Monday, December 2, 2013

For the Love of Starch: Jingle Pieced Block 7 Completed!

Jingle BOM Pieced Block No. 7
Good morning, and Happy December!  I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving break with family and friends.  Our turkey was delicious, but after eating leftovers for four days in a row I really don't miss it now that it's gone.  Now, the pumpkin pies my mom baked are another story altogether -- I could eat that pumpkin pie every day for breakfast and never get tired of it.

We made a start with Christmas decorating on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon Anders went to Grammy's house for oil painting and cookie baking and Lars and I headed up to the sewing room.  Lars is pretty self-sufficient with his cross stitch project now, so I was able to work on Pieced Block No. 7 for my Jingle BOM project. 

I did have some setbacks with this block.  First of all, Erin Russek's pattern instructions are for traditional cutting methods where you cut out a square of a certain size and then cut it diagonally once (for half-square triangles or HSTs) or twice (for quarter-square triangles or QSTs).  I wanted to use my specialty rulers instead, which allow me to quickly and accurately cut these triangles from strips of fabric instead of first cutting squares -- but you have to know what size to make your strips first.  I cut my red poinsettia triangles too small the first time and had to recut them from wider strips.  But my biggest challenge with this block was figuring out how to cut those outer corner triangles accurately.  The directions called for making them as HSTs, but I wanted to fussy-cut them from a medallion motif on my fabric.  I cut my triangles way too small the first time, and worried that maybe the corner triangles were the right size and the rest of the block was all screwed up, but I finally figured it out.

Jingle BOM Pieced Block No. 7
Oh, and the spray starch!  Harriet Hargrave recommends starching each and every piecing seam throughout the construction of every block.  I grew up in the Age of Permanent Press Fabrics, and I didn't even own any starch until I bought some to prep applique shapes.  I tried starching my seams for the first time on this block and I am officially in love.  Not only did the starch get my seams to lay flatter once I'd pressed them open (and STAY flat as additional pieces were sewn onto the block), but I had a lot less trouble with bias edges of triangles stretching and distorting when everything was crisply starched.  My block finished at 9 1/2", just as it is supposed to, and my triangle points are as good as I can get them.  As the Pretty Woman once said, "Color me happy!"

I sewed this block on my Big 'Nina, the Bernina 750 QE, with foot #37D and Dual Feed engaged, Aurifil 50/2 thread, and a size 70 Microtex needle, stitch length 2.0.  (That's for my own benefit -- I often forget what worked for me last time and it's nice to be able to look back through my blog and find that information).

My husband says I need to finish decorating my Christmas trees so he can take the boxes out of the house today, and it's either laundry today or naked family tomorrow...  ;-)  I'm not sure whether I'll make it back into my sewing room before tomorrow, but here's what I'm cooking up for the next block so far:

Next Up: Jingle Pieced Block No. 6
Picking out fabrics is my favorite part!  Incidentally, the motif I'm centering in the red star for Block 6 is the same one I broke apart for my corner triangles on Block 7.

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!  I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday on Judy's blog, Patchwork Times.  Pop over there to be inspired by what others are working on today.


Beth said...

oooh! I have Jingle all printed out and ready for 2014! I found it late and had too many irons in the fire to get started. I LOVE your fabrics. Not sure what I will use,but may decide to go untraditional. Will decide after a NewYears Day stash dive! I will have to dig out my spray starch..Thanks for the tip..

Podunk Pretties said...

Jingle love! I only managed to do one block, but saved all the patterns.

sophie said...

The fabrics you are using for the Jingle Bell blocks are just perfect!

Barbara Black said...

That is REALLY beautiful!!!

Barbara Black said...

That is REALLY beautiful!

Ramona said...

I keep resisting printing the patterns for the Jingle BOM, but I can't hold back any longer. Your blocks are just beautiful! I love the colors ... they all just pop. Can't wait to see your completed quilt. Thank you for your kind words on my blog about my red and white quilt. Great idea about using it to practice my FMQ.

Ivory Spring said...

Absolutely gorgeous, you are amazing!

jenny k lyon said...

This is a real beauty, well worth all that extra effort you took! And starch-YES! I discovered the beauty of starch early in my piecing days and I made a block with 23 set in seams. It was dead on perfect -starch rocks!

Carrie P. said...

just gorgeous! I really love your fabrics and despite the problems you encountered it turned out great.