Sunday, October 25, 2015

FW 11: Bea and 12: Becky

A good week this week. I finally felt like I was catching up a bit after my slow start. I have a bit of a routine going now. I print out a bunch of the templates. Every evening I sit in front of the TV and cut out a bunch. I stick the little thumbnail in my notebook and try and work out colours and sizes. Then I put all the templates in their own plastic bag and number them. Once they are all cut out. I take one a night and choose the fabric and cut it all out. It's always bad lighting so I am not overly confident in my choices. Then I put the current two bags by the sewing machine and literally grab a few minutes when I can to sew a unit. Sometimes it's literally one piece a day. I do a big catch up on Saturday or Sunday depending how the old 'independent play' idea goes down. We have boxes of Play Mobil, Duplo and train tracks which I empty out one after the other. They probably buy me about 10 minutes each.

Here I am making complex notations that even I don't really understand. I spend a lot of time looking at my notes thinking 'what is going on?' I often end up not even using them. I mark the plan with my colours using abbreviations. I know some people use coloured pencils but it would just be another thing to balance on the sofa and I already have my basket of fabric, my project bag and my cutting board. Everything ends up falling down the cracks in the sofa as it is. when I started this I had done two other small test blocks in order to learn foundation piecing. I feel I am only just starting to get into my groove of how to do this technique.

The Bea block felt a bit overwhelming with all its pieces, so I made a bulk batch of half square triangles then realised I had no idea how to use them with the foundation paper technique. I made quite a few mistakes before I worked out a way. I am not 100 percent on it. My blocks still aren't perfect but that could be because I don't so enough ironing and starching or unpicking. My tolerance level is quite high. I hate going backwards so a lot of things slide. Back to my new technique: I ended up having to draw 1/4" lines on the back to make sure I got them in the right place.

I did manage to do some chain piecing for once. Usually my brain just can't cope and I have to do each bit one at a time. But there were so many bits with these blocks that I felt like I just needed to save some time.

I starched and pressed all the units which I don't normally do but I thought it might help as these pieces have so many bits that need to line up. The wetness of the starch curls my paper but if I turn them over and do a quick press on the front they usually loose most of the kink.

Here is one of my units. I cut all by pieces 1/2" bigger rather than 1/4" as I find it gives me the leeway I need. Except for the premade half square triangles which had to be 1/4" just to line up with my foundation paper borders otherwise I couldn't make them work. Then I trim each section before sewing them together. But I have started leaving the outside edges untrimmed so that when it comes to trimming out the whole block I don't need to be 1/8" short.

Here is my unit trimmed just on the inner sides.

Another thing I have been doing is after I sew two units together I pull off the papers along the seam so that I can have some open seams. These blocks can get so bulky.

Here is what it looks like. Ready to sew to the next unit. It doesn't make much of a difference here perhaps.

But it does here. Jeez. What a lot of blocks.

My new phrase is; 'It's not perfect, but it'll do'.

If you look closely there are some lost points and some bits that don't line up. I think if you took the papers off before sewing you could tug some of these joins into place, but I haven't tried that yet. We just won't look that closely at it.

Block 15: Blossom
Behold! The finished block. Erm... hang on. It's not the block I was meaning to do. There is however a reason for this...

Block 11: Bea
I made the Bea block first and I just wasn't that happy with it. 1. I am sort of thinking I won't do my blocks on point yet this basket doesn't look so good square. 2. I felt the flowery fabric was a bit, well old fashioned. And 3. It just looks wonky. This is where I made all my mistakes and unpicked to high heaven trying to work out the best way to do it. So I decided to make a similar style block straight away putting all my new knowledge into practice. More starch, more starch!

So I ended up making Block 11: Bea and Block 15: Blossom. I'm much happier with the more contemporary fabric and I feel I have tamed the HST overload block. It was an intensive week though. I'm glad it's out of the way.

I think when I reach the end I will lay out all the blocks and remove any that I feel aren't really making the grade. The basket might be living on borrowed time, but when I lay them all out and squint it actually fits in okay.

Block 12: Becky
Becky block
But don't worry, I also made block 12: Becky. A lovely easy block and a chance to show some of the bigger prints. I really enjoyed it. I do like simple blocks that allow you to show the fabric. I love this version and this one. Gosh and this one and this plain one. In fact it's fair to say, I liked everyone elses so much I decided to do the block. I was planning not to bother as it seemed too easy and I realised I mostly like blocks where it'e the fabric range I like really. Like this one and this one and this one!

It does mean I have not completed a block from the US quilt a long group this week though, but it was a bit wishful thinking to imagine I could keep up with both. I still have three other blocks to complete from the UK quiltalong on the back burner so I need to keep up the momentum. I missed watching Kerry's Periscope this week. I really look forward to it. I've already done one of next weeks blocks so I am hoping to catch up on the earlier blocks.

Right. I'll stop talking now. Half term here next week so it might end up that I achieve very little. We'll see.

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