Saturday, March 6, 2021

Modern BOM - March, block 1 - Starburst

Another new block already!

As stated before, we are doubling up on blocks a bit to fit the 12 blocks into 10 months. 

We will have a second block in March. Again, I figured this made sense as it's still not "sitting in the garden" weather, and we are still somewhat limited in going out and about as of yet.

This month is a paper-pieced block called Starburst...



I will be your cautionary tale...please check the size of the paper-piecing units in your photo copy...it should be 4.5". I have never had a problem with the sizing on a photo copy, so I just went ahead, and when I got to this stage of the block...



...my block measured 8" square, instead of 8.5". I checked back with my photo copy and the units only measured 4.25".

If you happen to make the same mistake as me, you can fix it easily. I just made the background strips wider. I cut them 3" wide and in the end just had to slice a sliver off the block to bring it to the required 12.5"...



In fact, maybe it's a good idea to make your background strips a little wider anyway in case your block comes out a bit wonky, then you can square it up nicely in the end!

Here are a few more tips for you...

When cutting the paper units apart, don't cut on the cutting line just yet, leave a bit extra all around as you can see marked in red in my picture. You will trim the unit to 4.5" once all the fabric has been sewn on....






Usually when doing a paper-pieced block you would leave the paper in until the whole block is pieced together. For this block I chose to remove the paper after the 4 units were completed. Up to you!

When it came time to sew 2 units together, there is a lot of bulk in the spot that will become the centre of your block. I found it especially so using the shweshwe fabrics that I am using as they are a bit thicker than regular quilting cotton. In this next picture you will see that the unit on the right has some wonky sewing where I've circled...



The circled area shows where my sewing machine struggled to get over the bulky bit.

I remembered a tip I'd heard for getting over the bulk of seams while hemming jeans. The tip was to get your presser foot propped up to the same level as what the bulk is. You can see in the picture below that I folded a piece of cardstock a couple of times and placed it under the presser foot. It worked like a charm, as you can see by the seam in the picture above that is not circled. I've been told that some machines do have a foot that helps for this sort of thing...for Pfaff it seems it's called a "hump jumper"!



When it came time to sew the final seam I couldn't figure out why I was having trouble getting over that last "hump"...then I figured it out...



....I'll take it as the sewing gods reminding me that it's been a very long time since I changed my needle.

I then proceeded over that final hump very carefully, manually making the stitches one by one, raising the presser foot and moving my block along with each stitch. Hopefully you won't have a probably if you are using regular quilting cotton, but do be careful.

And so I have my block finished. Of course, the white background strips are wider than they are supposed to be....but only you and I will know, right???



One last tip....if your centre doesn't turn out as well as you might hope, do what I would do, applique a circle over it and it will be beautiful. If you do choose to do that, maybe carefully snip away the bulky bit behind the applique. A little strategically placed applique cures all!

You can find the instructions HERE on the Twilight Quilters' Guild site. 

Remember to post your blocks on Instagram using the hashtags #tqgmodernbom, and #twilightquiltersguild. If you don't use Instagram but would like to share you can send a picture of your block to me and I'd be glad to do it. It's also nice once in a while to include a picture of all your blocks that are completed so far.

Have fun!


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