STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Pressing Matter

Happy Valentines Day! I hope you are enjoying a day full of love and sweet moments! Being the chocolate lovers we are in this house, we'll be treating our sweet tooth (teeth?) with a chocolate dessert tonight, of course! It's all ready and chilling.. and supper is bubbling away on the stove (homemade turkey soup) so it's time to sit down and write a blog post.
I've been consumed by a new project the last few weeks. It involves a huge amount of cutting so it is not progressing as quickly as I'd like. I started cutting for it back in the summer here, then put it aside for a while. Each block has 96 pieces... and I have 20 blocks to make. Then the sashings, and sashing squares are pieced too, as is the inner border. Needless to say you won't be seeing it finished in  the next week or two, but I am slogging away, determined it will be finished this spring sometime...
It is not a difficult block at all, it is made from a very simple unit (a half square triangle sewn to a square); it just requires lots of seams. And this brings me to my point today - the importance of pressing. Pressing is a necessary skill for a quilter. I love teaching, and enjoy helping my students improve their skills. When I watch some students put together an entire block with never once touching an iron to it, until it is all together.. well, it's kinda like listening to fingernails scratching down a chalk board.. or rubbing the cat's fur the wrong way... it drives me crazy! I guess it was drilled into me by my Tailoring Prof..pressing is very important during construction if you expect a quality product in the end. Pressing each step as you go will just give you a better result, simple as that. Some don't know the difference between ironing and pressing - they are two different things! You might iron your fabrics if they are wrinkly, but when putting  block units together, you should be pressing, simply placing the iron on the seams and using the heat, steam and pressure to set the seam and press it to one side or the other. I always tell my students it's worth taking a minute or two to figure out the pressing direction for the seams in their block so that seams will butt or nest together and lie flat.
The blocks for this project I have underway are made solely of "broken dishes" units (2 HST's and 2 squares). My directions (from the wonderful Bonnie Hunter) tell me which way to press the seams and if each and every unit is pressed in this way, every seam in the block meets perfectly and nests together allowing for ease of assembly. If you pick out several stitches in the seam allowance right in the centre of the block, that allows you to "spin" the seams, reducing bulk at the centre point. So simple, and it makes such a  difference!! There. That's my rant for today. I feel better now!    :)

Piece!
Linda

The best way to get things done is to simply begin!

4 comments:

Jeanna said...

That is a lot of pieces in one block but it sure is pretty. I can't imagine constructing a whole block without pressing until the end.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Such a pretty block. No pressing til the block is done would be really hard for a press freak!!

Andrea R said...

I am right there with you and the pressing. It's the difference between handmade and hand crafted. :)

(tho I'm sure I need to improve, I tend to iron instead of press. :/ )

Dolores said...

Thanks for the reminder. I tend to iron and not press. I must learn to take more time.

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