Checkerboards and Chelsea Sidecars

28 Apr

Fellow Quilters,

Yesterday was fabulous weather-wise – sunny and finally warming up.  I went for my first bicycle ride of the season, a quick 10km (6mi) spin, after which my legs felt like jelly.  I have a feeling that I may be somewhat sore later today or tomorrow.  Regardless, the bike ride justified the daily cocktail – a White Lady.

Our daily cocktail for our Stay-at-Home-and-Cruise was a White Lady, garnished with pineapple

Our daily cocktail for our Stay-at-Home-and-Cruise was a White Lady, garnished with pineapple

In our quest to finish up the last of the egg whites I requested that the resident mixologist find a recipe for an interesting sour.  He willingly complied.  Apparently a White Lady is the gin-based British version of a brandy-based Sidecar, and is also known as a Chelsea Sidecar or Delilah.  Delicious!

Are you ready for today’s block in the Time to Quilt quilt-along?

Block 21

Block 21

Block 21 has a checkerboard look to it and is somewhat similar to Block 10.  The easiest way to make that checkerboard is by sewing our light and dark strips together, cross-cutting into small units and reassembling them in a light-dark-light-dark 4-patch unit.

Today’s tip:  When I have long width-of-fabric strips to strip-piece, I lay each strip set on my cutting mat and pin it together in 3 spots – at each end and at the mid-point (approx. 21”). When I sew the strips together, I make them fit so that they are still perfectly aligned at each pin.  Now 21” is a big distance, so I hold the strip out in front of the machine (I’m leaning back in my chair for the first photo), and I pinch the strip set at the 10” mark and hold it with that pinch until I get close to the presser foot.

I'm holding my 15" strip so that the 2 strips are aligned at the far end

I’m holding my strip set so that the 2 strips are aligned at the far end, then I will pinch them together at the 10″ mid-point

Then I use my index finger, pressing on the table/machine front to continue to keep the strips aligned.

I press the 2 strips together against the bed of my machine to keep them aligned until they get to the needle

I press the 2 strips together against the bed of my machine to keep them aligned until they get to the needle

So, in effect, I am holding my strip set every 10” to keep the 2 strips aligned. The result?  Perfectly straight strip sets, critical for bargello quilts, borders or any quilt made from strip sets.  Perfectly flat quilt tops every time.  I never feed the strips through the machine without pinning, simply expecting the feed dogs on the machine to keep them perfectly aligned, because the strip set will be bowed (curved).  Now, I could pin my strip sets every 10” but I often do a lot of strip-piecing and I empty my pin cushion just by placing the pins every 21”.  I would need twice as many pins and my pin cushion is full enough as it is.

I chose not to follow the original instructions on Northcott’s, Banyan’s and FIGO’s Facebook pages (again!).  Instead I redrew the block so that the outer frame was made with a single piece of fabric on each side. I spun or twirled those seams in the checkerboard sections.

Spin or twirl the seams in the checkerboard section

Spin or twirl the seams in the checkerboard section

I found I could also spin the seams when adding the units onto the center checkerboard section – sort of. On the darker block I could press my seam toward the C unit while still spinning the seams.

I could spin the additional seams in the C-unit while still pressing the seams toward the C-unit

I could spin the additional seams in the C-unit while still pressing the seams toward the C-unit

On the lighter block I had to press my seam toward the block center to get the seams to spin.

On the lighter block if I spin the seams in the C-unit I need to press the seam away from the C-unit :(

On the lighter block if I spin the seams in the C-unit I need to press the seam away from the C-unit 😦

I think I prefer to press the seam toward the C unit and not spin the extra seams.  I quickly added those outer strips and my blocks were done 😊.

Block 21 is finished

Block 21 is finished

You can find my instructions for Block 21 here.

Northcott’s block and quilt today are made with The Joys of Spring, and Banyan has used Jungle Rose  – I like that puzzle pattern shown on the collection page!   Daphne came up with yet another way to make this block – see her method on her blog.

Whichever method you choose, have fun with today’s block!

Cheers,

Patti

2 Responses to “Checkerboards and Chelsea Sidecars”

  1. Deb Houston at 5:56 pm #

    Thank you Patti for all the helpful tips and tricks, enjoy waiting to do my block and see if I can make it easier!!

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