Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hunter's Moon

Dear Jane® book reference: Block A-3, page 18

Jovita's Method: hand pieced

My comments:  I looked at this block for a few minutes, first at the diagram and then at the picture of Jane's block and noticed that four of the seams were missing.  Once again, a choice.  With the seams, it makes hand piecing (which I think is what Jane did) much easier.  Without the seams, then applique makes sense.  It didn't take me long at all to decide to hand piece it and I'm glad I did because it went together like a charm - except for that wonky seam in the top left corner - must go see what I did funny there.

I did do a bit of preparation first though.  Here are the steps that I followed:
    Jane A-3 paper
  • transfered pattern to freezer paper and added one registration mark along each curved edge ... this is where I might have gone a tad wrong. 
On a Dutch site where a bunch of people were moaning about this block, ONE lady pointed out that the melons are not symmetrical!  What?? Yep, I checked - she is right. So in the diagram here I put two marks along the ring of the circle for you.  (I wish I had done this for me and am now wondering if my circle would look more circular.)  And of course if you are appliqueing the melons on top, this orientation would make a huge difference to the round effect you're trying to create.
  • cut out the pattern pieces and iron them to the wrong side of my fabrics - remember to keep the grain of the fabric running in the right direction.
  • I pieced the melon shapes first to the center shape.
  • then pieced each side piece .. working around in a circle. when I got to the end of one I just picked up the next and kept going.
  • once all four sides were complete I went back and sewed the diagonal corners. I did think about coming downstairs and sewing them by machine to make it quicker but I was settled so nicely into the sofa that I just kept going by hand.  
A-3 (reverse)
Here's a picture of the back so you can see how I pressed my seams.  I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures along the way, but next time I will ... I tend to do handwork in the evenings when the light for photographs is just too crappy.  And I know the colors don't seem great here, but it all fits into the scheme of my plan for this quilt.

Of course, there are OTHER OPTIONS for piecing this block, here are just a few while browsing on-line.

Many approach this block with applique, as suggested by's block tips.

Kate machine pieced the background and then hand-appliqued the melons on top.

It appears that Jayne appliqued first the white circle onto the (un-pieced) background and then appliqued the center piece on top of the white.

And Anina, does a fabulous job appliqueing this block, including reverse applique for that tricky "circle."

You might want to check out Karissa's block too, she just fudged the melons a bit so she could applique them all in one piece.  Carrie did the same thing.

And I just found this one .. I like this .. great compromise. Karen hand-pieced the melon piece to each quarter then appliqued that to the center piece - genius!!  A tiny bit of hand piecing - great for practice, no reverse applique and the best results I've seen so far :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pinwheel Gone Awry

Dear Jane® book reference: Block A-1, page 17

Maria's Method: hand pieced

My comments:  Why not start @ the beginning? That is what I said to myself about blogging about Dear Jane. So, here I go on Block A-1.

All I can tell you is that I didn't want to piece it like Jane did. The pin wheel is all messed up. And I love pin wheels. So this one hurt me just a little bit. I guess that is why BP named it Pin Wheel Gone Awry. BP did name these blocks - right? I guess, I need to do my research. I'm sure someone will inform me. Another thought: Jane's piecing in the picture didn't help me much. Man, we are sooooooo annal about our "perfect" piecing today. It didn't look like she was "perfect" at all. Why do we fuss so much?

For most of my blocks I will hand piece. Crazy? Yes. But I don't do very well with little pieces on my sewing machine. For my sanity, I'm tracing the pattern on to plain paper and coloring the "dark" color areas so I can "see" it.
  • Next I trace it on to freezer paper. Number the pieces in rows and piece order, color the pieces that are my bright colors.
  • Then cut it out. Iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to each side.
  • Cut fabric pieces.
  • Keep the freezer paper on the back of the fabric until I'm ready to hand sew.
  • Everything goes into a snack size zip baggie. And it is labeled A-1 or whatever.
I've never hand pieced, I am a beginner. No shame here. My mother-in-law, Marilyn, nudged me to learn to hand piece. Thank you Marilyn!!! For my birthday, she gave me 2 books on hand piecing. The New Sampler Quilt by Diana Leone. This book is an overall beginning quilter's book. Very nice for reference. The other book is Jinny Beyer's Quiltmaking by Hand. Oh dear, Jinny Beyer is such an inspiration!

