Welcome back! Today is the day to tackle stitching the curves. We'll cover using pins versus using a glue stick. I really hope you'll give it a try :) The reminder email this morning has the link to watch yesterday's Zoom session. It was sooo much fun. Thank you to those who attended and shared.
Ashley @catscoffeeandquilts has won the first prize!!! She has the stash building stack of Art Gallery fat quarters coming her way with her choice of Snapdragon Quilt pattern. Congrats Ashley!
Today you can enter to win the grand prize which is a Snapdragon pattern of the winner's choice AND the lucky winner will get their Favorite Flavors Quilt quilted in an edge to edge design by the award winning Vicki Ruebel at Orchid Owl Quilts! I am so excited about this prize because Vicki is an AMAZING quilter and she offers soooooo many edge to edge designs!
To enter to win, make a post on Facebook or Instagram with a photo of at least one curve you've stitched and tell us if you like the pin or glue stick method better and why. Don't forget to include the hastag #favoriteflavorsquiltsal and set your profile to public so I can see your post. Post must be up by tomorrow April 27th by 8pm PST.
If you're just joining in on the SAL, welcome! This is a quick quilt with big blocks so you're not too late to join in. Take a moment to sign up so you can get the email reminders, join in on tomorrow's Zoom meeting for Q&A and Show & Tell, and be eligible to win the grand prize! Then catch up with the following blog posts:
Pinning vs Gluing Curves
We did step one under the "Stitch Curves" section in the pattern yesterday when we created folds to mark the candy circle pieces. If you didn't do that step yet, do it now by lightly pressing folds at the 90° and 45° angles on your candy pieces.
Let's start by stitching the top part of the lollipop candies. Take one candy circle piece and a background frame, place them right side up, laying them out as they will fit together after being stitched with the circle in the frame. My yellow one in the video below is making me think of eggs, yummm. Then take the frame and flip it upside down so both fabrics are right side together. To know you've got it right, you'll see that the frame makes a smile and the candy circle piece makes a frown. These happy and sad faces are the trick to putting these together right.
Match the seam at the marks and edges with pins or glue the entire seam matching the marks and edges. The fabric of the frame will bunch up as shown at the top in the first photo, this is normal. Pros of using pins- they are quicker than glue and there's no mess. Cons of pins - the rest of the seam will have to be eased together while being stitched and you might get poked. Pros of using glue - quicker and more accurate to stitch because the entire seam is matching before it's stitched. Remember that if it isn't matching well just pull it apart and re-glue it. Cons of using glue - it's messier and takes longer to do up front.
Pin one and glue one then stitch them to see what works best for you. Then do the rest with your preferred method. I'm going to show pinning and gluing one more time with the bottom sections of the lollipops. The video of stitching is a little bit down below.
As best as you can, take the time to make an accurate 1/4" seam. If your seam is too wide, the block will pull in and no longer be square. If your seam is too narrow, there will be too much fabric and also distort the block.
Place the circle on bottom and the frame on top when stitching. This will allow you to adjust the frame as needed to reduce the chance of and hopefully avoid puckers.
Stitch with the needle in the down position when it stops so that you can pause, momentarily lift the presser foot and adjust the frame fabric without losing your place.
Stitching a curve is really stitching a bunch of straight lines because each stitch is a straight line. I like to use a standard stitch length but if you shorten the stitch length a little, each "straight" is shorter creating a smoother curve. I avoid going crazy with this tip because if I do stitch through a pucker, I want to be able to easily remove a few stitches to straighten it out and restitch that part.
Go slow and breathe, relax your shoulders. This is not a race. The goal here is smooth.
Once you've got all of your candy pieces pinned or glued to their frames, you can chain piece them! Since I'm doing 4 lollipops, I've got 8 candy pieces all stitched into their frames. Sometimes I'm a goofball and little things like chain piecing make me giddy.
Which direction to press these curved seams?
To the background: This is the way indicated in the pattern because it's the easiest. The seam will want to go this way. When pressing this direction, the bulk of the seam will lift the background higher creating a "ditch" on the lollipop candy. If you'd like to stitch in the ditch on the candy when you quilt your quilt then press it this way.
