Tuesday, July 10, 2018

New-To-Me Easy Piecing Grid

Who among us saves the triangles trimmed off of flying geese for use in future projects? Do you have them tucked into drawers and in baggies all over your sewing room like me?

Well, on July 4th, while watching various programs on the History Channel and enjoying being inside in the air conditioning, I decided I needed a project for the day and wanted to do something completely different. I found a large number of half-square triangles that I had saved when I made Autumnal Equinox for my guild, using Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt pattern in 2015, as well as a number of random HSTs from other projects. I set to pressing all of the seams open, with plans to make something out of all these little HSTs. 
While we enjoyed a relaxing holiday together, my husband started trimming them down to 1.5" squares as I continue to press. There were two large piles of green & yellow HSTs and green & neutral HSTs.
When I was done pressing, I took several piles and started trimming, too. Before the fireworks were over, we had over 600 half-square triangles trimmed to 1.5" and a large number trimmed even smaller at 1.25" that will be used in some future project. 
My husband had told me about a picnic quilt he had made using a fusible grid as the foundation. Although I'd seen some products like this, I wasn't sure it was for me. He convinced me that I should try it out, so we had purchased some of each size from TenSisters Handicraft with finished block sizes 1", 1.5" and 2". Making something out of all of these scrap HSTs was a perfect time to try out the TenSisters Easy Piecing fusible grid in the 1.5" cut/1" finished size. 
Now I had to come up with some layouts to use up all of those 1.5" HSTs so I could decide for myself whether the easy piecing fusible grid was worth it. I must say I found it excellent and fast! In two afternoons I had laid out five different designs, adding the pink squares to only one of them. Otherwise they were all made up of only HSTs. I did my layout first on a flannel board. Then one row or small section at a time I pressed each piece with Best Press to get them good and flat. Once they were well pressed, I started gluing them to the bumpy side of the fusible grid with a glue stick. By gluing them down first, you can reposition or move them if your design gets messed up in transition from pressing to the grid. Once you've decided you're happy with your design, then you press it to fuse the squares to the interfacing grid.   

The grids are actually slightly larger than the 1.5" unfinished size. This allows you to center the piece in the box and when you fold the rows together to stitch, that little bit of extra interfacing is in the fold and your seams come out perfectly matched up.
Stitch all of the rows together in one direction.
Press all of the rows one direction first and use a little Best Press from the right side to be sure all of your seams are fully pressed over.
Next, clip the interfacing between seams so that each row can then be pressed in opposing directions. This helps them nest together when sewing the long seams in the next stage.
Once the nested seams are sewn, you are ready to give it a final press. What would have taken hours, if not days, of piecing individual 1.5" HSTs together, was done in a matter of hours.
As you can see here, that's a 3.5" square ruler and the blocks did, indeed, come out at just about 1" when all seams were sewn. Every point matches and with very little effort! The grid does all of the hard work for you. 
It's just amazing how many different designs you can come up with using only HSTs! These five mini's are just a sampling of what you can do with waste HSTs and this grid. Next time we will be using the 2" finished as Les has collected fabrics to make another picnic quilt for us to keep. Being a perfectionist when it comes to his quilt piecing, he will definitely be using grid for his foundation. If you have occasion to try it out, definitely check out TenSisters Handicraft online or in your favorite quilt shop.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,