I've rearranged my sewing room (again) to set up for piecing. Taking note of the suggestions from book 2, it now looks like this........
Ironing station to the right, cutting to the left, lots of lovely light.
The Bernina's been set up with an exact 1/4" seam, threaded with Presencia 60wt/3 ply thread and is sewing nicely. I don't have a 1/4" foot for this machine, nor do I have the #13 which Harriet uses. I'm instead using a #53 - which seems to look identical to the #13 but it's Teflon coated on the bottom. I also don't have a fabric guide to attach, so am using a magnetic guide. It works, but tends to shift a bit, so I'll look at other options soon.
I've added to my tool kit a new ruler, as recommended for setting triangles and corner units.
Recommended for the mathematically challenged! (me).
SEWING THE SAMPLER
Okay, the first exercise from the book is actually a continuation of The Sampler started in Vol 1. I need to put all these pieces together and make diagonal sets for the borders.
Problem #1 was not being able to use my flash new ruler!! The border strips needed to be cut to the 1/4 inch and the ruler only works in 1/2 inch increments. Luckily Harriet explains the math clearly and I eventually cut out my triangles to the right size (after getting the first lot wrong - shhhh).
The book shows how to lay out the pieces before sewing them together......
Way back in the dark ages, I tried to convince my 12 year old brain that there really was nothing difficult or confusing about fractions and angles. It refused to believe me. Now 40 odd years later, I still struggle with both concepts. It took me a little while to figure things out, but I'm finding that using angles in a practical application rather than as an exercise in a maths book, really does make things clearer. I know there is going to be a bit of a struggle with all this, but I'll try to muddle through.
Putting it together
Problem #2 - An Oops! How do you think I managed to do this...............?
Uh-oh - an inch too short!
The short one was the second unit I made. I finally figured out what went wrong - the error showed up in one of the progress photos I like to take along the way.........
Harriet is sure to pick the error in an instant. The first one worked because I read the instructions carefully every step of the way - the 3rd & 4th ones, ditto. The 2nd one, I thought I remembered what I did and got it wrong. A lesson folks - Pay Attention! Ahem.
After a bit of un-sewing and a bit of re-cutting, I have a completed quilt top. It's rather pretty and the perfect size for a cat mat.
In Vol 1 all the tops are pieced before adding the borders and doing the quilting. This is actually a great way to do it, as the repeat quilting over a couple of months really makes you work hard on learning to free motion. In fact, I was so concerned about not quilting again for some months while I made all the tops, I deliberately held back one so I could get some practice in and not lose the skills I'd just learned. As it happens, for these projects, it's a little different.
Diagonal set quilt tops are very prone to stretching, even when folded, and Harriet recommends layering and basting the tops immediately they are finished. Now I have a lot of pins, but I don't have enough to pin baste a dozen or more quilts altogether. Instead I plan to baste until I'm pin-less, then quilt, then piece and baste some more tops then quilt again. This way I can keep up regular practice in quilting. Also, I prefer to mark my tops before pinning if possible, and I'd worry about leaving the blue pen marks on the tops for months before they can be quilted and washed.
I'll pin up this one tomorrow, as I haven't decided on a quilting design yet.