Showing posts with label Chain Piecing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chain Piecing. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Disappearing Nine Patch - Part I

I have decided to start my sewing year with a quilt.  I've spent quite a while thinking about what I want to do with fabrics I already have and in the time I have available.

I have been reading up about disappearing nine patch quilts here, here and here.  I was taken with the setting which imitates sashing and corner stones and decided that might work with the fabrics I have to hand at the moment.

Working from the premise that my individual squares would be cut at five inches based on the common size of commercially available charm packs I began to do some sums.

My quilt will be made up of nine nine patches that's 84 individual squares which would equate to two commercial charm packs at 42 squares each.  These will be made up of:

  • Nine red for centre of the nine patch blocks - these will become the corner stones
  • Thirty-six cream for the middle patches on each side of the blocks - these will become the sashing
  • Thirty-six coloured prints for the corner patches of each block - I cut six of each from six different fabrics

Here are all the squares cut out nice and tidy - a couple of hours work over a couple of evenings last week.  Speed is of the essence with this project as I don't have loads of time and I need to keep the momentum up.

The next step was to chain piece nine red squares to nine cream and then set aside nine cream for later.

I am working on the Singer 201K1.   I have read that this is the correct designation for a Kilbowie built machine originally fitted to a treadle.  I recently shortened the belt on this one.  It has made a world of difference.  The belt must have stretched making it tricky to get the machine to start and stop.  It had a tendency to run backwards at the beginning, run-on when stopping and stalling altogether when crossing thicker seams.  I took about 3/8ths of an inch off the length for the time being and now the machine is performing faultlessly.

The thread is Gütermann 100% cotton and the machine is set to 15 stitches per inch. I used my trusty cloth guide to help maintain a scant quarter inch seam.  I chain pieced the 18 remaining cream coloured squares to 18 of the mixed colours, three of the six different fabrics.  This is the resultant heap of chain piecing.

I snipped the paired squares apart and had a bit of a tidy up.  Here are the paired up squares stacked on the treadle table prior to pressing.  I production lined my pressing.  Pressing all 27 pairs as sewn and then open with all seams away from the cream squares.  I tried letting all my pressing cool on the ironing board before moving the units.  I'm told it helps the pressed seam allowances stay put.

My next step was to add the remaining nine cream squares to the opposite edge of the red ones.

And then the remaining 18 mixed colours to the other pairs.  Selection of the mixed prints at this stage isn't too crucial.  The reason for this will become clear next time.

Much more pressing and the nine patches are starting to take shape!  From winding the bobbin to taking the last photograph took just under three hours.  A nice way to spend a blustery Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Baby Fence Rail - Pt III

I have been chain piecing the 48 squares into pairs and pressing them.  I had experimented with chain piecing when constructing the piano key border for the log-cabin quilt and I think it is the best thing since the invention of the lock-stitch machine!  It's hard to believe how much such a simple technique speeds up the piecing process.  I use a dry iron to set the seams and then I snip the units apart before "pressing to the dark side"

The 48 squares make 24 pairs which, in their turn, will be sewn together creating 12 four patch squares.

Here I have managed to sew together 12 of the pairs to produce six squares.  I stopped here because the light was starting to fail (to be fair it hardly got light today) and I wanted to get some pictures taken.  I used a couple or three pins to make sure that the seams all stayed matched at the centre of the blocks.  They've come out well so far and the 201K has behaved faultlessly.  The hinged presser foot has managed to glide over the pressed seams and pins beautifully.

I may carry on and sew the remaining pairs into squares this evening but I will need to spend some time reading up on "blocking".  The larger squares should measure approximately 12 and a half inches and finish at 12.  The ones I have completed aren't far out but I really want to be as accurate as possible.  From what I can tell blocking will help me establish the 'true' sewing line for when I piece the units together in rows.  One method advocates using a square ruler and a pencil to establish this line the other a rotary cutter to trim blocks down to size.  I think am leaning toward the drawing rather than the cutting method.  Less scope for disaster at this stage perhaps? 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Log Cabin Quilt: Progress

Here are the log cabin blocks I have made laid out on the sitting room floor.  No design wall for me.

Log cabin crib quilt

Log Cabin Blocks

Now when I started piecing these I didn't really know what I was making.  I started the green log cabins as an experiment in paper foundation piecing.  I have now made 24 log cabin blocks. That's four blocks in six different colours.  Having done this I feel that I have made as many log cabin blocks I as would like to for the time being.  I think I am tired of sewing, fabric I can't see, through a sheet of paper.

Each of my 24 blocks will finish at seven inches square so at the moment I have a potential width of 28 inches and length 42 inches.  I think I have two options.

  1. make another 24 blocks and to create a quilt top 42 x 56 inches
  2. take what I have and use borders to bring the quilt top up to a similar size
I have decided that I am going to go with the second option.  Thinking about borders and my small fabric stash some kind of pieced 'scrappy' border is going to the answer.  I used piano keys for the border on my first ever quilt and enjoyed making them and the finished look of them.

Having looked at the scraps I have available I think I am going to use the red from the middle of the log cabins to add a narrow sashing border around the outside of the 24 log cabins.  Then I am going to use strips of the printed fabric, alternating with strips of the remaining white, to make the piano key border around that.  I am hoping that the red will frame the  log cabins and that the alternate white strips will prevent the outer border from over powering the centre blocks.  We will see.

Chain Piecing with the Singer 28K - Note the seam guide set for a scant quarter inch

Here I have started chain piecing one and a half inch strips to make the border.  This is the first time I have used this technique and I like the way it seems to save time and thread.

Pressing Chain Pieced Piano Keys - please excuse my ironing board cover.

These piano keys waiting to be snipped apart and trimmed open.

Making a decision about where this quilt top is going next has reawakened my interest and excitement in this project.  I am already thinking about what style of quilting will suit this patchwork.