Tuesday, September 30, 2014

september gypsy wife quiltalong giveaway link party


it's my turn to host the gypsy wife qal monthly giveaway! this month's winner will receive a $25 gift certificate from the fat quarter shop. free is always nice, but free fabric of one's own choosing is extra nice.

how are your gypsy wives coming along, anyway? mine is looking something like this:

 the pile of fabric i pulled to use for my quilt, taking up room on the couch in my sewing area . . .

and a much smaller pile of finished blocks, removed from the design wall to keep out of the light until i can get back to them. i had to put my gypsy lady away at the beginning of the summer because there was just not going to be time for her. i thought my month for the quilt along post was november and i'd have time to catch up, but here we are and i'm caught.

according to the schedule, the blocks for september are
Puss in the Corner (2)Square in a Square (7×3″),9
i was able to complete the 7 - 3" square in a square blocks, aka: economy blocks, which is much faster to write and currently more trendy.

here's my first tip for making these: follow the pattern cutting directions. i got through 4 squares before i realized i was cutting the center square at the finished size rather than at the size the pattern told me to cut. that was painful because it took me a long time, and now the smaller squares are useless because the pattern only calls for one of them and since i cut the smaller corner squares at the size the pattern called for, my center squares are extra tiny. i was wondering why so little of the center fabric was actually showing! the blocks look much better cut the way the pattern called for.

a few other tips i discovered along the way follow.

tip #1: don't use your default 1/4" seam guide foot since you are stitching on the drawn line rather than at a 1/4" out from anything. i noticed my guide foot was causing a little bunching as i sewed. just the regular old foot works best here. (this may only apply to me who can't sew without her training wheel foot on.)

tip #2: if you are using a print for the corners, you can determine which half of the print will show in the corner by placing that half on the inside of the square rather than along the edges. if you look you can see my drawn diagonal line that directs where i sew. this forms two triangles. the lower triangle on the bottom right is the portion of the print that will show up after all is cut and pressed in place. i wanted as much of the green vs the navy showing in my block so i put most of the unwanted navy in the upper corner along the edges so it would get trimmed.

 this is the above piece after it's been sewn, cut, and pressed. the triangle to the right is the bit cut off and the small square on the left is the piece for the other corner. (it's not helpful that i switched the block around when i photographed it the second time, but hopefully you follow along anyway.)

 now i've laid the last corner piece on with the corner i want showing facing in toward the center of the block. (wrong! actually, if you look, i've got it turned around. this is a sample of how not to do this.)

 as soon as i began sewing i noticed what i was doing. see how my upper right and lower left corners don't match like i had intended? time to unpick.

 take two: the triangle that is going to look like the piece i cut is now placed along the outer edge so we are lined up properly for matchy-matchy corners.

and now you see why sewing takes me so long. i only seem to learn by trial and error.

 tip #3: when trimming up your block, if you tilt it on an angle, sort of "on point", you can trim two sides without having to move your block or ruler. just zip up that lower right side and then back across the top.

 then just flip the ruler to the other side and you can trim the other two sides without moving the block at all. just make sure you are making the correct size block or none of this will matter at all. (3" finished, not cut!)

 tip #4: instead of drawing a pencil line, you can also just fold that triangle in half and finger press it to get a guide mark. the amount of lighting available as you sew will determine if this is actually helpful or not, so you'll have to try it first.

 tip #5: when cutting the seam allowance on the first two corners, you can gain yourself the tiniest bit of wiggle room by cutting the seam at a scant 1/4" rather than a true or generous 1/4".


if you put the 1/4" mark to the right of the seam, you'll be cutting it generous. don't do this. and let's just all pretend we don't see that my corner block shifted and isn't perfectly lined up with the other corner, okay? who needs accuracy, anyway?

by placing the yellow cutting guide mark to the left of the seam, you've now got a scant 1/4" seam allowance, which means you have given yourself just a bit more fabric for when you sew the next two corners on. this seemed to help with my accuracy.

as for tips for the puss in the corner block, you're on your own. i haven't done it yet. also, anyone know where that name came from? i just don't get it but i'm sure there's a fascinating story behind it.

if you have any tips at all for either of these blocks, please share in the comments!

for participants who did complete your blocks for september, please join the link up to enter for the $25 fat quarter shop gift card giveaway.


  1. Is there a linky for this (or did I miss it? I'm pretty late finishing up for the month...)

    It's been easy to get behind with this quiltalong, hasn't it? I started out doing two versions, but I think I've five months behind on version two. At least the blocks are mostly easy (even if I'm so so so tired of sewing up economy blocks!) now that we seem to be out of the weird triangles and too many bias seams.


  2. your blocks are looking great and I love the bright colors that you are using

  3. I've really enjoyed scrolling through your latest posts - but, Oh, My!!! The fabrics for your Gypsy Wife are absolutely delectable. :D


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