PTQ–Tips and Tricks

This is a continuation of what-I’m-calling the Portuguese Tile Quilt, a free quilt pattern from *here.*  I arranged my pieces on the board so that no two fabrics were in any block, meaning in the blue quadrants, they were different from each other and the pink quadrants also had fabrics different from each other.  I didn’t care so much if the pinks imitated the blues, but I did watch out for strong fabrics in the same block (like that “plaid”).

To sew these blocks together, flip the right-hand side of the block onto the left-hand side, then place the top two on the bottom two and stack them on your sewing surface.  That’s my confusing method; you’ll probably develop your own.  The basic idea is to get the quilt block, which is now in four pieces, over to your sewing machine in some semblance of order.

So, on the top, is the right-hand upper piece flipped over on the left-hand upper piece.

On the left on the bottom, is the similar pair.  I have no idea what that other bit is doing–just hanging out?  Quilt blocks are buddies and they seem to like to do that.

Sew the center seams on those pairs, then press the fabric toward the black pinwheel on all of them.

Here’s my little trick.  I sewed these pairs in a chain, then left the pairs that went together hooked in the middle, but cut the chain into “two’s.”  Then when I go the ironing board, I don’t have to match them all up again.  They’re already joined. Flop them right-sides together.

Sew that seam across the two blocks. I found that if I took the step of going to the ironing board to press toward the pinwheel, I could get away without pinning this thing to death, or eliminating the pins altogether.  The block kind of fits together because of the directional pressing.  It’s not perfect, though, so if you are all about perfection, get out the pins.

Head to the ironing board, and clip that little joining thread, and liberate any others that might keep you from opening up that center “flower” of seams.  As you work with it, you’ll be able to figure out the tiny clips of threads here and there.  Don’t cut any of the fabric, please, just the seam-threads.

You want that center to lay down into a flower.  I put my thumb on the center, and applying pressure, give the whole thing a twist, flattening out the seams.

Then press from the front. Even without using pins, I think that center join looks pretty good.

Lay out your first row on your pin wall.  Then you want to add to it, lining up your blocks so there’s no obvious repeats or clashes.  This part goes quickly.  In fact, the whole quilt went quickly: one week from cutting to sewing on the borders.

Stand back and see what is “clumping together” and needs to be separated, like squabbling children.  I find taking photos helpful.

The blocks I moved are not really noticeable, but calmed down the arrangement for me.  Don’t fuss with this too much, just keep moving forward.

Use those nifty row markers to mark your rows and sew them together.

If you pay attention, you won’t sew a block on the WRONG end of the row, like I did up there on the left.  Unpick.  Re-sew.

You’ve seen this before, but it’s really fun to show off a completed quilt top, isn’t it?

Feeling blissful over here.  I’ve already pinned it to the backing, and after I finish grading their argument terms tests, making up the next essay assignment, writing the peer review for the current essay, creating the rubric for evaluating their rhetoric presentation, writing another blog post for the class, and calling my mother, I plan to start quilting it.

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One thought on “PTQ–Tips and Tricks

  1. Thanks so much for this – I was all ready to jump in and now realize I’m going to have to stop and think about the needed twists! Hopefully doing mine in only 3 colors will help, some! And I’ve just read your “love dances on the green” – what a poignant little piece (with a such a soulful picture – better, possibly, than one with the children dancing).

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