Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spinning till I’m Dizzy!

Yesterday after returning from the dentist, I sat in my chair at the sewing machine, and fed 4-patch pairs through.  I seriously quit counting.  I had counted them when cutting them, so I mindlessly watched each pair go through the machine, under the presser foot, to be followed in a long chain by umpteen thousand more.

I wrote about how I cut them all with my Accuquilt Studio HERE.

There is a kind of zen feeling in mindless tasks like this, the only thing I had to be careful of was that I was feeding ALL my pairs with the red squares leading, and feeling with my fingers to make sure that those center seam allowances were butted up to each other nice and tight.

I’m not a pinner by nature….I’m quite lazy about it actually, and if I can pinch it with my fingers to hold, I don’t bother with pinning unless I’m trying to match sharp points on triangles.  But straight butted seams?  Just hold them and let the feed dogs take them through!

Oh yeah, and see that duct tape on the machine extension table?  I had to tape it up again because the glue didn't hold. *SIGH*  But it's okay -- my new one also arrived yesterday!  I'm going to take the broken one to a glass shop now and see if they can fix it good enough to use it as a spare.

After the 4-patches were all sewn,  the REAL chore began!

winstonways 019

Does this look like it could possibly be 480 4-patches?!  Well it is….all kinds of fabrics here, if it was red, it went.  It might be a plaid, a geometric, a stripe, a floral, even a few Christmas fabrics found their way in here.  Boy am I glad to put some of this stuff to good use!  By the time a fabric is cut to 1-1/2”, and finishes as a 1” square…there isn’t a lot to see ON the fabric really, just color!

I laid a length of 4 patches down my ironing board…snipped it from the Mother-Pile ---and began to chain press.  Flip, press, flip, press, flip, press --- all the way down the chain.

When I got to the end of the ironing-board-length chain….I snipped them apart.  And one by one, I picked them up and spun the seams on the back like this:

winstonways 020

Why do this at all? Because!  Because these 4 patches will be butted up to each other in the block and this will help eliminate some of the bulk especially when working with small units.  I’d rather be able to butt a seam when joining units than press seams open and have to pin everything – remember, I’m a lazy pinner!

Good thing I had netflix playing mindlessly in the background---It took a good movie’s worth of time to get it all done!

If you want to know more about how to spin your seams, check out this previous post I wrote HERE.

The one big thing to remember…is if you are going to spin them at all, make sure they spin in the SAME direction, either clockwise, or counter clockwise, but NOT BOTH!  And this is determined by feeding all your 4 patches through the machine the same way.  If I started with the red square leading, I needed to keep the red square leading on ALL the pairs.  If I fed one with the neutral square leading --- it would make THAT 4 patch spin in the other direction. If it spins the other way, the seams won’t butt when I go to join it to the next one.

winstonways 024

Here they are!  All 480 of them!  Oh this is going to be a fun quilt!


  1. LOL @ "The mother Pile" - Now I know what to call it!

  2. that's not an orca clue is it?

  3. Never get tired of Red! Remember?...it's a neutral!

  4. Just some food for thought: So many quilters are talking about mindless tasks, my whole Thursday bee should be called mindless, but produces many beautiful quilts. If someone else needs or wants it explained, how can it be mindless?


  5. Wow--all that red and white should either put you in the Christmas spirit, or kill it! I can't decide which. : )

  6. They are absolutely beautiful, Bonnie! I wonder if a non quilter would see the beauty that I do. My husband would just smile at my comment, and maybe shake his head just slightly. But, he is an essential part to my quilting-the best fabric picker-outer I have ever seen!

  7. How is your mouth feeling?

    I now have a huge basket of blue scraps and another of red scraps....big laundry baskets full to over flowing all pulled for "Orca Bay"
    Whatever is left is getting cut up for another scrap quilt from one your books..I just have to decide which one!

    I am always dreaming of the next quilt even when I am in the middle of piecing one! Do you do this too?

    I am determined to use these scraps up this year....but honestly do they keep multiplying in the dark?

    Congrats on that load of work you got done yesterday!
    Happy Sewing

  8. All of those little 4 patches look so good! I am working on a pinwheel quilt and spun all of the seams there, too. It really helps get rid of some of the bulk! I hate to pin, too.

  9. Oh what fun it is to sew...

    Those little red/white four patches look so cute and so festive at this time of year.

    I hope you are enjoying your holiday...love your blog!

  10. If your table can't 'repaired' have them cut off the broken part and make it a short table, redrilling for the feet if necessary. I have a long and short table and love them both.

  11. Oh I so love the look of all those sweet little 4 patches. I am watching with interest to see the block they go in.

  12. Almost always, I do them this way. And in many patterns, they butt up to each other, and then THAT seam fits well! The first time I saw this (as a newbie) I stared, wondering about this new magic! LOL - thank goodness for experience over the years.

    Uhhh, I presume this is NOT for Orca Step, but still, it's looking intruguing ... Possibly if I have time for guessing, I could make some of THESE and keep up with whatever your next project might me! ????

    Thanks for the Orca Bay project - I'm almost keeping up with the steps. 8-)

  13. Anonymous9:49 AM EDT

    Rereading this old post, but what where these red/wht 4-patches for? Beautiful...

    Jessica in Colorado


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