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Sewing The Hour Glass Block Together

I left off last month making the first block of the What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy challenge quilt. Today, I’m going to be sewing the hour glass block together, which is the second of the three blocks I’ll be using in this quilt challenge.

My inspiration for this block came from my kitchen. Not the egg timer, but rather the coffee pucks for the coffee machine. They were stacked on top of each other and, I thought, oh, that’s kind of cool and would make an interesting block design. In order to get the right angle, the square would have to be cut at more than a 45 degree angle making it easier to piece if I used a template to cut the pieces.

Inspiration for the block
Inspiration for the block

 

Making the template

After drawing the block on paper, I cut out the shape and pasted it to a piece of heavy box board. Then, I cut around the paper through the box board to make the template. Remember last month when I was making templates for the Snowball Block? I recommended not using cardboard for this as it tends to shrink the more times it’s used because it’s soft and collapses on itself.

The snowball block last month was based on a 5-inch square as is this hour glass block. This makes it much easier to do the math and creates even rows within the quilt, if everything is kept within the same measurements.

Template drawn on paper
Template drawn on paper

 

Cutting the pieces

To cut the pieces, place the template on the square with the straight edges of the template lined up at the edge of the square. Cut along the diagonal side of the template to create two pieces.

I’m using a different fabric to test the cut before starting on the quilt fabric, which is in limited supply. It’s always good to use some scraps for testing to make sure everything is right before starting with the actual quilt fabric.

Template ready to be cut
Template ready to be cut

 

Unfortunately, there’s some waste with this block design, but the off cut can be used elsewhere — I’m hoping — or for another project. The piece being used is to the left and the off cut is the piece to the right.

The piece on the right is the off cut and the piece on the left is for the block
The piece on the right is the off cut and the piece on the left is for the block

 

In order to make a complete block, a mirror image of the piece needs to be cut. To do this, cut one piece with the fabric right side up and one with the fabric wrong side up. This goes for both the Eclectic Elements feature fabric and the background blue fabrics.

The two pieces are mirror images of each other
The two pieces are mirror images of each other

 

Sewing a test piece

Sewing the pieces together means sewing on the bias because the edges are cut on a diagonal through the square. With the IDT system engaged on the Pfaff Creative 4.5 machine, there should be no issue with stretching or distortion of the fabric. The IDT system ensures an even, smooth feed of the fabric under the foot and over the feed dogs.

Pieces placed right sides together with the corner over hanging
Pieces placed right sides together with the corner over hanging

 

Picking the foot

My choice of foot for this sewing job is the quarter-inch foot with the guide. It keeps all the pieces aligned perfectly because they’re butted up against the guide and cannot wander.

Pieces ready for sewing with the quarter-inch foot
Pieces ready for sewing with the quarter-inch foot

 

Start, stop & speed control

If you don’t want to use the foot control while sewing, it’s easy to use the start and stop button. Simply press the button to start sewing and press it again to stop sewing. The button is found on the front of the machine beside the up and down buttons for the presser foot.

Using the start/stop button to sew
Using the start/stop button to sew

 

I press the start button to sew and it takes off like a rocket and the seam is sewn in no time. I didn’t even have time to hold onto the fabric before I was pressing the button again to stop! I guess I didn’t check to see what the speed was set at. When I’m sewing without the foot control, I prefer to go at a slower speed because I feel I’ve more control over what I’m doing.

The speed control is found on the home screen of the LCD screen. In the picture below, I’m pointing to the speed control icon with the stylet.

Speed control icon
Speed control icon

 

You can tap on the icon to change the speed or hold the stylet down and a larger version of the icon will appear with a slider button. Hold the round circle with the stylet and slide it up and down to position on the speed you prefer. The top of the icon is fast, fast, fast and the bottom of the icon is slow, slow, slow. I want a bit faster than the slowest position and click the check mark to enter my selection.

The speed control icon is straight forward and easy to use. I did have to look it up in the manual to learn where to find it on the screen because the icon wasn’t obvious to me as “speed control”. Now I know where it is, I’ll definitely be making use of it.

Larger view of the speed control icon with slider button
Larger view of the speed control icon with slider button

 

Sewing the block together

I’ve been sewing the pieces together to create the 5-inch blocks for the hour glass block. Chain sewing has definitely made the process much faster. When finished, I used the thread cutter on the side of the machine to disengage the pieces from the thread and machine.

The thread cutter is found at the side of the machine. It’s a little round piece with a groove along the top to slide the thread into where it gets cut.

Thread cutter
Thread cutter

 

I’ve arranged the 5-inch squares into piles to make it easy for sewing them into pairs.

5-inch squares
5-inch squares

 

I match a light and a darker piece together in order to get some contrast within the block.

Squares sewn into pairs
Squares sewn into pairs

 

Finally, the pairs are sewn together to make a 9½ inch block.

The hour glass block
The hour glass block

 

With the second block sewn together, we can move on to the third block of the What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy quilt challenge tomorrow. Even with bias seams, sewing the hour glass block together is easy when using the Pfaff Creative 4.5 with it’s built-in dual feed system.

Happy Quilting

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

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