Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BlockHeads recap

Good Morning BlockHeads, this is only a recap, answers to questions, and a test!

I'm having trouble posting the Wednesday blocks at the time I set. If this comes to your inbox today, then this particular test failed, but every test tells me something, to do,or NOT to do!  LOL.  
I'll get it figured out, eventually.

So tell me, are you having fun?  I love the pace of a block a week.  And I really love the addition of my 3"  Mini Penny blocks.  Remember, they are not part of the BOW, just something I'm doing for fun.  I love working with leftover parts.  I am LOVING seeing your blocks On Facebook and Instagram. The creativity that is coming out of these 6" patterns is amazing.  Cool fabric combinations, and unique interpretations of value and placement. Just awesome!

I've been remiss on the discussions Lynne has put forth for the designers.  I receive Lynne's blog on Thursday!  Good idea though to get us talking!

Lynne's first question for us was, "Where do you stand on pre-washing?"
I prefer to prewash, and here is why:
1.  I like how the fibers raise just a bit, making the cut pieces snuggle to together as they go through the machine.
2. Resolving shrinkage and color discharge issues. Neither of these are a big deal these days.  Most fabrics are colorfast and my Moda reds are very colorfast! Most fabrics behave very well, but I do throw a color catcher, made by Shout, into the wash if I have mixed darks and lights or if combining with other manufacturers.  As for shrinkage, it comes from years ago spritzing a fabric on the ironing board and watching it shrink before my eyes. I've seen this happen to a pieced block too when just pressing with steam, and yes I do use steam. If you have ever had a color bleed after the quilt has been washed, you won't take a chance again.  
3.  I have more allergies than ever before in my life. Hopefully, I'm not allergic to my fabric, perish the thought! So, prewashing does remove whatever is used in processing our beautiful fabrics, that might cause allergies.
4. It is the rule in our 19th Century Patchwork Diva group for block exchanges.  Don't mess with the Divas! LOL

Lynne's second question was, "Do you starch your fabrics before or during piecing?"
Short and quick answer...BEFORE!
Why starch?  
1.  Cut pieces behave very well and, since I love tiny pieces, starching is imperative for accuracy.  In my opinion.
2.  I do a lot of finger pressing  as I piece, starching makes that wonderful.
I like my fabrics crispy, but not stiff as a board.  I've never had a problem with starch.  I'm very sensitive to scents, and even though Best Press is an excellent product and has an unscented version, I don't use it as it doesn't give me the amount of body I desire.  I'd be buying it by the gallon and that is a pricey investment, considering how much as I sew.
There are 2 non-aerosol starches on the market, Niagara and Faultless. Faultless has more scent, not enough to give me a migraine, but not unscented.  Niagara, is very pleasant, no migraines!

Do you have a question for me, or of all the BlockHead designers?  I'd love to hear them. So, let me know!

Watch for Jan Patek's block Wednesday! And my version will be right here!  Happy stitching!!!

~Until next time, 


  1. Me encantan sus bloques y sus mini bloques hechos con los scraps. Cuando haga los mios, con su permiso copiaré esos mini. Un saludo

  2. Your blocks are beautiful and I like hearing how others sew and do things. There is always something to learn. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's block!!

  3. I have an allergy to dust and don't pre-wash my fabrics as they tend to unravel and as a result, my nose runs unbelievably...lots of dust in fabric. Any way to pre-wash without my fabrics unravelling in the wash?

    1. I've seen the corners clipped at an angle before washing, but I never think to do it! The mere cutting of the fabrics creates enormous lint.I too, sneeze and drip. You might try snipping of the corners.

  4. I love what you are doing with the leftovers. I am all about minis. In fact, I have been so busy making minis with other leftovers that I haven't even made block one, yet!
    Interesting response to Lynne's questions. I have never tried starching, and I make so much stuff from scraps that are gifted to me, that I can't prewash everything.

  5. My quilts are usually scrap quilts so I don't get too particular about whether or not fabric has been pre-washed. I know I have both types in my fabric stash which I have collected over a lot of years now. I do have some vintage fabrics like feed sacks and always wash them so they are clean. I use magic sizing with "little" pieces. I followed your excellent instructions for piecing the tiny pieces in Aunt Dinah and had great success with your technique.
    I surprised myself that I could do this! I am having fun and am also challenged a bit by the six inch size but they sure are pretty blocks when they are small!

  6. 1) I pre-wash my fabrics for the reasons you stated above and as a longarm quilted, I have noticed - especially on the backing fabric that the stitches sink into the fabric and look prettier. They just sort of lay there on unwashed backing fabric. Also, washing the backing fabric eliminates loops and tension issues.
    2) I use starch because you convinced me to and it works as well as you said! Thank you for the tips.

    1. Thanks Sheri! and for the additional info!

  7. Started using starch regularly while working on Lisa Bongean's Magic of Christmas last year. It was one of her tips for working with her tiny triangles. Great to know that starch is not just in the spray can any more too.
    On your setting the blog to post at the correct time, I have no idea how that is done. It showed up in my in box Tue, Mar 28, 2017 3:15 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

    1. I set it for 6am Eastern time. I'm in central daylight. At least it had left the queue when I got up this morning! I'm still playing and Guess I'll set it even earlier!