Friday, April 19, 2013

Quilt Samples finished

I have finally finished all 16 quilt samples!  Plenty else going on in Life, so I haven't had alot of time dedicated to the sewing room.

First, I decided to deal with my sewing table.  I got tired of always having to unplug my cords to lift the machine to access my bobbin case.  I got my handy DH to get out his dremmel tool and here is my solution!

Now when I lift, the cords go like this:

I finally got into a groove with my samples and they turned out fine after I figured out my plan to revert back to my QuilTak basting system.

After I quilted, I serged the edges and I was very surprised how long that took.  I used a special foot I had never used before, and had to wind LOTS of bobbins to get through all of them.

I threw them in the washing machine and dryer to test them and see what kind of shape they would be in as far as puckering and whether my lines would disappear without any prep. If you open this next picture you'll see my red lines and the green test lines I did just to see my new pencil.

This was using a 100% cotton and muslin.  They shrunk alot, but thats because I did not give them any special care. I probably should not have dried them, but I was in a hurry.. Good thing though... you can no longer see the holes and even puckers virtually disappear when this shrunk!

I bought new quilt marking pencils.  I decided the red dressmaker's triangle wasn't a good idea. And, it did not come out completely after washing. My LQS carries these Sewline pencils, and I like the idea of a thinner line, replaceable lead in different colors, and no sharpening. The lines are supposed to erase or come out in the wash.  I drew on one of my samples to test in the wash. It came out just fine!

Now, I'll have to go back to working on my quilt top and the outside border. Then, I'll be quilting a real quilt! I think I'll be working with my free motion quilting some, but it is hard to have the machine set up for piecing and then switch over to quilting... But, I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quilting Samples

I've been working on my quilting samples as described in Heirloom Machine Quilting.
The page of examples was on my last post.

I started with the first ones and worked my way through drafting them onto the muslin.  I quickly found that my geometry skills were sorely lacking. I finally figured out how to draw all but 2 of them.  The two remaining ones I will be skipping since I cannot figure out how they work.  They are neither 30, 60 or 45 degree angles and do not run from a corner to corner. So, I have concluded that I would never bother to re-create that much angst by choice.

I changed my presser foot to a wide open foot to help with the puckering (my Dual Feed works with any of my feet), and proceeded to layer the pieces with my new safety pins. Here is my wide foot and pin style. I actually had many more pins in there, but took them out to change method. This was just a "staged" photo!
I did realize I should have quilted only 1 line and moved on to the next set of 3 and then come back and do the other 2, but oh well, that was the least of my problems. So you see that even sewing straight lines, my pins are too wide to get the foot down the line straight without taking out the pin?

This is the major problem I was running into with the quilting. When I got to the pieces that had crossing lines, the first line puckered badly and the whole thing was a bit puckery.  I decided pins were not my friend.  Besides, they were too big to fit between the lines (even in those BIG squares) and I'd have to take them out as I went. I call that a Pain in the Bu..behind.
You see, after reading in the book about how my QuilTak left too big of holes in fabric, I thought I would go for the safety pin method. After doing several pieces this way I cannot see that the pin holes are any smaller than the ones left behind on my QuilTak gun. In fact, there are 2 for every 1 of the QuilTak's.  And, it is SO much easier to baste with the gun and taks. Also, the Taks fit perfectly between lines, even when they are very small squares or lines!  And... The quilting ends up SO much nicer!  Take a look!
 Far fewer puckers all over, and NO bad stuff when crossing lines.  I know you can tell where the middle was in the first example shown, but I dare you to find the 2 beginning cross lines in either of these two samples!
So, I ordered more of my Taks and will be storing away those awful safety pins.  I guess I'm glad I tried it the other way, just to confirm that the QuilTak was just fine. Better even.   I do realize that if I were to use Batik's or other very tightly woven threads that I might have an issue, but at this point, it isn't.

As soon as I have finished all 16 of these, I will get back to my border and my bird quilt project.  Until then.... Have a great Spring Day!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grrr.. How to do angles?

