So, tonight, after the babies fell asleep, I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to try out the Fall/Halloween Table Topper kit I purchased. It had instructions (I’ll eventually photocopy them and post them for y’all to see) and fabric pieces. I read and read and read again the instructions and they might as well have been in Greek. They were very bland and I didn’t quite understand them. Of course, I’m a hands-on person when it comes to learning things so I took the picture they had and recreated the pattern on my graph paper. Then, I cut the pieces and started putting it together.
The pattern says to cut little pieces at 2.5″ square. Well, the way I learned things, for every time you sew it, you need to add a 1/4″. So, instead of cutting it to 2.5″, I cut them all to 3″ squares. They start at 3″. You sew them together and then cut them in half, then sew them again. So, that equals 3″ and not 2.5″. Here, let me explain.
Lay on your table two 3″ pieces. One background fabric and one of the pieces that will be a part of the “Star.” Draw a diagonal line on the lighter colored piece (so you can actually see it). Sew a 1/4″ past the line on both sides of it.
Lay it back on the table and cut along the line you drew. Open both sides up, press-iron them flat and put them back on the table. For this part, you have to really be careful. You’re going to trim any excess from the pieces and they have to be exactly 2.5″ square. However, you have to make sure the points line up perfectly – I am talking about the points created by the dark and light meeting (the edges).
On the left is the untrimmed. On the right is trimmed. Look at the points. They line up perfectly with the points on my cutting board. You’ve already lost .5″ of fabric from the small “half square triangles,” which means you’re down to 2.5″ squares created into “half square triangles.” You lost a half inch in the creation of these two. If you’re wondering where it went, turn those two babies over and look at “extra” fabric sticking out the back. There’s your 1/2 inch, in quarter-inch pieces. Also, if you skip this step (trimming), you’re going to be very unhappy later when your points don’t match up in the finished block.
With me so far? Good.
Sew two identical to look like this. Don’t stress the points no longer meeting at the edge of the square. That will disappear shortly. By the way, this is also how you can make “Flying Geese.” Make 4 of these sets.
Cut a 4.5″ square block from the same fabric you wish to be the “Star.” Place the pieces around it the way they are to be sewed.
Now, add four 2.5″ squares to the open spaces. They are 2.5″ because we won’t be cutting them in half and creating half square triangles out of them. Get it, now? I hope so. We’re going to attach them all together. Try to do it in rows. It makes things go much smoother.
First, I created my rows. Then, I attached my rows together. This is the last one …
I created two of these, tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll do the other two and then assemble the rest of the table topper. Check out the points, though. Nary a hair outta place anywhere.
You know, the 8-pointed star really isn’t all that hard, now is it? Another pattern learned and set down as fun and reasonably easy. All it takes is patience and diligence. I have been thinking about all the comments made to me about beginner’s classes and I have to say that I don’t think that is my style. I learn by hands on. I don’t typically read “how-to” books.
When I was in the Navy, there was an internal war going on between the RM’s (Radiomen) and the DP’s (Data Processors). I was a DP before it became the IT rating and I agree with one of the things said.
See, DPs would fix, repair and build computers. We’d program or train others on how to use their computer. We networked and we designed websites. We did it all. Radiomen worked the radios and telephone systems. Well, most of the time. I actually rewired our section of a building when stationed in Sicily, Italy. It was an antiquated Italian phone system and I rewired it. Hands on, didn’t read a book. Followed the lines and pathways and figured it out.
Oh, and by the way, don’t use your teeth to hold a telephone wire when you’re at the top of a ladder and working on the Italian phone system. If a phone call comes in, you’ll FLY off the ladder and across the room. Not that I did it. No. Never me! I would NEVER do such a thing! (I lie but please believe it and pat me on the back!)
So, the RMs and DPs were always at war and one of the sayings that would describe us goes like this:
“An RM memorizes the book and still can’t do shit.
A DP looks in the index, checks out the relevant paragraph and gets the job done.”
That would be me. If I need to know how to do something, be it computers or quilting patterns, quite frankly, I don’t read the book. I check the index, look at what they’ve got going and figure it out with hands-on experience. And so, I don’t believe I need a Beginner’s Quilting Class. I’ve been learning as I go, playing and testing things and figuring them out. Like the shifting of the diamond on last night’s project. It made sense to do so and it worked. A beginner’s class would frustrate me. Although, there is much to be gained from watching other people do things. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem learning from others. But, beginner? No.
The sad part about the above story is that they merged RM and DP after I left the military. I wonder what they ever did with the class rivalry?
Thank you for listening (and enjoy the newest quilting pattern),