Friday, July 25, 2008

for serious CQers: the 22 "essential elements". . .



"It's a beau-ti-ful day in the neigh-bor-hood..." Did you love Mr.Rogers as much as I did? What a great man, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, my favorite famous person since Roy and Dale (and James Doohan as "Mr. Scott"). I'm afraid I'm tearing up as I remember him today. HOW'S EVERYBODY DOING? +++ I have to apologize again for the glitch re: the Teddy Bear scans. To my dismay, even though the pixures belong to two of Blogger's acceptable file formats, they were way over the 8-MB size maximum, and that's why three days'-worth of trying wouldn't do the job. All of a sudden, Miss Willa came to my rescue (again!) and helped me to understand what to do -- altho' the images still do NOT end up anywhere near the spot I want to place them. If I can just learn that one thing -- oh, and how to move photos when they upload themselves into an illogical place, I'll be one happy eldergal!! +++ So, why don't I just go slightly backwards and talk about those marvelous "Twenty-two Essentials"? Why don't I just go and find you some photos that will illustrate exactly what I discovered after a decade or two of looking at crazyquilt blocks, hm-mmm? OK. Question: when you look at a CQ block, what do you see besides the colors, the various fabrics that were used to create it, and the stitchery designs/embellishments? Are you able to see the structure of the patchwork that is "beneath" these decorative aspects of the block or other CQ'd item? It took years for me to develop this skill, but I can really do that fairly quickly now, and I can recognize all of the Essential Elements that any block might contain. While this is probably not very important to most of my readers, I had to know what the crazyquilt makers of 125 years ago were doing. I'd chat with my inner Victorian spinster, affectionately dubbed "Miss Hortense Eileene," a marvelous (and highly competitive) needlewoman, don'tcha know, and would ask her what was what; but she was never very helpful. Still, the answers came, and it's time I passed this "optional information" on to you -- starting with this next rather important observation. Here goes!

One: There are only two generic ways to piece THREE patches together, plus three special variations which require some form of applique. The first process is the most common of ALL the joining methods. "Two of your patches are sewn together along the two edges that are meant to be joined, creating the first seam. One of the long [common] edges of this two-piece construction is straightened by scissors, and a third patch with at least one edge that's long enough and straight enough to be used for this purpose, is sewn -- right sides together -- across the straightened edge of the two-patch assembly to create the second seam." That's a very long-winded way to describe most of what happens in order to join three patches together when piecing a crazyquilt item. (If we were strip-piecing, there'd be a different operation to talk about.) This resulting join is referred to as a "T" seam or "T" intersection. The Heart-shaped block, above, is entirely made of these joins with one exception. Note, however, that I didn't say anything about the angles in which the two seams will intersect, nor did I tell you about the Advanced Version of creating a "T" seam. . .
One and a half: . . . in which either or both of the two seams can be configured as . . . a curve! In this case, to create the vertical seam in the "T," one of the three patches (a) will have one of its edges cut into a concave, convex, or an "S" curve; that raw edge will be turned under to the wrong side of the patch (about 1/4 inch or 6 mm); its adjoining patch (b) will have its flat, raw [adjoining] edge placed underneath the first patch's turned-under edge, and the first patch will be appliqued onto the second one. This is the first of the two seams in this three-patch assembly. Refer to the above instructions to add the third patch (c) with a straight seam, OR, create one curved edge on the third patch that you can use to applique in its place upon a common raw edge of the partial assembly. Isn't this special? Many times, whether the seams are sewn edge-to-edge or are appliqued (or are a combination of both methods of joining the patches), the intersection of the three patches being thus joined will NOT be a true 90-degree angle. (Usually, that angle will be greater than 90 degrees. I don't know why, but it's so.)

Two: Not all of the intersections among three patches form a recognizable "T" of some variation. Our second option is more involved, but the finished results are more interesting. "Two pieces of cloth are sewn together with a straight seam; press the seam allowance open. Instead of cutting the common edge of the first two patches to create a completely straight edge that is perpendicular to the seam just sewn, each patch will be designed in such a way that, in order to fit the third patch in place, the third patch will have to be pre-constructed. Illus. 4 shows the two adjacent raw edges of the third patch (c.) turned to the wrong side and pressed. I gave a name to this type of piece and call it a folded-corner patch. That prepared corner will be played with until it fits into the angle made by the first and second patches in the assembly, and then it [the third patch] will be appliqued in its place to cover the two appropriate raw edges of Patches a and b (which you may have to straighten a bit individually). The resulting join is referred to -- even in "sane" quilting circles -- as a "Y" seam or "Y" intersection." I have seen such a three-patch assembly on an antique crazyquilt in which the first seam, between pieces a and b, was a curve, but I've never seen a curved edge on the third patch on either side of the folded corner. It wouldn't be impossible to accomplish, but it would be pretty difficult to do this well.

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It's just turned to 0200 hours my time, and there's so much that remains to tell you -- about a dozen posts'-worth of info & discoveries on this subject. Hope you're still dropping by for occasional visits. Be well, dear Ladies. . .

7 comments:

kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

Miss Carole - I am so happy you have started a blog and are sweet enough to be sharing all your knowledge with all of us out here in Blogland! I really felt like I learned something reading today`s post (T seam is such a perfect name for this!) I can`t wait for the next post! Thank you!
Hugs,
Kerry

JoWynn Johns said...

Carole, have you tried uploading your pictures to Flickr? It's so easy to do, and then Flickr will send your pictures to your blog. http://www.flickr.com/

Allison Ann Aller said...

Do please keep this discussion going, Miss Carole!
I myself am intensely interested in the composition of the fabric patches before any of the handstitching goes onto them.
For me there is nothing random about them!

miss carole said...

Thank you SO much, everyone who has left a comment these past 19 days! I have a lot of stuff yet to share on this latest subject, so hang on to your needles! +++ Also, today is earrrly Saturday a.m., and Saturdays are LIBRARY DAYS hereabouts, with my Charlie exploring the "Computer-Help" aisle for needed assistance. JoWynn, I wondered if Flickr could be of any help, so now that you've so kindly offered that suggestion, I'll get on it later on today. THANK YOU! +++ Off to Chair again. Am working on scanning some drawings to illustrate Friday's post. Wish me a Blessing. . .

Barbara said...

I am so excited to find your blog. I love your book and your templates (which I recently ordered from Val.)

Four friends and I are signed up for your three day class in November. We are so excited...November seems a long time away.

When I load pictures onto my blog I do all that first and then add the text around it. I start with the last picture I want posted and put one of the left, second of the right and so on. I find it easier that way. I am definitely lacking in computer skills.

I have long admired your wonderful talent and creativity and look forward to meeting you.

margaret price said...

Just discovered your blog and I am sooooo happy.. You have helped me so much and your work is fabulous. I'll be back often. Thank you from little old lady Margaret in australia XXX

Susan said...

What a great explanation. I'm afraid I haven't analyzed things quite to this extent, so it's interesting to read how it goes. =)