I need math help!  I clearly do not have my geometry down.

First, I'm working on the borders for the 1st project: Cowboy Corral. I need to add length to the inner border strip on the sides, and according to the instructions, I should be able to sew these two pieces together putting them right sides together, with equal corner tips hanging over and sewing 1/4" seam from little crook to other side crook. (First I cut them at 45 degree angle together right sides up)
 But, this is what happens, they do not make for a straight line.  I tried 3 times. Not working.
What am I not doing correctly?
I fudged and cut some of the edges off and made it work, since I cut them wide anyway.  Not correctly done, but I got the border on the hard way. I'm SO glad the suggestion is to start back with the first project.  This poor quilt is going to be horrible!!  It was the first on the piecing, so it wasn't very precise. Then, it gets the guinea pig trial for the borders, and THEN it will get the first start of quilting!  Yep, this one will have to be designated the doggie blanket.

 I'm going to skip the outer border for now... Anyone have suggestions? Otherwise, I'm just going to use the straight across method! Whew... way too much angst.

I decided after that, I would start with the Heirloom Quilting book, and do some samples.  I bought some muslin, and Fairfield Cotton Classic and thought I would make up these samples as recommended.  These are not batting samples, but straight line quilting samples. ie.. practice.
I was using a blue pencil to draw my lines until the lead kept breaking.  The only thing I had available was red tailor chalk.  I like it better, but it will be interesting to see if it all comes out of the white muslin.  I'll eventually need to get some better marking tools.  Anyone use these triangles?
What kind of marking tools are your favorite? Will a Plain Ole Pencil work?

Anyway, I was doing fine with marking the first 5 examples.  Then, I got to the 6th with the diagonal lines that don't intersect and my mind went blurry. So I skipped it and moved to the next one. 

I used my 45 degree line on my Creative Grid ruler and attempted to make the lines 1" apart. This took a while to mark 1" away from the previous line and then confirm the 45degree angle.  But, it isn't like the way the book suggested with marking the edges with the ruler.  The next one was even more tricky with the double lines.  I still couldn't figure out how to mark, and so I used the "wrong" method again of measuring from the previous line.  Then, I got to the crosshatch one and I just drew a blank, again. 

This is my "issue".  If I want a 1" grid, I think of it as 1" between lines running parallel.  If I measure between the lines at an edge, it is WAY more than an inch between them.  If I mark 1" on the edges, the lines are no where near 1" apart. 
After much contemplation (how embarrassing)  I did, however, finally figure that it measures 1" from top of diamond to the bottom of a diamond. Hmmm. Is that really a 1" grid?   I guess so....but if I put my ruler down, no way, no how does it come close to any square being 1".

Ok, so if that is the real measurement, how do you figure out where to mark the edges of something like No. 6, or 10? (counting left to right, top to bottom on the sample page above?)

I have no idea how to figure how far to mark my lines on the edges and how to make them spaced properly. I'm using a 12.5" or 12" square... which ever works!
Anyone have some good math skills that can explain a "simple" way to figure this?  Grrr..

No. 6 is especially tricky because I need to figure out where to measure on the inside of the square as well as the outside edges.
and No. 10 seems like a day's worth of geometry to figure out the increment measurements to make them spaced properly if marking from the edges rather than just going for it the way of using one line to measure the next.  (which is not recommended because it compounds the smallest error with each new line..)
Ok, anyone able to do the math and explain it to me as well??

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Irish Chain Variation Scrap Quilt Finished!

Block A's were completed and I arranged them on the design board to start getting a feel for how they should be arranged.
 And then started with the Block B's, the Chains..First was the 9 patches, then sides attached:
 This is the back side. I fanned the seams at the intersections and pressed all other seams to one side.
 Then, attached a top strip.
This is on the design board, ready to be sewn together. It's fairly close to what the end top will look like. I think that after I brought the picture disk down to the computer and switched it to black and white, I will move a couple more blocks to even out the top part that appears more dark.

