Sunday, 9 May 2010

Too soon

Rusty (Rodney) Kemp
22/2/1963 - 8/5/2010

Today I mourn the loss of my baby brother. He broke every rule in the book, knew no boundaries, gave me wings and would have given you the shirt off his back. He made so much possible for so many people that I know I'm not the only one who is heartbroken and going to feel this loss for a very long time.

In a few days I'm going to add to the carbon footprint in order to spend time with my family in South Africa and say our farewell to him. Thank God for airways and to hell with taxes, it is the right place for me to be.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Part two - Rainbow spiderweb quilt block

You can read Part one here.

Having sewn the yellow corner of this quadrant of the finished block, take your work piece and turn it so that the yellow side now lies on your left. This means that you will now be sewing in the opposite direction to the yellow side. You will see that written in pencil in this paper corner is the word red, which means that all your red strips will be sewn on this side of the grey centre piece. Place your first red strip onto the grey centre piece, matching the edges and sew it on, sewing through both layers of fabric and the paper. Then take your work piece, turn it over, and just like you did with the yellow side, fold the paper backward on the (grey/red) seamline.

Fold your paper out flat again, fold your first red strip open (right side up) and place your next red strip face down onto the first red strip, matching the edges and making sure that it covers the paper foundation. Pin the two red strips together, do not pin them to the paper. Before you place the work piece under the presser foot make sure to fold the paper back on itself again. If you look at the photo above you will see (at the bottom left) the the folded piece of paper is sticking out and only the two red strips are under the presser foot. Continue adding on and sewing red strips together until you have sewn enough that they cover the paper when it is folded open.

When you have sewn all the red strips together and you turn the workpiece over you should be able to pick up the two outer corner of the paper and lift them up and when you do this the fabric will remain flat on your working surface.

Sew the designated colour strips onto all four quadrants, take them over to your ironing board and gently press your seams. If the fabric sticks to the paper backing don't worry because with a very gently tug it will loosen and come away from the paper. Once they are all pressed, take each quadrant in turn and place them fabric side down onto your cutting board. Using the paper backing/foundation as your template, trim all the excess fabric off.

When you now look at the paper side f the trimmed quadrants (like the one above) you should only have two rows of stitching and a written reference of either 'left' 'right' 'top' or 'bottom'. These refer to where you place the quadrants in the process of assembling your block.

To place your quadrants, imagine a square on your working surface. Pick up each sewn quadrant and if the reference written on the paper side says 'left', then place your quadrant on the left side with the longest side of the triangle forming the outside line of your square and the grey piece pointing toward the centre of your square. Place each of your pieces in this manner. You will know if they are placed correctly because you will have a grey star shape in the middle and your yellow corners will be together and the red corners will be together.

Now pick up one of these triangles, flip it over, and fold the paper backwards and forwards a few times on the seamline. The object is to weaken the paper. You only need to do it five or six times and then placing one finger on the edge of the seamline and pressing down gently pull one of the sides away. It's a little bit like tearing a cheque out of your cheque book. Once you have removed the pieces from both sides, gently put your finger between the paper and the fabric of the centre piece and it will also lift away at the seam line. This is where my OCD tendency kicks in again, I tear off the little piece that sayd 'left' or 'right' etc and pin it to the top side of the triangle and them put the triangle back in its place. Pick up the next piece and do the same until you have removed the paper and marked each ones position and put it back in its place.

By pinning it's placement reference on the front you make sure that it always stays where it is supposed to be. Now pick up two pieces, pin them together face to face and sew them together. Do the same with the remaining two pieces. Now you will have two large triangles. Place them one on top of the other and pin them ensuring that your seams meet properly, especially where the grey bits end and the colour bits start.

When it comes to sewing the two large triangles together I place the piece under the presser foot and instead of sewing from edge to edge I start just above the centre seam and sew downward toward the corner.
Having sewn half the seam, remove the piece from under the presser foot, turn it round and sew the second half by starting and half inch above the centre seam and sew downward toward the corner. This means that in the centre of the block you will have, for about an inch, have one seam sewn over the other one. The reason for sewing this final seam in this manner is not to strengthen the seam (although it will) but it ensures that all the underneath seams from the strips remain flat and don't sneakily turn in the opposite direction.

Et voila! This is what your block will look like when you open it up. All that remains is to gently press it .... and of course start sewing the rest of the blocks.

When cutting my fabric strips, the width of the strip was irrelevant, what was important to me was to get the correct colours together. I chose grey for the centre because I want the corner colours which become the spiderweb, to stand out. Time will tell if it was the right choice.

If you follow this method I'd be really pleased to hear how it went, and of course to see piccies of what yours looks like.

Until next time,
Take care

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Good intentions

Despite all my good intentions to get my head down and do a step by step of how I've sewn my spiderweb quilt blocks so as to hopefully make it easier for my fellow bee sewists, it didn't happen that simply. I've layed awake at night wondering how to do it because I've never set up a tutorial before and in my waking (wishing I was asleep) time, it seems I've over complicated it all in my head.

Then, when I could have done it, Enman's son moved back home and so we spent some time moving furniture and (our) stuff out of the room so that he could put his stuff into what was his old bedroom and had become the guest bedroom. Then a few days later the sewing room was sacrificed as a bedroom to a guest. I don't mind the guest, it's just that it bothers me no end when I have to disappoint folk.

I am actively creating a post which will be picture heavy to show how I sew the rainbow spiderweb block together. Because of all the pictures it might end up being split into two or three posts. If anyone out there can teach me an easy way to create a tutorial I'd be very grateful to hear from you. In the meantime, please beare with me.

Part One - Rainbow spiderweb block

Edit: I want to stress that the method I've used is based on Marit's tutorial found here

This post is going to be picture heavy but please beare with me while I post picture after picture that was taken while sewing one of the blocks together. In fact, it'll probably end up being split into more than one posts.

This particular quadrant of the spiderweb has yellow in one corner and red in the other. So, I've marked these corners with their designated colours, in pencil. After pinning the centre piece securely in place, place a yellow strip face down (right sides together on the grey) on the side marked yellow. Sew this first seam through the two layers of fabric and the paper.
Then turn the quadrant over so that the fabric is face down and the paper side is up so you can see the stitching line.
Fold the paper back on itself, on the stitching line and then flatten it out again. I do this fold at this stage because it makes the next steps easier.
Place your next yellow strip face down on top of the first yellow strip making sure that some fabric goes beyond the edge of the paper tempate/foundation.
Pin the yellow strips together read for sewing but make sure that you do not pin them onto the paper.
Once you're happy that the strips will adequately cover the paper when sewn and opened up then pick up the pieces in your one hand and using your other hand, fold the paper away from the yellow strips.
Lay your pieces down and sew the second yellow strip to the first one. If you look at this picture you will see that the piece you folded away/tucked under, is jutting out at the top left corner, ensuring that you only sew through the layers of fabric and not the paper.
After you've sewn the second strip fold the paper out flat again so that you can place your third yellow strip face down on top of the second yellow strip.
After repeating the process of folding/tucking the paper away, sew the third yellow strip to the second one. Repeat adding and sewing yellow strips to each other in this way until you have 'covered' all of the paper for that area.
When you turn it over, fabric side down, you will see that the only seam that has sewn through the paper was the very first seam when you sewed the first yellow strip to the grey centre piece.

As this really is picture heavy, I will continue with the next part [tomorrow] on a separate post.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions or if anything doesn't make sense, please ask and I'll try and help.

In the meantime,
Take care


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