Friday, January 17, 2020

January Cheddarback Blocks

One of my daughters suggested we take a trip for a few days this month since she has two weeks off.  Sure, I said.  And then I knew I couldn't put off the Cheddarback blocks and got right to work.  But they took longer than I thought.  Whew!  Some of them were very challenging.  Many thanks to Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitches for creating this sew-along of an antique quilt.  You can see this month's blocks here.  Block 44 is the only 12" block.  The rest are 5".  Here they are with a few notes/comments about each.

Block 44
Cheddarback Block 44 made using foundation paper piecing
This block required foundation paper-piececing, a new technique for me.  This was the second ever that I've pieced using this method (and also the second in this set of blocks).  Though I don't enjoy foundation paper-piecing I'm pleased with the accuracy of the process.

I've you've read recent posts you'll know that I altered the colors of some of the fabrics for the blocks in this set.  The original Cheddarback Block 44 had a striped fabric similar to the one in the center of this block.  The stripes in the fabric I had were a pale grey.  I used a Micron 08 to draw the lines darker.  Also, the original fabric for the large triangles has solid dots so I may fill in the ones in this block.

Block 45
Cheddarback Block 45
This is the last block I made because I thought it would be easiest, and it was.  I would never in a million years put red and lavender/purple together, but those are the colors in the original block so here they are.  I used to have a fabric similar to the light fabric in the original block but it's gone.  I think I passed in on because it was poor quality.  I doubt people who use my finished quilt will search out the original and compare all the fabrics.  Sometimes the best I can do is a similar color.

Block 46
Cheddarback Block 46 made using foundation paper piecing
This is my first-ever foundation paper-pieced block.  It looked like the hardest of the five for this month and I wanted to get it out of the way.  It's probably the most imperfect of all the blocks in the whole quilt but it's DONE!  If you want to read more about that experience click here.  For the briefest of moments I considered trying to find a striped fabric for the gold triangles.  I came to my senses before I wasted my time, realizing that dealing with stripes would be one too many challenges in this already difficult block.

Block 47
Cheddarback Block 47
Isn't this a sweet Ohio Star?  But again, it's not perfect.  Others mentioned that the block turned out too small.  I was grateful for the heads up and remembered that 5 doesn't divide into thirds evenly and guessed we'd need to sew scant ¼" seams.  I cut the blocks a 16th inch larager and took slightly scant seams and it's still slightly too small on one side.  Not so small that I'll remake it, though.  This is another block in which I altered the color of the fabric so it would be closer to the color in the original quilt.

 Block 48
Cheddarback Block 48
This 5" block is almost perfect unless you look closely.  (Please don't.)  You'd see valleys that don't exactly match, points that don't exactly meet, and fabric that has waves.  And worst of all, with a tape measure, you'd see that this block that is supposed to measure 5½" measures 5¾".

I knew this would be hard because of the 8 points that meet in the center and the 8 y-seams (but not as hard as the foundation paper-pieced blocks).  I cut out the pattern then stitched the star together, stopping the seam a ¼" from the edge of the fabric on the outer points.  I stitched the points in twos, those into halves, and the halves together.  Then I pressed it.  At that point I looked at Gay Bomers's excellent instructions for sewing y-seams and realized that I'd already made a few mistakes that I couldn't easily undo.  I went ahead with my original plan, to stitch the y-seams by machine.  It turned out better than I expected so even though not perfect, it will go into the quilt.

The background fabric in the original star block is a black/blue thorny print on a light background.  I knew I'd never find anything similar so used a fabric I thought reminded me just slightly of the original.

Several of these blocks were really difficult for me.  When I finished them I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped we were finished with the hard ones for this quilt.  Then I looked at Gay's photo of the quilt and realized there are more challenging ones to come.  Gosh, I'm learning so much.

