Thursday, February 12, 2015

Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long - Improvisational Piecing Units

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 or $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule:

Improvisational Piecing Units - Feb 12th
Improvisational Piecing Block - Feb 19th
Twists on Tradition Units - Feb 26th
Modern Patchwork Block - Mar 5th
Appliqued Chains Block - Assembling - Mar 12th
Appliqued Chains Block - Stitching - Mar 19
Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky - Mar 26th
Parade and Grand Prizes - April 23rd

**You might notice a slight change in the schedule.  Before today, the Twists on Tradition (referred to in cutting as Square Blocks) were first.  But somehow, I got mixed up and thought the Improvisational Piecing Units (referred to as X Blocks) were first and did the work for those blocks this week.   So anyhow, since they are the blocks I have a tutorial ready for, they are now first.  Just FYI, if you are wondering why the change.

Before we get any farther,  we need to pick a winner for the Cutting Assignment.   And great job to everyone on finishing that assignment, I can tell already that this is going to be a great group to quilt-a-long with :)

The cutting  assignment winner who gets a $15.00 Gift Certificate to Green Fairy Quilts is . . .
# 33 -  Just a Mom who Sews !!! - Congrats :)


So here we are, ready to start piecing!!! ,I am so excited, Let's get right to it :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)  Just see the schedule above for the posts you missed and start quilting along ;)  


So if you have never done Improvisational Piecing before you are in for a real treat.  The fun thing about it is most of the time, you don't have to be as accurate.  Lots of eyeballing and close enough and it still works out perfect.  So just remember, for today, just relax, this is going to be fun!!

Start by gathering your 2" x 10" X Block Print rectangles and your 6" x 6" Subcut X Block Background Triangles.

Place a Background Triangle on a Print Rectangle with right sides together as shown below.  You want to center the Triangle on the Rectangle so that there is about the same excess amount on the top and bottom.  But remember, you can just eyeball, no need to make sure it is perfectly centered.

Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.  You will sew from the top of the rectangle to the bottom.   Once again, this is improv, so no need for pins.  Just hold your pieces in place with your hands and stitch away.  If it isn't perfect it is okay.

Now, after you have sewn the first, don't stop ;)  This is where we are going to save some serious time and thread with Chain Stitching.  Meaning, we don't clip the threads between each unit.  So once you get to the end of your first unit, simply start feeding the next unit through your machine.

And just keep going.  You will make a long snake of units behind your machine ;)    This really is some speedy and pretty mindless  so have some fun with it.  I like to listen to a book on CD when sewing like this or you can always watch (aka listen and look up at the best parts) of a favorite DVD.

And once you are done with the last unit you can take your pieces from your machine and see how big of a pile they make ;)

And now, it's tie to stack that pile back up again.  Clip the threads between the units and stack your units into piles once again.

And then it it time to move to the ironing board.   And yes, my ironing board cover is in desperate need of a makeover ;)  I find it is actually easier to press these units face up, so that is what I like to do.  Either way you press, just be sure and press the seam allowance towards the Background Triangle.  And just press, press away ;)

And once you have all your units pressed. you are ready to Rinse and Repeat ;)   Now you will be adding the Background Triangles to the other side of your Print Rectangle.  

So like before, Lay a Background Triangle onto the other side of a Print Rectangle.  Once again, try to leave about the same distance on the top and bottom.  You can also double check that you are centered by eyeballing that the points from your two triangles are lined up ;)   Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Once again, don't bother with pins ;)

And just like before, we are going to Chain Stitch away saving time and thread.  Just keep feeding your units through your machine one after the other.   Remember to keep it fun and relaxed.

And once you are done sewing all your units, again, clip your threads, stack up your units, and move to your ironing board.   And like before, press your seam allowances towards the Background Triangle.  And press, press away ;)

And before you know it, you will have all of your units pressed and you are done with this weeks assignment!!!!    That's right, get to this point and you are done for the week!!!  (But don't worry, they don't get pieced like this, next week we will wonky trim and then piece ;)

And just in case you are wondering, here is how many Improvisational Piecing Units (the wonky squares above) you should have when you are done.  (but you don't have to count them, if you ran out of Triangles and Rectangles, you should be good ;)
And with your Assignment all complete, you are ready to link up for a chance to win the Weekly Prize!!!!

This weeks Weekly Prize is being sponsored by Discover Fabrics and a huge thanks goes to them for their support of the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks  prize is a My Sunshine Charm Pack!!!

So what do you have to do for a chance to win this Gift Certificate?  Simple . . . Just link up your Improvisational Piecing Units at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post, flickr picture, Instagram, Facebook . . .  or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Thursday morning as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of next weeks post :)

If you don't get your improvisational piecing units done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :)    The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your sewn units to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #irishchaintwistqal.    I am so excited to see you all get to start sewing ;)

So let's get our chain stitching groove on!!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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  1. I can hardly wait to get home (feed the family) and get sewing!!!!

  2. Looks fab, can't wait to get started! :0)

  3. Yeah! Can't wait to sew mine together!

  4. I am looking forward to an evening of sewing after a long day at work.

  5. Ya! Doing a Happy Dance!! Thanks Melissa! Can't wait to do this week's assignment at my sewing retreat this weekend.

  6. I think this is the first of your QALs that I am actually keeping up with. LOL This step looks doable for this week for me!

  7. Sewing Weekend!! Yipee! Can't wait to dig in with these!


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)