Monday, May 1, 2017

Welcoming May

After a busy weekend, I'm having a quiet rainy day at home!
I spent Friday teaching at Mercantile on Main in Coshocton, Ohio -- sweet shop and always have lovely students when I visit there!
I enjoyed the drive through an area of Ohio where wild dogwoods are more common and they are blooming prolifically after a mild winter.
Sights like this are one of the blessings of our interstate highway system it creates "forest edges" that are the perfect habitat for dogwoods and redbud trees.
On the way home, I took a side trip to walk the prairie at Springfield Bog Metro Park east of Akron, Ohio in hopes that I might catch the sight (or sound) of bobwhite quail which were introduced back into that area a few years ago.  No luck on that front but there were some spectacular dandelions!
The flowers are such a gorgeous shade of yellow and this one was easily 2" across! 
Many Americans hate dandelions mostly because of these seeds!
But who can resist blowing a perfect head of them into the breeze!
I love the birds they draw to my lawn during migration which I might not see otherwise such as white-crowned sparrows and indigo buntings!! 
My weekend stitching was focused on the seventh installment of the Long Time Gone SAL.  Churn Dash is a simple block but making 3" ones is a bit challenging.
I followed Marti Michell's guidelines for cutting the 21 blocks using her templates.
I find that the smaller the pieces needed for blocks, the happier I am to use the templates.
My cutting is more accurate and there is less need to "fudge" during the piecing process. 
Once I had the block units stitched and pressed, I was inspired by photos on Instagram to experiment with reversing the lights and darks to make positive and negative blocks.
This tactic introduces a twist that holds a viewer's eye longer.
To maintain that impact, I only reversed 1/3 of the blocks -- to do half and half would have diluted the effect. 
I have also cut the centers and first round for the (tiny) pineapple blocks so I used those as my "leaders and enders" while stitching up the Churn Dash blocks. 
I realized while trolling through other SAL participants' pictures on Instagram that the "edge to edge" assembly of the finished blocks was often resulting in chopped off triangle tips.
I read all three of the leaders' blogs and took my own pressing approach to manage this better (in my opinion).
I pressed half of the blocks with the HST seams pointing to the center of the finished blocks as below. 
After assembling the rows, I pressed the seams away from the HST's (the easiest direction to push them) as below. 
And again, in the finished blocks, I went to the easiest alternative -- away from the HST's.
This assures less bulk at the tips of the HST's. 
But if all the blocks are pressed as above, there is a lump of six layers of fabric at the outer points of each triangle making it challenging to set the blocks together and be happy with the results.
Minimizing that bulk is the challenge and this is how I accomplished it.

I pressed half the blocks as explained above.
For the remaining blocks, I pressed the HST seams towards the outer corners of the blocks as below.
It breaks the "press toward the dark" rule in some cases, but less bulk always trumps that rule in my world!! 
I pressed the seams in the rows towards the HST's -- in other words, opposite to what I did in the first half of the blocks.
And again, after stitching the rows together.
So the second group of blocks are pressed opposite of the first and I can nestle the seams together as I stitch the blocks into the finished groups.
No nicked off triangle tips (well, almost none)!
I'm pleased with the results!! 
My mind is starting to think about the sashing that will separate the blocks and I think I have enough blocks assembled to make that decision so I'll start to audition candidates over the next couple weeks. 
Now that I've shared these thoughts with you, I'm going to check if the birds nearby come out in the drizzly weather we are having today! 
My idea of excitement!!



  1. Mary, I love the looks of all your blocks together. I'm trying to only use scraps, so mine are all repros, since I wasn't sure I had enough in any one other area to make a whole. quilt. These are definitely challenging, but fun!

  2. I have the booklet for that quilt - if I decide to make it I will press the seams open so the bulk won't be so much - I am doing that with a flannel quilt right now and it works out well

  3. So tiny and adorable. I love little blocks but have no patience to make enough for a full quilt