Monday, October 26, 2020

Pickle Dish and Mariner's Compass - Part Five - Sewing the Mariner's compass blocks

This is a continuation of 4 previous blogs about the making of the pickle dish and mariner's compass quilt.  I'm going to show you how to piece the Mariner's Compass Blocks with a freezer paper foundation.

After the pickle dish units were completed, I was able to see where the colors on the mariner's compass blocks needed to fall to give the effect of interlocking circles, which I might have written about in the previous posting.  There were three different mariner's compass block backgrounds and ray colors.  In order to keep this all straight, I decided that I needed to use a freezer paper foundation that I could write on and that then would be removed.  I had to remember to flip the orientation of my notations since the freezer paper foundation would be worked upside down from the finished block.  Here is the freezer paper foundation with all the marking.

I cut apart the foundation into 4 pieces, then cut those 4 in half; ending up with 8 sections to piece.

I laid out all the fabrics to correspond with their foundation sections.

Then I started piecing the lightest (tertiary ray) piece with its background pieces first.  I pinned the first piece in place, right side down. 

Then I used an old advertising card and the add-a-seam 1/4" ruler to trim the seam to 1/4".

To this I picked up the next piece, and flipped the paper over and sewed right on the seam line.  This process was followed with the other side.  The completion sub-section was pressed and trimmed with 1/4" seams.

Then I added the secondary star point.  And in the cases where the star point was split, I pieced one side first, trimmed it, and then sewed on the second half of the star point.

Then the black and largest rays were pieced onto the units.  And the two sub-pieces of the 4 quadrants were sewn back together, completing the 4 major units.  

All of the units were trimmed to a 1/4" seam allowance on the seam edges (but NOT the inner and outside edges).  They were sewn together in this order.  1 to 2.  3 to 4. 

 And they were then sewn together in two steps - the top half and then the bottom half.  

The final steps were to press, remove the largest ray foundation papers, mark around the outside edge on the seam line, and trim to 1/4".  I also appliqued down a round center piece.

This is decidedly NOT a beginner's quilt.  It's taxing my brain, which is good right?  But I have to admit that I've had to tear out half of the mariner's compass blocks after they were completed, because I got the white and gray background in the wrong spots, even though I had carefully laid the block out before sewing.  Argh!  

I hope this helps you sew together Mariner's Compass blocks.  And don't worry about one of two hairs that get pulled out in the process.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sewing Pickle Dish units together

Sewing pickle dish units together is a slow process with many curved seams to deal with.  All I can say to start with is, "Pins, pins and more pins".  And, well I guess there is much more to say, so keep reading.

You need to mark all the seam lines and ignore the outside edges.  If there is a foundation paper or dissolving product on the pickles, it's easy to just draw on the outside edges.  I DO leave the foundation product in for this step.  However, if you're using paper, it is much stiffer and you might be better off removing the paper after you mark the seam lines.  

Lay out the pieces the way they are going to be sewn together.

Sew the center melon to one side of the pickle dish unit.  Pin the ends and the middle, making sure to match up the SEAM LINES (and ignore the edges!).  Pin every 3/4 inch or so and make sure to take a tiny bite with the pin.  I find that it helps to hold the pieces curving into each other and then let the piece curve upwards while it is in the machine.  It's much too hard to try to wrestle them flat into the machine.  Sew slowly and only remove the pins when you get close to them with the needle.  Press towards the melon.  Trim any seam allowances to 1/4".

Sew the two end pieces to the other pickle dish unit.  These are also curved, so pin at both ends and put one pin in the center.  Use the same technique of curving the pieces into one another as above.  Press towards the end pieces.  Trim any seam allowances to 1/4".

Pin the two pieces together, using the same curved method above.  Press towards the melon and towards the first unit, so that this seam is all pressed in the same direction.  Trim any seam allowances to 1/4".

Finally, give the pieces a good pressing from the front.  Use a little steam and press with an up and down motion.

I hope this helps you sew pickle dish units together.

Friday, October 16, 2020

My first whole bolt purchase!

Even though I have been sewing and quilting for probably close to 60 years, the most fabric that I've ever purchased was 9 yards for backing fabric.  Many of my friends buy fabric by the bolt, or buy the "rest of the bolt" at a store to get a discount.  Of course, that is fabric that they are pretty sure they are going to use a LOT of in their quilts.  But I never did.  Until...

YES!  I bought my first whole bolt of fabric!  It's 20 yards of solid black Moda Bella.  I love the feel of the Moda Bella fabrics and their solid colors are so yummy.  It's one of only two black solid fabrics that I like.  The other one is Kona Cotton.  And I like all of their colors and nice hand to their fabrics.

Here is a link to a description of Moda Bella solids and why they are so great!  And here is one for the color chart for Kona Cotton by Robert Kauffman.

Anyway, stay tuned for all the black that will show up in my future quilts!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Color Palette selection

I tried a different way of selecting a color palette for the Pickle Dish/Mariner's compass quilt.  It was a technique recommended by Jean Wells Keenan of the  The Stitchin Post.  She told us that she started with a picture or image that had a pleasing combination of colors.  Then she took that picture and made a palette of colors in the same formula as the picture.  Here's how I interpreted that idea in this quilt.

