Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

A Scrappy Retreat

This past week I have spent 4-1/2 days at a guild quilt retreat and it has been a wonderful, relaxing, and creative week!!! As I posted last week, I was wanting to work on a major scrap project and had spent a LOT of time trying to come up with a design to work with.

The winning design was this one…..

The idea is to use full scraps in dark, medium, or light fabrics with touches of red in the alternating blocks.

The first task was to split my 2.5-inch squares into those four categories…..

Now it was time to start making 1/2-square triangles…..LOTS OF THEM!!

I decided to simply draw a line down the diagonal of the light square and then stitch along that line. I would press the dark fabric before I trimmed the extra fabric…..

Then I would trim off the extra fabric from the back…..

….and press it flat.

At first, I worried about the number of leftover fabrics that I would have using this technique, but I finally decided that it was okay to toss some bits….after all, these were already scrap squares before I started!!!

Then I started wondering if there was an easier way to make the blocks…maybe without having to physically draw the line on each square. I started out by placing a piece of masking tape on the machine and using the edge to keep the square straight as I stitched……

But the stitching line wasn’t exactly straight!!

….and these blocks ended up being too big so I had to trim them down!! THAT was even harder than drawing the original lines!!!

One of our retreaters was using an interesting tool that attaches to your sewing machine and provides all of the lines needed to properly guide the fabric……

I am not sure exactly why that made it better but it sure did!! The only thing that I could think was that maybe my tape line didn’t come straight down the middle.

So, I re-did it, this time drawing a line down the middle…..

And it seemed to work!!

The result was that I could piece ACCURATE 1/2-square blocks without having to spend time drawing lines OR trimming…..the perfect combination!!

At the end of 1-1/2 days of sewing, this was my piece…..

After doing a critique of it, I feel that the reds need to be brighter and there need to be more actual white fabrics in the lights.

I will continue to work on this over the next months (or maybe I will just wait until the next retreat in May) and will plan to include these new ideas as I go.

The most exciting thing about this quilt is that I feel really good about the accuracy of my piecing!! There were very few points that were bad enough to require reworking and that is a HUGE improvement over previous piecing!!!

Stay tuned to see the finished project…..someday!!!

3 thoughts on “A Scrappy Retreat

  1. Sorry I didn’t pay closer attention to your machine while at retreat. Can you send a photo of the lined tape without fabric covering it?

    1. Thanks Andrea. The design isn’t as focused as I wanted it to be, so I will probably make it into a lap quilt rather than a bigger one. But, it is still a reason to fondle fabric so I am okay with that!!!

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