Well, that's it!  The projects are all finished and now I start the last class of the book where I go back and add borders and then quilt all of these projects! 

Then I take the final exam. Woo HOO.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Irish Chain Block A finished

Block A's are completed!
These were fun. I enjoyed the whole process and I'm going to like the results too.
I cut all the strips to the sizes needed from the various fabrics I chose as shown in previous post.
And, after Carolyn posted about the handy tool of using B&W to determine the values, I saw this:
Thank You Carolyn! I didn't have a Ruby Beholder, but this was simple and works perfectly, maybe even way better?? My color pairs looked good except there were two I thought were too close in value.  Both on the bottom row. The first one on left and the 5th. I decided I liked the color combo on the first one, but the second one I swapped with the one next to it. 
So, here is the final color combinations selected.
 And, just a check with the Value checker:
 Looks good to go!
I didn't want to make each block individually. It makes for too much stopping and starting.
I decided to make all the row 1/5 together. That way I was able to chain sew a background piece to a colored strip 17 times before stopping to press and measure and then run the other background piece onto the 17 block pieces.
These were all cut into the two 2" strips.
Then, I sewed all 17 of the row 2/4's
 And then cut them into the following pieces.
 This is what I ended up with. I kept them all in the same order so that I could easily pair up rows.
 Next thing I knew... I had all 17 blocks completed!
I'll have to work on placement next. In the mean time, I'll be starting Block B, the Chain block.
I was very happy to get a true scrappy quilt accomplished on this project.  I only used a couple of fabrics a couple of times but was careful to change them from a dark value to a lighter value.
Well... do they work?  What do ya think? Scrappy is harder than it seems. I'm not sure where to look for help and suggestions as to how to pick the pairs.
Anyway,  I'm headed back to the sewing room to get going on the B block.

As always, I'm happy to get your comments, suggestions and encouragement.  What a FUN journey!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Irish Chain Variation Quilt Project

This is the LAST project before the quilting stage and then the Final Exam! I've almost made it through the entire first year of Quilter's Academy.

I'm very excited to get to do this one. I've been wanting to do a fun scrappy quilt and now, it's here! This is the quilt as shown as the assignment.
Harriet's Irish Chain Variation Quilt

I spent a whole evening going through my scrap bins hunting for anything that looked like it would work. You must remember that I didn't have a stash when we started this book. I was pleased to find that my newly acquired stash provided me almost enough pieces to do each block with a different fabric! The assignment said there could be up to 36 different fabrics, if desired.  I came up with about 32!  I bought 1/4 yard on sale last weekend of 4 different fabrics anticipating the need.  If I had only taken the time to plan I could have ended up with all I needed, but I was working on something else at the time.

Here the fabrics are laid out together in a way I thought I would pair them up. I'm not sure how to go about scrappy.  There were no instructions as to how to match fabrics. Do we pick fabrics that obviously go together by color, or can we mix things as odd as a total scrappy?  These fabrics just pulled at me, so I didn't give it a whole lot of thought after I chose what I liked.

What do YOU think? Will they work?

I decided to do one test block before I cut up all my pieces.  I found more errors in the book!
Row 2 & 4 need 2 square 2x2's (not just 1) and Row 3 needs one 2x2 of dark (not mentioned).  Here is my test block. Believe it or not, I'm STILL dealing with finding my 1/4" seam guide line.  Now that I've moved my ruler over, I can move over my guide. I like that, because it is further away from the needle, but it's been a battle.  I hope I won't have to battle in the next book.

This was using fabric I had plenty of, in case it didn't turn out. But, I think it turned out just fine :)

Now, I think I will start cutting all the pieces for all the blocks. If I were to do the pressing, prepping, cutting and then piecing one block at a time it would take weeks.  Some of the scraps are not straight grain cut, so I'm not sure how I'm going to align the fabric before cutting. It will take some thought!

