I like machine piecing again! The new JANOME 6600 machine is still exciting, and I pieced all these cute little blocks using the "O" quarter inch foot. Florida Farm Girl suggested trying the "O2" foot, which I am going to purchase and try, but so far I am getting a good quarter inch with the "O" foot (maybe because I am using "skinny" thread - Aurafil).
In case you like the look of this project, positive blocks are two 2 x 3.5 rectangles and two 2 x 2 squares from light fabric and three 2 x 2 squares of dark. Negative blocks are two 2 x 3.5 rectangles and two 2 x 2 squares from dark fabric and three 2 x 2 squares of light fabric.
One of my ongoing scrap managing activities is cutting 1-1/4 (1.25) inch strips of varying lengths and putting them in a bin. I LOVE making log cabin and courthouse steps quilts, and it is more fun to decide to make one and already have some strips cut than to start cutting when you decide you want one (does that make sense to anyone but me?!?).
I like to trim all my strips to the right length, then pile up the number I need, in sewing order. If my quarter inch seam is true (and it is!), everything sews up just like it measures on the graph paper.
Remember I have OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disease) and I am definitely wacky. I'm going to walk you through my strange process.
First, I come up with a list of all the strips I need to cut (with the correct sizes). The circled number is the ORDER I attach the strips to my center 2 x 2 square, and the final number (after the strip size) is my TALLY of how many I've already cut of each size. (I tally in pencil so I can keep erasing and changing the totals as I add a batch of strips to the project box.) I do this because I RARELY have the time to cut an entire scrappy quilt in one sitting...it is an on-going project. You can see from my "score card" that I still have more strips to cut for this particular quilt (a scrappy green and neutral log cabin bed quilt with red centers)!
I'm not afraid to use strips that are pieced (leftover from a previous project) - I think it adds charm and makes me feel 'frugal' and like I am 'making do'. HA!! That's a laugh! Most of you have seen my stash...("yeah right...Teresa looks like she has to 'make do,' doesn't she?"). Oh well...it's my little fantasy...
I lay out strips horizontally on my cutting mat, then start cutting. I cut six or so at a time (I like using my 6 x 14 rotary ruler...the longest strip I am cutting for this particular project is 1.25 x 9.5).
Somewhere I have a little piece of graph paper where I drew the block, shaded it for dark/neutral, and numbered the strips in the order I will attach them to the red centers. I will chuck that in the box as well. I try to put EVERYTHING in the project box. I know from experience that I have to include and label EVERYTHING...now that I am 50, I am forgetting stuff...next week, some time, I will discover this box and remember nothing about it until I check out the pattern and the score card. It's sad...
It helps to listen to a movie, book or some music while doing this...it helps me attain a "Zen-like" state of being. When I am working in a fairly uncluttered environment and do things in an organized way, I really love the process of managing scraps and cutting the pieces I need for quilt projects. It's like therapy. If I was a cat, I would be purring (and my cat would be staring at me...totally FREAKED OUT!). This is what I was watching/listening to while I worked on this (the ump-teenth time I've watch it, but I LOVE it!!!). Om...(that is the sound I make when I've achieved a "Zen-like" state...since I can't purr).