Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Texas Monthly - Month 3

 Its December (how did that happen??) and that means another block for the Texas Monthly Block of the Month program!   This BOM is hosted by Stitchin' Heaven  and I am thrilled to share tutorials for the blocks each month.  

And don't forget . . . if you want to join in this BOM (it starts again in April)  or any other Stitchin' Heaven Block of the Month programs, you can get your second month free with code "MELISSA1"  There are so many amazing BOM programs to choose from, the hard thing is picking a favorite, or two ;)  

Month 3 is more Paper Piecing!  And now that you have the basics down from last month, this will be great.   So get your fabrics pressed and grab your  Add a Quarter Ruler, straight edge, rotary cutter, seam ripper, and thread scissors.  And if you still haven't made last month's blocks, you can see all the basics for Paper Piecing in this tutorial I shared,  and you can also get a lot from the book, Learn to Paper Piece book by Nancy Mahoney.  So let's get piecing!!!  




Some Quick Tips

Like I said, you have all of the basics of Paper Piecing down from last month.  There are just a few things you want to take note of for this month as we are making repeat block sections.  So make sure when you copy your patterns, that you copy 4 patterns for all of the designs except the center block of the Lukenbach block.   And when you cut your fabrics, you will be instructed to cut enough for 4times.


And the great thing about making the same design mutliple times . . . it makes it easy to assembly line produce your paper piecing which speeds things up a bit and also means less thread waste.  So when you start, you will want to align your piece 1 on all 4 pattern pieces.  (If you can keep your pieces straight, you can do it for 8 or 12 patterns . . . but I liked doing 4 at a time)  


When you are ready to stitch your first seams, you can chain stitch.  So rather than cutting the thread between each piece, just lift your foot and pull and then start stitching on the next piece.


And you guessed it, same goes for pressing.  Every step you do, you just do it times 4 (or 8 or 12 if you are super awesome!!)   I found that I got into a rhythm much faster with these repeat pieces.  It was very enjoyable and once I figured out lining it up on one piece, I could just do the same for the other 3 :)


And one final note, occasionally, things might need a little ripping :)  The first 2 pieces I stitched on the Amarillo by Morning Block (trust me, that one is worth checking with the pin before stitching, the angle is super sharp) I had to rip twice, and the paper separated.  If this happens, simply put a piece of clear tape on the seam line and then stitch through that.   It is a great little fix :) 


And one final note . . . Paper Piecing is a whole lot of fun, and very precise, but these blocks are complex.  When you follow the next steps on putting the block together, just remember, it is all about having fun.   If you are a perfectionist and like every point matching perfectly, I recommend pinning a lot and being okay with a little ripping and adjusting.   And if you aren't, no worries, If your blocks make you happy (even with a 1/8" off points) than that is all that matters!   You will note, my second block is not precisely perfect, but I am happy with that.  I am just happy it is done, remember, I am learning paper piecing right along with you all :)  

So with that, let's get going on Piecing the Blocks!!!

The Lukenbach Block


First up is the Lukenbach Block.   You need to Paper Piece 1 Center Unit, 4 Corner Units, and 4 Point Units.  Again, if you need a basic tutorial on paper piecing, see last month's post ;) 


Trim your units to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" using the dotted outer line and layout all 9 units in a nine patch as shown.


And now, finishing the block is just like sewing a nine patch, only you want to align and pin a whole bunch more.   Place the units in the middle column onto the units in the left hand column with right sides together.  Align the seams and pin.  On the center seam, where the point of the step meets the point of the center diamond, I find it helpful to use this little Pin Trick to align the points perfectly.   Once you are aligned and pinned, sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edges.


Now, repeat for the right hand column.  Place the units in the right hand column onto the units in the middle column with right sides together.  Align and pin the seams using the Pin Trick and then sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edges.


Press all of the seams open.  And now you can sew the rows together.


Place the top row onto the middle row.  Again, align and pin the seams, especially the center point, and the unit seams.   Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edges.   And then repeat for the bottom row adding it to the center row.  Press the seams open. 


Now the fun part, time to remove all of the paper.  I like to watch a movie when I do this, most often a chick flick like Pride and Prejudice or North and South :)


Now, all that is left is to add the border.  Layout your 4 border strips around your block as shown with the shorter strips along the top and bottom of the block.


Place the top and bottom strip onto the block with right sides together, aligning and pinning the edge.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.


And a helpful hint here, when sewing that 1/4" seam, I like to sew from the back.  This allows me to see all of the the Fabric V's and Thread X's.   If you sew along the tip of the fabric V and the center of the thread X, you will bet perfect points along the edge of your block.


Press the seams outwards towards the bakcground strips.  Then repeat for the two side background strips . . .  aligning, pinning, sewing a 1/4" seam and pressing outwards. 


And just like that . . . you have a beautiful Lukenbach Block!!!  It should measure approximately         14 1/2" x 14 1/2".   Isn't it just so pretty!



And that means it's time to move on to the


The Amarillo by Morning Block


You need to Paper Piece 4 Section A units, and 4 Section B units.  And just for reference,  if you need a basic tutorial on paper piecing, see last month's post ;) 


Trim your units into triangles using the dotted outer line and layout all 8 units as shown.  We will be sewing the triangles together into squares to make 4 quadrants.


To do this, Place two triangles with right sides together.  Align and pin the seams.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.   Then press the seam open.   I forgot to in the pictures, but it is much easier if you trim the dog ears from the block at this point.  Repeat this for all 4 quadrants.  I still like doing assembly line fashion here, so I pin all 4, chain stitch, and then press all 4.  


You will now be sewing a 4 patch together.    And again, I want to point out that if your seams aren't perfect and it is going to bother you, unpick, realign, and stitch again.  If they aren't perfect and it isn't going to bother you, be happy and move on ;)


Now it is just like sewing a 4 patch, only again, more aligning and pinning.   Place the units in the right hand column onto the units in the left hand column with right sides together.   Align and pin the seams.   Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge. 


  Press the seams open.  And all that is left is to sew the two rows together.


Place the top row onto the bottom row with right sides together.  Align and pin the seams, especially the center point,, it is perfect for the pin trick.     Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.   Press the seam open. 


And once again, it is time to remove the paper.   You can save the movie until you have finished piecing both blocks and really enjoy it ;)


Now, all that is left is to add the border.  Layout your 4 border strips around your block as shown with the shorter strips along the top and bottom of the block.  Use the same directions from the first block to add the border to this block.  


And just like that . . . you have a beautiful Amarillo by Morning Block!  It should measure approximately 14 1/2" x 14 1/2".   And I just love this happy purple block!  (In case you didn't know, purple is my favorite color ;) 


And that is it for Texas Monthly, Month 3 :)

If you have any questions on this tutorial, please don't hesitate to email me at happyquiltingmelissa@gmail.com or leave a comment.  

Hope y'all enjoy making this month's blocks!  Just remember, have fun with it!

 Looking forward to Next Month!

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1 comment:

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

Melissa