Saturday, June 7, 2014

True fabric really works...

I have been having quite a bit of trouble motivating myself to do much these days.  And there is much to do.

Not surprisingly, I have felt like playing with fabric a bit, but mostly in a mindless, soothing way.

I decided to make a few HST's (half square triangles) using brights and some of the black on white fabrics I have been collecting.  How can one NOT be cheered by working with these peppy, beautiful fabrics?

What is it about cutting fabric that makes it so soothing?  As I sat and filled a few bobbins, I worked out a deal with myself...I would do some needed tasks in small doses, then reward myself with some fabric play.  

Then I went outside and weeded for a while in the overgrown flower beds (ugh) knowing that filled bobbins and a pile of 3.5" squares were waiting for me in the cool, quilt cave...

There are a lot of ways to make HST's, and this time I decided to do the method where you draw a diagonal line then stitch on either side of the line.  Here are a few waiting to be chain-pieced, waiting patiently, enticingly by the machine.

I sew down one side of the line, chain-piecing, for a while, then turn around and go the other direction.  Once I cut the chain-stitching, I start accumulating a pile just waiting to be pressed, cut apart, opened, and pressed again.

I started with six squares cut from each bright/black-on-white fabric combo so that I would end up with twelve identical HST's.  I'm thinking of a project that will use nine of them per block, and the remaining three will be used in something else.

I used up about 5 bobbins making a HUGE pile of prepped HST's (all while watching/listening to "Big Bang Theory" episodes on DVD).

I press the squares first, to set the stitching (does that really help patchwork lie flatter?  That is what I do because I heard you are supposed to do that...).

Just a quick snip with sharp scissors to release the HST's...

I am choosing to press toward the darker fabric, even though I am a little uncertain what I will be doing with all of them.  That is my usual rule of thumb...

I have decided to use nine of the twelve HST's to make some of these blocks.  I have been watching some of you in Blogland play with this design (like Nifty Quilts and Exuberant Color).  The pattern goes by many names...Tennessee Lightnin', Streak of Light, Zig Zag, to name a few.

This will be a good challenge for me.  I am a symmetrical girl...I like blocks I don't have to think too hard about when I am arranging all the scrappiness to find just the right balance of color and value. 

There are actually four different block orientations required to make a quilt of this design.

Each block is made from nine HST's, and the bottom left HST block is oriented differently in the four blocks, as shown below with my queer little yellow arrows.  Some of the fabrics are directional, which I am complete ignoring.

I am going to have to think about things as I mindlessly piece the blocks to make sure I am making a similar number of each of the four settings.

Wish me luck!

In stitches,


  1. 5 bobbins - a lot of HSTs. I like that kind of sewing and mixing other tasks inbetween gives your a break from each. I set my seams too - just all part of the process.

  2. Have tons and tons of fun!

  3. I posted about making then also. I need 344 of them. I had better get cracking you are going to beat me. I really need a new iron so I need to fill bobbins, mark, sew, and iron. Well I'm way behind keep going looks great. I will try and get caught up. Still sitting here. Chris

  4. Now, I'd use about the same process as you. But, would my stack of squares waiting to be sewn or cut look like yours????? NO WAY IN HECK!!! They be just piled on top of each other! Anyway, I'm glad you're playing with fabric again. Take your time, dear girl, grief has its own way of working itself out. Hugs.

  5. Love the colour with the black and white fabrics. What a fun quilt this will be. Enjoyed reading the little tutorial about the orientation of the corner block. I set my seams too. Don't know if it helps but feels good to do it. Like saying that one's done.

  6. sewing is soothing isn't it - you can kind of get lost in it and the worries go away

  7. Sewing is the perfect way to sort out your pain. I find it hard to design during tough times but mindlessly cutting and stitching is often the perfect tonic. Your project looks perfect!

  8. That will be great with all of the black and whites in with the colors! There is something soothing about making a huge stack of triangle squares.

  9. A fantastic idea... best therapy ever! Enjoy!

  10. great therapy....I love playing with HSTs too!

  11. Sewing is a great therepy.Love your HST.Have fun!!

  12. mindless sewing is a good thing…the humming of the machine is soothing alone isn't it? been thinking about you a lot this past week glad to see your playing again….

  13. I like where you're going with these! Back and forth across the quilt. Whatever it takes...

  14. Quite fun to look over your shoulder and to admire those straight evenly sewn HST's! Beautiful work and all those colors sure did pick up my mood, thank you!

  15. I adore your fabric therapy idea. It is good therapy and very productive as well. Thanks for sharing your therapy thoughts.

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