Finished QOV!!

Today I finished a second Quilt of Valor top……

Once again, it was a great way to get back into piecing, remembering how to make a Log Cabin block and using the Bonnie Hunter “Essential Triangle Tool” to make accurate triangle blocks.

Now I need to figure out which project I am headed to next!!!

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Bonnie does it again….

While working on my 2nd Quilt of Valor, I needed to make 1/4 square triangles that ended up at 4 inch finished. It has been a long time since I made these, so I decided to Google it and ended up with Bonnie Hunter again.

She showed how to use her Essential Triangle Tool and, once again, the blocks were quickly made!! (My first foray with the Essential Triangle Tool was here)

When you make them the old-fashioned way, you have to start with a square that is 1.25 inches larger than what you want the finished size to be. In my case that would have meant that I needed squares that were 5.25 inches and I don’t have many of those already cut in my scraps.

Instead, I could use the ruler with 2.5 inch strips and I have BUNCHES of those!!!!

The first step was to cut/find two strips 2.5 inches wide……

….place them right sides together and start cutting, matching the edge up to the 2.5 inch mark and letting the little green triangle hang off of the strip…..

Cut as many sets as you need…..

Now to the machine, sewing from the point to the blocked-off edge…..

Press them open……

…and finally sew the pairs together to make the squares…..

The final step is to trim those pesky corners and they are ready to go.

Once again, I was amazed at how accurate these patches were and how well they fit with the other square and 1/2 square triangles blocks that made up the quilt.

Once again it was Bonnie to the Rescue!!!

First Finish in the New Studio…..

This past weekend I spent a fair portion of my time in my studio and had a marvelous time working on a Quilt-of-Valor top.

Using Bonnie Hunter’s Essential Triangle Tool, I ended up with an almost perfectly pieced top……

Quilt of Valor

I am super excited about this first creative work in my newly recreated studio!!!

Now to pass it along to the long-arm quilter’s to get it finished up.

What will I do next…….a VERY good question!!

I Should Have Trusted Bonnie!!!!

Yes, I should have known that Bonnie wouldn’t send me astray!! And of course, I am talking about Bonnie Hunter of www.Quiltville.com. If you have never heard of her work, you really should check her out. She is the queen of scrap quilts and is one of the most prolific quilters that I have ever seen. I often get tired just reading about everything she does on her blog.

Several years ago she put out a ruler called the “Essential Triangle Tool”. As the name implies, it was designed for cutting out triangles. Specifically, it was to be used with strips and without having to worry about that pesky 7/8ths inch that you are supposed to add.

When you look at it, it looks a little strange with all of those green triangles on each corner and several different sets of marking lines…..

I had purchased it last year but just had not felt up to giving it a try. I think that I was concerned about having to sew along bias edges that had been previously cut. This technique had been tried by me over the years but had never resulted in accurate blocks. Probably “user error”!!

There are several steps to creating a Flying Geese design using this tool. The first step is to cut a strip of the “goose” fabric that is the same width as your finished square, plus 1/2 inch. In my case, the finished block was 2.5″ tall so my strip needed to be 3 inches…..

Now, you line the ruler up on the edge of the strip, noticing that the little green triangle hangs off of the top of the strip…..

After making the two cuts to finish this piece, you rotate the ruler by 180 degrees so that the next piece can be cut, alternating back and forth until you have the required number of geese…..

Next, the wings of the geese blocks need to be cut. Amazingly, you use this exact same ruler to cut these pieces. These strips need to be the same width….3 inches in my case. The most important thing to remember when setting up these strips is that the RIGHT SIDES NEED TO BE FACING!!! This is very important since you need mirror pieces to complete the Goose…..

After you get a straight cut on one end of the fabric pair, you line up the ruler with the green triangle hanging off of the top edge and the line on the 2.5 marker……

Make the cut and grasp the fabric strip and move it to the right to get it out of the way…….

Flip the ruler around and make the next cut…..

Once everything is cut you can lay out the three pieces to form the goose…..

Now to the machine!!!! Starting on the right side, match up the fabric edges…..

…….and sew from the blunt end to the pointy end…..

Bonnie has even designed these blocks so that they nest up against one another for chain piecing…..

At this point, she suggests finger pressing the right side before continuing. I understand her concern about having an open bias edge on the other side of the goose, but I found that it was much easier to use my small iron and CAREFULLY press the side seam before continuing.

Next, you line up the left side and sew it in place, this time starting at the point……

The result was a PERFECT Flying Geese block!!! The final step was to trim off the “dog-ears”…..

….and it was ready to go.

I made 72 of these for my current Quilt of Valor and they were all perfect, there was NO fabric wastage and, once I got going, they were really fast to do.

I did use my 1/4 inch guide foot for the piecing which also helped with accuracy.

As I said…..I should have known that Bonnie would have the BEST way of doing this!!!!!

Half-square triangles……

I my last post, I talked about having “extra” half-square triangles when I made the flying geese blocks. Now I needed to trim them down to a usable size….what will I use them for….who knows!!!

Some weeks ago, I read a blog post that was talking about different ways to make HST’s and it talked about using a Bloc-Loc ruler…..

Block Loc Ruler

It sounded interesting (and satisfied my desire to try new techniques) so I purchased one and gave it a trial run with these “bonus” patches.

The “ditch” that runs down the diagonal of the ruler provides a “ledge” that can be lined up with the diagonal of the block, making it VERY easy to trim blocks down to size.

The first step was to decide on the optimal size of these patches and decided to cut them to 2 inches, making a 1.5 inch finished HST.

I lined the ledge up against the diagonal seam……

…..and trimmed the first two sides……

In this photo, it looks as if the right edge isn’t flush with the ruler but that is a photographic anomaly!!

*****Note that the ledge side of the ruler must be opposite to the side where the seam allowance resides. From what I have read, it will not work well when seams are pressed open.

Next, I flipped the block around to trim the other two sides, but quickly discovered that the ruler also had to be flipped so that the ledge would butt up against the diagonal seam.

I lined up the 2 inch marks on the already trimmed edges……

The final step was to trim the last two sides…..

….leaving a perfect 2 inch square!!

Since the ruler has to be flipped, I think that it will be faster to trim one side of a group of squares all at the same time, then flip everything to trim the other two sides……

Step 1 – trim
Step 2 – flip
Step 3 – final trim
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I am intrigued with this ruler and look forward to using it in the future!!!!

Piecing again…..

It seems like it has been a LONG time since I have pieced anything!! To be honest, I have looked back over the last 18 months of posts, and I haven’t found any place where I actually pieced half-square triangles, or flying geese or ANYTHING.

I did some paper piecing last May and a lot of string piecing to make the Color Wheel squiggle (which still needs to be finished), but no traditional piecing. That is scary!!!

I am still trying to “up my game” with my work so wanted to be super careful on the first Quilt-of-Valor top that I am making. And part of doing this is to try some different techniques for piecing to see exactly what works best for me.

The first step in my QOV was to make 72 flying geese units. Since I wasn’t feeling particularly sure of myself, I decided to cut squares for the corner triangles and then sew on the diagonal…..

This method gives a fairly accurate size, but there is a lot of wasted fabric. Since I don’t have much fabric (cough…cough), and I COULDN’T allow that to happen, I went ahead and sewed a second seam approximately 1/2 inch from the first seam……

Then, I cut between these two lines……

….and ended up with a Flying Geese block AND an additional “freebie” half-square triangle patch…..

First step completed and NO un-sewing!! Although I did run out of bobbin thread and had sewed 7 pieces before I realized it….ARGH!!!

Inspiration Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, so there must be some…..

Long before the Corona invasion, there was a guild retreat planned for the first week in May. As with everything else right now, it has been canceled.

However, while there, I was planning to work on something totally mindless…something scrap…..something with nothing but sewing and ironing!!! I was thinking either charity quilts or Quilt’s of Valor.

The last two QoV’s that I made were NOT well planned. I started out with an idea and eventually turned them into tops, although it was NOT an easy task……

And, I even failed to even take a photo of the right one with full borders on it!!!

My plan is to make one and maybe two tops in the next month or so and wanted a definite pattern to work with. Time was spent searching internet images and ideas for QOV’s, coming up with a total of 21 ideas!!!

I picked out my favorites and planned 4 of them in EQ…..

I will probably start with the first two as they are a bit less complicated but I would love to do the second set as well.

Now to get started!!!

Bordering on Insanity….

Recently I have been looking thru my computer and finding photos of quilts from my past. I thought that I would share one or two along the way.

Border challenges were all the rage in 1996. The quilt design process included one person designing a center block, passing it on to the next person who would add a border, then on to the next to add another border, until the top reached the desired size.

It was then that our guild decided to have a border challenge. But, in this case, we would design and make the entire quilt ourselves while following certain defined parameters…..

The details have escaped my memory, but I do remember that each round had to be a specified size and most rounds had a designated type of block that needed to be included.

The final product was thrilling to me…..

Border Challenge Quilt

My favorite memory of this quilt was sitting in the back yard with Michael while I tried to draft each surrounding border. There I sat with pencil and paper….and eraser, dreaming of the future of computer aided design programs.

I chopped and changed and re-drafted each border, meaning that the next border had to be changed as well. As I fumed and erased the paper for the umpteenth time, Michael commented that he thought quilting was supposed to be fun. I looked at him and snapped….”I AM having fun…..leave me alone”!!!!

If I remember correctly, it was the first time that I pieced a background…..

Pieced Background

….although the backgrounds that I piece now are much more convoluted.

I made the label using leftover bits that and I gave it an appropriate title…..

Quilt Label Craziness

………………..”Bordering on Insanity”!!

…..and I certainly was that!!!!