Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Jacks--Piecing, Part I

I hope you've decided to sew along with us because otherwise, this might be a very boring post!

First of all, I cut fabric for and pieced five blocks this evening, and it went pretty fast. I dug into my scrap bag for much of the fabric. I know some of you may be wondering about how much fabric you'll need, and of course it depends on how many pumpkins you want in your quilt. The pumpkins and stems are scrappy, so you'll need a fairly small amount. You can make your background scrappy too, but if you want to make it all the same, as I did, then figure on a 2" x WOF (width of fabric) strip for each block. In other words, if you make nine blocks, you should only need about a half yard (18"), although you might want to get 2/3rds of a yard just to be "safe."

I'm pleased to be able to say that the cutting measurements I gave you are correct. Whew! I was soooooo afraid I'd make the blocks tonight and find I had miscalculated something! But, so far, so good! And just for time reference, it took me about 45 minutes or so to cut my fabrics for five blocks and another 1-1/2 hours to piece the five blocks. Four of those will go in the giveaway quilt and I'm using the fifth block for a mini.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that if you don't "do" Halloween, you can always leave the faces off the pumpkins and add wool leaves using the same method I'll show you. Something to think about.

So, here goes. Here's my pile of cut fabrics. I matched up the stem pieces I wanted to use with the pumpkin pieces.

Next, lay your two pumpkin pieces side by side and place one 1-1/4" stem piece on each of the two inner, upper corners as I've shown here:

Now sew on the diagonal of each as shown. You may want to first draw a diagonal pencil line on the backs of the squares so you have a line to follow.

Next, press the corners back along the seam line as shown:

Line up your two pumpkin pieces and sew the center seam. Press open.

Now place a 2" background square on each of the four corners. Sew each on the diagonal as you did with the stem pieces earlier.

And press those corner pieces back:

Time now to work on the rest of the stems.

Sew a background (2" by 2-3/4") piece to each side of a 2" stem square and press.

Now sew the stem strip to the top of the pumpkin. This can be a little tricky because the stem strip doesn't always line up perfectly with the rest of the stem. The best way to get a good result is to line up the centers of the pumpkin and stem strip rather than trying to line up edge to edge and corner to corner. Don't worry if you're a little off on the edges.

Add the bottom background strip--the one that measures 6-1/2":

Then the two side strips (9-1/2"):

Voila! A pumpkin! Now you want to make your pumpkin dance. Sometimes it's hard to make a pumpkin dance. Here's how I do it. And I hope this is clear enough--it's a little difficult to explain.

At this point, your blocks will measure 9-1/2". We want to trim them down to 8". I place my ruler so the intersection of the 1" marks are in the lower right. Now it really doesn't matter that you cut the blocks all at the same angle, but if you really want to--well, see the right edge of the orange pumpkin part? The first "corner" closest to the bottom is on the 2" grid line and it's 1-1/4" in from the edge. The second "corner" up is at the 5" grid line, and it's 3/4" in from the edge. (Sounds a bit like algebra and plotting the x and y axis, doesn't it?!)

Then along the bottom edge of the ruler--the "corner" to the right of the stem is on the 3" grid line and it's 3/4" in from the edge, while the "corner" to the left of the stem is on the 6" grid line and is 1-1/4" in. Does that make some sense? In any event, whether you're precise about the angle or not, you'll want your pumpkin centered in a block that's trimmed to 8". Also, you will probably want to reverse the angle of "dance" in the next block. To do that, assuming you're using my fairly precise method, position the 1" ruler markers at the left side of the stem. See how my pumpkins are dancing at opposite angles?

Tomorrow night, we'll add some sashing. I'll give you directions for making the star intersections I used, but a simpler sashing is just fine too. Until tomorrow . . . .


Unknown said...

Cute and easy. Just looking at the pictures is easier than reading it? LOL I'm not making one. but I bet there are a lot out there that are. Good luck all.


I think your HAPPY JACKS is adorable!
I might just have to give it a whirl!
thanks for posting pics along the way--that is nice of you to do for us. *~*CAROLE*~* (Quiltershollow)

The Southern Mom said...

So cute! And really good directions and visuals! I love Halloween! (And everything else about fall, too!)

Nancy Page said...

What an adorable and fun Halloween quilt. I am not one for Halloween but this is one I would make. Good thinking!! Keep up the good work.

Jeanne said...

I'm digging in my scrap tub ...
Jeanne :)

Unknown said...

I really like the look of this Kim - might just give it a go - thanks for taking the time to do the tutorial

Karen said...

Pumpkins are popping up everywhere! I wish it was fall here in Florida. Nice pattern!

quiltmom anna said...

Hi Kim,
I have taken the leap into blog land.
Here is the address if you would like to check it out..

I love your pumpkin quilt- though not enough time to try it right now. Have just begun a winding ways quilt.

Anonymous said...

Cute pumpkin quilt....but what I really want to post about is the cleaning post! Our they kidding?! Apparently they haven't seen bathroom #2 here....the boy bathroom! LOL

Anonymous said...

haha! I DID read the article and what was most entertaining: I read the comments on the article.THAT truly made me laugh!

Di said...

Wonderful, just what I've been looking for. I have two grandchildren wanting pumpkin quilts. Thank you. Just got to gather my fabrics!!!

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

Hi Kim, just wanted to let you know that I put my WIP aside and made the pumpkins today. I'll figure out the sashing fabric, etc. hopefully tomorrow. Thanks for doing this.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE these pumpkins! So expressive and engaging.