Sunday, June 19, 2016

McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along, Rising Stars!

Summertime and we are quilting along with McCall's Peace Cottage Quilt Along. We've only just begun, are you having fun?  I am blogging my process for you.  You will remember in my last post I pulled lots and lots of different fabrics.  As the time to start cutting drew near, I felt that this little quilt was singing a patriotic song to me and so I pulled some scraps that had been sent to me a few years back from a sweet woman.  I knew those scraps would be delightful in the right quilt and this is their time to shine!

There are several tips I have as we go along so you may wish to read through this before you get started if you haven't already.

I like to chain piece, it makes things go faster and I enjoy the repetitive nature.  So to make that process run smooth, I like to get my fabric bits in order first.  

TIP: In the photo above, you will see that I have cut all the pieces to sew the centers of the blocks and I have stacked them in little piles. I know exactly what is going to go with what.  Now, I may decide after the geese are made that I want to switch things a bit and that is just fine, but I have a plan in mind and I stack my stars as I plan to stitch them.

TIP: Wait! What is this? Well, these are my leaders and enders.  I don't use a scrap piece of fabric to start my thread, if I'm starting thread, I am making something. These are left over triangles trimmed from my prior quilt project. I save them in a plastic bag and then when I start my next project, there are plenty of bits to start and end my thread with and in that process I am making more blocks to use another time.

See! Look at all those bonus pieces that got made while doing something I was going to do anyway!  Start and end your projects with a leader and an ender, get in that habit and you will be sooooo happy!

Chain piecing is the simple act of starting the next piece in your machine without clipping the threads. It saves you money in thread purchases, it saves you time and effort because you are stitching the same pieces together over and over.

TIP: You can see the blue line that I drew across the little squares to create the geese.  My tip to you is this: when you are stitching on the right side of the geese, as shown above...stitch just one thread width to the right of your line.  As you switch to the other side, to stitch on the left, you need to stitch one thread to the left of your line.  This allows you to turn the fabric and have a perfect geese.

TIP: In the instructional video, she has you cutting away excess fabric with scissors. You should have a rotary cutter, a mat and a small ruler. I like things neat and this lets you cut a perfect 1/4 inch seam allowance. Just my personal preference, you may use scissors if you wish.

TIP: Pressing is important to accurate piecing. Finger press open your seams to make sure they are fully open before you apply your iron.  When ironing, press rather than scrubbing.  Pressing will give you the proper finish without distorting your piece.

Once you have your geese made, lay out your little block next to your machine, make sure you like how it looks and then you are ready to stitch it together.  

TIP: To get perfect points, you need to see the intersection of those points, so stitch with the geese on the top.  Stitch a thread or two toward the outside of the seam and you will have a perfect point. See example below:

TIP: If you are pinning to match up your seams, I recommend very very fine pins. Once you use them, you will never go back to the thick bulky pins. 
Clover Quilting Pin (Fine)

My star blocks are done! There is not enough room on my little design wall to spread them out in the quilt lay out but this lets me see them at a distance as well as to photograph them and see how they show in a photo. This will help me with the lay out. I can see what is popping out, what looks good next to the other, etc.

TIP: Okay, sashing the blocks together. DON'T FREAK OUT! I confess, my OCD kicked in and I did freak, just a little.  The end pieces do not match up like you think they should.  Watch the video, she tells you that the pieces are oversized, they won't match up and you will be trimming the piece down. Take your time and look at the layout of the pattern. Relax and roll with it. Do it just like she shows you and you'll be fine. I am not trimming mine until I have all the other components of the quilt assembled.  You will have funky edges.

It will trim up pretty, don't worry. The above photo is a more accurate representation of the color. I took the one below outside in the sun and it's kind of blown out a bit, but you get the idea.

So if you haven't started yet, don't worry, you can start anytime you want.  All the info, pattern, videos are on the McCall's website here:  

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