Friday, December 19, 2014

My Grand (Illusions) secrets to lazy quilting

I am Libra!  We are not lazy, but we ARE efficient (at least that's what I like to call it).  We think about a problem and spend much time trying to find an easier way....  because there is ALWAYS a better mousetrap. 

I found some work-arounds that seem to allow me to avoid some of the processes that I particularly dislike.  PLEASE NOTE that these methods work for me but may not give you the result you desire...  Thus, they are provided as informational ONLY.

Perfect HSTs
I suppose I could perfect my cutting/sewing combo to NEVER have to trim but that has yet to happen.  Know that I try... and try hard...  and most are so very close...  but I want them closer.    So I check each with my acrylic ruler and trim each one when needed. 

But I still hate this step...  I end up with thousands of teeny tiny slivers of fabric everywhere.  The upside of this process is that the birds LOVE these for their nests.  I put them into a suet feeder and then watch the local nests for proof of upcycling.

We all know that HSTs are a necessary evil of quilting and a big part of Clue #1 of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusions mystery quilt (GI)...  so I needed a method that I disliked less than some of the other options.

unsewn and untrimmed with HST
excess peeking out
I will start with the fact that I am comfortable with my 2 1/2" squares... that they are cut "fairly" true.  After cutting, sewing, and pressing the HSTs, I am just slightly LESS comfortable with their true measurement.  So I trim...  and trim...  and trim....

But there has to be another way.....   so.....

I place my HST under my square, lining up the seam line of the HST with the corner of the square at opposite ends (where the seams meet the corners). 
sewn and trimmed

As you can see, there is a bit of the HST peeking out past the edges of my squares.

Keeping the HST seam joints lined up with the corners of the square, I stitch my seam.  I ignore the fabric edge of the HST and determine my sewing line based on the edge of the square of fabric ONLY.  

I do not pin.  The pin in the photos simply
shows how the HST seam lines up with
the corner of the square.

Excess of the HST sticking out.  Make sure
it extends approximately equal amounts
on both sides and that the HST seam is lined
up with the corner of the square.

After sewing, the pieces are stabilized and I scissor trim the part of the HST that peeks out.  I DO have to be careful to not cut the square as I still consider it an accurate 2 1/2".   I DO NOT PRESS until after trimming.

It is right ON the money!!!

I randomly check the trimmed squares to make sure they are a true 2 1/2" square, do my pressing, and consider it done! 

I love it when a plan comes together.

Sewing squares into HSTs:
First off, I think drawing lines down the middle of squares to get half square triangles (HSTs) is tedious.  Besides, I don't NEED the line down the middle.  So my better mousetrap tor this part of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusions (GI) mystery quilt is as follows.

Since I want to draw ONLY one line, I place my 1/4" ruler on the wrong side of the square with the center line crossing the corners of the square.

I use my Frixion pen to draw a line on ONE side of the ruler (the line will NOT be in the center of the square!!).

After placing the square on the base rectangle (clue #2 of GI) I sew a scant 1/4" on each side of the line.  This results in a sewn seam down the center of the square, which gives me the result needed for GI, and another sewn seam for a bonus HST from the remnants of the HST process.

I scissor cut on the drawn line, separately the piece needed for GI from the bonus HST.

And VIOLA! Progress on Clue #2 and a bonus HST for another project...  or the back of GI.

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