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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fire Island Hosta Piecing Continues.....

I didn't do a good job of keeping track of the hours I spent piecing Fire Island Hosta these past few days but a lot has gotten accomplished.

I finished piecing the Spikey Leaf units.

And started the Clam Shell  Border

The instructions for piecing the Clam Shell border call for strip piecing where the papers are placed along a strip of fabric then cut off. I am not a fan of this technique because I find it difficult to handle the large papers and long strips of fabric. So what I did was cut the strips into pieces and pieced them in the "usual" paper piecing method.

This is a close up of preparing the next section. A very light fabric is being sewn next to a very dark fabric. Instead of lining up the edges of both fabrics I place the light fabric slightly above the dark. I do this to prevent shadowing once the piece is sewn and pressed.

Here is the Clam Shell Border finished.

So far this quilt is going together easily. the Spikey Leaf was a little time consuming but nothing hard.

Fire Island Hosta 74" x 74"
Fire Island Hosta 100" x 100"  

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fire Island Hosta - Completing the Spikey Leaf

Yesterday and today were each short piecing days....about 3-4 hours each day. Yesterday I completed the remaining sections for FL-1 and about half of the sections for FL-2.

This is a picture of the partially completed FL-2. The extra fabric on the sides was getting cumbersome to work with so I gave it a haircut. This is the before.

Here is the after. Much easier to work with. This is where I stopped yesterday afternoon.

Today I completed FL-2 then attached the vein to the four FL-1 units. I thought this would be difficult but it went smooth as butter! The first thing you do is stitch a basting stitch on Line 40 Basting Stitch Line. This is 1/4" from Line 40 Sew Line. You can see these two lines in the picture below.

Here you can see where I stitched on Line 40 Basting Stitch Line.

After stitching on the basting line you fold the paper back....

and trim the fabric just outside the stitched line.

Here is the trimmed unit from the right side

Next the vein is stitched to the right side of the fabric. This went really well. Mark the points L1, L2 and Transition point on the fabric. Match these three points to the paper pieced unit. The instructions call for placing glue on the fabric but I just used pins about every inch or two. I stitched with the vein fabric on the bottom so the feed dogs could help with easing in the curved fabric. If I had stitched with the paper side down then the fabric would bunch up at the presser foot. Stitching it this way means you are stitching  blind but you are following the stitching line on the paper. It turned out very nice!

Here is the vein stitched on FL-1 before pressing.

Tomorrow I will start on the Clam Shell Border, FL-5.

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fire Island Hosta - Piecing Day Three

Oh My Gosh! Since there were only 4 papers each, I thought yesterday was going to be an easy piecing day for the Spikey Leaf units (FL-1 and FL-2). Was I ever wrong!

First of all I had many interruptions but that's OK, that's life. I probably sewed a total of about 4 hours on this off and on.  FL-1 is the longest unit and it has 40 sections. The first 5 or 6 sections on this one are TINY and they took a long time. It was a little cumbersome working with such small sections on the tip of a very long piece of foundation paper. That took much more time than I expected but once I got past those sections it started going a little more smoothly.

Generally I will piece several units at the same time but since I had so much trouble at the start of FL-1 I decided to piece this one by itself. Once I got to about section 12 I added FL-2 to the piecing routine.

Starting FL-2 was much easier. This unit has 31 sections and the first two are small but much more manageable than the first 5 sections of FL-1. When I started FL-2, instead of gluing the paper to the fabric and using the Add-a-Quarter ruler to trim, I simply put the two fabrics right sides together aligning the sew sides. Then I placed them on my sewing machine and put the foundation paper on top, aligning the fabric edge with the seam allowance line on the paper. Sorry I didn't take a picture of that but I was so excited how easy it was I couldn't stop!

Yesterday I completed sections 1-29 for FL-1 and sections 1-6 for FL-2. This picture shows what I will start with today.

Tips: My tips for piecing the Spikey Leaf units are:
  • Start with FL-1 because it is the most time consuming and a bit frustrating. Prepare yourself that it will probably take longer then you expected and try to have about 30 minutes without interruption.
  • Piecing FL-1 can be monotonous once you get past section 6. I suggest you complete 10 sections then take a walk, call a friend, sweep the patio, pay some bills, whatever. Come back and complete the next 10 and repeat two more times.
  • For unit FL-2 don't bother to glue the fabric to the paper for section 1. Take the fabric for sections 1 and 2 to your machine along with the 4 foundation papers and complete sections 1 and 2 as I described above.

