Monday, January 12, 2015

Amish Baby 54-40 Or Fight Blocks Finished!

All Nine Blocks Finished for Amish Baby Quilt!

12" 54-40 Or Fight Block
Happy Monday!  It feels good to have something new on the design wall since the last post!  I completed all nine of my 54-40 Or Fight blocks (named for James Polk's 1844 campaign slogan) for the black baby quilt last week.  Those blocks finish at 12" square and need to be sashed with black strips and those blue sashing posts next.  Ta da!  I think they look great, definitely not too gloomy for a baby.  This should be fun to quilt, too.  I haven't decided about batting and backing yet.  Everyone (including moms and babies) seems to love when I use Minky backing and satin binding on baby quilts, but the Minky sheds all over the place and the satin binding is a pain.  We'll see.  This is the first quilt that I've designed in my EQ7 software, and it was fun to tweak all the colors on the computer until it looked just right and then hunt down matching fabrics in the quilt shop.
Quilt Design Generated in EQ7
Just a few notes to jot down here, to remind myself of what worked best for next time:
  • The variety of sampler quilts is fun, but more frustrating than a quilt where one or two blocks are repeated.  Making the same units over and over gave me a chance to experiment and figure out which methods yield the best results.  These blocks came together pretty fast and got easier and easier as I went along.  I feel like I learn more by making multiples of the same block than I do when I make each block completely different.
  • I used piecing straight stitch #1326 on my Bernina 750 QE with stitch length 2.0 and the upper tension dropped down to 3.25, using 50/2 Aurifil Mako cotton thread and a size 60/8 Microtex needle.  I always use my straight stitch throat plate for piecing, and as you can see in the photo below, dual feed is engaged.  (I started piecing with a larger size 70 needle and the default 4.0 tension, and the thread kept breaking CONSTANTLY).  This was my first piecing project using the new 97D patchwork foot and I loved it!  Very straight, smooth fabric feeding using this foot, even on the bias triangle points, despite the 9 mm machine. 
  • HUGE note to self: Any time I'm piecing triangle units like these bias triangle/half rectangle units, start stitching both seams from the point where the diagonal seams intersect AND match the fabric at that point!  I botched 7 or 8 of these before I figured that one out.
    Sew these units from the Peak to the Base!
  • At first, I tried to pin the point of that black/green triangle unit when I seamed it to the adjacent unit, but I discovered that I can feel the ridge of the underlying 4-patch unit with my fingernail.  It ended up working much better to just hold that triangle point in place with my fingernail or stiletto tool as I maneuvered it under the presser foot, because the pin through the point obscured my view of the stitches so I couldn't see exactly where the needle was hitting in relation to the point.
    Fingernail holds the triangle point to the seam ridge beneath
  • Starching the fabric prior to cutting really helped to stabilize the bias triangle edges and reduce stretching on those bias seams, even when I needed to unpick and redo them.
  • On a whim, I decided to cut extras of all the patches for this quilt, and I'm glad I did.  Sometimes I'm tempted to ignore a seam that didn't match up perfectly because ripping it out is too much of a pain, but when you have an extra couple of units you can pick out the best ones to put in the quilt and the rejects can go in a pile of orphan blocks to be seamed together later for FMQ practice.
No new paper pieced pineapple log cabin blocks on the wall since last post -- still at 12 blocks completed and 24 blocks to go.  I'll probably do another pineapple block or two once the baby quilt top is finished, but before I quilt it on the machine.  I'm still working on the FrankenWhiggish Rose needle turned applique project, and I'm itching to start my first Dear Jane blocks, but I think it would be nice to finish the baby quilt first, don't you?
That's enough typing for today.  I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.  Happy Stitching!


Barb in Mi said...

Greta job as a first EQ7 project. Love how your blocks turned out - and how accurate, wow!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have that attachment that you have to keep your seam guide straight - but I rarely use it - I keep getting little threads caught up in it as the fabric goes past - does that happen to you? Love your quilts.

Lani said...

Beautiful job on the baby quilt!

Have you seen these rulers? I think that they're wonderful. Watch her videos, she is very explanatory.

Happy Stitching!

Mary Huey said...

Thanks for showing the 97D foot in action -- I'm going to have to look into this because I hate piecing on my 9 mm machine.