Saturday, July 11, 2009

Christmas in July: Figgy Pudding “Schnibbles”

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Project: “Figgy Pudding” . Click here to purchase the pattern, and here to purchase the kit.

Pattern: designed by Miss Rosie, one of her many “Schnibbles” patterns featuring Moda Charm Packs. Click here for our complete selection of patterns by Miss Rosie. Click here for charm packs.

Finished Size: 30” x 30”

Skill Level: Intermediate

Technique: Machine or Hand Applique, Traditional Piecing

Fabric Collection: “Winter” designed by Minnick & Simpson for Moda.

Supplies:

  • (14) Assorted light charm squares
  • (7) Assorted red charm squares
  • (27) Assorted Medium & Dark Charm Squares
  • Outer Border- 1/2 yard
  • Binding- 1/3 yard
  • Backing- 1 yard
  • Optional but useful: Invisible Thread (Click here), & Olfa circle cutter tool (Click here).

Introduction: If Miss Rosie opened a fan club, I think I might be first in line to join. About six years ago, I became infatuated with her earlier designs. At that time, she specialized in large, scrappy quilts, commonly using an entire fat quarter bundle to create traditionally pieced, unique and always beautiful quilts. A few years ago, she started the “Schnibbles” pattern series for charm packs, and each design seems more “charming” than the last. Her patterns are exceptionally well written, easy to follow, and always work out well for me. Lately, she’s released a couple of great pincushion patterns (click here & here), and these will be featured in a blog to come.

This week, our featured “Christmas in July” quilt kits include this “Figgy Pudding” quilt, as well as “Winter White” & “Scratch” (click here & here).

I chose “Figgy Pudding” as the blog topic, because of the cute little appliqued circles. It also gave me a chance to try out a new tool, the “Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter”.

Let’s Get Started!

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You’ll need the red & white charm squares, a ruler, and a pencil. I love the Quilter’s Ultimate Marking Pencil (click here).

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Use the pencil to mark an “X” corner to corner on the white background fabric.

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Sew scant quarter inch seams on both sides of the “X”, a total of (4) seams.

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Cut on the pencil line, creating (4) triangles.

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Then, carefully sub-cut the triangles into eight half-square triangles.

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Press each seam open.

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Join (4) half-square triangles together, creating a pinwheel block, pressing all seams open.

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The pinwheel block will look like this from the front.

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Now the fun begins! I used this handy gadget, the “Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter” (Click here) to cut both the freezer paper & the fabric circles.

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The tool resembles a fancy “compass” from a geometry set, except one end is a small rotary blade. In the photo above, the black gizmo on the left has a sharp end that stabs through paper or fabric, sticking into your self healing rotary mat. The black gizmo on the right is the rotary blade. The center is a handle that rotates the tool. The tool is completely adjustable, and will cut circles from 1 7/8” to 8 1/2”, is guaranteed forever, and can be used by right or left-handed people.

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I needed freezer paper circles that were a uniform diameter. My tool easily cut 3-4 at once. Perfectly! I did find that it helped to tape the four corners of my stacked paper down to the mat, to prevent shifting.

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I inserted the sharp point of the tool in the exact center of my pinwheel.

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Then, perfectly cut precise circles that were 1/2" larger than my paper circles. Initially, I taped the fabric corners to the mat. But, as I became more confident, I found that unnecessary.

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The smaller freezer paper circles were pressed to the back of the larger fabric circles.

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Then I turned the raw edges to the back, and hand basted into position. You could also use glue sticks, or Roxanne’s Glue Baste It (Click here or here).

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I pressed each pinwheel from the front, using some spray starch to help hold the shape, then removed my hand-basting.

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Using invisible thread & a blanket stitch, I appliqued the pinwheels to the background fabric. For invisible thread, click here. To use this thread, use a regular cotton thread in your bobbin. Loosen your top tension, and tighten the bottom tension. Practice on a scrap to be sure that the invisible thread “floats” on top of the fabric, and none of the bobbin thread peeks through.

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As you blanket stitch, use an open-toed presser foot so you can see what you are doing (it takes practice, because your thread is “invisible”). The majority of the stitches should bite just next to the applique piece, with the “zag” just catching a millimeter or so of the applique.

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When you square up your block, use a “Bias Square” ruler to identify the center of the pinwheel, then trim the edges equidistant from the pinwheel center . This 6” bias square ruler by That Patchwork Place is without a doubt my favorite ruler. (Click here). It is also available as a 4” or 8” (Click here & here).

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Tada! Repeat to make a total of 9 pinwheel blocks.

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Set the blocks on point using setting triangles.

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Press all seams away from the central square.

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Add setting triangles two at a time.

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Again, press seams away from the central square.

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When you square up these blocks, work from the backside, & align the 1/4” marks of your bias square with the “criss cross” where the two setting triangles are joined. Trim the raw edges 1/4” away from this “criss cross”, to create a perfect 1/4” seam allowance.

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When you set this block on point, again work from the backside. As you sew the next setting triangles on, you’ll be able to “aim for the criss cross”, and create a perfect point as you stitch directly through it. As you see the “criss cross” coming, nudge your fabric a little to the left or right, and bisect it with your stitches.

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Add four scrappy setting triangles, then square up your block (again, work from the backside, and trim the edges 1/4” away from your “points”.

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Repeat, making (9) square in square in a square blocks.

When you join the nine blocks together, press all seams open to reduce bulk.

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Add the top and bottom borders.

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Make the little four-patches for the cornerstones. Use Eleanor Burns’ method of making your four-patches flat… half of the final seam is pressed up, the other half down to create a nice flat center. You know you’ve got it right when a tiny four patch appears in the center of the block.

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Add your final borders to the right & left sides of the quilt top, and be sure that the smaller part of the four-patch block is in the center. (I was so excited to finish my top that I accidentally messed this up… and had to un-sew my final border).

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TA-DA!!!

Quilt top complete.

~ Quilt & bind as desired… (I love to read that phrase on the bottom of a pattern… For me, this is where Rose comes in… as she’ll expertly quilt this little quilt on her sewing machine, bind it in a jiffy, and before I know it, I’ll see it hanging in a pretty store display!).