First an update on the Amish Imitation Quilt. In not the greatest of photos, this is what it looks like now:
I had planned to piece it by machine and quilt it by hand, but I have done a little bit of a cop out - I am quilting within the triangles by machine. I will quilt the black/red borders together by hand - I think clam shell shapes which will be about 3 inches across the base - so that's still a lotta hand-quilting!
I am going to use something called Saral Transfer Paper to mark the quilting pattern in the borders - yellow to (hopefully) show up on both the black and the red - has anyone tried this paper for quilting or anything else? I am going to Canada in two weeks to visit with my BFF - I'm planning on marking the quilt before I go and then quilting it while I am there talking up a storm with my good friend.
AN-Y-WAY - here is something I found in a quilting book called Patchwork with Pizzazz -I've tried it, it's fun, and so I am going to share. Here is one block which I have done using this method - it's called Quilt As You Go and you'll see why in a minute.
You'll need 4 fabric squares (mine are 5 inches but you can make these any size you want) to make one small block. For the large block above, I sewed 4 small blocks together. I have used 1 light blue 5-inch fabric square, 1 dark blue and 2 beige-on-beige. No rules here, though - all different fabrics would work and would be an excellent way to use up your stash.
You will sew four 5-inch fabric squares together to make a small block, and then I sewed 4 small blocks together to make a large pinwheel block. Since each of the small blocks are about 6-inches square, my finished pin-wheel block is about 12 inches square.
Take 2 5-inch fabric squares and join them together - for this first step I sewed a light blue to a beige. I used a standard scant quarter inch seam, but you could use any seam allowance you like as long as you keep this consistent for all the blocks. Repeat this with 2 more 5-inch squares - this time I sewed a dark blue to a beige. See Figure 1 below. Press seam allowances to the dark side, then place the two rectangles you have created together, right sides facing. Sew along one short side, back-stitching a few stitches at the beginning to anchor, pivot and sew along a long side, pivot again and sew along the other short side, anchoring at the end as you did at the start. (In many less words, sew from A to B!). I flipped one set of sewn-together squares to that when I put them right-sides together, I had blues facing beiges). See Figure 2 below.
(I did not take photos as I sewed and quilted these blocks so I have tried to do diagrams using PowerPoint, then I did a screen print of them and used Photoshop to crop the screen print. I am quite pleased with the result!).
Then, on each side of the long, unsewn seams, grab the rectangle at point C and pull apart, which brings A and B together and creates a long diagonal seam. Carefully match the middle seams, and then, starting at the corner, sew a few stitches, back-stitch and then sew for about an inch (2.5 cm) and back-stitch again. Leave a space of about 2 inches (5 cm) open, then resume sewing to the other corner, again back stitching at each end. See Figure 3 below.
Flatten out your square, patting to get it as flat as possible. Cut a square of wadding the same size as the flattened square. Pin the wadding to the seam allowances of your block - pointing the pins to the corners, but not letting them extend beyond the corner. I have tried to make the diagram look like the wadding is transparent so you can see how it sits directly on top of the square. See Figure 4 below.
Turn the square right-side out, wadding and all, through the opening you left in the diagonal seam. Gently use a knitting needle, a chop-stick or a made-for-the-purpose seam poker to coax the corners out to that they are sharp.
Remove the pins one by one, and fasten them on the outside in the same corner they came from. Make sure you get all of them, otherwise you will sew them into the block and I think that could cause someone some future discomfort! You might have to flatten the wadding into the corners - use the turning tool for this if you need to. Sew the turning opening closed by hand.
Quilt however you like - hearts, flowers, circles - I have quilted about a quarter inch from either side of the seams to make a double diagonal cross.
Decide how to position the blocks in the quilt and then hand sew them together with staggered whip stitches. (You could also quilt by machine - and/or join the blocks by machine, butting them together and using an embroidery stitch that would secure the blocks together).
Here is the large block again, along with four small blocks that have been turned right-side out and are ready for quilting. I have decided to make large pinwheel blocks out of my 4 small ones - but you could also just sew small blocks together in rows for a real stash-quilt feel. If you follow the Patchwork with Pizzazz link above , there is a photo of a quilt on the cover of the book with the small blocks arranged in rows - and it looks quite different from mine).
And, by the way, see the neat little red zippy case? Kyoko made this and I purchased it from her Etsy shop - see her blog at Cotton and Cloud, and follow the link to her shop. I put my lovely case in my "Quilt As You Go Basket" (which last week was an "Apples and Grapes Basket") to keep my quilting threads, my needles and my clipping scissors together in one place - it's perfect).