Tuesday Time Tip

>> Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This week's Time Tip has a few steps to it. The Basic Idea: Little Steps Add up Quickly!

Who will benefit from this tip:

Any quilter who:

works on more than one quilt at a time

makes quilts with lots of pieces in each block unit

has little blocks of time to sew

wants to read this post!

This week's tip focusses on a few of the little steps involved in getting to the end of my queen size Lady of the Lake quilt.

Each block has 16 Half Square Triangles. I need 4 dark and 4 light fabrics for EACH block. (I'm not including the large half square triangle in the middle - the same process would work though, if like me, you want to make them ALL at the beginning to show your commitment to the quilt!)

I'm only using from my stash. My sister has sent me some fabric from her stash too as I'm not generally a 'light' value fabric collector. This step will go faster for you if you have bought specific fabrics for your project.

I have a few basic tools and used most for this step. First I need light and dark fabrics. LOTS. I also have my long grid ruler and my 6 inch square ruler. Plus my cutting mat and rotary cutter. And my measurement which has now become ingrained in my memory.

2 7/8. Squares. Light and Dark. I pull from my stash regularly. I cut them out of leftover fabric as I work on new projects. I try to build up piles of each.

When I don't have time to build up a pile of various pairs, I make do with what I've got. Here's a picture of 4 darks paired up with 4 lights. The minimum required for 1 block is 4 pairs so I try to make them all different.Here, at least, all the lights are different so things will work out.

To maximize time I lay out pairs of dark squares and top them with light squares, right sides of fabrics facing.

Then I draw my diagonal line down all the pairs. Now instead of laying each pair down and then stacking them, I get my stack ready that much faster. Not a super speedy trick, but did I tell you I need 16 pairs for EACH block?

Then I follow, perhaps one of the greatest tips out there from one of the greatest tipsters and stash busters - Bonnie of Quiltville and her leaders and enders tip.

The MAJORITY of these half square triangles have been sewn together while making other quilts. Lots of other quilts. I am not one to focus on one quilt at a time. But, perhaps by now, you have already figured that out!

Okay, back to the tip! Once I have my most recent pile sewn, or at minimum 4 different pairs, I lay them out again on my cutting mat. This time I have the light side facing up with the pencil line going up and down and try really hard to make neat columns. Then I place my long ruler lined up with the pencil line I made to sew, and cut. Just like that.
A nice little pile, stacked dark side up, to take to the ironing board. For my next chunk of time.

Just to point out:
Each step along the way may be the only step that gets done in one sewing period. Or even one week! Sometimes getting enough pairs to the ironing board takes. . . well, longer than I'd like. It's okay to put the steps together in one sitting and go for it. But this is how I get my blocks done. One step at a time.

I know - there still isn't a finished block here!!!! Tune in next week for my last few steps to finishing a block.

Until then, Enjoy!

Sarah Vee


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