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".