Anyway, this step will take a while. I'll update when I get there!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt Blocks A & B

Block A's completed and pictured on the design board:

I did decide to recut new strips and reassemble strips for rows 1 and 5. I just couldn't use them and get them to butt seams with the other strips that I had used different measurements for. I'm glad that I bought extra fabric. I was hoping to add it to my stash, but I ended up having to use almost 1/4 yard for the extra strips of pink alone.

I started to sew rows together and after the 3rd row, I pressed and set them on the cutting table and left them for the next time.

The next day I arrived, grabbed the stack and row 4 set and started sewing. After I pressed and starched, I measured and noticed... it was not measuring to an accurate number?  Sure enough, I didn't measure row 3 addition last night and it needed a bit of trimming. So, I ripped all 17 block's 4th row and started over.  The tricky part was that I had fanned the seams on the back, which pulls the threads away from the edges of the block and the strip being sewed. All turned out OK after I trimmed and pressed again, and then sewed them back on.  Does anyone actually restitch those pulled threads?  I'm hoping they are not vulnerable to falling apart.

Block B was more simple.  These were the two strip sets.  I'm still not sure what the real benefit to having pieced the first set.  Wouldn't it have worked fine to just have one strip the full length?
 Block B cut and ready to assemble.
 Block B completed.

And, here are the blocks placed on the board, ready to be sewn together!
This has been the most complicated piecing so far.  There were so many seams to butt together, various strips to keep straight in my mind, and measurements that went wrong.

However, I think this turned out perfect for a unknown gender baby at a shower, or women's shelter! This one will definitely find a home other than staying here. And, I went and picked up more of the fabric on sale because I really liked it. Even after all that went wrong, I'd love to make more of this type of quilt to donate.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Upgrading the Sewing Space

It is time to rearrange the room now that I've had a few months to discover how I like things.
Previously, my sewing room was arranged this way:
  1. My cutting table was up against the wall, and it really needed to be out in the middle like the pressing table. 
  2. Cutting table a was still a bit too short.
  3. My Arrow Gidget I sewing table needed to be bigger to catch the piecing, and later the quilting.
  4. No storage for fabric
  5. Closet full of other junk!
  6. Ott light on sewing table is behind the sewing space and I need it in front, but there is no space.
  7. Ott light on long stand is trapped behind cutting table and doesn't light the cutting space.

Here is the new arrangement:
I really wanted to get a new cutting table.  This current one, as noted in a previous post, is a folding table, with the middle having a hump, and then gap. I hunted all over the web and stores and then decided that spending a bunch of money on another table, even $100 on a Lifetime adjustable height folding table that didn't fold in the middle was foolish. I'd rather spend it on fabric for now.

I turned my sewing table to the side and added a small 4'x2' $35 Lifetime adjustable height table from Costco. It sits at the same height as my sewing table and gives me that extra room for fabric. Now, the fabric doesn't pull from behind my needle. At the beginning of the book our projects were simple piecing and they didn't pull as they fell behind the table.  I think the extra table makes a big difference now that we've gotten to chain sewing larger strips. 

I moved the ironing table to the space my cutting table was.  I didn't need access all the way around an ironing table. Since the ironing board is adjustable in its height, I can move it to the left of the sewing tables once I start quilting and it will make for a nice space to my left.  I think I'd rather have the ironing board behind my sewing table, but I didn't quite have room on the wall without moving the design board.

I did want space to walk around the cutting table.  Sometimes the light is better if I stand on the closet side of the table and look toward the window. My shadow doesn't obstruct the natural light that way. But if I'm just doing quick things, it is easy to approach from the ironing board or sewing table on this side.

I cleaned out the closet and have some storage space for things inside, and I even have room for a few scrap and fabric bins under the cutting table. They are on wheels, so I can move them around easily. There are more inside the closet.

