After all the turmoil, sadness and travel of the last 3 weeks, it feels good to be home again and sleeping in my own bed. The downside is that I have come down with a full blown flu and it's severe. My DH has it too, so we're both taking it as easy as can be expected. I'm hoping to feel better enough to finally dig into this parcel from the Fat Quarter Shop which arrived just before I left and still hasn't been fully unpacked. Since arriving home yesterday, I've really enjoyed seeing how far so many of you have progressed with Hazel and I've been pining for Love Entwined. With several newly finished in the Group, I suddenly feel in the right frame of mind to pick it up again. But I'm much too sick for any sewing today. It will be tea, bed rest and plenty of lemon and honey for me.
Today I'm trying to stay as well as possible; it's hard to create small familiar comforts during travel, but lemon tea always helps and I hope it will nip my head-cold in the bud before I have to get on a plane again. Travel during sickness is always tedious and I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. It's hard to consider the routine and ordinary when my mother's funeral is so fresh in my mind, but I'm doing well and the love and support of family and friends has been a great support during this sad time. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers, they make all the difference.
OK, let's have some serious piecing fun! I decided to tackle the swirler block immediately after creating the centre star because it's one of those blocks that, once made, will make you feel like you can do anything! Your confidence will soar and who knows, you might even make a few extra just for the sake of it.
I am in love with the swirler block. It looks so complicated (if you let it) but it can be tamed with patience and know-how. This is post is all about how I went about making this block. Please read through the pattern (several times) and really understand what you are doing before you make a start.
An important aspect of how I made my blocks is understanding the technique I used. This technique works from the back of the block and it's the most successful method for creating neat, even centres that allow the swirl to look perfect. If you've never created a block in this way, I suggest you make a sample first to get the hang of things. Yes, it's achieveable, so don't let any worries about a new technique slow you down. Heres how I made mine, step by step.
The block consists of TEMPLATES A- B- C
This is the RIGHT SIDE UP pattern sheet. I've outlined all the lines in the block and names them according to their TEMPLATES. As you can see here: the pattern is segmented into A -B- C
Take a good look at this picture. This is TEMPLATE A and as you can see, I've cut my fabric WITH seam allowance, then I cropped one curved edge. That means, I removed one seam allowance from the PAPER TEMPLATE. Why would I do that? In order to starch the edge of my fabric and crease the line when I turn the edge of my fabric.
This image is of my pattern sheet above REVERSED. On the reverse pattern, there is a straight line and a dash line. The straight line indicates where the TURN EDGE of your fabric piece will sit and the dash line indicates where the 'no seam allowance' edge sits.
Take a look at both lines
It will make sense soon
I've turned the edge of my fabric over over my paper template with starch and pressed dry
Remember that my PAPER TEMPLATE is being used in the REVERSE
When the TEMPLATE has been removed, this is what the fabric looks like. The edge here is very important to this technique. My seam allowance is a 1/4 " but you can use 3/8 or 1/2 " max.
Now we are looking at the REVERSE pattern sheet and my fabric piece positioned in location. The fabric piece is sitting on straight lines. The dash line above indicates that the NEXT template piece will overlap my turn edge
I've pinned my fabric to the pattern sheet so it won't move as accuracy is key to this block. Now, along the turned edge, I've applied a scant line of glue.
The next fabric piece is positioned right into the dotted glue line of the turn edge seam of the previous piece. See how the raw edge of my second piece is glued down to the glued line of the turn edge of the piece before? The raw edge is always a glue edge. Take a good look.
Now, take a hot iron and 'stamp' the fabric over the seam lines so the glue dries. Don't move the iron up and down, you are simply drying the glue.
This is another view of the same block. Notice that the glue has gone down all the way into the centre start point. This is important.
And looking at this image, you can see the fabric pieces actually go over the cenre point. The whole way must be glued and dried for accuracy.
Now it's time to add the next fabric piece and again, the raw edge is always the glue edge and remember that the pattern sheet is reversed, my paper templates are reversed AND my fabric is cut accordingly. So I am actually creating this block in reverse.
Notice this thin scant line from the very beginning to end of the seam line. I'm using Elmer's washable school glue which is actually just a starch. It's the only glue I recommend for quilting. Here I have popped it into an old basting glue container for ease of use.
Now positioning new fabric into place
it must line up neatly and within the lines
hot stamping the glue seam
This is A -B -C in position, working from the back because my block is reversed
and continue, paying attention to your pieces and joining them accurately on your glue lines
hot stamping the glue dry
and more continuing
until it's time to add the final segment
One left. In order to position the last piece, you will have to gently lift the bottom fabric and slot in the last piece
lift the previous piece
and position the last piece
I've open up so I can get the last one accurately on the line
slot it in, apply glue and press it dry
Now, gently lift the seam allowances, I did this with my fingers. Now you take a marker and you run the marker along the seam lines. Can you see the blue line below? I've marked my seams on the crease line.
This is a crease line, marked in
Just running my pen along
Now, turn the block over and check the front
the centre points should be accurate, like this
See how the swirls create a flat surface right in the centre? In this image, my block is NOT yet stitched, it is only glued. See how neat and tight it is?
When you're happy with your block, go back and stitch your seams on the line you indicated with pen. You start stitching on the last piece your slotted in and you stitch from the outside of the block sewing into the centre, always sewing on your crease lines and stop 1/4 inch before you hit the centre swirl. You don't stitch over the swirl. You worked clockwise on the reverse. You start sewing down starting at your last piece and you sew the crease lines, working anti clockwise.
Wait until the 15th of each month and download the available patternright here directly on my blog. The choice is yours. My old Yahoo Group has closed due to limitations on the platform. If you haven't come over to the new group, now is a good time.
The treat this month is the ever tempting donut tray—complete with a French éclair and vanilla slice. Just because! Growing up, I knew donuts as ‘carnival donuts’ and they were puffed round donuts dusted with sugar and filled with jam or custard. It wasn’t until many years later that I saw an American donut with the hole in the middle and bright neon colour icing. What a famous indulgence that image has gone on to become! I can’t even imagine a bakery or dessert offering without some kind of donut or pastry option nowadays.
How will you make yours?
This month I'm still playing around with backgrounds, as you can see above. I just love this handwriting, I really think it adds a special something! I now have seven serious background contenders, so I hope it will become clearer to me as the months go on! At least now, in Part 3, you're in the swing of things - you know how to make the domes and how to get about creating your blocks each month in your own favourite method of applique. I think I mentioned last month that I had intended to make this entire wall hanging in raw edge. Well, that was the idea but I'm so used to turn edge that it comes naturally to me without even thinking about it and I once again 'forgot' to raw edge this month! So now it looks like the whole thing will be turn edge as I figure there's no point fighting it.
My easiest delicacy was the chocolate eclair because I have such a firm idea of what they should look like in my own mind. And the fabric I used has a lovely glossly sheen in real life that adds a nice touch. I was flexible with the vanilla slice - be it pink topped, white iced or swirled. I knew there had to be an American donut at the front, all bright colours and stripes or sprinkles - I went with stripes.
My favourite? This bun. Or perhaps its a donut, it all depends on the fabrics you choose.
I was going to go classic to match my Raspberry Charlotte in a lovely crusty beige bun with white icing and a red cherry on top - but at the last minute I decided to mix it up and opted for a custard filled bun. If you look closely you can see my custard is in fact cats, which I thought was so cute and funny.
Well, I got a laugh out of it anyway, and you know, it's all a lot of fun. This is what my fabric party looked like for Part 3. I loved every minute of it!
I hope you are too, Happy Quilting until next month!
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