Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hurdy Gurdy QAL Part 3 - Time to Make Some Noise! Accordioning those Blocks

Finally! Finally we get to touch our sewing machines! Well, unless you are me, whose main machine (Janome 6125, since I know you'll ask) crapped out on her last week by refusing to feed fabric through anymore. Just out of nowhere. One moment we were happy together, singing "You are My Sunshine" and "Kumbaya," and thirty seconds later I was telling her she was the bane of my existence and swearing to never speak to her again. #angersewing

Luckily, like most quilters, I do have a spare machine, the Janome My Style 100, which looks like it should be best suited for a child's first machine and is better known in my house as "Barbie's Dream Sewing Machine." However, it's thankfully one that is best suited to simple piecing, and is a surprising workhorse in that arena, so I was still able to piece my accordions and not be behind the rest of you. That would be embarrassing. Worst QAL leader ever.

If you are planning to use the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer for trimming, and I really hope you are because I would like to think you like to make things as easy as possible for yourself, I recommend threading your machine with a thread that you'll be able to see. I often thread the top of my machine with my Color One, and the bobbin with Color Two, because in most cases I'll be able to see the thread on at least one side of my HSTs that way, and I am able to feel like I at least made an effort in matching thread so that it won't show. But sometimes, like this time, I go crazy and use a thread that is completely different, like my purple shown. I can justify it because as you may recall, my accent fabric color is purple, so eventually it's going to match, right? And in the meantime, I can see perfectly to line that stitching up and trim quickly with my CPST.

 I'm just over here assuming you've kept up thus far, that not only have you chosen and cut all your colors and pieces, but you've also done a little accordion practice. I'm hoping the practice went fairly well, and from all the examples of #accordionsewnhsts I'm seeing hashtagged on IG and FB daily, I think it probably did. Granted, most of those are not from this QAL, but it doesn't matter. Things for the most part seem to be going well in Accordion Sewingland, and I'm just assuming things for this QAL are in that category. But what if they didn't? What if you were frustrated?

First of all, thank you for not sending me nastygrams full of words akin to what I was yelling at my sewing machine. Second, did you check out the amazing Troubleshooting chart on page 11? I came up with the idea to include it in a dream (one where lots of people were really mad at me because they were having issues - not all dreams are sunshine and roses, people) and I am really pretty proud of it. Even if you don't have issues, read it for the entertainment value.

So now that we are all accordion experts, we are off to the races! At the bottom of page 52 is the photo and explanation of the order you will sew your accordions for each block. You'll sew one accordion for each block you'll be making, so I'm at three accordions, which I show you here to prove that I sewed them all and also to make you feel better that you aren't the only one who hasn't put the garden hose away for the season yet.

Now, you may note a couple of things about my accordions. Number one, they are a far cry, contrast wise, from my original Hurdy Gurdy accordions, which were teal and red, arguably two very different colors. In a way, you may sort of have to take my word for it that I followed the same order when sewing my red and orange accordions, because red and orange are pretty similar, being from the same family and all. I did touch on my concerns and reasoning  behind my non-contrasty choices in Part One. I continue to hope I have made a good decision and that my final project evokes the feel of leaves turning. So far my accordions are making me all October happy, so I guess that's good. In the end, this is my quilt. Your quilt is your quilt. I've already made one all contrasty, and I love it. So I am trying something a bit new. Nothing wrong with that, right?

You might also notice that the accordion on the far left is slightly different from the other two in terms of order, with my Color Two (orange) being intermingled a little differently with my Color One (red) within each of the four repeats of the pattern, with the Color Twos ending up together in the middle of pairs of Color Ones. See the photo closeup to the left to admire this slight change and to be impressed by my lack of ability to trim threads. Meh. They'll be gone once we start trimming. Why make more work?

I have a vision for how this block will look different from the other two. Perhaps you can figure it out as well. But we will save the reveal for next week when we figure out if it actually worked when I sewed the blocks. In any case, I'll throw it in the middle of the runner so it had better be spectacular!

Be sure to remember to tube up the accordions! As cute as they are and as easy to see all your lovely fabrics as they are all straight, without tubing you'll lose one very important HST, and you'll end up having to refer to the page 11 Troubleshooting chart when you can't figure out why you have random extra pieces. Plus they are pretty cute when they are tubed as well! And the uses!

Wear it as a bracelet!

Put it on the cat as a tutu! (Not pictured with accordion tutu. The cat was having none of that. And oh yeah! Page 45 now contains a lie in the callout box. I DO now have a cat. I just didn't when the book went to press. Sorry about the misleading journalism on that one.)

  It's your own personal tiara!

But in all seriousness, I actually think they look like they fit right in with my fall decor, no?

I find that each accordion tends to take about 15 minutes to sew. While I'm curious if that is fast or slow compared to others, just remember your pace may vary. If you break 10 minutes, though, I definitely want to know!

I'd also definitely suggest working on the Block Corner Construction pieces, pages 51 and 52. A little easy, mindless sewing that you can chain piece, then you'll have those parts done and not have to worry about them once we start cutting those accordions apart and creating the rest of the block next week! The chains even can look like little smiles if you hang them on your design wall before you cut them apart. It's like getting a little affirmation from your piecing that you are rocking this project.

 Open pressing of seams is my mantra. If you haven't given it a try, I continue to berate you into submission suggest that you give it a try. I will never be known as a perfect piecer, but I have definitely found that my points are a lot more accurate when I press my seams open. Sure, you can't nest your seams, but you CAN line them up really well just by looking at them, smoosh them tight together, pin, and sew, and they come out looking pretty darn good most of the time. Plus the flatness of the final block is enough to make even the Flat Earth Society proud.

You'll need to make just 6 each of the Left Accent Unit and the Right Accent Unit shown on page 52. I like to confuse you I guess, so I'm showing two Left Accent Units in this photo. But you are smart, and you will do 6 of each.

Ok, so that's it for this week! I hope you enjoy your actual sewing and I hope you'll share some of your amazing looking accordions in the Quilting Along with EPQD facebook page, or by using the #hurdygurdyqal hashtag!

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