Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Spirit Song Quilt: Are We Done Yet? (NO). But Blocks On the Move is Ready to Debut at Quilt Show!

My progress on the Spirit Song Dress Code quilt has slowed way down because I'm at a tedious point in the construction.  After spending so much time planning my mix of colors and prints in my design software, I barged ahead with my piecing without bothering to create  a pressing plan...  So now as I'm joining the 4" inch Birds in the Air blocks together to form the large 16" composite blocks, none of my seam allowances "nest" where the blue triangle points touch one another.  As you can see in the completed block below, that happens EIGHT times in every single block.  Therefore, every time I'm joining two units together with blue triangles that need to touch, I've got six layers of fabric stacked up on one side of those triangle points and only two layers of fabric on the other side, and the nasty little triangles want to slide apart as they pass under the presser foot, and even pinning them is a vicious business involving savage stick pin wounds and a fair amount of swearing.  UGH. Therefore it's taking me a lot longer than expected to join 16 four inch units into one 16" block -- about 2 hours or more per block, including pinning, stabbing myself with the pins, seam ripping, fudging, swearing, pressing...

Block 6 of 12.  This is Getting Tedius.
I left this project in Time Out for a week while focusing on the needs of our new puppy, but I started piecing again a few days ago and I'm feeling better about it now that I'm past the halfway point!  

Yesterday I decided that, for the remaining blocks, I should just bite the bullet and stitch every one of the blue points together by hand first before machine stitching the rest of the seams.  I think it's the only way to get them to line up precisely without shifting when that mountain of bulk passes under my presser foot, and that hand tacking up front will save me a lot of time in the long run, ripping and restitching over and over again!  


The best explanation of how and why to create a pressing plan is in Donna Lynn Thomas's book Quiltmaking Essentials 1: Cutting and Piecing Skills.  When I'm looking at a quilt block, or an entire quilt that I've designed on the computer, trying to decide the best way to press seams in order to get crisp points, matched seam intersections and a flat quilt top free of speed bumps, I always consult this book for a refresher.  Highly recommended!

I should be back to smooth sailing with nesting seams at every intersection once I'm assembling those big blocks into rows, if I can only get the rest of these stinking blocks pieced together...

Eight 16 inch Blocks Completed, Four Left to Piece
The Spirit Song quilt was meant to be a "quick detour" project, just to try out the Accuquilt GO! half square triangle dies, before loading and quilting my Jingle appliqué quilt.  And here we are, several months later, with nothing finished and one more work-in-progress!

Meanwhile, Thoroughly Modern Millie (my APQS Millennium longarm machine) is going to be awakened from her deep slumber within the next day or two, because I need to quilt and finish a couple of 16" mini quilt tops that other guild members made to contribute to the Blocks On the Move program I'm launching as Community Education chair of the Charlotte Quilters' Guild.  (I got this idea from Donna Shervington's blog where she mentioned making a 16" block for the Modesto California Country Crossroads Quilters' Guild Blocks on the Move program).

One of Two Blocks On the Move Displays Built by Bernie
Loisann and husband Sig, the geniuses behind the Country Crossroads Quilters' Guild in Modesto, have been so unbelievably kind and generous, providing detailed plans and photographs of exactly how their display units were built so that my handy husband Bernie could recreate them for our Charlotte Quilters' Guild in North Carolina.  Pictured above is one of our two display units, designed to hold mini quilts of 16 to 16 1/2" square.  Because these displays will be set up and left unattended in public spaces, the quilts are mounted with sleeves on dowels that screw into the sides of the display unit and you can't get them out without a screwdriver -- that will significantly reduce the chance of mischief/theft of the beautiful donated mini quilts.  Isn't that COOL?!  We're going to "debut" our Blocks On the Move display at our upcoming Carolina Lilies Annual Quilt Show on March 6-7.  

My Husband Bernie, Fixer of Longarm Machines and Builder of Quilt Displays
The idea behind Blocks On the Move is to move this display throughout the city, setting it up for a month at a time at venues such as assisted living facilities, libraries, hospitals, museums, etc.  I think this will be a great way to raise awareness about who we are and what we do in the community.  Readers who are members of quilt guilds, I'd love to hear what YOUR guild does for community education -- please share those great ideas in the comments!

