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Monday, April 21, 2014

Block Book 3

If you have been following along with my latest project you will know, this is week three of the Jane Austen Family Album  that I have started in order to create something just a bit different than a sampler quilt.  Barbara Brackman's page is dedicated to a 36 week project to create blocks that follow the theme of Jane Austen and her family and situations, ideas, and well, I guess we will have to wait and see what else Barbara gives us!

This week (somewhat appropriate to Easter) the block is being made to represent Jane's father who was a Reverend of the Church of England.  Go to Barbara's site (see the link in my first paragraph) to learn much about this man, who I think  anyone would be proud to call father!  He sounds like a man any girl would appreciate as a Dad...

The Block is Cross within a Cross and can be a tricky one to put together.  I thought I would pass along a few hints that might make the construction of this block a bit easier and perhaps save some frustration with seam matching and keeping those PESKY BIAS edges under control!

You should refer to Barbara's blog for the details for cutting and the piecing order, so read through my tips, then follow the instructions for the block.

The block is made from the centre out...

One general quilting rule that holds true for this block is "press the seams towards the darker fabric"

The center cross of this block is essentially a nine patch turned on point, but this makes the outside edges all on the bias, so make sure when you press the seams you do not stretch the long edge of the "C" pieces.


Your center section when sewn will look like this.  This is when you trim those corners.  Be careful when you do this because if you trim at an angle, your whole block will be off kilter.  Make sure that you line up the grid of your ruler with the side you will trim and with one or both of the other side edges.  This will ensure that the corners will be correctly squared at 45 degree angles!  It will save you much frustration being methodical in this step.

Next is to make the 4 corners of this block -- another tricky bit, but keep in mind the short edge of the "B" triangle butts up with the square.   Take a moment to place the triangles beside the square so that you can clearly see which edge to sew.


I like to chain piece, even if it is only 4 sections.


Once you have the four pieces done it is easier to see how to sew the other triangle to the square.   Oh, and to make it so that your seam does not take a little JAG at the end, see that little corner tag sticking out?  Snip or Trim it off, even with the edge of the SQUARE...


Just as the above photo shows...


Now this is another little tip, that will help with sewing your block accurately, if not perfectly!  Back to the center part of the block, match up the edges to find the center of that "C" triangle, give it a bit of a press to create a crease.  Do that on each of the four sides.   Then put a pin so that it marks the crease...


Now, as you see the pin marks the center where you will "point" the corner of the square "A" right at the pin.  You can then pin them together or just hold your fabric so that it does not slip as you sew the seams! (make sure that the edges of the fabric line up exactly -- I left the bottom fabric showing in this case so that you can easily see how the corner points to the pin)

You should also note that again when pressing, the seam is pressed to create that point.

When you sew these sections together you also need to keep in mind that both the smaller triangle and the inner "C" triangle is on the bias, so take care that you do not pull your seam as you sew it.  In fact if you actually slightly push on your fabrics they should not stretch out of shape....


And VOILA!  The Cross within a Cross Block for Reverend George Austen.  Be sure to read Barbara Brackman's explanation of his life and his position in life.  I find it quite interesting how the RULES of inheritance worked in those times...

Maybe that is an explanation of why my paternal grandmother Doris Merry Gent had some "uppity" ways about her?  She could have been part of an upper class family but with a father or grandfather who was not in the line of inheritance and who had to make their way depending on the financially better off relatives or to find their own way --- My father did some research on his  English family and discovered that his mother's father and grandfather were police constables in London in Victorian times...

Now, today when I watch shows like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife it is easy to see how the class system of the time would instill itself in one's very being and even coming to Canada, it would be difficult to throw off those attitudes.  So if you have a Grandma that was maybe "uppity" or perhaps sometimes said things that made her sound harsh -- think now about how she was raised and what was normal in her time....