Monday, January 2, 2012

Quilter's Challenge... The Long, Skinny Point

I had to sharpen up my piecing skills this week when I needed to make several blocks from my favorite block pattern. I like stars, and chose this Sun Ray block. However, it has long skinny points that require some careful cutting, stitching, and pressing to allow for a 1/4" seam around the block edges and still preserve a sharp point.

While I prefer rotary cutting, I knew that using this method for the Sun Ray block would be chancy. So I decided to make this sample unit, just to see how well it would work. Nope... can't go this route! This will never do. Two different lengths of the points... how on earth did that happen?

So I resorted to a method I have not used in a long time.... I made templates. They provided the accuracy and consistent results I was looking for. And once I had the pattern pieces drawn, I glued them to heavy cardboard. That allowed me to place them under my ruler and still cut the pieces with the rotary cutter. The templates even had the points shaped for easy matching and no trimming, so they saved a little time there. All in all, I think I had given templates a bad rap... there are piecing tasks for which they are the best solution. I was happy with the blocks I made.

This Tennessee Waltz quilt is also composed of blocks with long skinny points. I made this one several years ago using a book by Eleanor Burns. With her method, I sewed larger units, and then trimmed them to the proper size, which also ensured sharp points. This is the queen-size quilt we use on our bed during the winter months.

And it's been one year since Lily the cat came to reside here. She was a foundling on a bike trail and once we saw her, we just could not leave her behind all alone. She seems to like it here just fine! You can see how much she's grown from her kittenhood by looking at this post.

But I'm the only one who witnesses Lily's "other side". She can get a bit wild as you can see when she "helped" me to put away the Christmas decorations by beating me to the storage tote. See that garland with Lily right next to it? See that loose flower ripped from the garland? Lily's handiwork. But no one believes me because by the time they see her, she's looking very innocent, fast asleep on a quilt ... where else??


Nancy said...

Girlfriend, you are so ahead of me...I would never have the patience to make those points..I am glad you found a solution that you are happy with. I am sure the quilt is going to be beautiful.....

Lilly sounds like sweet and nice and then he can just go nuts...he always loves it when I am trying to do something like knitting or decorating because he wants to get right in the middle of it.....but we do love them don't we?

Donna, Doni, Lady D said...

Your points are incredibly beautiful, Nancy. The LOVE is evident. Lilly ... well what can I say. She's got character and some pizazz ... love the little darling. Your Tennessee Waltz quilt is superb. :o) Donna

ColourFly said...

Looks really great and very nice sharp points. Very beautiful. And I love your bed quilt!!!

Jean Carlton said...

Yes. Those points are tricky. I am working on that now with my medallion border. I also made templates but I hand cut after tracing template wasn't very thick.It's kind of like making a lonestar - you have to position the intersection of each seam line with care. Love that block and always have had Tennessee Waltz on my 'list'. Did you see me struggling with this same issue on my blog?