Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Double Delight, Part 1!

Double Delight!

~A Quiltville Mystery Quilt~

©Bonnie K Hunter 2008
Part 1!

(Click here for printer friendly version)

So what are we going to learn and conquer THIS mystery?? I can hear you now: "What do you MEAN learn?" I bet you didn't even think that I was sticking different units in each mystery to be a challenge to you :c)

Carolina Crossroads got you working with narrow strips. Many of you said you never would have DARED work that small, but you were so glad you did! I'm glad you stuck with me, because I really believe that the more a design repeats itself across the surface of the quilt, the more pleasing to the eye it is. It just gives more texture and more to look at.

Orange Crush got you working with colors you may not have thought you liked, and it also had us working with the split 4 patch unit. And yes, border challenges.

Old Tobacco Road had us working with bricks and blocks in a strippy format. And a gazillion half square triangles for the pinwheels...but remember what I said about the more a unit repeats itself across the quilt center, the more interesting it is? If those pinwheels had been any bigger than 3" finished, the design would not have been as neat!

So what are we going to learn THIS mystery? Stick with me, and you will find out!

***Disclaimer*** You already know by now that I love small pieces. This mystery is no different. There are a lot of pieces, and many are small, but I believe this is a quilt you will be proud of, with every right. I am not rewriting this pattern if you want to make it bigger. It is what it is, and it's GORGEOUS! Trust me....

Unit One:
Square Within A Square, Coloring "A"

This is one of those units that has always caused problems for me. It starts with an odd sized square in the center, due to the 'on point' measurement. Any time that a pattern told me to make these, the corner triangles always ended up being too small and looked wonky. I tried every ruler out there (including some that cost over $20) to try to get these to come out RIGHT. I appreciate the efforts of some of the rulers, but they had issues, like....if you sew strips or rectangles to all 4 sides of your center square, and then trim them off, you have to trim ONE side at a time, and it was easy to lose the correct angles of the corners. It also put all 4 outside edges of your unit on the bias instead of the straight of grain, and you lost SO much fabric in the trimming.

Need I go on? Okay I will!

If you cut your strips and rectangles with the bias edge on the outside first, to square them up to be on the straight of grain, you had the hassle of cutting bias strips to begin with, and on top of that you STILL lose all the fabric you cut off. GRRRR! So here I am. And this is what I have discovered works for me.

I start by cutting my triangles bigger than I need them to be. For instance, if a pattern says your triangle should be cut from a 2 3/8" square, I add about 1/2" to that measurement. This makes each triangle about 1/4" bigger than is called for. Plenty of fudge room! You can even round it UP a bit if you want to because you are going to trim the block down later, and lose just a smidge in the squaring process. (But it's a straight of grain smidge!)

Unit 1-A has an indigo center square, 3 light corners, and one gold/cheddar corner.

Cutting Directions:
From indigo blue cut: 120 2-5/8" squares. These can all be random scrappy, or you can do them in sets of 4 as in the above picture.
From the cheddar/gold cut: 120 half-square triangles from 2.5" strips, using the easy angle ruler.
*note* if you are not using the easy angle ruler, cut 60 2 7/8" squares, slicing them on the diagonal to yield 120 half square triangles.
From the light prints and shirtings cut: 360 half-square triangles from 2.5" strips, using the easy angle ruler.
*note* If you are not using the easy angle ruler, cut 180 2 7/8" squares, slicing them on the digaonal to yield 360 half square triangles.

Those of you who have been cutting scraps into 2.5" strips and wanting a quilt to use them.....Here you go! Your easy angle will work with the strips you've been saving!

All of my previous mysteries have used specialty rulers, and this is one I use time and time and time again because it works with the sizes of scrap strips I keep on hand. If you don't have an easy angle ruler, get one!

The first thing I do is take the center square, and crease it in half with my fingers. I use this crease to align the point of the triangle at the center of the square. Having your triangle points in the right place is important with this unit! Sew triangles to one side of the square, but do not press yet. You'll press out your crease, and you need that for placing the triangle on the opposite side. Sew the second triangles on the opposite side using the crease to center the point.

Look at the second picture above. Can you see how I have trimmed off the large dog ears to be even with the sides of the center square? After the second triangle is sewn opposite the first, press the units open and trim the dog ears even with the sides of the squares. Press seams towards the triangles you just added.

Adding the 3rd triangle: Because I use the easy angle to cut my triangles, I've got a notched edge that just FITS the pressed out triangles! This makes positioning triangle 3 and triangle 4 extra easy.

It is also REALLY important to keep your seam allowance at a proper 1/4" so that your center square finishes to the right size. If your seam is too big, your square will shrink. If it is too small, your center square will be too big and you will lose points in the trimming process.

I did all of the above assembly-line style by chain piecing. I had a huge line of patches flowing out the back of my machine....a couple of chick-flicks later, they were all done and ready to be trimmed!

And just to help you, I had my son Jeff help me with this little video :c) Okay,so it's not always centered, it's not scripted, it's just as is..but I think you will be able to tell how I use the Easy Square Jr. to trim these to size easily, and they turn out perfect every time without a lot of waste, and I've got the STRAIGHT GRAIN on the outside edge of my units (just color me a happy quilter!)

And because a video won't print out, here are some still shots to help you:

The Easy Square Jr. works great because it has that dashed seam allowance all the way around the outside edge of the square. It makes trimming units EASY! I also like it because it doesn't have colors. It's clear so I can read the numbers easy. It's marked clearly with 1/2 " lines...and has 1/4" hash marks.

Lay the ruler so the two 1" numbers are at your upper right as shown. We are squaring these to 3.5", so divide that in half......1 3/4",right? That's the marking we are looking for. Place the seam lines right against the top and right side corners of the center square. The 1 3/4" mark at the top should be right where that top point is as well. This is important.....follow that 1 3/4" hash mark all the way through the milddle of the on point center square, making sure it is also in line at the bottom corner.....See my hash mark in the middle picture? It is just to the left of the 3.5" marking at the bottom of the block.(sorry it's a bit blurry in the first picture!

With your rotory cutter (and a NEW blade! You'll be trimming lots of these and you deserve it!) Trim up the right side, and across the top of the unit.

Rotate the unit so the gold triangle is now at the bottom left. Align the 3.5" markings along the left side and bottom of the unit. The seam allowance markings on the ruler should just touch the tips of the center square as shown.

Trim up the right side and across the remaining top of the unit. Repeat for all 120 units (And don't hate me!!!)

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