I turned the wooden blocks up to the tallest side under the table, and now it is at the perfect height for me!  I'm 5'7" and needed it at about 36" high. I just make sure that my cutting mat is on the left side of the hump and my fabric and books are on the right side.  Since I don't feel squished against the wall, I haven't had any problems with my "issue" of the gap. I just need to be careful not to bump the table, as I'm a little worried it will fall off the boards or the blocks will get knocked over.

The long bendable Ott light used to be stuck behind the cutting table and I really didn't feel it was doing much. Now, I have it right next to the cutting table when cutting, and then wheel it over next to the sewing machine when sewing!  It will even reach the ironing table from the same plug in!  I was trying to figure out the best lighting for my machine and all the lighting seemed too expensive for what it was.  Turns out I had the best solution right here all the time. I just needed to rearrange to discover it.

The only problem I've had with this arrangement is getting pictures of projects on my design board. I have to stand off to the side, and can't get a good straight on picture.  I wish the table was more moveable! Some day, I'll get that adjustable height table so I won't need blocks any more :) Until then, you'll know why my design board shots do not include the bottom row or are from the side with a table corner in the shot :)

Just by rearranging the room and adding a small table I think the space is much better suited to the use of the room. I have to be more careful moving around because it is a bit tight, but I LIKE it! And, it is still easily converted back to a guest room when needed :)

Just for fun, I found a picture of my dh making the ironing table for me! This was last summer when it was warm and the grass was green! 

I really didn't like the shape of the regular one with the pointy nose. It was hard to press a yard of fabric without having to constantly move it around.
This was the stage where he used my real ironing board to measure for the boards underneath in order to keep the quilting board from sliding around or falling off. Three sides of the board are nice and tight. It easily lifts off if I want to store it, or use my regular board.  I covered the plywood with the Bonash cover, and I had a wonderful custom quilting ironing board!

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Struggle with the Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt

First, I was so happy to find that Joann's had a 40% off sale on their fabric when I dropped in this week!  I ended up getting all the fabric for this quilt project that I needed, plus extra for my stash building for just $17!

Here is my fabric. I wasn't picky. I was just happy to get something that was inexpensive and fit the project.  But, as I have been working with them, I'm really happy with how they are working together.

Second step was to press and align the fabric as usual.  I had to be patient and careful, as I found some needed much realigning even on the second fold.  I'm feeling so much more comfortable with the process of prepping the fabric.  It takes a while, but I know it is on grain and crisp when I finish it.

I cut my fabric strips for Row 1 & 5 and proceeded to sew them together.

I must say that I'm glad I only cut enough for this one row in the block because after I sewed the blue to the pink for outer edges and measured, I was fine at 1 1/4" between my seam and the edge. So, I sewed the white strip to the pink and again measured from edge to seam. OK. I sewed the 2 pieces together and I think I stood there for 1/2 hour just looking at the ruler.  I was sure my ruler went senile!
I moved my ruler sideways and measured. It was the same vertical as it was horizontal.

How can my measurements be fine from seam to outer edge each time, but if I measure seam to seam after having 4 of them, I lose 1/4" overall? My block was supposed to be 5 1/2"  I was at 5 1/4" and no seam touched the lines on my ruler.
I was stumped. Foul language was running through my head. I seriously could not figure out what could have been wrong. I pressed with more starch and tried to make them work. But, my pressing has gotten good enough that I couldn't get any more space.

So, I used my seam ripper and took out all the seams, pressed and starched them flat again, and started over. I ended up moving my seam guide over just to be sure I could find that extra space. But, I was seriously wanting to take off my throat plate and move my needle over instead.  The further I go towards the needle, the harder it is to keep the fabric running over the feed dogs properly. 
After re-sewing, I found myself battling to press new creases and get the full measurements. I was still off a scant when finished resewing. Almost 1/8". I believe I will just cut new strips next time because that was more work than it was worth. And, it still isn't perfect. Those ridges from old needle holes and pressing won't lay as flat as I would like them.

I got myself out of the sewing room and slept on it. What was I doing that would create a measurement that seemed fine, but when multiplying it by 5 was no longer good?