I also found a nice tutorial online Hand Piecing with Crispy.

How I wish Jane was up to date electronically. I'd love to have this book on my iPad. But I'd still use my book to transfer the images to freezer paper.  I hope you give hand piecing a try.

Jovita pieced this block by machine. Click on the photo below for more information.
Jane A1

Anina, from  shows you how to foundation paper piece this block here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

One - Two Buckle My Shoe

A2 One Two, Buckle My Shoe
Dear Jane® book reference: Block A-2, page 17

Jovita's Method:  machine pieced

My comments: This block puzzled me a bit when I first looked at it.  The diagram in the book was clearly not the same as Jane's original piecing.  Which should I follow? ... well, I think we're pretty clear that I am not planning to be a purist and follow this pattern to the T.  So I came up with a 3rd option, making the machine piecing simpler and subtracting quite a few seams. If for no other reason than to make quilting easier, regardless of whether it will be hand or machine quilted.

A2 piecing diagram

By the way, you can reduce all those seams when hand piecing too.  When drafting your templates it might be easier to look at my diagram.

Rotary cutting instructions for use with machine piecing - all seam allowances are 1/4"

I used a lot of what I call the Quick 45˚ Method for this so my cutting instructions may seem strange at first.  With the exception of A and F, you will only need to cut squares and rectangles .. all those strange pieces? ... see the steps below to see how those were created.

Background (my print):
  • One 2-3/4" square (A) ... cut these twice in half diagonally, you will only use two of these new triangles.
  • Ten 1-1/4" x 2" rectangles (two B, four C and four D)
  • Four 1-1/4" x 2-3/4" rectangles (E)

Print (my solid teal):
  • One 2-3/4" square (F) ... cut these twice in half diagonally, you will only use two of these new triangles.
  • Six 1-1/4" x 2" rectangles (two G and four I)
  • Four 1-1/4" squares (H)

So, here's how I went about piecing this block.
  1. C to G and D to I
    Piece a traditional hourglass shape with pieces A and F.  The triangles were cut a little large to give you room to trim this unit to 2" square.
  2. Add Bs to each side of this unit and press the seams toward B for minimal bulk.
    1. For the "flying geese" shapes place a C right sides together on top of G lining up the top and left edges. Carefully draw a line from the bottom left of G to the top right of C.
      C to G/C
      Sew along this line and then press backwards to check that the shape is straight. (I trimmed these seam allowances to 3/16" ... yes, do this! trim these, some people don't but trust me with a block this size you will not want to. Regardless, I always trim them.)   Make two of these using C and G, and four using D and I.
    2. Hs to C-G-C
      Now place another C on top of your C-G unit, this time lining up the top and right edges.  Repeat the same process .. you should now have completed two C-G-C units. Use this same technique to make four D-I-E units, see a quick photo here.
    3. Add a H to each end of both C-G-C units.  Again: draw, sew, press and trim. 
    Sew a H-C-G-C-H unit to the top and bottom sides of the hourglass + B unit.

    adding D-I-E inner blockOn the wrong side of one D-I-E unit, mark 3" from the D end.  Pin this to your inner block unit lining the mark up with the edge of the block.  Sew from the D edge to the edge of the goose shape.

    Your are now able to sew the complete seams ... for example the next unit would be placed across the top edge and sewn fully edge to edge. After the 4th side is sewn go back and finish sewing the first seam, lining up the edges and overlapping your stitching by about 1/2". Adding D-I-E

    • Minka re-drafted this block too!  Check out what she did here, it's adorable!!
    • Anina, from That Quilt shows you how to foundation paper piece this block here.