Saturday, January 08, 2011

 I've done a little bit of sewing in amongst other chores, but not as much as I could have. 

These scrap blocks are fun and easy, but the seam allowances of adjoining blocks were clashing, and I was too lazy or distracted to work out how to press them to avoid that.  And that was stopping me from sewing more of them.  The best to do was to take photos for a tutorial, so that I can refer back to the blogpost whenever my fickle memory forgets exactly what I did.

I could always refer back to the correctly pressed blocks, or I could do what I did in the past and copy the pressing of an incorrect block too many times to count and have a dreadful mess to deal with later.  The blogpost is the sensible option.

There are two blocks with the values in opposite places, what Mereth and I refer to as Counterchange blocks.  Both are laid out a little differently, and pressed differently.  But they all start out with these basic units.

I sew most of my longer 1.5" light medium strips into pairs, and then sew those pairs together to make a pieced strip 4.5" wide.  I cut those into 5.5" slices, and add a fifth strip, 1.5" x 5.5". That allows me to use up all shorter lengths of strips.  I do the same with all the dark medium strips.  It doesn't matter what way the seams are pressed in these units.  The aim is to have a 5.5" pieced square.

The dark and light strips are sewn into pairs, seam pressed to the dark fabric; then they are cut into 5.5" slices.  At then end of the strip, when there isn't enough room for another slice I cut 1.5" pieces, and these are paired together to make fourpatches.  The fourpatches are pressed like this.

Because there are two different blocks to make I can't just sew all these units together any old way.  I need all the blocks oriented the same way for the pressing system to work (I sound as bad as Mereth now, who has confessed to not making blocks she likes because she can't get the seams to nest nicely!)

I lay out the light blocks like this, and sew the fourpatch to the light/dark rectangle, seam pressed away from the fourpatch.  A light/dark rectangle is added to the side of the strip-pieced square, seam pressed to the dark.  See how the strips in the square are aligned vertically?

Sew that final seam through the block, and press it towards the dark strip.  It will want to do that anyway, because all those seam intersections don't want to press back on themselves.

Lay out the the dark square as shown; the strips in the pieced square are horizontal. 
Sew the units together as in the other block, seam pressed away from the fourpatch, and away from the pieced centre square.  Sew the joining seam, and press it down towards the pieced square.

If all the blocks are made and pressed like this, they fit together without a hitch, all the seams nested together.  That makes me a lot more enthusiastic about getting on with the project.
 The photos are crappy, taken late in the afternoon with bad lighting, but they will have to do.  I'd rather spend today sewing than taking decent photos. 

Oh and it's going to be on point now, because everything looks better on point.
Now that I look at it, some of those strip squares are oriented in the wrong direction.  It doesn't matter a bit, except that those blocks won't play nicely with their neighbours when it comes time to join them.  I don't mind mashing a few bulky seams flat, but a whole quilt like that is daunting.  I'd rather take the time to work out a system and stick to it, even if I have to do a tutorial to remember. 

Now if I could just remember where I put my Ott Light, and my hand-piecing supplies. and my Etui sewing box, and my other box of 1.5"strips.   I thought we were being so careful when we moved here, but that last flurry of packing the presious stuff was done in an unsound state of mind.  I have no idea where some things were stowed, and it will be a voyage of discovery to track them down.


Pattilou 3:49 AM  

I've got a pattern for a D4P and the pressing on that is the problem with that one too. I sewed some for a lotto and cut some out--they're still in my UFO list. I finally just pressed the seams open on all to avert the problem, but then I really don't like pressing open seams. It's on my list for this year--do ya think????? maybe

Kerri 1:25 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerri 1:28 PM  

Accidently deleted my comment.... Thank you for this nice method of pressing a four patch. I have many 4 patch leaders and enders going and have been wondering what trouble I will be in with meeting up block sections. I love how the center intersection lays nice and flat too!

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