I found a picture that I liked on Pinterest.

With colored pencils, I developed a color palette and related that to a general estimate of the yardage required to get the same effect.  (It's the second set in the picture below).

Then I translated that to the pieces as I was sewing them together.  Here are the quilt pieces in progress.

I hope you can use this technique when developing your next color palette for a quilt.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Pick Dish and Mariner's Compass - Part Four

This is a continuation of 3 previous blogs about the making of the Pickle Dish and Mariner's Compass Quilt.

I kept working on the pickle dish units, paying attention to which ones needed white background, and which ones needed gray background.  Some of them needed either darker green fabrics, and some needed a little bit of teal green.  Here are some of those units.

I also cut out the center pieces for all of the pickle dish units and put those up on the wall.   I don't know what I would do without a design wall to keep all the units in place.  

I hope you are enjoying the process of making this quilt.  

Monday, September 28, 2020

Pickle Dish and Mariner's Compass Quilt - Part Three

This is a continuation of two previous posts about the making of the pickle dish and mariner's compass quilt.

I used a handy circle template sheet that I had purchased from Cindy Needham to help prepare the pattern for the Mariner's compass blocks.  Her sheet only goes to 14" and I needed 16".  No problem, though.  I just traced the pattern I made for the pickle dish on the outside edges, then laid this over her template.  It was easy and fast to make a pattern for the Mariner's compass blocks.  Like the pickle dish, I didn't want the tips to end right at the edge of the circle, so I scooted them inside by 1/8" too.  Here is my basic pattern:

I wanted to make sure that the colors blended with the previous pickle dish blocks and this meant that the mariner's compass blocks needed to be slightly different.  Here are the 3 colorations that this quilt required.

I don't know how this blog is going to turn out.  Blogger has changed their platform and the pictures are huge on my screen.  Oh well, it's not to late to learn new stuff, I guess.

Anyway, I hope you still like this quilt.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Pickle Dish and Mariners Compass - Part Two

This is a continuation of a post about the making of the pickle dish and mariner's compass quilt.

I always jump to lime green as my first idea for just about any quilt.  So, I looked at lots of Pinterest pictures to get some ideas of what to put with the green.  Many of them were full of all colors, but a few had some toned down grays, blacks, white, and a smattering of pink and turquoise.  Usually, I would put lime green with red-purple and sometimes with red-orange; or with blues and yellows.  This time I decided that it might be fun to experiment with colors that may not be the typical selections from the color wheel and color theory.  

But the first thing that I needed to do was the sketch up the quilt, copy it several times, and play around with colored pencils.  Here is what I came up with:

I liked the one with gray and white, a little bit of black, and lots of green (in the upper left corner).  Although the colors are pale on the drawing, they will be just as vibrant as the one in the lower right hand corner, I promise!   I had all the fabrics I needed from my stash:

I did have to draft up the pattern, after I discovered the original was an 18" circle.  Yikes!  I didn't mind, too much, making another queen sized quilt, but I didn't want to make a monster.  So, I redrafted it for  16" circles, and moved the points in 1/8" from the edge so that they would be floating.  I really like to hand draft and enjoy getting out my old engineering tools and using my drafting table for it's original purpose (and not just as my cutting table).  Here's another little secret - I love math!  Working out this pattern and any kind of math problem gets my juices going.  Not as much as making quilts, but close.  Here are my drafting tools and patterns.

I used dissolving foundation sold by Ricky Tims to make the patterns for the pickle dish units.  By drawing them 3 on a page, I was able to use an 8-1/2 x 11" sheet to print 3 units.

These were cut out and used for the foundation base.  I discovered years ago that precutting the pieces 3/8" larger than the final size makes it so much easier to do foundation piecing.  Here is a photo of the pattern.

When you cut strips of fabric that match the width of the pre-cut pieces, you can cut a lot of them in short order and not waste very much fabric.

I started in the middle of the pickle pattern because I wanted the white background to cover the green pieces.  I prefer to use a foundation - whether paper or a dissolving stabilizer - that is cut out on the sewing lines.  This way, you don't have to remove all the pesky little pieces of stabilizer in the seams.  PLUS, you can mark the seams lines accurately at the edge of the foundation.  It's so much easier to line up the sewing lines than to match the edges when you're sewing concave and convex pieces together.  

Sew directly on the line.  Fold the sewn piece in place and crease or iron.

Flip the piece over.  Place a postcard on the next sewing line and flip the foundation back.  

Place an add-a quarter ruler against the card and trim the seam to 1/4".  

Pick up the next piece even with this seam. Take it to the sewing machine and flipping the foundation back in place, sew on the line again.  

This process continues until the entire foundation is covered.  Note that I allowed a lot of hang over so that I would be able to add the 1/4" to the outside edges after the pieces were sewn and pressed.  

I have liked foundation piecing in the past and am sure that I will enjoy the process on this large quilt too.  But this time, I won't have to tear out the foundation or worry about the points being perfect.