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Pressing Matters


Getting up early on Saturday mornings when there are no cartoons to watch has never been my favorite thing to do, but for special reasons I will. Yesterday, I went to Calico Station for a Demo Day presentation. Lots of great tips and intriguing rulers that I will be back investigate further. Marsha had a lot of helpful tips and pointed out that pressing seams open is coming back into vogue. When I remember the first quilts I made, scorched fingertips come to mind.

Pressing is the true key to having neatly finished blocks. Heavy irons make weekly ironing a chore, I prefer a lighter weight for blouses, etc. And at first I thought an iron is an iron, but the weight of the iron is important in pressing quilt blocks. I found a Rowenta iron at a big box discount store and treated myself to a birthday present (Not a Me kind of present, my friend is the one who likes to receive appliances and I probably would have passed on it had my birthday not been coming up in two weeks). My quilt blocks looked sharper using the heavy Rowenta. Who knew?

It took less effort to get a crisp  seam with the new iron. Quilt classes taught me to Press to the Dark Side and that has served me fairly well over the years. It didn’t work in every situation because if you are making a star block like this one, it was sometimes difficult to have the seams interlocking in the right direction. And if it was a triangle heavy block that had four sets of seams intersecting, perfect corners could be hard to achieve. There has to be a way…


The block I am working on is from a pattern called Lucky Stars. It’s a fairly traditional, no triangles method of sewing a flying goose block. Red square in corner of white rectangle, sew seam, cut off extra part of the block with 1/4 inch seam allowance and press to the dark. Yesterday I took it one step farther and pressed open the seam. When I added the other square, trimmed it, and pressed the second seam open, I realized this was a flatter seam than I usually have.

And there was an added bonus. I could see the white point so that when I sewed the next seam, I could watch the needle move just a stitch into the dark fabric at the point. Perfectly lined up when I pressed. In fact, when I surveyed the back of the finished block, I could hear my grandma telling me that the back looks good. That was a big deal when I was learning to embroider. She checked the back before she admired the top.

All in all, a joyous quilting weekend!


My Design Wall for the $7 Batik Quilt

In January when I first selected the yellow background for this quilt, some of the customers in the quilt shop were looking as worried as I felt. Would this yellow overpower the quilt or would it be just the right color to tie everything together?  Only one way to find out. Jump in and start cutting. I felt pretty good about the first two blocks, but I still wondered if it would be so bright that I would need sunglasses to work on the quilt.

I am happy to report that at the February show and tell my blocks were met with oohs. Everyone seemed to be as pleased with it as I was. As the months go on and I add new blocks, I fall more in love with it. It’s going to be one of my all time favorites. And I won’t need sunglasses.

Oh, why is it a $7 quilt? Calico Station has a block of the month program that is fun. The first month you buy the first star block and every month after that you have the month’s block done, you get the next block free. I joined this program three different times in the past and have always had to buy a block or two over the course of the year. My goal this year is to have them all done on time. I don’t have English essays to grade so it should be easy.