Monday, January 19, 2015

BFTPqal - Blocks from pages 8,9, & 60

Hello everyone!  I'm so excited to share my blocks from our #BFTPqal -- it's been so fun to do these!  We decided to do every block {mostly} in order, but as an entire one-third of the blocks are applique or paper piecing, we made the schedule up so there would be two pieced blocks and one applique/paper-pieced block each week.  Spreading out all that applique sounds like a good idea to me -- it's easy to get overwhelmed by it!

Friendship Album block, page 8

I really liked the way Marie Henry laid out this block -- it just made sense to my brain! -- so I just followed her instructions.  The only thing I would change would be to cut those background squares just a leeetle bit bigger and trim down -- you can see in my photo that they're just a little too small towards the bottom. Luckily, my layout will hide any problems like that!

This and That block, page 9

I actually did fudge this block a little. Marie Henry's directions are very straight-forward, but I had already pieced the other block and knew I wanted a little wiggle room, so I cut waaay bigger pieces than called for (between 1/2" - 1" bigger than recommended), and cut down as I went.  The center of the block I cut exactly as she has written, though, as that's the starting off point.  The only problem I had was that when I went to cut the blocks down to 3 1/2", I didn't quite get them down that far; they're about 1/8"-1/4" off.  Again, my layout will hide the problem, but I think my issue is that my seam allowance is just a little funny. I just changed thread weights, and I'm having a hard time getting an accurate 1/4" seam -- does anyone else have that problem?

In retrospect, I should have made my own little paper piecing templates for the centers.  It would have been pretty easy to make a paper piecing template for these, and then they would have been perfect. I sometimes forget on tiny piecing that I really like to paper-piece it, because then you don't have to worry as much about accuracy -- it's already done for you!

Rose Spray block, page 60

I was thrilled to get this block -- I requested it! It's so, so old-fashioned, but I think that's what makes it so perfect for updating.  Unfortunately, we had a really tough week last week (a tragedy in our neighborhood), so I didn't get this one completed. I will revise this post when I've finished it, but for now I'd like to tell you what I did that worked -- and what didn't work -- for me.

I got my pretty flower fabric last week, and I was so happy to use it for my center on the rose block! But the more I thought about it, the more I decided I would have to use it for the buds instead -- I really wanted something with a little more punch in the center.  So I'll be using the flower fabric for the buds, and that pretty blue fabric (from Fig Tree's Avalon line) for the center.

For the center flower background (the coral dot) I will be using a starch-and-freezer-paper method.  First, I adhered three pieces of freezer paper together, then traced my image, adhered it to my fabric (the shiny side just sticks when you iron it), then cut around it leaving about 1/4". Then I sprayed starch all around the edges and ironed it around the cut edges of the freezer paper. It worked great! And will make appliqueing it quite easy. I did the center flower (the blue with flowers) the same way, but left the edges fanned out so you can see -- I cut around the inside curves, but left the outside curves mostly alone.  Of course, this is such a small piece, it looks as though most of it is cut, but I promise it's not!

For the leaves, the starch-and-freezer-paper method worked great, but I'm going to have to use another method for the calyxes (the little bit of stem that is under the rosebuds) -- they're giving me kind of a hard time!  I tried to baste them, like you would for EPP hexies, but that didn't work very well at all. I think at this point I'll probably try using a needle turn method where I mark on the top of the fabric, then finger press all along the marked line, and cut my corners as needed as I go.

For the stems, I knew they would be straight lines, but I prepared a bias binding as direction in Marie Henry's book. It was, to be frank, a disaster. I couldn't get the seam allowance small enough to work without showing, so I scrapped that piece and tried a method I learned in a Craftsy class. I cut on the bias, then used my hera marker to score a line on which I ironed. It worked so much better! I think I might be just a touch bigger than 3/16", but it looks EXACTLY as I'd hoped.

I'm not sure this block is actually going to be as "modern" as I thought it would be, but it's still going to be so pretty I can't be sorry!

UPDATED 02/09/15: The "finished" block is blogged {here}

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