Tuesday, November 18, 2008

About the Trees

Thank you all for the comments! I had so many, I thought maybe I was doing a giveaway and didn't know it! LOL!

Many of you asked questions about the tree pattern, so I thought I'd answer some of the questions tonight.

The pattern is called Tree's Up! Light's On! and it's by Sandy Gervais/Pieces From My Heart. Click HERE to go to the website. The pattern is a few years old, so your local shop may not carry it, but if you don't like ordering online, you might ask your shop owner if she/he can get it for you.

This is a "stack and slice" pattern, similar in technique to many of the Buggy Barn patterns. The idea is to trace a pattern onto freezer paper, stack fat quarters in a certain way according to the written pattern directions, iron the freezer paper pattern onto the top fat quarter, and then cut along the lines with your rotary cutter. You would then "shuffle" the pieces as the directions specify to get the color variations and then sew them back together.

Someone asked me whether these are hard to do, and someone else told me she just can't seem to get these patterns to turn out right. Since I'm working on this now, there are a few tips that come to mind that might help if you've either never made one of these before or if you have trouble.

When you are sewing two angled pieces together, you need to line up the pieces so that the edges meet at the point where you'll sew your seam. See the red and green pieces on the left in the photo above? The tip of the red piece extends beyond the edge of the green piece, but where I'm going to sew my 1/4" seam, the two pieces of fabric meet perfectly. You can't see it as well, but the two pieces on the right are sewn together and the tip of the red piece that's underneath the green extends a bit so the fabrics are lined up just where the seam is.

You may also notice that when you sew two pieces together, one piece will end up longer than the other. It's definitely not what we're used to with normal piecing. With these patterns, though, you would just trim each section as necessary in order to get a straight edge to add the next piece or section on. It's also important to work from the center of the design, so when you're looking at where to line the pieces up to begin your seam, line up the edges that are closest to the center of the block.

See the red and green pieces above? These are the same ones I sewed together in the preceding photo. After sewing my seam, the red background piece ended up being longer than the green piece. The green is a tree piece and is "key" to the block design, so I always want to maintain the shape and lines of those triangular tree pieces. With that in mind, I know I need to trim the red piece before I can add on the next part and if you look closely, you can see where I've drawn a line on the red fabric. I'll trim that little bit away before adding on the next piece. While piecing these, only trim away what's necessary to add the next part.

For me, this was the trickiest part and it took me a little while to figure out what I needed to do here. You're looking at one of the green tree triangles with the red background sections. The red section you see near the top has already been sewn on and pressed back. Next I need to add the background on the other side of the tree triangle. You can see that I have the tip lined up so the fabrics intersect where I'll sew a 1/4" seam, but it's also important to at least eyeball to make sure that the background piece is about 1/2" wide where it will meet the top point of the tree triangle. The reason for this is that when you press the piece back, 1/4" will be taken up in the seam allowance, and you'll need another 1/4" to cover that seam. Does this make sense? In other words, once you sew that second seam and press the fabric, it will look like this:

This will then give you 1/4" above the point of the tree triangle so you can attach the next section without cutting off your points in the seam. Eventually, your tree will start looking like this:

This is basically the same technique you'd use for any patterns of this type. I would recommend, though, that the first time you make one of these patterns, you add in a few extra fat quarters so you'll have a couple experimental blocks. If they turn out, you can make pillows or a table runner, but if they don't, you won't have to worry about ruining the whole thing. Since this quilt used three colors, 10 fat quarters of each, I decided to add an extra fat quarter of each color. In the end, I should have three extra blocks--which seems much better than ruining a block or two and not having extra!

Finally, someone asked me about the number of blocks I was making, which I mentioned was 48. Well, now you know that I'm making three extra blocks "just in case." The quilt pattern calls for 30 blocks. So if you do the math, you'll realize I'm making an extra 15 blocks. Why? Well, the quilt will be a gift, but since I love these trees, I'm making the extra 15 blocks so I can make a "half quilt" to keep for myself. It will be half the width of the pattern but the same length. I'll use it as a wallhanging to hang on a closet door. Cool, huh? And the extra three blocks? Probably a tablerunner if I don't need them to replace botched blocks. Botched blocks. Can you say that three times, really fast? This late at night, I don't think I can--time for my beauty sleep!


Carol said...

Kim that was a great explanation of putting those together...keeping that seam allowance is sometimes very tricky!

Di said...

Thanks for the link to the pattern. I may just have to get it. It will be great to use up all that Christmas fabric I have been hoarding.

BJ in TX said...

I think I beat the rush to order this pattern - called yesterday morning so it should be here by the weekend. Thanks for your detailed tips. I'll start gathering FQs!

Eileen said...

AH, Just what I wanted you to do. Thanks much easier to figure out with the pictures. Thanks,

kathi said...

I have been following blogs for just a few weeks. Your blog is my all-time favorite. I'm sure having trouble keeping up with you, though. I want to do everything you do and be just like you. I'm falling behind, though, and wonder what colors I could do the trees in for spring? The green and red are so elegant, though, I am afraid I would regreat not "copying" you again. You are my idol. . .sigh!

Thanks for the directions, too.


Anonymous said...

Well of course I had changed my mind on the pattern and decided not to get it, but then I see you put it on your blog, so now I want it again, so what am I here doing at 6:00 on the morning? Purchasing a quilt pattern! Thanks for the pointers. Now the decision on what color FQs to buy, I think I'd like mine in darker prim colors.

PunkiePie said...

Excellent explanation! Maybe some day I'll give this type of pattern a try.

Jen :)

MichelleB said...

Great explanation! One of these days I'll get to the pattern that I have.

Sherri said...

Thanks so much, Kim! Perfect explanation! And I'm definitely going to order the pattern!

Idaho Quilter said...

Thank You!

gran said...

Wow! I have to order that pattern now and start gathering. Thank you!!!

Judy said...

You did a great job explaining exactly how to line up those seams! I have to sew on my binding and then mine is DONE!!

Cool colors!

Yvonne said...

Geeze, I should have waited for you before I made mine. :) Great tutorial and I love your trees.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Those patterns are so much fun arent they? You just can't go wrong. I like the new look of your blog. Very Christmasy....is that a word?

Micki said...

I found out about your blog from Anna, and had to visit. I love the pattern and tutorial and your whole blog. I am glad that I found you and will put you on my friend's list. I live in Ireland way up north in a wee town called Dunfanaghy in County Donegal. I hope you visit my blog, and it is nice getting to know you. I enjoyed reading your posts with a nice first cup of coffee of the day.

Carol said...

Hi Kim,
I ordered the pattern, but I won't be able to get going on it until next year.
It was like a sign to me. I made a quilt that is made similar to yours. It is called "Kwik Crazy Quilt" this can be seen at http://store.starwoodpatterncompany.com/cgi/display.cgi?item_num=TKQ001 and I had my heart broken when I sent it out to be quilted This week. I did it in Batiks as a Xmas present for my Brother and it looked like stained glass but when I got it back it just looked awful and now I don't know what to do. She offered to redo it, if I take te stitching out, but I am not sure she can do anything for it. I really need some advise or words of wisdom from someone??? But at least I will have a Tree quilt for next year! If anyone would like to see a picture, just e-mail me and I would be happy to show you. I have not started a blog of my own yet.