Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chain piecing snowballs!

I know that title will only make sense to a quilter.
I made a 'skateboard' quilt for a gkid.  Came out terrific.  I watched a video on piecing the top, and I was struck by the contrast between the speedy, streamlined assembly for most of the pieces, and the lumbering, fussy contrasting corners on the 'deck' piece.  I was inspired by Frog Tape.
If you have painted any walls or woodwork lately, you likely are familiar with Frog Tape.  It's a 3M painter's tape that is superb for masking, leaves a very clean line, and comes off easily.  It's green.  Frog.  Well, there is a yellow version that is for delicate surfaces- you can use it on new paint, and it will come off cleanly, with no damage to the new paint.  I have a roll by the sewing machine.  I have been using it for temporary guides on my sewing deck, and I have used it a few times to hold fabric or batting- especially where I was butting the edges of two pieces.   I don't sew through it. It is a 'gentle' hold on fabric.  Easy to reposition.  It does a great job of coming off fabric clean. It is not as clean coming off batting, but better than everything else.
On fabric, it is reusable three or four times before you need to replace with a new piece.

Here's the block piece I needed to put 'corners' on:

Here is how I chain-sew the corner pieces.

My 'deck' pieces are cut 5" by 10", and the corner squares are 1.5".
I arrange the deck pieces on my cutting mat, lining them up so that each piece is offset by 1.5 inches.  I am left-handed- so righties may want to line up the right side of the blocks instead.

Position the squares:

Position the tape:

I line up the tape on the diagonal corners of the 1.5" blocks.  I add a couple pins in the middle of the stack of blocks.  It helps when you are (carefully) carrying the stack to the sewing machine.  You could use some more tape, front and back, instead of the pins.  I prepare the opposing corners at the same time.  Sew!  My machine needle is offset .5mm right of center.  That's my scant 1/4 inch.  So I can use the edge of the tape as a 'center' guide, and my seam is one thread right.

Trim your seams, and take off the tape.  Press before you clip apart.  Them repeat this procedure for the remaining corners.  I leave the tape strips on my cutting board until they don't have 'life'.

With the 5" x 10" pieces, I stuck to doing 4 at a time, but with smaller pieces, I am fearless! I can make long strips, and there is no rule about how much frog tape you should use.  
Here's the finished top.

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