Sunday, October 5, 2014

Aspen Glow QAL - Block E

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Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.  Join us any time and share your photos in our Flickr Group to be entered into drawings for fabulous prizes!  You can access any of the previous posts on our QAL Information Page.
We're chatting about Block E a day early this week because tomorrow, I finally get to share my fast and fun winter project over on the Connecting Threads blog!  Now, Block E is the most complicated block in our six block series.  There isn't anything technically difficult about it - there are just a lot of steps to go through and a lot of precision is required.

The first step is constructing dozens and dozens of those tiny flying geese units.  I typically prefer to use the no waste method that makes four at a time - check out the tutorial from our Spring Sampler project if you need a quick reminder.

The pattern and tutorial both instruct you to draw lines on the wrong side of the small squares and then sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.  Since we played around with the "no-line-painters-tape" method in Block B, I thought I'd give it a whirl here with this block ... because drawing all those lines is seriously a drag.

To get a guide line for a 1/4" away from the diagonal center of a block, you can either draw a line on 1/4" away from the edge of your existing piece of tape (see right photo) or place a second piece of painter's tape exactly 1/4" away from the first piece (see left photo).

I started off with the "drawn line on the existing piece of tape method" but quickly scrapped that idea.  I like having my seam on the right side of my presser foot and didn't feel like re-aligning the piece of tape to flip things around.  Plus, it turned out that for some reason, my brain was having difficulties following the edge of the drawn line rather than the edge of the tape.

I quickly switched to using a second piece of tape and was still finding that things were just a bit wobbly.  It turns out that little fingers had adjusted my presser-foot-pressure and my blocks were all over the place while I was sewing.  

Once I adjusted it ... I was in business!   ... Until it came time to do the stitches down the opposite side of the block.  I find that when I chain piece, things go a lot faster if I don't clip my pieces apart until the very end.  This not only minimizes string clipping, but the fact that the blocks are still attached makes the second pass super fast ...

... unless you're trying to follow the edge of a piece of tape that's hidden underneath everything.  I quickly got irritated with having to sew each block holding the next one out of the way, and then having to stop and re-position everything to get going on the next block.  My tired mind didn't see a ready solution, so I bit the bullet (or the lead...?) and drew all those pencil lines instead.

I made one other little departure from the written pattern when I was piecing my own blocks.  Rather than adding the small blocks to the left and right sides of the flying geese blocks before sewing them together, I pieced the small blocks together, then the flying geese blocks, and then put everything together.

I love having nesting seams, since it means I don't have to use pins, and pressing the seams on the top block towards the flying geese blocks always bothered me a bit.  I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me when I went through all of my testing and writing, but I'm really happy with the results.

You know the old saying about "you can't step in the same river twice?" Maybe it's the same with quilting.  You'll never make the same block twice because each block you make benefits from the experience of all the other blocks {and quilts} you've made before it.  I guess it all comes back to that idea of CRAFT.  I think I may have my word for 2015 ... but that's another blog post.

For now, I'm going to sign off and go investigate the squeals and sounds of the hose spray that's going on in the back yard.  Be sure to share pictures of your quilt blocks and fabric choices in our Flickr Group and stop by and introduce yourself on our discussion board, if you haven't already!  If you have any questions or would like to share a blog post about your Aspen Glow project, just leave a comment below.  Have a great rest of your weekend!!

1 comment:

  1. I have most of my Block E's completed. Worked on them yesterday. I'm truly enjoying the challenge of this quilt. It's not hard but there are many pieces. I find I enjoy a quilt a lot more if it's not finished in an hour or two.