In last month’s blog, I talked about pretreating my fabrics with Retayne so that the dyes (especially the red ones) become locked. I’ve done that, and pressed all of the fabrics. The swatch chart and size helped me sort out the names associated with each fabric. Now I’m ready to start cutting!
For this blog, I’m planning to demonstrate cutting patches the old fashioned way…with a rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler. However, the Batik Sampler instructions give guidelines on how to cut patches with the Accuquilt GO! Qube.
For anyone wanting to check out this awesome tool, take a look at the videos that accompany the Batik Sampler BOM.
Just a note…you may need to tell your computer to allow pop-ups from the Quilting Company website to watch the videos. A little button in the upper right hand corner of your screen should allow you to do this!
Month 1 – Sawtooth Star Block:
As I cut the patches I find it helpful to lay them out in rows and columns. This helps me with both the patch count and also makes it easier to compare size and shape, in case I mistakenly cut one wrong.
Next, I lay out each block’s patches so that they look like the diagrams provided in the instructions. Following the instruction for the order of assembly, I sew the pieces together. The Batik Sampler has a lot of shapes that will create a “dog-ear” when sewn together. It’s important to trim those away or your quilt will end up with a lot of bumps! (By the way, the Accuquilt GO! Qube eliminates the need to trim a lot of those dog-ears!)
As the blocks rows are sewn together, I pay attention to the direction I’m pressing the seam allowances so that I can nest those seams and get a good match.
After I feel confident with the block construction, I go ahead and use chain piecing to quickly make 4 Sawtooth Star Blocks!
Month 1 – Double X Block:
There are so many versions and variations of blocks that call themselves Double X. I think the Double X block in Batik Sampler is one of the prettiest, and it gives the quilt some drama and movement.
The Double X block has a lot of corners and seams that need to be lined up. To help match things up, I really pay attention to the directions my seam allowances are pressed so that I can create those well-behaved nested seams!
Also, as I sew, I find it useful to add some control over those tiny points of the triangle just before they move between the sewing machine’s feed dogs and presser foot.
For this, there are lots of tools that work well, including an awl, a stiletto, a pin, scissor points, etc. I happen to have a really sharp dental tool that works pretty good. It’s super important to make sure the tool is kept clear of the moving needle, otherwise it can mean disaster and possible sewing machine repairs! The tool is really used to safeguard fingers from the moving needle!
The Batik Sampler has a lot of patches that are cut on the bias.
What this means is that the cuts are made 45-degrees to the woven fabric’s warp and weft. The fabric stretches easily in this direction, which can be great for some things like binding curved edges. However, the natural stretch from bias cuts can make piecing them a little challenging. Something I find helpful when working with patches that are cut on the bias: LOTS OF STARCH! Also, it’s best to PRESS (think of just setting the iron down over the fabric), rather than IRON (think of moving the iron back and forth over the fabric). Starch and pressing keep the bias cut fabric from getting stretched and wonky.
My Double X block is now made and looks great!
Month 2 – Flock of Geese Block:
Like the Double X block, the Flock of Geese block has a lot of movement. One thing I like about it is that it looks complicated, but is really just a whole bunch of triangle-squares!
A little tip about cutting and using triangle squares: If you want to use this easy and extremely versatile nugget in your quilts, always remember to figure the finished size of the triangle square you want, and cut squares 7/8” larger than that finished size. (We often get so used to our ¼” seam allowance, it’s easy to undersize triangle squares). Stack the two squares with right sides together, mark a cutting line along the diagonal, sew ¼” from each side of the cutting line (I love the Fons & Porter Quarter Inch Seam Marker for this), cut, press open, and voile!
For the Flying Geese block, I chain pieced the triangle-square units. I ended up with this long chain of triangle squares, which only need to be snipped apart and pressed.
Now it’s time to assemble the Flock of Geese Block. As I get into the groove of sewing and I allow my mind to wander I inevitably run into one of those arghh moments! Can you find my mistake?
It’s a good thing I always have a seam ripper within arm’s reach because some days it feels like I take out more stitches than I sew! Now the corner block is fixed and I finish up the Flock of Geese Block!
Month 2 – Magic Triangles Block:
For me, this block proved to be a bit more challenging than the previous 3 blocks. I found it hard to get a perfectly square finished block and the parallelogram requires a lot of work to take place on the bias. Again, use starch, press and piece the patches with a little overlap on the ends like this:
There sure is a lot of dog-ear trimming to do with this block! Be sure to follow the Block Assembly instructions carefully, especially for the Quadrant Diagrams. The instructions are written so that the need for the dreaded Y seams is avoided! As with a lot of things, the first Magic Triangles block was challenging…
…But by the fourth one, I felt like I had the hang of it
Our first two months of Batik Sampler Blocks are finished and tucked away for future assembly. The fabric and blocks are turning out so pretty, and I can’t wait to see next month’s blocks!