Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Possible Changes to Pattern

When I posted the picture of the original block next to my sewn block, I noticed that some of Jane's corner pieces don't look pieced.

I was hoping to get a close-up view when I visited the quilt this past weekend. However, this year the quilt was displayed in a different area, with less light, and you had to stand further back. So I really couldn't tell if there were seams or not, even in person.

Jane's Block
Photo of Jane's Block

I've stared at all the photos I have, and the poster, and the quilt, and it always looks like one of the corners is pieced (the bottom left corner) to make a complete circle, the way my pattern is. But a couple of the corners definitely look like they're not pieced. So I created a second pattern without pieced corners.

Pattern Changes
TATRWJ - Row 6, Block 6 - Changes Marked in Green

If I make this block again, I'm undecided as to which pattern I'll use.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TATRWJ - Row 6, Block 6

My seventh "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 6, Block 6
Completed on Sept. 16, 2010 (25pcs)
TATRWJ - 7 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 123 Pieces

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 6, Block 6
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

This block was put together like a nine patch, and then the pieced together circles were appliqued onto the background.

I cut the circles out of my freezer paper pattern. Then I pressed the background freezer paper section to the background, and the freezer paper circles inside the fabric circles. I find this makes it easier to place the circles where they belong because you can feel the edges of the paper through the fabric.

I like to sew a basting stitch around the circle in the seam allowance, and then pull it tight to bring the seam allowance inside. Then I press it, and then I baste it down from the top, going through the right side of the circle, and the freezer paper and the seam allowance. It's more work, but it helps me to get rounder circles.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

TATRWJ - Row 6, Block 5

My sixth "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 6, Block 5
Completed on Feb. 12, 2010 (9pcs)
TATRWJ - 6 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 98 Pieces

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 6, Block 5
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

For this block I printed a freezer paper pattern, and cut out the appliques. Then I pieced the center applique.

After that, I pressed the freezer paper for the center applique onto the back of the joined piece, then folded the seam allowances under and basted them to the paper, and pressed again. I did the same with the 4 melons. This way I had nice sharply outlined pieces to applique.

Then I pressed the remaining piece of freezer paper (the background with the appliques cut out) onto the center of a 6 inch square (I wanted extra that would be trimmed off at the end).

When I held the background square up to the light, it was easy to see where the appliques should go, and I pinned them over the holes in the paper that I could see. After that, I could just sit and sew until all 5 appliques were done.

Then I slit the back of the center (careful to cut ONLY the background fabric!) and cut the background down to about 1/4" seam allowance, and removed the basting and freezer paper. For the melons I only cut a slit since they were so small, and removed the basting and paper.

One final press and trim, and DONE! The freezer paper inside the applique gives a nice edge to sew against. I liked this method, and will use it again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 9

My fifth "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 9
Completed on Feb. 9, 2010 (21pcs)
TATRWJ - 5 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 89 Pieces

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 5, Block 9
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

This block went together similarly to Row 5, Block 7, except the circle was MUCH easier to applique than the odd shape in Block 7. I paper-pieced the rays, then joined them into a circle.

After basting down the edges of the applique circle and pressing it, I sewed the circle onto the rays. Then I added the four remaining background strips. I like the way it came out.

Small Again!
This is another block that I used one of my patterns that I had printed before adding the extra seam allowance to the patterns. It came out a tad small again.

I'm convinced that the extra around the outside edge is needed, at least for me when paper-piecing. So I'm going to re-print my patterns onto freezer paper WITH the extra seam allowance on the edges. I had already printed all 25 patterns for the center, but re-print I must!

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 7

My fourth "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 7
Completed on Feb. 8, 2010 (12pcs)
TATRWJ - 4 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 68 Pieces

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 5, Block 7
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

I paper-pieced the fabric pieces that are around the center applique, and then joined it. I printed out a freezer paper pattern, and cut out the center applique. I centered and pressed the outside section to the back of the main piece, and the pressed the freezer paper center to the back of my applique fabric.

After basting down the edges of the center applique and pressing, I added the applique on top of the pieced section. I can feel the edges of the applique's freezer paper, and the pieced section's freezer paper as I sew, so it makes it easier to keep the applique from shifting out of position.

Then I added the four background strips, and pressed the block. Then I removed the freezer paper, and gave it a final press with a dry iron.

My applique skills are beginner at best and I had a hard time in the inner points. Hopefully the next one will be better!

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 7, Old & New

My two blocks side by side.
                Re-Drafted 5" block         and         4 1/2" sashed block

In my new block the center applique motif is much less round, and the strips are wider than my 4 1/2" block. When I made the new block I forgot to use the mostly ORANGE sections of the fabric when I cut out the fabric for this block, so this one is more red than I had planned, even though it's the SAME fabric.

