Saturday, January 16, 2016

Alternative to (shudder) Snowballing on Starcross

     In a past post, I whined about snowballing. This is when the base piece has square placed in the corner, sewn on the diagonal using a drawn line or crease, one corner of the top square is folded back to the base corner, and two layers have to be cut off behind the fold. Just hate it. Hard to sew precise, hard to trim, waste, etc.
     In my migraine haze, I was going through my rulers trying to plan a blog on tools. I picked up the Easy Angle Ruler I learned to use doing the ill-liked Grand Illusions mystery- I did learn some precision piecing on that. I thought, why can't I do all the cuts on the small squares and base pieces using that ruler so could sew a 1/4" seam against the seam guide and everything lined up, no awkward cutting off pieces behind, etc.
     I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. I trimmed in sets of 4 pieces to keep accurate. Yes, there is more cutting beforehand, but after sewing the block, it all just presses so nicely (with starch of course). 
     To make sure I did not screw up the order, I laid each block when the individual components were done on a large piece of newsprint. I stacked up all the blocks this way. Then, I take the top paper and put the second column face down over the first one and chain stitch all three. I use a leader ender (border for Calico Rose) and then take column three, open up the first chain stitched set, and put column three face down on column two, leader/ender. This way, all the rows are held by thread, ready to sew the two horizontal seams. I then press the seams and put it back on the paper. I will sew all the remaining blocks this way. After they are all sewn, I will sew the rows, chain piecing from one block set to another. When I reach the end of the blocks, I will chain piece all the last row seam. This way, no piece ever gets out of order no matter how much my head hurts. Requires no thinking, just being a robot at that point.
    If I would have been smart enough to figure out the Easy Angle earlier, I would have cut 2 1/2" strips and cut all the triangles out from that eliminating any waste from the 2 1/2" squares. I could have cut 4 1/2" strips and done the same thing probably with the base squares. Would have wasted less (it is Kaffe fabric) and been more precise I think. And no Snowballing. Hopefully the photos will help someone.
Easy Angle ruler, 4 blocks with white triangles,
4 blocks with star point triangles.
Later, I cut both sides of this block at a time and it worked fine
The block laid out on paper.
2nd column laid face down on first column, last column put in order to move to machine

At machine, column 1 and 2 together ready to chain piece, third column standing by in order
First chain pieced blocks through, leader ender following. 
Chain pieced blocks opened like book, third column face down on column 2, chain pieced
Block back on paper. Needs two horizontal seams sewn. Will be chain pieced when all blocks in stack are done.
Nothing gets out of order or rotated wrong.


Sarah said...

Congrats on making the blocks easier. I went to my notsoLQS last weekend to hit up their Kaffe section and they had gotten rid of it. Boo! I'll just have to enjoy your fabrics! I hope the migraine is gone!!

Sarah said...

Funny...blogger says I posted at 541am but it's really 841.

Elizabeth said...

Pacific Time, Sarah. I am pretty sure that the clock on the blog is out on the WEST COAST