Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Hurdy Gurdy QAL Part Four - Cut Those Accordions and Sew Those Blocks!

Assuming you are all ready to stop wearing your accordion tubes as delightful accessories, it's time to cut them apart and get to sewing your amazing, fantabulous, and stupendous blocks.

Unless you are Harriet. Harriet has already got most of her blocks done. She's my hero.

For the rest of us non-Harriets, we are getting down to business. Find those accordions and head on over to your cutting/trimming areas!

You know what I love best about the accordions, besides pretty much everything? I love that sewing them all up means that all of my squares are CONTAINED. They aren't in little piles all over my cutting table, risking being lost in a stiff breeze or a rogue cat attack. They are just where they need to be, ready to go when I'm ready to work on the next block. I love that Harriet gets that. She's just hanging those accordions by the finished blocks, ready to go when she is. I highly recommend being Harriet- and Beth-like and cut just one accordion at a time, sew it all into a block, and then move on to the next. It will make your life profoundly easier.

Did you stick the safety pin in your accordion when you sewed it? And is it still there? If so, as you know from reading the book intro, that's the square to slice down the diagonal with your scissors. But here is a little secret - for the Hurdy Gurdy block, it honestly doesn't matter which background square you slice down. Any of the background squares will work, I promise, because the pattern you sewed the background and your two colors in is just repeated four times. So if you forgot the safety pin, there are no worries. Pick a background square and slice that baby down the middle. With scissors. To try to cut the tube using your rotary cutter is inviting complete disaster. 

If you need to review Cutting Apart and Keeping in Order on page 10 before you take that first slice, do. There's no shame in wanting to be sure you do it right! The key to the ease of any of the blocks in this book that are made from ordered accordions is keeping the order throughout the cutting, trimming, and pressing process. It's a lot of restacking at each step, but it's worth it to take the time to keep all of your HSTs in order, from cutting to ready to lay out.

These particular accordions being 28 HSTs long, they aren't going to stack quite as easily as those that are shorter without risk of becoming the Leaning Tower of HSTs - a. I avoid that problem with these longer accordions by stacking them more horizontally than vertically, as shown in the above photo. As long as they stay in order, either way is great.

With any luck at all, you won't come across this issue as you are cutting apart your accordion. Yep. Check it out. Even I, the queen of all things Accordion Sewn HSTs, can mess them the heck up and sew a flap shut now and then. There usually is swearing when I discover it, I won't lie. But let's be honest, there is swearing in the studio frequently around here. Just another day, really.

To free the flap, should you be a dummy like me, you'll rip that puppy out, but don't panic. It's very easy to just resew the seam with the HST now freed. But do free and resew it the second you come across it in your cutting apart of the accordion - even better if you notice before you start cutting, but this is real life. I didn't notice, and you might not either. Fixing it before trying to cut the rest of it and just telling yourself you'll remember what went where and where it goes in the stack is probably not going to work out quite so well. Just saying. I might know this from experience.

Trim and press or press and trim. Your order will depend on what trimming tool you are using, which is also outlined on page 10. Are you getting the idea that Page 10 is one of the best pages in the whole book? You aren't wrong! So much fun and information to be had!

I always start and end at the left side of my star when I lay all my HSTs out in order, as shown by the arrows on my diagram on page 53. As we discussed earlier, though, since this accordion repeats four times, any point (top, right, bottom, or left) is totally the same as any other as far as where you start and end. So if it makes more sense to start at the top, go for it. All you have to remember is to go clockwise no matter what and you are golden.

But what if some horrible tragedy befalls you between your final step of cutting, trimming, and pressing and layout, like you trip on the way to the design wall and spatter your HSTs all over the floor, or you see a mouse run by and you throw them up in the air while running screaming from the room? Well, never fear. If it's the latter, set some traps, then go pick them all up. It's going to take you a little longer to figure out how they all fit together, but the beauty of the Accordion Sewn HSTs method is going to mean they are STILL going to all end up in the same places they would have pre-mouse sighting. Just start with one of the background pieces and match up each fabric as you go around. That's all. It's a little miracle. Though I really recommend just avoiding having a horrible tragedy in the first place, in the end your block will still be exactly as it was meant to be.

You'll note that on page 53 there is also a lovely "blown apart" diagram of how I suggest sewing by
sections to get this block, including the corner pieces you sewed in part three, all put together. As with anything, these are a simple suggestion. If you'd rather sew them in different units that make more sense to you, as I actually did because I was paying no attention to my own book, I promise that will work too! It's a symmetrical block, after all. Broken down into units that fit together without Y seams or having to throw things is really the only key to joy in the construction.

While we are here, take a look at that red flowered fabric at the top right of the lower unit pictured to the right. See how the directional-ness of the flowers is the same in the bottom unit as it is in the larger unit, where they will line up? This is yet another miracle of Accordion Sewn HSTs - directional fabrics always line up properly. Why? I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA. I'm sure it's a mathy sort of answer, and one that most engineers could not only explain easily but are right now laughing at me for not understanding, but I really don't care. This amazes me every time and I need you all to be amazed, or pretend to be amazed, right along with me.

I really could not be happier with how my blocks really do look like the leaves changing. Remember that rogue accordion I made with the oranges next to each other? Well, this block is why! Look how those oranges in the middle making a star change the look somewhat! I now kind of wish I'd done them all like this, but whatever. I love all of these blocks and I absolutely love how the deep purple looks. Of course I used all of it and then some up from my scrap bins, and now I want to be able to use it for my setting triangles next lesson. Will I find more? Will I have to change my thinking? I guess you'll have to tune in then!

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