Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Snow Day & Learning HSTs...

Good Morning!  

Yes, it's snowing out!  Yes, the shop ( Mrs P's) physical location in downtown Amherst is closed until the storm is over!  But that doesn't mean we stop 'working'!  

Snow Days are for getting caught up on some work that needs to done.  For a shop owner, that can mean some book work that we've been postponing or do a past due blog post....that's me! :) 

A while ago, I tried to make half square triangles and managed to mangle them in ways I had no idea I was capable of.  I'd did everything from sew on the line that I would later cut- totally useless to sew there;  to stretching the fabric on the bias as I used a dull pencil and dragged it across the poor fabric.  

My seam lines were not to straight either! 

As we all know, but find it hard to understand- practice is how we get better.  Every beautiful quilter had to start somewheres.  I'm sure they can all tell tales of their first quilting experiences!  

I have been practising my HST (half square triangles).  I moved up to a 5" block and started practicing on Moda's Regent Street charm pack, which just happens to be for sale at Mrs P's.

Yes, I picked Raspberry, a batik by Hoffman to pair with it.   I'm not sure it's a great mix with all of the squares, but I liked it what I could see in the pkg.  I am sure there will be a moment (or more), when I will recoil in horror at the 'pinkness' of it all, but for now, it's intriguing.  

Note the smoothly drawn line on the pink from corner to corner diagonally.  Also, note the ever sharp (an old brand name for a mechanical pencil ) pencil on the right.  It offers a softer lead to glide with and it stays sharp- both of which help the fabric from being distorted on the bias.  

I could have just as easily marked the wrong side of the charm pack fabric and still end up with the same HST.  Mark which ever fabric you can see the easiest.  

They are paired, right sides together and sewn a 1/4 of an inch from that magic pencil line.  Not on the line- but that's what seam ripper can be useful for!  If you do nor have a a 1/4 foot or way to mark the 1/4 inch- use the edge of you regular sewing machine foot.  {Please note, marking a 1/4 inch seam needs to be done carefully as that seam will be in the quilt and what you used to mark with, might be seen or 'bleed' through the fabric.}  The line drawn is to cut on in this example. 

Consistency is what is key.  If you use the pressure foot as a guide- do all your seams that way.  It's okay. The end product will be a bit smaller but your square will fit together without a lot of fuss.  

So, here we go.  Deep breath, try to keep it steady, sew down one side.  Turn it and sew down the other side.  The two lines should be parallel at 1/2 an inch apart.  

I ended up chain sewing!  Instead of cutting and removing each square, I sewed the 1/4 inch with a few stitches in between as one big 'chain'.  Then I turned it around at the end and sewed the second side.  

If I wobbled on the sewing, I cut it out of the chain, pulled the stitches out and tried to keep my constant 1/4 seam from the pencil line.  Remember, there is no time line for sewing.  Enjoy what you are doing.  

The time came to cut.  Decisions...scissors or rotary blade?  I used the scissors.  I had a line to cut on and it was easier than using a wheel, ruler and cutting mat for where I was working. 

So once cut and pressed- there are little 'dog ears' on the seam edges.  Trim those with scissors or your rorary cutter before trying to piece them together.  

Ta da!  Trimmed edges and Pretty in Pink! 

The next few photos will show, this technique will make...

A pinwheel! Or...

An hour glass block... Or...

A chevron pattern in a quilt row...Or...

Half Square Triangle quilts, have endless possibilies as this one brought in for me to see (made of Mrs P's fabrics) at the shop!

A good way to expand into triangles and patterns but it's still a block that is square.  Consistency with the seam lines when constructing is how they 'magically' match up and patience with yourself as you learn that!  

Enjoy your snow day! 

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