To-Do List for Tuesday:

This week I'm hoping to accomplish the following:

  • Finish piecing all of my Spirit Song blocks
  • Quilt the two 16" Blocks On the Move flimsies that were pieced by another guild member
  • Go through all of the tax receipts (blech!) and fill out my accountant's tax prep packet
  • Work on an assignment that's due March 1st for a seminary class I'm taking

Well, that puppy isn't going to nap all morning -- if I want a shower today, I'd better get off the computer and do that right now!  Have a wonderful week.
I'm linking today's post with:


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
         BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts  


·       Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon
·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us


·       Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
·       “WOW” WIPs on Wednesday at Esther's Blog


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation


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

I never think of a pressing plan until I start getting the blocks together and need one! It is hard to do sometimes on blocks with many seams. Good luck on yours - love those stands with the quilt blocks - your husband is a keeper :)

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Those blocks are amazing all together!

Sue said...

I would love to know the best way to make a pressing plan. I too, love to be precise with my piecing, and it makes such a difference with the pressing.
Maybe you could show us the best way to do this? Thanks!

Michelle Wallace said...

Tell your hubby thank you! The display looks so great.

Wendy said...

Pressing issues... I feel your pain!
Currently taking a break from my 2019 "Temperature Quilt' which is a similar block and no matter how I try I can't nest the seams. I have 12 months plus 10 days we were on holiday to press into submission!

Home Sewn By Us said...

Good Morning! Your Spirit Song quilt is really coming along nicely and I love how the whole piece looks together. I can honestly say I've never thought about a whole quilt ironing solution but that sure would reduce the amount of headaches later. I love the idea you came up with for Blocks on the Move, and Bernie did a fabulous job putting it together. I'll bet your guild is thrilled. Here's to a productive week with lots of puppy naps. Thanks for linking up this week. ~smile~ Roseanne

celia ambrose said...

Love your quilt blocks coming together. Have you heard of the Square in a Square system by Jodi Barrows? Her ruler and instructions make all of these half square triangles and Birds in the Air block so much easier than traditional techniques.
Your work is lovely.

SJSM said...

I cannot believe your one day to-do list. The tax one for a home based business floors me in allowing just one day! For me it is many days in adding up the mileage, whole house deductions plus the receipts and digging through the charge cards one last time to assure myself all is accounted. Then you plan to quilt, lesson plan and work with your puppy. AMAZING!

I’m hoping to get just one mileage totaled and clean up the house a little along with my exercises. Then a little analysis to get donated machines to their next step. Hopefully they will work and have all their parts. If they do, another member will be notified to do a deep cleaning and homes will be found so no landfill for them. Two boxes of fabric donations need to move on as well.

Enjoy your productive day.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Such a colorful, fun quilt! I wouldn't stress too much about point meeting. Everyone's too busy enjoying the fabrics and colors! Love the On the Move display your handy hubby put together! My hubby's from Modesto, so I was interested to read about their guild.

Susan said...

Try taking a few big basting stitches at the seam joins to check for matching. Rip them out if it's not good, or proceed with sewing the whole seam if a great match. Hope this helps alleviate your frustration!

Vivian said...

What beautiful Spirit Song blocks but woe to bulky seams! Sometimes even if I have a pressing plan, the fabric or some seam doesn't cooperate. Is it possible to "flip" them when necessary to force a nested seam? This way the bulk moves to the center of the seam (where the flip will be created) as opposed to at the join point. When you can stand to tackle it again, you'll work it out, you always do! Love the display stand and the minis!!

Kate said...

I've learned to stop and think about pressing when making my own or another designers pattern. I'm amazed at how many patterns don't include any pressing instructions. It is a pain to sit down and draw it all out, but it usually pays off. Your Spirit Song quilt is beautiful! Love the colors, it reminds me of a sunset.

Glenda said...

Good Morning from Australia ! I've been missing for ages!!! Your Spirit Song quilt looks awesome but glad I'm not sewing those seams they sure must be a night mare. Not that you have time for nightmares with all the projects you are doing you don't have time to sleep. Have so enjoyed reading back through your blog, like reading a favourite magazine. All the best for you showings Rebecca Cheers Glenda

dq said...

Rebecca, first off, thanks for your sweet words on my blog. I have not visited here for a spell and am glad I stopped by. Yea, planning hoq to press makes all rhe difference and saves time in the end. It was a brilliant idea to hand stitch them first. We do what we must.
This quilt is going to be a stunner.