I had previously realized that I needed to cut using the outside of the lines, rather than the inside of the lines.  But now I realize that if I give myself a thread or two extra on the outside of the line, I end up giving myself room for seam allowances pressed over. I was cheating myself by cutting the strips too narrow. Yes, after one seam they were ok. They were touching the line when measuring. But, one quickly loses 1/8" when you have 3 seams added up, and then it multiplies as the strip gets wider.  And, I now can move my seam guide back over where it should be so I don't run crooked when the feed dogs want to grab my fabric over all rather than half the dogs.

After doing all three strips, I have Block A ready to assemble.  And, I am pleased to tell you that the measurements were absolutely beautiful when I laid my big ruler over each of the new strips.  ALL the lines were exactly matching all the seams at 1" intervals, and the entire length was exactly 5 1/2".

SO, the lesson here is check your cutting. You may be cutting fine for one seam. But be truthful with yourself. Are you cutting to the outside of the line when you cut, then find that you are fine with the measurement on the inside of the line after you have pieced and pressed?  It won't work if you start sewing strips like these above. Give yourself some pressing space! It is easier to cut more and then trim if needed than mess with scant measurements or moving seam guides over so far things don't run smoothly.

And, don't be surprised when you find an error in the instructions for Block A.  Instructions for both Row 2 and 3 are incorrect, but you won't end up doing anything more than cutting too much fabric. It will just make you question yourself in how to assemble that strip or how many strips you should be making. I was happy there was no seam ripping involved :)  I have acquired a real distaste for seam ripping.

Now, I must decide whether I will settle for almost there rows 1 & 5, or just do them over for the 3rd time with newly cut fabric.

I must say, even after this drag out fight with my ruler, THIS is why I'm doing this book and "class" in quilting.  I really want my piecing to fit together like it should.  I want to progress to doing triangles and more complicated blocks, but I know it would just be frustrating if it didn't measure up right. After all, I have 2 of those blocks on my design board, reminding me why I'm doing this.   They don't fit together. So, I'm dedicated to working out these problems and will not be deterred.

I must include a picture of my new Presencia Thread!
I ordered them direct from the Presencia web site and they arrived in 3 days!  Do you remember me saying I only paid $4.95 in shipping?  I was thrilled.  I think I have enough thread now for a nice long time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Carrie's Inlaid Tile Table Runner Finished

Well, after looking at the blocks and different layouts for two days I made the decision to make the blocks into a table runner and 3 place mats.

The table runner ended up a 3x10 block layout which left me enough blocks to make 3 place mats 3x2 which look about right for size.

I have one left over block that I'll use for a practice piece before quilting this project.

I've been racing against time.  It's looking very spring like outside, and the calls are coming in for bids and work.  Looks like my winter time quilting is quickly coming to a slow down.  I'm happy with what I was able to accomplish through this winter and will be very grateful if I can just get the last 2 projects done.  Then, I'm thinking I will have to work on the quilting on the weekends.

Working with my dh is very physical (painting) and I end up as tired as he is at the end of the day. I always wondered how he could come home and fall asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down.  I'm lucky to just keep up with food and shelter needs before I'm heading to bed.

My goal is to finish the final and thus complete Vol. 1  by the end of July. Since I bought QA in August last year, that will make my freshman year 12 months!  Too bad I didn't get started right away, I spent too much time putting together the space and reading.  I don't have Sophmore year vol.2 yet. I plan on purchasing the next year's book when I get to the final exam quilt so that I can start the next volume immediately.

I am very pleased with what I've learned this year out of a book!

Monday, March 11, 2013

170:Lesson 4 Project

Carrie's Inlaid Tile Table Runner

I had plenty of time to catch up on all sorts of other things while my machine was away. I read most of my 4th ed. Harriet Hargrave's Heirloom Machine Quilting. I'm taking notes and highlighting and am hoping I've got myself prepared to finish up these projects I've been working on.

And, I spent time attaching #1 nickle plated steel curved safety pins into these handy Quilter's Delight pin covers.

