Friday, July 15, 2016

Vintage Block QAL #2 In Progress: Night and Day by Alice Brooks

Vintage Block 2, "Night and Day," In Progress
Not much has been happening in the sewing room this week, as I've been working on a lovely new web site that looks great on my computer, but some unknown coding error is making whole chunks of it disappear when it tries to go out into the world through a web browser.  However, I've been planning and prepping for my next 6" sampler block in odd moments.  I decided it was time for another vintage block from Charise's Vintage Block Quilt Along.  (Please note that this quilt along actually took place back in 2012, but I'm going at my own speed-of-glaciers pace).
Charise's Pattern and Tutorial for this block can be found here
So Block 2 is "Night and Day" from a pattern booklet by Alice Brooks.  It's an interesting block, incorporating more of those pesky but not insurmountable curved seams and Y-seams that modern patterns go to extremes to avoid.  Charise redrafted this for a 12" finished block for her quilt along, and you can find her templates and excellent tutorial for the block here.  I can't just use Charise's pattern for my block, though, because I want to mix it in with my Farmer's Wife and Farmer's Wife 1930s blocks. 

Unlike with my Rose Dream block, I did not luck out and find this block in my EQ7 Block Library.  I can't just reduce Charise's pattern by 50% on a copy machine, either, because her templates include 1/4" seam allowances that would shrink to 1/8".  I did try importing Charise's block photo into EQ7 to see if I could trace the seam lines in the software and then print my own templates for a 6" block, but the Arc tool wanted to draw perfect quarter circle arcs instead of the flatter, slighter curve required for this block, and I couldn't remember how to edit the arc curve.  Since I was taking a break from being frustrated with web design software, I did not invest the time to learn something new with my quilting software and decided to go old school instead.

Block Photo Enlarged to 6"
So here's what I ended up doing.  I enlarged this photo of the original line drawing of the block on the photocopier until it was as close to 6" on the outer seam line as possible.  It's within 1/16" of being exactly 6" square.  Then I used my ruler to check that the block divided perfectly at the 3" mark horizontally and vertically and that diagonal seam between the "B" patches was a true 45 degree angle (this was necessary because I was working with a photo of the printed page, not a scan, and the camera may not have been completely straight-on).  As you can see in the photo above, I labeled grainlines on every piece, highlighted the outer block edges in yellow, and numbered the patches for each of the four quadrants separately -- I doubt the patch patterns for each shape will be identical and interchangeable. 

Then I carefully cut the picture apart on the seam lines, stuck each piece down on fabric with a swipe of fabric glue stick to keep the pattern from shifting, and cut out each unit with a 1/4" seam allowance added, using my acrylic ruler and small rotary cutter.

Ready to Cut Blue Patches
I used this French Curve ruler that I bought for altering clothing patterns to add the 1/4" accurately to the inside and outside curves.

Dressmaker's French Curve Ruler Adds Curved Seam Allowance
You just move the French curve ruler along the curved edge of the pattern piece until you find a section of the curve that matches, shift out two lines for a quarter of an inch, and cut along the edge of the ruler just as you would a straight edge.  I wouldn't bet money on 100% symmetrical perfection, but I'm reasonably confident that, if sewn together carefully with 1/4" seams, these pieces will fit together and look very much like the Night and Day block is supposed to look.

Maddeningly, as I was putting the links together for this post, I discovered that the original size for this block when it was first published was exactly the 6" size that I need, but Charise's photo of the pattern booklet does not print out "life size."

"Night and Day" Block from Alice Brooks' Collection of Needlecraft Masterpieces, photo via Charise Creates

I really wish I had access to those original templates, at least to check how accurate mine ended up before I go to the trouble of trying to stitch them together!  I was only working from a photo of the Block Chart illustration in the upper left corner yesterday.  The patch templates on this photo would have been so much more helpful for accurate resizing, since they include the stitching lines as well as the cutting lines for each patch.

Ah, well -- if the pieces I cut out yesterday don't fit together, I can go back to the drawing board and start again.  I'm a day late, but the linky is still open so I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday over at My Quilt Infatuation.  I'm headed back to the misery of web design now.  If all goes well, maybe I'll get a chance to sew this block together tomorrow!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


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

I have never seen that ruler - where did you get it? looks like it would come in mighty handy!

Janice Holton said...

Grr! Frustrating! I admire your tenacity at sticking with a way to get this block to 6 inches. It sound like you went about it in a very logical and organized way that should succeed! I'm enjoying watching your block progress on this quilt. :)

Anonymous said...

I love this block, your working method, and most of all, your speed-of-glaciers comment. Sometimes that is how I work on my sewing projects as well, although lately I have had some unexplained and unexpected super energy in my sewing mojo. Cheers! Claudia W