Monday, 10 June 2013

June's Blocks

Here are the 2012 BOM blocks for June:
 These are both variations of the 9-patch block. After the wildly vibrant wonky log cabin for May, these two are pretty sedate, almost boring by comparison. Both are very simple blocks.
Somehow I had gotten the impression that the 2012 BOM quilt was going to end up being big enough for a twin-sized bed. I think it was because the materials list said to use a twin-sized batting. However, the actual finished size of the quilt is only 55" by 68.5" - nowhere near big enough for the twin-sized bed for which I intended it. I don't want just a throw size. I want it to cover the whole bed. So, I did some calculations and figured that I will need 35 blocks to make it the size I want, not just the 20 blocks that this project calls for. So, I'll either be doing many more blocks per month or else will take much longer than originally planned. And that's okay. It's not like I had planned it for a special occasion and had a deadline for which I needed to complete it. 
So, what are my plans for the extra 15 blocks? I am also enrolled in Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing course, and 4 of the blocks from that course are 12" blocks, so I can use them without having to alter the patterns at all. Also, in one of the previous lessons in the 2012 BOM, we were taught how to draft quilt blocks. And I have Jinny Beyer's book, The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders, so I expect I will be drafting some of my blocks from this book. In my newest book, Quilting Shortcuts, are some block ideas that I can use. So, eventually, my 2012 BOM quilt will grow up to be a twin-sized quilt with quite a few blocks that were not in the original course. Now I just need to buy some more fabric...
And here is the June block for the 2013 BOM:
 This is the LeMoyne Star and involved Y-seam construction. The Y-seams, however, really weren't too much of a problem. No, it was getting my diamonds to look like diamonds that was the problem. We started out by cutting 2.5" strips from the two fabrics and sewing them together in pairs. Then we were to cut them into diamond pairs, using the 45-degree marking on our rectangular rulers. Well, if you read my blog on the spool blocks, you will recall that I accidentally used the 60-degree marking on one of my triangles and so I decided to just use my 45-degree triangle ruler to avoid any further mistakes. And so I chose to use my triangle ruler for cutting the strips for this block. But something was wrong. I was being careful to measure the 2.5" length on the ruler for each diamond pair I cut, but my diamonds were turning out wonky and really weren't diamonds at all. Well, I really can't explain what I was doing wrong because I'm not totally sure what it was and I did it to everyone of my diamond pairs. I hoped that once I got them sewn together, they would turn out alright. But they didn't. The next step in the process was to sew the pairs into quads, bigger diamonds that were also wonky. By this stage in the game, I knew I had to make a decision. I could try to sew them altogether and produce what would be a really wonky star, if I could even manage that. I could start over, but I would have to use different fabrics, because I didn't think I had enough left of the ones I had already used. And then what would I do with my wonky diamonds? I hate to waste fabric. 
By this time, I had figured out what I had done wrong - sort of. I was measuring the 2.5" linearly on the strip with my triangular ruler. If I used the rectangular ruler, the 2.5" actually was measured on a different angle. As I said, I really can't explain it. It's been too many years since I took geometry. But I will add that a few of the other quilters in my class also ended up with wonky diamonds - and they used their rectangular rulers! Hmm, I really think the instructor for this class should have demonstrated this aspect more carefully and thoroughly. I don't recall the camera zooming in on the actual cutting, so that we could know exactly how it was done. And I'm still a little uncertain about it.
What did I decide to do? I decided to use my wonky diamonds, trimming them down so that they actually looked like diamonds. Believe it or not, I basically did it by "eyeballing" the pieces, measuring how much needed to be cut off and applying that measurement to all of the pieces. So eight wonky 4-part diamonds became 8 normal-looking diamonds. Not perfect, but much better than previously. If you enlarge the picture, and look carefully, you can see that my seams didn't match up in the centre. I'm not sure how this happened, and I found it rather amusing as all the other seams matched up. The centre is the best place for the seams to not match since all the pieces are the same colour and it's not noticeable unless you look carefully.
Since I made my diamonds smaller, I knew that the block would end up too small and I would have to add borders to make it fit into the quilt properly. So I did. The finished block was supposed to have measured 19.5". Mine finished out at slightly over 16. So, I added 3.5" ON ALL SIDES. While I was sewing the borders on, I remembered that I hadn't allowed for the 1/4" seam. It wasn't until I finished the block that I realized that I should have divided that 3.5 in half, plus seam allowances, to get the actual width of the border. <sigh> I now have a block that finished out around 22.5". LOL Definitely having a blonde moment when I worked on this block.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the extra border width - whether I'll trim it off or add some extra sashing elsewhere in the quilt to make it fit. Overall, in spite of my many mistakes, I'm actually quite pleased with this block.