Hi! Happy Friday! I hope this week has been good for you and you were able to squeeze in some quilting. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you saw that I am working on a project that has small blocks, specifically 3 1/2″. To make these blocks and have them measure accurately when I am done, I have some favorite tools I keep by my machine.
First up are my tiny ruler and scissors.
Every one needs scissors at the machine to clip threads, but I have been known to use the tip of the scissors as a stylus to hold down seams as I chain piece. The mini ruler is for me to check that the seams are 1/4″. This is especially important on small blocks because an error in the seam allowance will really show.
To keep these items corralled at my machine so they don’t get in the way while I’m stitching, I use a really common household item: a Command hook!
Stuck to my machine on the right side (since I am right handed), it’s a great place to hang my little supplies!
Since these small blocks I am making are scrappy and can not be made by making long strip sets and then cutting them apart, my next tool I like using is my wooden pressing stick:
I use this tool to press the many seams that need pressing while piecing these small blocks. Since there are a lot of seams to press between each stitching, I don’t want to have to jump up to the ironing board for every one. So, here’s how it works:
Here are my three 1″ squares stitched together to begin my nine-patch:
And now I use my pressing stick:
And here you go this pressed row of squares ready to join to the next without the iron:
This allows me to make all the nine-patches in one sitting, then I can get up and press them at my ironing board.
Although it wouldn’t hurt to get up and down from the machine to iron each seam…. when you’re making tiny blocks like these, you can get tired really fast! I still have to get up and press all the blocks when they’re finished, so I don’t lose out on my exercise!
Here are some of the other small blocks I was making this week. The flying geese are 1 1/2 x 2 1/2″ and these stars are 3 1/2″. They were really fun to make!
Let me know in the comments here on the blog what are some of your “can’t live with out” tools when you are quilting. I will enter you in a drawing for my newest pattern Twilight Desert and a surprise gift! The drawing will be on Tuesday, September 4th. Good luck! ****We have a winner! Congrats, Karen Shurts!*****
Here’s the give-away pattern: