The plot, like my gravy, thickens

One of my favorite scenes from “The Big Bang Theory”…..

And yes, the plot is thickening in the December installment of the Macaron Mystery from Meadow Mist Designs.

She kept the December clue easy and, since I didn’t get around to it until January, that was probably a good thing.

This month we were making a Square-in-a-Square block.

The first step was to cut one set of squares in half on the diagonal and I got confused by this and wondered if I really wanted to do it!! I HATE working with bias seams!!! I finally cut two squares in half and made one of the blocks. When I felt more certain of what I was doing, I cut the rest…..

Next step was to sew one triangle on two alternate sides of the square…..

You didn’t have to trim the corners but I did anyway….

Then, you add triangles to the two opposite sides…..

Now it was time to trim this block to 3.5-inches. I find this hard to do and still keep all of the inside corners 1/4-inch away from the outside. There is almost too much to look for!!

THEN, I remembered the ruler that I bought at Houston….

Deb Tucker’s Square Squared!!

You can use this ruler for the entire process of making a Square-In-A-Square block, but in this case, I just needed the right-hand section for the final trim.

It works like this….

You line up the inside 3-inch square with the dashed lines on the ruler

Trim it….

Then line the trimmed edge up to the 3.5-inch lines…..

Note that the inside square still matches the dashed line square drawn on the ruler.

The result was that I have 12 (well actually 13 but they don’t photograph as well) perfect Square-In-A-Square blocks…..

…and I learned how to use another new ruler…..

A Win-Win……

Wellspring…more piecing

When I left you, I had made all of the units needed for the Whirlwind blocks. Now it was time to put them together!!

As I pointed out in the last post, there were two distinct sets of triangles…..

One set has the background triangle against the rose fabric and the other has it against the periwinkle fabric. As I found out the hard way, it was important to keep these separated.

When the blocks are properly laid out, they look like this…..

The first step was to sew two of the triangle sets together…..

You may notice that they are not the exact same size, but they are made larger, and then cut down so that isn’t going to be an issue.

I pressed to the “side of least resistance”… the fabric with no seams…..

Next was to lay out the block again…..

….and sew these two larger triangles together.

Because I wanted to be as accurate as possible, I pinned these two together using TWO pins….

….one on the seam that I would be sewing on…..

….and one on the OTHER side of the triangle, matching the seams down there as well….

The reason that this second pin is important is that it helps to square up the sewing line better, especially since you are dealing with bias edges!!

I sewed along the seam…..

…being careful to use my stiletto at the ending point to keep the fabrics from shifting.

If you have never used a stiletto, here is an older video explaining how they work…..

When I finished piecing all of the blocks, I trimmed them down to 9-inches…..

…although after the fact, I realized that they needed to be 8.5 inches so I RE-trimmed them!!!

Putting them up on the design wall made me smile indeed…..

Now to piece the alternating blocks…..stay tuned!!

Using numbered pins

In Sunday’s post, I talked about using numbered pins for laying out quilts.

For today’s “Terrific Tip Tuesday”, I want to expand on that a bit…..

First of all, if you don’t want to purchase numbered pins, you can also use pieces of painters tape with numbers written on them. My only concern for this method is that the tape sometimes peels off or gets stuck to another piece of fabric, magically transferring itself to the WRONG block. And, I have been known to get the tape too close to the edge and have sewn thru it, permanently attaching it to the quilt

Or, you can take a flower-head pin and write the numbers on yourself!!!

Also, if your pins only go up the number 20 and you have 24 blocks, you can place two pins on each block to signify 21, 22, etc…..

The best advice that I can give about using these pins is to always place them in the blocks in the same orientation. As an example…..

….you can see that I have placed the pins on the left-hand side of each part to be sewn and the pins are all facing the same direction. That way, if you see a pin going in a different direction, you know that you have something matched up incorrectly.

Do you have other suggestions for how to mark your blocks so that they move perfectly from the design wall to the sewing machine, and then back to the wall again??

Did you know that many tools from your kitchen can move to your studio, making your quilting even more fun? To receive a free pdf featuring 5 such tools, please subscribe to my newsletter. You can sign-up in the top, right-hand column of this blog, or click HERE

Tradewinds – Part 2

Yesterday I posted about making the Strip sets for my newest project….”Tradewinds”!!

Now it was time to sub-cut them into triangles.

The pattern uses a special ruler called the “Strip Tube Ruler”…..

One of the things that I appreciated about the pattern was that they included instructions for how to make the sub-cuts using a different type of ruler and this is what I did.

I used my “Easy Angle” ruler and simply put painter’s tape along the line that I would be following….

I actually put several layers of tape along that line…..

….so that I would have something to butt the fabric up against.

It worked beautifully!!!

For some of the cuts, I actually drew the lines on the ruler using a fine-point sharpie…..

I did try several different cutting lines until I got the size that yielded the proper triangle.

I also added smaller pieces of painter’s tape to help me see which line I was cutting on!!

This wasn’t an ideal way to do the cutting, but it was better than having to wait for another ruler to arrive.

As I started sewing the two triangle sets together, I marked the center of both blocks and used that to line up the pieces…..

It was enjoyable to quickly sew the triangles together to form the blocks……

…although twice I got a little carried away…..

It is SO frustrating to have to stop and rip when you are on a roll!!!

With all of the blocks made, I was excited to throw it up on the design wall and see how it looked…..

I wasn’t exactly sure about the layout but thought that I could go ahead and piece the big blocks together.

It was so exciting to see the corners and points match up …..

Isn’t that a thing of beauty!!!

Since every other block is rotated, I found it easiest to sew all of one type together first. Because I did it this way, I saved two or three blocks that I was about to sew incorrectly. I would notice that I wasn’t having to match up the same lines as before and that would be my “twig” that I was doing it wrong.

On the wall again…..

And, although I love the bright colors, I think that it needs something else…..

Come back Saturday for the big finish!!

What am I doing wrong?

I am once again participating in the mystery quilt from Meadow Mist Designs, this time based on those wonderful cookies called Macarons!!!

For the months of October and November, we made flying geese….and more flying geese…..and even more flying geese!! She has promised us that this is the last of them.

But, it did give me an opportunity to perfect my flying geese technique. But, alas, that was not the case and I am still having troubles.

We are making them by the 4-at-a-time method and I love how they look when they are in process…..

But when I start trimming them down, the point side always seems to be a bit short!! I even marked the first set so I would remember when I used these units in another step……

I figured that I had not been careful enough in my piecing or ironing so set out the next month to do better.

In November, I VERY carefully pieced and ironed, but they still ended up a bit short on one side (normally the left one)…..

‘I am using the Wing-Clipper tool to trim.

Do you have any thoughts about what I am doing wrong???

ALL help will be appreciated!!