Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LHQ - Quilt Top Assembly

LEFT-HANDED QUILTING - Quilt Top Assembly

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Note - these instructions are written in LEFTISH.  If you are right-handed - just reverse the directions. (I love saying that!!)
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First let me say - this would have gone MUCH FASTER if I didn't stop to take so many photos as I went along - but then - without photos - it would have been MUCH HARDER to show you and to try to explain what the hell I was talking about.

So -

If you are wondering why I haven't posted anything since last Thursday - now you know!!

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LEFT-HANDED QUILTING - Quilt Top Assembly

I have another quiz for you -

If you had twenty quilt blocks that you wanted to lay out 4 across and 5 down - with twelve points to match - would you rather sew them together and have to

A.  Match three points - four times

or -

B.  Match one point - eight times - and four points - once.

If you answered A - feel free to skip this post - you assemble quilt tops the way most instructions tell you to - and the way most quilters do.   You sew four blocks together to make one row - make five rows - and then sew the rows together to make the top.  Standard quilt top construction.

BUT -

If you answered B - or - you would like an alternative method of construction - read on.

I'll tell you TWIDI - The Way I Do It .  It's not really left-handed - it's just easier for me.

I don't like quilt tops when they get huge and unwieldy - they are way too hard for me to handle as they "grow".  I don't mind chain piecing - I just like to match as few points as possible at one time.  So - I split my quilt tops into manageable bits and try to have only one really long seam at the very end.

Instead of sewing four blocks together to make rows - I make four columns of blocks on the design wall.  Like an Excel ® spreadsheet - I call the columns - A/B/C/D - and the rows - 1/2/3/4/5.

This is a photo of Red Cosmo on the design wall in the hallway.  The photo is sideways - so you can see the 20 blocks - 4 across and 5 down.


Because the photo is sideways - the top two rows on the wall are actually column C and column D - so I started with them first.  I moved both columns to the design wall in my sewing room to show you my "process".


Starting at the bottom - with C5 and D5 - I "flip" the blocks in column D over on top of the blocks in column C - wrong side up - and put a pin on the edge that I want to sew (the right side in the photo).

With the raw edge closest to me - I put in a couple of extra pins before I sew the seam - with the pointy end of the pin at the raw edge (because the raw edge will be to the right as it goes through the sewing machine and I like to remove the pins with my left hand).  Do what works for you!!


Then I just make a stack - CD5 - CD4 - CD3 - CD2 - CD1 - making sure CD1 is the top one in the stack.  I put two extra pins in the C part of CD1 to remind myself that it is the top left block in the second stack.


Then I do the same thing with column A and column B.


I put one extra pin in the A part of AB1 to remind myself that it is the top left block in the first stack.  (The photo shows two pins but one is holding the block to the design wall - so it doesn't count.;)  And - because I can be anal at times - I also put a little temporary sticker in the corner with "A1" so that I don't mix up the left and right sides of the quilt.  (Don't laugh - I've done that!!)


Then I chain piece the stacks - ten sets - and I haven't matched a point yet!!

I clip the sets apart - and press rows 1-3-5 to the right - and rows 2-4 to the left.  And put them back in two stacks with AB1 and CD1 on top.


OK - now for some matching - one point - eight times.

FIRST SET OF FOUR MATCH POINTS -  

Sew CD1 to CD2 - one match point - dead center of the four blocks


Sew CD3 to CD4 - one match point - dead center of the four blocks


Sew CD3/4 to CD5 - one match point -

 

where the pins are


This is where it starts to get a bit bulky for me - so while the blocks are still on the design wall - I flip the bottom CD5 row UP onto the CD3/4 section - and pin them together in a couple of places (you can see the pin in the middle of the red block on the right) - before I take them down.


I take the whole thing to my cutting table and lay them down so that the bottom edge (the side I want to sew) is on the side closest to me.  Then I pin the seam - matching the point first - like I did before.


Sew CD1/2 to CD3/4/5 - one match point -
You can see the yellow pins in the red sections at the bottom center of the photo.


This time - because I like the larger piece to be on the bottom when I sew - I flip CD1/2 DOWN onto the CD3/4/5 section and pin like I did before.  (The top layer in the photo is the wrong side of CD1/2.)


SECOND SET OF FOUR MATCH POINTS - 
Then I repeat the process with the AB columns - for the second set of four match points.

Sew AB1 to AB2 - one match point - dead center of the block
Sew AB3 to AB4 - one match point - dead center of the block
Sew AB3/4 to AB5 - one match point
Sew AB1/2 to AB3/4/5 - one match point

Now you have two sets of ten blocks -
AB1/2/3/4/5 (press seams DOWN)

and CD1/2/3/4/5 (press seams UP)

And I have matched 8 of the twelve points needed - but no more than one point on each seam!!  YAY!!

Now -

Flip the blocks in column CD over on top of the blocks in column AB - wrong side up -

leaving the bottom part just hanging for now -

and put pins on the edge that will be sewn (the right side in the photo).


THIRD SET OF FOUR MATCH POINTS -  Match the last four points on the long center seam - sew it - press it - and you're done!!


Twelve points matched - with no fuss!!

Now - isn't that easier than the way you're "supposed" to do it??

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By the way - as far as matching is concerned -

sometimes I can do it

and sometimes I just can't!!




Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta update my UFO list -

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