Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tinkerbell Quilt -- Getting Started

First, as with any activity, one must get in the mood! So a cup of tea in my Tinkerbell cup should do that quite nicely....

I laid out the seven fabrics used in the pieced blocks to see how everything was playing together and I wasn't crazy about the fabric on the right. It reads as a solid and so does the yellow that's going to be right next to it, so I swapped a batik out of my stash for the solid.

For several reasons, I like to use EZ International's EZ Angle tool* when I make half square triangles (HSTs). I get really accurate finished HSTs with a minimum of matching things up because they are cut just as you are going to sew them; in other words, from strips of each fabric facing right sides together on your cutting board.

When sewing HSTs from squares cut diagonally in half, we are used to adding 7/8" to the desired finished size, but when you use the EZ Angle, the strips are cut the desired finished size plus 1/2"; so for 2" finished HSTs, I cut my strips 2-1/2" and put them, right sides together, on my board.

I trim off the selvage edge and position my EZ Angle, notched edge of the tool to the top of the strips, to make my first cut.

Then I flip the tool over and align it so that the colored tip is on the bottom edge of the fabric to make my second cut.

Two units cut....

As I do the cutting, I toss them in piles of 10 (so I don't have to keep counting) on a fairly small (12"x18") mat. Once they are all cut, I use the mat to ferry them to the sewing machine.

We all know that when we are "chain piecing", the first piece is the one that gets all mangled in the feed dogs. To prevent this, I like to use a "leader", a small piece of fabric that is fed into the machine before the actual piecing. This helps the piecing feed freely and minimizes the chances of the pointy end of my HST getting caught. The leader above is just a couple of layers of selvage that had been trimmed off of my strips.

Here's one of the finished HSTs after pressing. Because of the notched side of the EZ Angle tool, there is only one little dog ear to remove from the square.

A square of yellow was sewn diagonally to the batik side of the HSTs, the excess trimmed off and the squares pressed.

Because these will be sewn to each other, I pressed half of them in one direction and half in the other so they will nest neatly when sewn.

I have a second small mat that I use to build my blocks on. As I finish each of the piecing elements, I stack them in their place on this mat. When all of the block components are finished, I take the mat to the sewing machine to start assembling the blocks.

There are a few things missing here -- namely 96 HSTs that measure 1" finished. They are yellow and blue and go all around the center square. Once I get those on the mat, I'll be ready to piece the blocks.

*For EZ International's official instructions on how to use this tool, click here. I noticed that they position the ruler a little differently than I do -- so I guess I've been getting great results while doing it wrong all these years!

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