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Unpacking Fire Island Hosta: Piecing the Fire Island Hosta Pattern from Judy Niemeyer Quilting

This is probably the 14th or 15th Judy Niemeyer quilt I have pieced. I need to write them all down to see exactly how many. I have given away about three or four of them so I will probably make seconds of those quilts in order  to have a complete collection. Needless to say I would call myself an advanced maker of Judy quilts. I am in the process of completing the requirements to become a certified instructor for Judy Niemeyer Quilting. I just need the last two steps which are workshops in Montana. One is scheduled for June of 2015 and the other will not be scheduled until sometime in 2016. In the meantime I continue to make the quilts and to teach at retreats and quilt shops.

Fire Island Hosta Quilt Pattern
Quilt from Fire Island Hosta pattern cover

Day 1: Cutting and Piecing - The Bags

Day 1 was actually Tuesday, October 7.  I started working sometime between 9 and 9:30 am. I worked straight through until 2 pm then I probably worked an additional hour here and there the rest of the afternoon. This is a total of about 6 hours.

This quilt uses 8 bags to store the fabric, templates and foundation papers.  Start with the newsprint papers in the package. In the instructions on pages 2 and 3 in the 8 boxes you will find a breakdown of which pieces go into which bag. Cut out all of the newsprint papers and place the templates/foundations in the bags as described in the instructions. Each bag is a unit or part of the quilt top. The foundations, templates and fabric for each unit are placed in the designated bag.

The next step is to cut the fabrics and put them in the bags. The instructions on page 3 tell you to sub-cut strips of fabric and place them in the bags. I did not do this because I used fewer fabrics than the pattern called for and wanted to make sure I was cutting the correct fabrics. I went straight to the cutting instructions on page 5 for Bag #1. I continued cutting fabric for Bags #1 through 6.  Bags #7 and 8 are mostly large background pieces and are not foundation piecing.
I started and nearly completed piecing Unit FL-5 in Bag #5. The pattern calls this the Clamshell and these are the 8 fan units with the white background in the photo above.

This photo shows Unit FL-5 prepared and ready for me to sew the final piece of fabric. I got this far on day one.

The instructions say to piece unit FL-5 on Bag #6 next but I chose to skip it for now. This is my cutting space. Before is stopped sewing for the day I set up the fabric for piecing the FL-3 and FL-4 units in Bags #3 and 4. These units are called the Feathered Leaf Border and they form the border around the large center leaves.

Here you can see the FL-3 and FL-4 units ready to start piecing tomorrow. the fabric sections are stacked numerically and the foundation papers are placed in front of the stack.

Day 2: Piecing the Feathered Leaf Border

Today (Wednesday, October 8)  I had many interruptions and my best guess of quilting time is about 4 hours. I started by preparing the foundations with fabric sections 1 and 2.

I use a large square ruler to hold my paper piecing. I move the ruler with the pieces on it from cutting board to sewing machine to ironing board and back to the cutting table.

The feathered leaf border papers are placed on top of the already prepared clamshell papers. When I was piecing Golden Harvest I used two long rulers and made a double decker to bring to the sewing machine. you have to be careful you don't drop it along the way!

Here are the pieces safely at the sewing machine.

Trimmed Clamshell

Feathered Leaf Border about midway in the sewing process.

Both Feathered Leaf Border sections ready to sew. FL-4 is shorter than FL-3.

FL-4 before and after trimming. I always trim the sections as I complete them.

The reverse side. I trim so the outside line remains on the piece.

The FL-3 before and after.

Back of FL-3

Before stopping for the day I prepared FL-1 and FL-2 from Bags #1 and 2. These are the 4 Spikey Leaves. FL- 1 is the larger side (40 sections) and FL-2 (31 sections)is the smaller. There will be more trips to the sewing machine but there are only 4 of each.

The Fire Island Hosta pattern is available in two sizes:

74" x 74"
100" x 100"

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Update On an Older Post

Yesterday I taught a class at Fabrics Etcetera in Webster Texas. I called this quilt Scrappy Pinwheels because I saw pinwheels in the pattern while I was piecing it. But once the quilt was done it was difficult to see the pinwheels. Oh well, what's in a name anyway!

I posted this quilt previously on this blog......Easy Quilt Blocks to Make From Strips. During the class I decided to make another of these quilts but this time using sets of 4 strips instead of sets of 3 strips.  Here is what I did:
  • I used 2 rolls of pre-cut 2-1/2" strips for a total of 80 strips.
  • I stitched the strips together in sets of 4 for a total of 20 strip sets.
  • From each strip I cut 5 squares - 8-1/2" for a total of 100 squares.
  • I put two squares together for a total of 50 square sets.
  • I stitched around the square and cut twice on the diagonal to make 4 squares at 5-1/2". I ended up with 200 smaller squares.
easy piecing quilt from strips
  • Next I mixed up the small squares and put them together in sets of 4. Stitch these sets into 10" finished blocks for a total of 50 blocks.

Set them in a quilt with blocks set 5 x 6.

Happy Quilting!
Carol Thelen

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