I was able to purchase the pins at Wal-Mart. The pin covers and the Kwik Klips tool I purchased at Joann's with 50% coupons. I think it took well over an hour to attach all these. I believe I have about 300 pins here and hope that will baste any project I've got plans for quilting.

But, on Friday my sewing machine called to me, "Let's sew!"  After taking last week off I was anxious to get back to my next quilt project that I was ready to start. 

This is the Table Runner as pictured:
We're learning combined grids with this quilt. Combined grids simply means that some pieces are not the same size as others. We had strips to sew together and some strips were 1 3/4" and some were 3".

I wanted to stick as close as possible to the color scheme as the layout given. It just makes it alot easier when following the instructions and the color coding in the book.
Here are my fabric selections:
First shown on left will be the border print. I could not find any "border" print suitable. Then, my yellow, green, light blue and dark blue. All are from Kate of Spain line. The bright colors just make me happy. I picture them on my kitchen table and smile.

Here are my strips sewn.  And, here I have to tell you my happiness. I have a new needle in my machine, and new thread on top and in my bobbin.  The thread is pewter and it blends wonderfully. But, that isn't all.  It is NOT making a mess in my bobbin case and there is no lint by my needle either.  I was using Signature 50/3 and matching pre-wound bobbin and I had a mess that I was regularly having to clean off. This new Presencia Thread is wonderful. It is 60/3 mercerized cotton, imported from Spain, so it is thinner.

Which means that when I measured after sewing and pressing, my seams to outer edge were over the line a smidge rather than on the short side! So, I ordered more thread. I'm convinced it is worth the extra couple of dollars per cone. However, after adding a couple different colors to my cart at Harriet's Treadle, I found that the shipping was based on $ rather than weight or what could fit in a priority shipping box. So, I googled and found Presencia Thread here.  And, their shipping was a flat $4.95.  Sorry Harriet.  Didn't figure I wanted to pay $19 shipping when I could get more thread for that.

All strips get cut at the same 1 3/4". This time I cut my entire strips rather than only the specified number required. I will plan to use them for placemats or practice squares in the quilting process. I realized after the last project that I've got partial strips from all my projects and wonder why I didn't make extra squares.  Scrap strip sets are just odd.

The first two sewn together are the middles of the block because they have the most seams. I fanned the seams where intersections met.
And, this is what I got after attaching the first row to the previous 2. All chained together ready to press. I realized though, that this is the first time we have pressed a seam OPEN. In all our other piecing, we have pressed all seams to one side or fanned the intersections. 

My process had to change for this, and I think we probably could have used a little explaination as to how to press a seam open. Now, that may sound a little obvious to some, but really, how to you get the seam on the front to lay flat if you are not using the iron to guide along the 1/4" seams on the back?  I decided to lay the pieces back side up, use my finger to finger press the seams open, then press that side, then turn them over and press flat. Then, starch.  Please comment below if you have a preferred way of pressing open seams.

Each time I add a strip to the block I recheck my measurements to be sure I'm still accurate.
After adding 4th strip to block I came up with this.
Seam side: outside rows are pressed open and the middle seam is pressed to one side with fan at the intersection. 

Now, reading the directions for assembly, I find a picture of a 6x6 layout!  My first questions was, "WHAT?" that's not a Table Runner!  Then as I read, I see that we are given an option as to how we want to assemble this one.  So, here are my choices:
This is the table runner layout.  Blocks in 3x10 layout, with left overs for place-mats?  This ends up about 50" long where as the layout suggestion is 60". I don's care for my table runner to be that long, as it would fall over the edges of my table.  My dilemma is the place-mats are square and I'm not sure they would look right after an equal sided border added? What would you do with the place-mats? Maybe have only 2 and have another row?

Then here is another layout choice:
Another lap quilt. I like the inlaid tile design, but I think I was looking forward to something fun and nice on my table.

Feel free to leave your comments!
Happy Days,