle down, slid them gently together. Sometimes I had to repeat this every 3 or 4 stitches until I got around the convex spot.

Another thing I have read is to lift the top fabric high to aid in matching. I did not find that necessary. What is necessary is to handle the top and bottom fabrics separately, sometimes one in one hand and one in the other. Maybe lifting the top one high helps some to handle them separately, but I found it the dual handling that matters.

Occasionally at really tricky spots, I used a stylus (well, I never bought an official stylus, I just used my seam ripper) to hold the two edges in place near the needle.

One caveat: I don’t know how sharp a curve will prevent my method from working. I’ll keep using it till it doesn’t work and report back.

About the yellow curves. Here is a slightly better photo with them out of the fold of the sofa.

o center 2

At first I was going to sew straight strips, but it seemed better to continue with curves. For the first seam, I cut the blue and yellow together. Stitched. Then pressed away from the fabric that would become the narrow strip (toward navy in this top). I cut the fabrics for the second seam separately. I cut the yellow irregularly in what looked like pleasing variations. Where I wanted the yellow to disappear, I made sure to cut only 1/4 from the previous seam. Then I used the yellow as pattern to cut the navy.

Now to go hunt the errant black fabric.

 

12 Comments

Filed under quilting, Tips and Tutorials, Uncategorized

February Temperature Block and F2F

It’s been a blocky couple of days. First February’s high temperatures:

February block

Mostly 50s

It’s looking a little boring. If I’d chosen colors for groups of five instead of ten, I’d have had a little more variety, about twice as many  in the 55-59 range as in the 50-54. Oh well, I’ll stick the plan. The first three days were in the 40s. That is probably the last we’ll see aqua till autumn.  And always fun to introduce a new color, light green with the 60s. I imagine it will dominate March.

January was a little more balanced. Too bad the weather doesn’t accommodate design.

So this is my month to receive F2F blocks.  I’ll be making three on behalf of Pat, the woman who died recently, and my own three. I have made one set of three but am saving the second set to see if any colors need to be balanced out. I chose red/orange/brown with cream or beige as background.

March block 1

Dutchman’s Puzzle 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

If I keep making patterns that use the Flying Geese blocks I’ll have a good supply of “bonus triangles” to use for leaders and enders. I prefer this method because I get a more accurate rectangle this way.  Some people sew both seams before cutting, but I prefer using them as leaders and enders.

You can easily make Flying Geese any size you want this way.  Cut a rectangle of the “goose” color that is twice as long as wide then add seam allowance; i.e. a 3 x 6 block would be cut at 3 1/2 x 6 1/2. Cut the “sky” color a square of the smaller size, in this case 3 1/2.  Mark the diagonal and sew a needle width toward the part to be cut off. Sew one. Press. Trim. Then apply the second one. You must press the first one before adding the second.

bonus triangle

Someday I’ll dig out the pile of my unpressed, untrimmed triangles and take their picture. I have no idea what I will end up doing with them, but their day will come.

March block 2

Jacob’s Ladder 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

And a non-traditional block

March block #3

Layered Curves 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

I’m still enjoying working with curves from Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook. I am eager to begin getting squishies in the mail. I will probably make three lap quilts, but I won’t decide for sure till I see the blocks.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday (button in sidebar).

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under quilting, Tips and Tutorials