Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flying geese galore (Civil War February BOM)

Harriet and Carrie Hargrave suggest designing your own quilts in their Quilter's Academy series.  I haven't done this yet, but have read about it extensively and so decided to put this to use in the February Civil War BOM I'm working on, especially because the directional prints throw off my block.  I am learning!  I followed the directions to the letter last month, but am convinced that the only way to go is to make use of the Accuquilt Go! system and create my flying geese with their 2 1/2" half square triangle die, at least for a beginner like me.  
I hope that Carrie and Harriet will seriously consider mentioning the Accuquilt system in their upcoming books because people are falling in love with them!  One really good reason is for arthritic hands - it's much easier on you and can give you back the ability to do beautiful piecing if you were previously unable due to medical challenges.

Since I haven't yet purchased a nice set of "adult" type colored pencils, I borrowed from my nine year old son!

Staying organized is a major plus in this business.  I purchased this plastic keeper to place my completed blocks in as I go.  Perhaps I'll need to purchase a second or third since the finished quilt is 108"x108"!
In November, the Civil War quilt BOM people will be having us cut and sew 700 (yes, seven hundred) 1 1/2" half square triangles.  I pray that AccuQuilt will come out with a die for that by then.  At least Harriet and Carrie's Junior Year of Quilter's Academy that deals with triangles will be out by then if I can't do it the "easy" way!  Remember when they considered machine quilting "cheating"?  AccuQuilt die cutting will be common within the next five to ten and see!

Here I am chain-stitching sixteen blue (left) and brown (right) Flying Geese.  My Janome Jem Gold 3 has a quilting foot that has a bugger of an attachment on the right (a guide) and after asking at my local quilt shop, I guess there is no other foot for it, so it'll have to do!  Harriet, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Here I am cutting off the extra fabric....

Now to starch and set the seam, as Harriet and Carrie recommend.

After setting the seam first, I began to iron the seam open.  Pretty darn good for a beginner I think!  I owe it all to the AccuQuilt - no kidding.

Here I take time to place the dark brown directional fabric correctly.

I set up all sixteen before beginning to chain stitch, as Harriet uses in her Quilter's Academy series.

Can you see the "guide" on the right side of the Janome 1/4" quilting foot?

Here's a better close-up.  Some people love the guide - it's great for outside seam sewing, but not so great for me when sewing on top of other fabric.  It seems to get in the way and even tug sometimes on the bottom fabric...any suggestions?

This close-up is to show you how the AccuQuilt cuts the half square triangles with notches so that everything matches up perfectly without having to square afterwards, either!  Such a time-saver....

I was interrupted pleasantly by the delivery of one dozen long-stemmed red roses from my husband :-)

Here they are in their vase...they smell so good and I have them near my sewing area.

OK, enough stopping to smell the roses...time to get back to sewing!

Trimming using a Titanium rotary cutters.  Man, these babies stay sharp for a LONG time.

Unlike Harriet and Carrie who swear by Faultless Heavy Spray starch, I have decided to use "Best Press" instead.  Reason being, my husband was in the military for 24 years and I've seen enough Faultless Heavy Spray startch to fill a lifetime and more!  I really enjoy the freshly-laundered scent of "Best Press".  I hope this won't be a huge mistake!  

Note the blue and light brown fabrics are non-directional, however the dark brown fabric is directional!  Very tricky for a beginning quilter, but I'm going to figure this out....

Here's the proof in the pudding...not bad...

I have decided that since I am sewing FOUR blocks of the same kind this month instead of one, I am going to have to keep more careful track of what's happening when, thus the red check marks and blots to tell me where I've been and what's coming next.  Otherwise, I'm thinking the next time I return to my piecing, I'll waste time figuring out where I left off.

Well, I cut out 64 HST just like the directions said, but guess what?  The dark brown directional fabric is not going to end up going the direction I what to do?

A mere FIVE is all I have going the correct direction (see the little triangles facing north?) and I need sixteen, so....

I go to my fabric stash and see what's left of Fabric's not much, but I am able to cut another six from what I have, so now I'm up to eleven....
I have two choices:
1.  live with it
and have it drive me nuts for the next 50 years
2.  send my daughter on a quick run to the quilt shop to buy another bit of fabric for $2.50
What do you think I decided to do?

Definitely #2 - my daughter returned in ten minutes with a fresh 1/4 yard and I'm off and running with my AccuQuilt leading the way!

Another break this afternoon:  making a Valentine's box for school on Monday...  I think it was great that sixteen year old Katie helped nine year old brother Rodger :-)  Pokemon stickers and heart stickers made Rodger's box look really nice.  Great job, kids!

Here are my five very lonely rectangles waiting for their half square triangle mates.

I love the term "wonky" when it is aptly used to describe off-kilter seams, etc.  I believe that I must give credit to Lesley from for coining this term.  Perhaps it's a common Austrailian expression, but now it's also common at our house in North Dakota, USA!

Stich rippin' time!

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