To the candy: Pressing to the darker fabric prevents the darker color showing through to the front of the quilt. In the quilt I'm making, the background is light so I'm pressing the seam toward the candy. Having the bulk of the seam under the candy will raise the lollipop up making it look more three dimensional. Take it one step further by using a double layer of batting and stitch in the ditch in the background when you quilt your quilt and your lollipop will be even more accentuated.
Tip for pressing:
Since we worked so hard to starch our fabrics and stitch that curve with an accurate 1/4" seam, we want to continue to be careful when pressing. It is so easy to distort the block at this point. So try not to push down on the iron while moving it so the fabric fibers don't stretch out of place.
Start with a little finger pressing from the front to get the seam to go the direction you want.
Then gently lift and lower the iron to press the seam. When moving to the next spot, do not apply pressure while moving the iron.
At this point, I spritz a little water on my 90° and 45° fold marks and rub them in stubborn spots then press them out.
Matching Curves on the Candy Stripe
The curves on the candy stripes are smaller so it's a little more tricky than candy circle pieces. Think about driving a car, if you take a big wide turn, you can go pretty fast. But when doing a U turn, you've got to take it slowly. Stitching curves is like that and now we are doing the U turn on each end of the candy stripe. But I have good news! We will trim the candy stripe section down to size after stitching both curves. I don't like wasting fabric but this takes away the worry of wondering if your candy stripe will be square so it's worth it. I prefer to use the glue method to match the fabric edges on these smaller curves. Is it doable with pins? Yes, but I find that it's easier to stitch when I take the time to use glue up front.
Stitch and Press the Candy Stripes
Use the same tips as before when stitching and pressing the candy circle curves. Take your time to stitch them, use a 1/4" seam allowance, and make the stitching of the curve smooth. Do these assembly line style, glue them all, chain piece one side of them all, then the other side, and then press them all. The big difference with pressing these is to keep the fold marks. We will use them when trimming the candy stripes down.
Trim the long sides first. To do this, we will use half of the shorter dimension for the finished candy stripe. The large lollipop candy stripe needs to finish at 3 1/2" tall, so half is 1 3/4" . Since I'm making the small lollipops, I'm using 1 1/4" which is half of 2 1/2". Match this measurement on your ruler to the long center fold and trim. Repeat with the other long edge.
Next trim the candy stripe's short sides. Half of the long dimensions of the finished candy stripe is 10" (6 3/4"). Place the 10" (6 3/4") mark of the ruler along the shorter center fold and trim the short ends.
Tada! Smooth curves and squared up candy stripes.
When I was a kid, I went through a long phase of making clothes for my American Doll, tiny sleeves and all. I was determined (or stubborn) and ended up really loving the process. Making doll clothes made transitioning into curved piecing in quilting smooth. When I discovered quilting in my early 20's, I was in the dark about quilters' opinions on curved piecing. But now, the more I talk about curves with quilters, the more I see that people are afraid of them or have tried them and don't like them. I would really love for quilters to let go of the stigma and see that curves in quilts can be really beautiful and worth the effort. I hope today helped you see that curves, even smaller ones are quite doable and with practice, they get smoother and smoother. Don't fret if they're not perfect. I think you deserve a big pat on the back for being here and trying it out. Don't forget to take a progress shot today and share it.
Tomorrow we will finish assembling our blocks then put the top together with the borders. I'll show you how to match a print to make a pieced border appear seamless and we will talk about how to keep borders flat. No more wavy borders. Save the waves for the ocean.
We've also got the second Zoom meeting for Q&A and Show & Tell. If you can't make it to the Zoom meeting tomorrow, I'll send you an email link on Thursday so you can watch it at your convenience. You can send me an email at Jen.Snapdragon.Quilting@gmail.com with any questions and/or your Show & Tell and I'll answer your questions and show off your project. If we have time, maybe we will talk about quilting options too. Have you started thinking about quilting your quilt?
See you tomorrow for Day 4! Happy Quilting!