Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spring CQ...Center Block Pieced...A Tutorial

This is more a "process" type post than a formal tutorial...but I took pictures all along the way as I pieced the central block for my Spring CQ, and this might help you to approach your piecing in a similar fashion...if you are so inclined!

I must say that this procedure was influenced by my working with Carolyn Cibik's CD of CQ Block Designs which I have reviewed for the upcoming issue of CQMagOnline. I know it should be obvious, but I had never planned out a block ahead of time before piecing it, until I used Carolyn's method; now I probably always will. (Her CD is great, by the way.)

There are 15 pictures in all, so let's get to it:

This is the drawing of the block, on freezer paper. I wanted the lines to suggest plant growth.

I traced the design onto muslin using a light box. I should add that I redid this using water soluable ink on a different piece of fabric....as I didn't want any permanent pencil lines that might show through all the white fancy fabrics I planned to use.

I traced each patch with Golden Threads quilting paper. The line marked is the sewing line.

Can you see how I was able to center the motif on the fabric within the patch, by seeing through the tracing paper?

All the patches are cut out. Notice I leave a huge amount of extra fabric around the edges. This is because I am not counting on 100% accuracy when I start sewing, and I need some wiggle room.

To mark my seam lines, I machine basted right on the seam line, through the paper and the fabric patch.

Then I tore the paper away.
If some of the basting thread pulled out during the tearing, I went over the seam line with my water soluable marker.

I decided which order to sew my patches onto the foundation muslin and began my usual flip and sew method. I lined up the lines of the basting stitches to get my seam lines, sewed along them, and then pulled them out after my seam was completed.

After I checked to make sure the seam was o.k., I trimmed off the excess before flipping and ironing it flat.

The edges of these patches look sloppy, but the basted (or marked) seam lines enabled me to line everything up just fine.

Sometimes I would have to join two patches before joining that unit onto the block, sewing it down as one piece.

Like this!
I was very careful to line up the seams so that there would be one long curve when these pieces were sewn together. Yes, I did use some pins for this! (I try to avoid pinning whenever possible.)

More seam trimming....

See how that seam in the center reads as one continuous curve arching up and to the right?
Nailed that one! *Whew!*
This next unit shown above here is being made of three patches before being sewn on.

And here is the whole block.
I have stitched the supposed finished edge as an outline, but when I held this up to the quilt, I realized that I need to make the block slightly larger. Glad I have that extra fabric along the edges.

And here it is in place.
I have interfaced the back of the block, trimmed it with pinking shears, and zigzagged along the edge to stabilize it for embellishing. As it is, I trimmed it a little smaller than I should have, though I'll be able to get away with this....

....but now I have to decide if I like it enough to use it!
I'll see how it looks in the morning....

13 comments :

Marty52 said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Allie. It looks like your lines flow into the rest of the quilt very nicely. But if the center piece is a little too small, will you have to cover the join with something? And, if you cover the join with something, will it disturb the flow?

Am I making any sense?

Allison Ann Aller said...

You are very much making sense, Marty...
However I do it, it will probably mimic the way I cover the seams that the arcs make...unobtrusively.
I do expect little flower tendrils and blooms to spill out of the center and into the warm central section....my garden beds aren't neat, either!

Kay said...

Those look like crawly difficult to work with fabrics, but that turned out beautifully. Nice to see a shot of the whole thing, as it is so far. It's beautiful with the shading out from the center.

Clothmatters said...

What a beautiful blog! I enjoyed looking at all of your spectacular creations. Absolutely lovely. I will certainly bookmark you so I can visit again.
Connie

indiaartist said...

Great thing to watch even for non-quilters. It is intricately beautiful. Thanks for step by step photoes. I am so glad to come back.

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paulahewitt said...

this is wonderful - thanks for showing us how you did it.

Judy S. said...

Allie, your quilt is absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to see how you embellish the central part. And your garden is lovely , too! What fun it must have been to have a little "chat" with your hummer. They are such amazing little birds! We've been gone for about 10 days, and it's clear you've been very busy.

colorbox said...

I finally have a sense for the scale with this shot. Wow! It is luscious in all it's floral splendor!

For some reason I was anticipating a center mandala of pink roses and orange calendula. :)

Mona said...

I am a beginning quilter and I love dreaming of what quilting can become for me. Your quilts look like paintings, I am going to be a bit adventurous and try the tutorial you posted with paper scraps and glue and see what I can do before I start cutting up my fabric.

Marie Alton said...

Allison...I think you're on the right track and the centre piece will be as awesome as the rest of the quilt. Love the flow you have going there...but only you can decide if it's going to complete your vision. Go with your gut!

Plays with Needles said...

It took me a while to absorb this process for the center piecing. I expected you to do a pieced foundation...instead, you really made patterns for each piece and then sewed them together. This technique would work really well when I'm limited on fabric. It did seem to be time intensive? I'm on the hook for the next installment; time to refill my popcorn bucket.

Sandy said...

WOW! Your quilts are amazing!