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.