Finishing these blocks was my One Monthly Goal for January.  I'm linking this post to Patty's One Monthly Goal January Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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24 comments:

  1. "Finished is better than perfect." Actually, your blocks look pretty doggone good. If you look closely at the original blocks, you will see they are far from perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Chris.  And you're so right!  I love finished (unless something is hugely imperfect or very poorly done).  I've noticed how not quite perfect the blocks in the original Cheddarback are.  I often wonder if she was a beginning quilter, a quilter with poor eyesight, a quilter who, like me, just did the best she could.  All are fine, of course.  I just wonder.

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  2. Your blocks look great to me--I would never be able to come close to perfect in any of these blocks--very challenging--good for you taking them on...hugs, Julierose

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    1. Thank you, Julierose.  We are alike, then, in that neither of us come close to perfect!  Sometimes I feel up to the challenge, sometimes not, but I keep pushing myself.

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  3. Doesn't it feel good to have these blocks done. Your blocks turned out great. I think my favorite is the star with the blue sprigged fabric in the background. And, with all your adjustments the Ohio Star block still turned out a little small - at least you don't sound discouraged. Now that we are almost done I've started wondering how to quilt this. Decisions, decisions. . .

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    1. You're so right, Robin.  It's great to be done with these (and no chance of a remake because of color or fabric).  Thanks for your kind words about the blocks. 

      I've been noticing when the photos are published for each block that the original maker seemed to quilt a simple diagonal across the blocks.  It's hard to tell for sure, of course.  But a diagonal one way doesn't seem like it would do much to hold the layers together or add any strength to the quilt. So I've been thinking of how to quilt it, too.  And I wonder what kind of batting is in the original.  I'll ask on the Facebook one of these days.

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  4. Nancy, your blocks look wonderful! I just finished mine last night. I totally cheated and used my Rapid Fire ruler for the Lemoyne Star. I don't mine if my blocks are a bit skimpy as I can make up for it when adding the sashing, but if they are too big--ack!!! I'm enjoying the sew along but kind of happy that there are only four months left--haha! Hope your trip is fun!

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    1. Thank you, Karen.  You are so kind.  I don't know what a Rapid Fire ruler is.  I'll have to check into it.  Yes, too small and too big are both a problem for me, but I think too small is harder.  I've become very good at easing in the edges of large blocks but not so good at easing in the sashing. 
      I'm looking forward to seeing your post about your blocks this month!

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  5. Beautiful. So authentic looking. We don't see your ''mistakes'', we see a wonderful assortment of sampler blocks.

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  6. Congrats! Another nice grouping of Cheddarbacks.

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  7. I admire that you forge ahead even when the blocks are difficult. I tend to run the other way if blocks appear too challenging. Everything looks good to me. I don't think it is realistic to think our blocks will all be perfect. We are only human, after all. :)

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    1. Thank you, Janet.  I guess I forge ahead because it's one way of learning, either to do something well or decide I don't want to ever do it again!  I just finished reading the book Grit by Angela Duckworth (recommended in one of the Pathway lessons) and have been considering whether I'm gritty or not.  So I guess the book encouraged me to push myself a little.  (Or a lot, in the case of the paper piecing.) 
      I was also thinking of you as I worked on the hardest of these blocks, remembering that you are a perfectionist.  I think it's a good thing that we realize that blocks probably won't be absolutely perfect!

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  8. They are beautiful blocks. Y seams are tricky and yours looks fine to me. You can probably ease in that extra bit - just 1/8 inch all around.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia.  How right that y-seams are tricky.  I've decided I don't want to do them again, at least not a whole quilt with blocks with y-seams!  There are lots of good things about this sew-along but perhaps one of the best is learning that there are some techniques I don't want to put into regular use.  Haha.

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  9. I'm really enjoying following your progress with this quilt. I admire the way you accept new challenges and make such a good job of trying new techniques.

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    1. Thank you, Allison. I keep working at hard things/new techniques in quilting thinking I'll learn something new (I have) and then I can decide what I don't want to do in the future.

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  10. Your blocks look wonderful to me!

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  11. Great blocks! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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