Thursday, 27 September 2012

Too many projects

I'm usually quite happy to have lots of projects on the go - variety being the spice of life - but this time it led to my undoing (or more correctly, my unpicking!)  I had really enjoyed making my version of Bonnie Hunter's Tulip Fields, but felt I wanted to get back to Orca Bay. 
I had originally only made half the components, and now felt I needed just another row of blocks to finish it off.  Orca Bay has string blocks, so I merrily made the required number of red ones and sliced them in half, as per instructions.  But not actaully as per instructions, as I had sliced them horizontally,

as was required for Tulip Fields, not vertically, as was required for Orca Bay!  Naturally I didn't realise my mistake until after I'd cut and trimmed them all, and sewn the triangles onto both sides of most. 

This is how they should look, and they will, after I've had a session with my unpicker!  Happy days!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Seam allowance

The problems I had with Bonnie's Tulip Fields block made me think a bit more about seam allowances (and also to consult the invaluable 'The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide' for the final verdict). I worked it out bit by bit. For any straight seam, you cut a square which is half an inch bigger than the finished block you need, because each side has a quarter inch seam and two quarters are one half.  So far so good.
For a half square triangle, you still need the quarter inch seam each side, but you have a diagonal seam in the middle as well.  Although that is a quarter inch seam when you sew it, because it's slanting, it takes more fabric, so you need to add three eighths of an inch to accommodate that.  So, the total you have to add to the finished size for cut size is seven eighths (a quarter inch, another quarter inch and three eighths of an inch.)  Still with me?   

So for a quarter square triangle, you need to cut the half square triangle in half.  That adds another diagonal seam, and thus another three eighths of an inch to the previous total. 
That means adding one and a quarter inches to the finished size of the block for the cutting size of quarter square blocks (not one and an eighth which I stupidly stated in my last post!)  All clear now?!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Sorry Bonnie, couldn't wait!

I was admiring all the gorgeous stuff on Bonnie Hunter's site when I came across a wonderful quilt called 'Tulip Fields'.  She was teaching it as a class, and while it may be in her new book (my copy is on order!) I just couldn't resist having a go.
Here is the basic block.  Made fabric square cut in half, a light square and a half square triangle cut in half.  Easy!  Well, it obviously was for Bonie, and the ladies who had the benefit of Bonnie's brainpower and instructions, but I struggled!  I decided to make the made square 5" (to make a 4" finished block. That would make the light square 2"  finished and the tulip petals a 2 7/8" pair of squares. 

Whoops!  what has gone wrong here?  After quite a bit of cutting, sewing, recutting and resewing, I gave up.

But only for a few hours.  I knew I would see Jane from Sew Create It today, and was sure she would be able to work it out.  She's a mathematical whizz (and a whizz in other departments too!) and she quilckly worked out my error.  The half square triangle was the correct size, but not if I was cutting it in half!  I needed to add seam allowance.  Doh!  The half square triangle should be made from 3 1/8 squares, to give the necessary seam allowance.

There we are!  A lovely block, thanks to a little help from a friend!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

I thought I'd got it

The latest block from Barbara Brackman's 'Grandmother's Choice' blog is Amethyst, a deceptively simple block which actually has Y seams.  I foolishly said to Liz that while I'd struggled with Y seams (usually ending up with a pleat or a hole!) I had perfected the technique and was feeling confident.  Famous last words!

Here is my Amethyst, and not only is it pretty poor on its Y seams, but the whole thing isn't even square!  Sorry Liz!  Oh well, with a bit of fudging I think it'll do.  (In my experience, doing it again usually results in a worse result, not a better!)  Let's hope this week's block is a bit easier!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Orca Bay - where are you?

Yesterday I felt the need for some piecing, so decided to get my box of Orca Bay parts out.  I couldn't remember what exactly was in the box, and when it was all revealed, it didn't make much sense!  First there was the made fabric - some blue squares and some red triangles.

Then lots of little half square triangles and some triangle units.  I had a vague recollection of making these triangle units and getting very bored!

Next, some Ohio stars in black and white.  But how did they go together?  There was no clue in the box, so I went back to Bonnie's site.  I spent ages trying to find Orca bay, and when I eventually found a link on the blog, clicking it resulted in a 'The page you have requested is no longer available' message.  I know I did this quilt in 2011, but have the instructions gone already?

Fortunately, some more searching of files revealed a print-out of the finished quilt, so, with a bit of head-scratching I have made a start.

Looking good so far.  I will use all the parts I have to make the quilt as big as possible, unless anyone out there can let me have the instructions!  Bonnie?

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Can a leopard change its spots?

Having successfully completed my August UFO, I was keen to find out what this month's number is.  And it's number 11 - which is my Bonnie Hunter Orca Bay quilt!  This could be quite a challenge, as this is the state of the quilt so far.  I somehow don't think I'll have a finished quilt by the end of September (especially since there are only 30 days in the month - I'm starting to find excuses already!).
And of course, instead of getting the pieces out of the box, I put the lid back on and started a new project!  Well, Barbara Brackman has started a new historical quilt BOW (Block of the Week) and I was dying to get on with this.  It's called Grandmother's Choice and has blocks which remind us of the fight for women's sufferage.  Did you know that in the UK women over 21 didn't get the vote until 1928?  If you'd like to have a look at the site, which is filled with fascinating pictures and facts about the struggle for women's right to vote click here.  Barbara suggests using appropriate colurs, such as the purple, green and white of the UK movement, the red and white of the Manchester group or the golds from America.  I really wanted to use the UK colours, but didn't really want a purple and green quilt - I fancied something more vibrant, which says 'Look how far we've come, baby!' so have decided on yellow-green and red-purple, which are complimentary colours on the colour wheel.   
 Here's my selection of fabrics, ready to go. 

And here's my first block.  That's vibrant enough!