Saturday, February 21, 2009

Constructing a CQ Block from the centre out

I've had some good success lately piecing cq blocks from the centre out, so I thought I would document the steps that I took.
This little chicken scratch heart motif will be the centre. Chicken scratch was the first technique of SharonB's new "Stitch Explorer 2009". Check out other people's examples on Flickr's stitchexplorer group.
The colours I am using are purples and turquoises.
I placed the centre piece in the middle of my backing at a slight angle.  I will trim the gingham a little later when I decide how much of it will show. 

For the second piece, I tried it against the first piece to see where it would sit best. 
I pinned it to the centre piece at a slight angle, right sides together. You can see the extra gingham at the top that I decided I did not want to show.   

I sewed and pressed the second piece.  Now that I have the second piece attached, I cut the centre gingham patch down to the shape and size that I wanted.  (I often begin with the centre patch already cut to a 5 or six-sided shape.)

I lined up the ruler with the next side of the centre block.  This will be the cutting line. 
The second piece has been cut to follow the line of the centre block.

I am trying out the third piece.

Third piece pinned, ready to sew.  The end pins, top and bottom mark the end of the underneath fabric.  If you sew the whole strip, you will have to unpick the ends of the seam in order to trim the turquoise fabric.  So mark either end of the underneath fabric and machine sew only to the pins.  

The third piece sewn and pressed.  The ruler is placed along the centre block's third side. 

I marked the cutting line with a disappearing marker.

I cut the turquoise fabric along the cutting line I had drawn

Testing the fourth piece against the sewn patches.

The fourth piece pinned in place. 

The fourth piece sewn and pressed.  The cutting line is drawn, following the line of the gingham block.  

The lilac piece is trimmed, and trying out the fifth piece. 

The fifth piece pinned in place. 

The fifth piece sewn and pressed. 

The fifth piece trimmed, following the line of the centre block.  As you work around the centre piece, the seam line gets longer.  Up until now the new piece of fabric covered two pieces of fabric.  This new piece will have to cover three:  the dark turquoise, the gingham and the purple. The alternative to using one long piece of fabric, is to join two pieces together. 

Trying out two fabrics that will be joined for the next strip. 

For me, the easiest way is to fold one of the pieces of fabric over, pin it to the second piece so that the join is at an angle, and then top stitch with large stitches so that they can be taken out later. Here, the two pieces of fabric have been joined and are now being tested for placement. 
Now they are pinned in place.

Sewn and pressed.  It's a bit difficult to see the shape of the block here, but looking at it critically, the right hand lilac piece is too big, and the left hand joined piece also is too big. 

I played around with two pieces to cover up the two larger pieces on either sides of the block. 

Pinned and ready to sew.

When it looked balanced, I pinned, sewed and pressed the pieces.  

I turned it over and trimmed off the excess. 

The top edge has a bit of the backing showing.  It needs another strip.  The two triangles, maroon and turquoise (bottom left) also need something added. 

A piece of purple velvet is added to the top, reducing the size of the turquoise and filling in the gap.  And a long triangle of deep purple satin has been added at the bottom. 

When all the pieces were in place, I tacked around the edge, about 1/4" in, and then zig zagged all the way around to stop the fabrics from fraying.  Now it is ready for seam decoration and embellishment. 

Note added later:  Here is the post that shows the embroidered block.  (I tried to place it here, but it went up into the instructions.)  It was a "Hearts and Flowers" block that went to a crazy quilter who needed some cheering up.

If the tiny doesn't work, it is the next post after this one.  


Annet said...

Thank you for this great tutorial! I only made 1 crazy block so far and used the same method, but no sewing machine. But I never thought of doing the chicken scratch before piecing the block!

And thank you for your comments on my trellis stitches. It's not difficult when you get closer to the top. The stitches 'tell' you how to end it! I didn't find the teacups yet :-(

margaret said...

thank you, I am new to crazyness and just found this tutorial on SF, will have to look at the tutorials section more often.