I like the look WITHOUT the pieced section under the applique better, I left it in on the 4 1/2" block and don't care for it as much. From now on, I think I'll cut away any pieced sections under an applique.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Old Blocks - Un-Sewing & Re-Sewing

I've "un-joined" some of the old 4 1/2" blocks that had been sewn together for the my original quilt plan, in the quilt-as-you-go method. I had 5 blocks sewn together for one row, and the other 2 joined together for a second row.

Five blocks, quilted and joined

Five blocks, view of back and quilting

Then I "re-joined" the blocks into the new rows for my "Starting With Jane" wallhanging.

Blocks Sewn Into Rows - Rows Not Joined Yet

I've got lots more work to do to make the wallhanging, but I've got all the patterns for the "filler" blocks done.

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 8, Old & New

I wanted to see the difference between these two blocks, one done in my new pattern drafted from Jane's quilt, and a 4 1/2" block made from the software. I added a "simulated" sash strip to the 4 1/2" block to show 1/2 of a sash strip around all sides. (With the sash strips, the 13 blocks in each row plus the sash equals 65" across, which averages out to 5 inches per block.)

This brings both blocks to 5" square, since Jane's quilt is made entirely with 5" blocks, and DOES NOT have sash strips. Jane did add borders to many of her smaller blocks to bring them up to a 5" size, but many others are a full 5" in size.

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 5, Block 8
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

My two blocks side by side.
                Re-Drafted 5" block         and         4 1/2" sashed block

Jane's block has a higher ratio of the focus fabric (red) around the outside of the design, and more background fabric around the block.

Lots of Jane's blocks look smaller, and when you put them next to the ones that use the full 5" for the block, the differences are more noticeable. It really gives a more random, and less structured look to the quilt. I think this is what really attracts me to Jane's quilt. The various sizes of the designs in the blocks is part of its beauty to me.

TATRWJ - Fabrics Chosen for 25 Center Blocks

I've chosen fabrics for the center 25 blocks. That's where I'm starting my quilt, right in the MIDDLE. The first block I made is Row 5, Block 5. (My numbering matches the way the quilt was displayed at the Bennington Museum, in which the basket block is facing up, and not sideways.)

Center 25 Blocks with Fabrics (in EQ5)

Actually, these are the same fabrics I chose when I started on this project last year before the re-drafting of the patterns. But I still like the color scheme, so I've decided to keep these fabrics for this section.

I'm considering doing a quilt-as-you-go again. But instead of doing it block by block, since there's no sashing, I think I'll do it in a dozen or so sections. I still haven't settled on the exact method yet. But these 25 will definitely be one of the sections.

I just can't picture quilting a quilt this big on my lap in one piece!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Updates to Sewn Patterns

After sewing the first 3 blocks, I've found some minor changes that I'd like to make to a couple of the patterns if I sew the blocks again.

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 5, Pattern Changes

My Block
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 5

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 5, Block 5
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

Pattern Changes
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 5 - Changes Marked in Green Circles

If I make this block again, I'm going to try not to have the background melons connected to each other as much, and turn the edges under right up to the joining points. It ended up this way because I was unfamiliar with using the arc tools in EQ, and couldn't figure out how to make the arcs touch each other less where they joined when I made the pattern.

I've since figured it out and fixed the pattern, but not in time for the sewn block. I want to eliminate the purple seams, and the melons will be smaller and more like Jane's.

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 6, Pattern Changes

My Block
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 6

Jane's Block
In War Time - Row 5, Block 6
Photo of Jane's Block - With Blue Lines Added to Outline the Block

Pattern Changes
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 6 - Changes Marked in Green Ovals

On closer inspection, I noticed that the side triangles on Jane's block are only touching in ONE out of FOUR places. When I originally made the pattern I thought maybe they should touch, and it was easier to it design that way, just dividing the space into two equal sections. After staring at it some more, now I think that maybe the original pattern had the triangles NOT touching. So I've adjusted the pattern to reflect this, but again my block was sewn from my first version of the pattern. If I make another block, I'll use my newer pattern with the side triangles NOT touching.

Future Changes to Patterns

It looks like lots of the patterns I made will be changed before I'm done.

When you actually sew the block and then compare it to the original, small differences become more noticeable.

I drew all the center blocks into EQ5 (so that I could use them in the DJ software), but I wasn't all the familiar with the program at the time. Obviously, by the time I got to the 169th pattern, I was getting better at it.

The first patterns I drafted will definitely need to be looked at more closely for things I can fix to make them better (more like the original designs).

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 6

My third "Trip Around The Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 6
Completed on Feb. 6, 2010 (22pcs)
TATRWJ - 3 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 56 Pieces

This block was completely paper-pieced in 6 sections. The left and right sides were 2 sections each (a long section and a corner section), and the center was pieced in 2 sections on the diagonal line. Then the 3 joined sections (left, middle, and right) were joined.

This block went together pretty quickly and easily. My point matching could be better, but it's fine. I've decided I'd rather have blocks than are done, instead of blocks that aren't because they're not perfect. There are so many blocks, that it'll never get done if I get too picky!

