Wow! We're half-way through the quilt along! I'm impressed with the beautiful quilts I'm seeing come together. This week we're piecing together all of Block B. Block B Is a Half-Square Triangle with Snowball corners.
MARKING FOR THE HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE (HST)
Brace yourselves... I am not a fan of HERA Markers! But I'm ESPECIALLY not a fan of them for HSTs. Let me explain. I come from the Fashion design side of sewing and something super important in garment sewing is being very careful of fabric stretch. It affects the hang, the finished product and so on of the fabric. And even when you think you have done a great job, it's not until you wash it that you sometimes see those mistakes. What does that have to do with a HERA marker? Typically quilting blocks are cut on the straight grain (parallel to the selvage) and cross grain (perpendicular to the selvage). That means the diagonal of a block is the bias; the stretchiest angle for fabric. Marking HSTs on the diagonal with a HERA marker is not something I recommend. While it might not seem like a big deal the marking and sewing on the diagonal can both stretch the seam or warp threads. Then you trim it, while it's stretched. You can wind up with a slightly wavy seam, but you can also end up with blocks shrinking up more than normal when washed.
What do I prefer to use? I don't mind water or air soluble markers but I prefer using the softest tools possible. After going through lots of marking pens and tools I finally found Sewline's fabric pencils. They are made from ceramic and very fine. But they stand out well on the fabric and they are super soft to mark with. Very gentle pressure leaves a really great thin line! They are also mechanical pencils so they don't get dull. It also washes out well. Whatever you choose to mark those lines with, just be sure to be gentle!
You can see my quick Reel on how to mark HST blocks quickly here. I also use a1/4" quilting foot so I only have to mark the center line.
When you cut the HSTs apart, you can cut more than one at a time. Carefully layer the blocks so the seams are all in a line. Using a longer ruler, line it up and slowly cut down the center. It took me a long time to try this, but when you're making hundreds of HSTs it speeds things along.
TRIMMING YOUR HSTs
Before you press your HSTs open, there is a ruler for trimming HSTs while they are still closed. It's the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer. I am a huge fan but it you don't have this ruler, trim using a ruler with 45 degree angle marked. Trim the first side as little as possible to prevent over trimming.
PRESSING THE BLOCKS
Pressing, especially when the blocks are on the bias, is another place where you can stretch your fabric. I try to open the seams carefully and gently with my fingers and then push down with the iron to flatten it. I don't push the iron along the seam to open it because that can stretch it more. Just try to remember to press down when you press!
Snowball corners are super similar to HSTs and all the tips I gave for HSTs apply to Snowball corners. Just remember that Snowball corners are sewn straight down the center of the snowball block, not offset by 1/4" like on HSTs.
Before you trim and press the corners check out this post for making bonus HSTs from the scraps you trim off of your Snowball corners. They aren't needed for the pattern, but can be a cute add-on to the back of the quilt or incorporated into a matching pillow.