Small Blocks
I'm finding that blocks are coming out just a tiny bit too small. I'm going to add an EXTRA 1/4" seam allowance around all the paper-piecing patterns, and then I can trim them to the right size when they're done. I'd like to have a nice full 1/4" seam allowance to join the squares in order to keep the quilt the right size as much as possible.

Pattern Preparation & Piecing Info
I've been printing TWO copies of the pattern onto freezer paper. The FIRST copy is cut into SECTIONS to be used for paper-piecing. I sew by hand, and sew right through the freezer paper. It's not too hard.

The SECOND copy is totally cut up into pieces. Then I iron each pattern piece onto the appropriate fabric with about 3/8" around each piece (more is better). Then I cut them apart.

Now I have a labeled piece of fabric for EVERY PATTERN PIECE for paper-piecing or regular piecing. It saves me lots of time, and makes it easier to just keep sewing with all the pieces pre-cut.

If I'm just regular piecing, I'll trim the seam allowances to 1/4", and then when I sew, I can tell it's right when my seam is right up against the paper on the top and bottom.

For paper-piecing, the paper shows me exactly how I had planned to position the pre-cut piece. Then I peel the paper, double check it covers where it should and sew on the line.

After piecing, I like to give a quick press with one of the "stick" wooden irons. Then I have less distortion when I press with the mini-iron to get it to stick to the pattern to trim for the next section.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 8

My second "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" block.
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 8
Completed on Jan. 25, 2010 (21pcs)
TATRWJ - 2 Blocks, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 34 Pieces

I used the same method that I used in the 1st block to piece this one. I appliqued the melons to the center piece.

Then I paper-pieced the ring.

Next I basted the inner "circle" inside the seam allowance and tightened the thread a bit to pull the seam allowances under the edge of the freezer paper.

Then I pressed it well, and appliqued it to the ring. Then I sewed on the outer pieces.

I'm hoping my applique skills improve as I practice more, but it's definitely a "keeper".

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1st Block! (Again) & New Quilt Names

I've finished re-drafting all the blocks in Jane's quilt. After doing all the center blocks, I decided that I might as well go all the way and do the triangles and corners as well. The triangles are bit more challenging than the blocks, so I've been using Quilt Assistant to draw the blocks, then I export them to PJ5 projects. In EQ5 I convert them to motifs for my custom layout. A custom layout is the only way I could figure out to replicate the triangle and scallop borders in EQ5.

Finally! On to sewing the newly drafted blocks!

Since the blocks I've already made are only 4 1/2" in size and already quilted, and I need 5" blocks for the newly re-drafted patterns, I have to start over again with BLOCK 1 for the new quilt.

Here is a picture of my first sewn block using my re-drafted patterns of Jane A. Stickle's quilt.
TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 5
Completed on Jan. 1, 2010 (13pcs)
TATRWJ - 1 Block, 0 Triangles, 0 Corners, 13 Pieces

TATRWJ - Row 5, Block 5 - Block Construction
Originally I had planned to just piece the curves, but I decided to practice applique and try something different.

I printed the pattern onto freezer paper, then I cut all the pieces apart and pressed them onto the wrong sides of my fabric. Since my pattern is colored, it was pretty easy to figure out which pieces went onto which fabric.

For the first sewing step I joined the 4 inside melons at their outer edges. Then with the freezer paper still on the fabrics, I pressed under the seam allowance on the inner edges. Then I reverse appliqued the joined piece onto the center section.

The freezer paper edges helped me to keep a nice round edge as I sewed, and it was easy to butt the applique up to the freezer paper of A1 that I could feel under it. So it was easy to tell if the pieces were where they should be. Now I had a nice completed inner circle.

Using the same technique, I sewed one applique piece to each of the corners pieces. Again the freezer paper inside made it much easier than I had anticipated. The four corner sections were then joined into a square with a hole in the center.

I pressed under the seam allowance on the circle using the freezer paper to get a good edge. Then using the same technique again, I appliqued the completed circle onto the square outer section. And voila, done! And all without any curved piecing whatsoever.

I had read tons of tips on applique before starting this, and I'm much more pleased with it than with my previous attempts at applique. The tips that helped the most, were (a) taking the next stitch a tiny bit BACK from where the needle came out, and (b) making sure to keep the stitches just UNDER the edge of the applique.

I also found the freezer paper extremely helpful. And since there were no enclosed pieces, I just peeled off the freezer paper when I was done. I will definitely use this method again where I can.

New Quilt Names

I've decided that the name of the new quilt I'm going to make from my re-drafted patterns is going to be:
     "Trip Around The Rainbow With Jane"
for short.

After considering what to do with the 7 blocks in the smaller 4 1/2" size, I came up with this wallhanging in EQ, which I call "Starting With Jane", since these were my very first Jane A. Stickle blocks.
Starting With Jane - Wallhanging (Layout in EQ)