North Pole Sampler Sew Along – Week 5 – Snowball Block

Hi! It’s Jen from Shabby Fabrics. Welcome
to Week 5 of the North Pole Sampler Sew Along. We’ll be making a bunch of
snowball blocks; thirty to be exact. 15 will be pieced into a row and they’ll
have a sashing strip on the top and the bottom. And while the block seems to be
so – kind of I would say simple – because it’s small,
the piecing needs to be as accurate as possible. And, as you can imagine, 15 of
these units need to measure up to 30.5 inches, which is the length of our
sashing strip. So how do we do that? How do we make sure we’re accurate? If there
was ever a block where you need to make sure that everything is measuring
exactly correct before you start [this is it]. I would encourage you to just double check that
everything has been cut properly to the correct size and then let’s go ahead and
jump right into it. Now, as you can see on the two sashing strips, we have one here
and we have one – I don’t know if you can see it quite from where you are located –
but that pattern has it where we just did a different arrangement of the
snowball blocks. Pick your favorite arrangement or you can follow along and
do exactly what we did. We will be using the Corner Clipper on this. Just a
reminder if you don’t want to use the Corner Clipper, or you just prefer to
draw the line, for each of the snowball block she’ll be using one square and
four of the smaller 1-1/4 inch squares in the corners. If you’re going to draw
the line you’ll need to get a Frixion Pen and this straight, simple little ruler.
And corner-to-corner you’ll just be drawing the line on all of those pieces.
You can imagine, because there’s 30 of these blocks, that’s 120 lines
that you will be drawing and actually it’s quite a bit, because each of
the blocks – each of the 30, has 4 corners, of course, so that’s how we’re
coming up with 120. I think the Corner Clipper really shines
in particular in this block and we’ll be using that to hopefully increase our
accuracy and save us some time. So let’s put that Frixion Pen and our ruler
aside and I’m gonna grab that Corner Clipper again. Boy, that
thing is just really shining in this quilt, we’re using it quite a bit. Of
course, I am going to place that in my corner, right. We already know that, in all
four corners. I’m just going to start in a corner. Oh actually, let’s look at our pattern. Starting up in here, right. We know that normally there’s that drawn
line. So how do we navigate our ruler? Well we know we’re not going to
cut on this side of the line because that’s where the drawn line is, so it
has to be up there. So let’s rotate that like we’ve down
with previous blocks. There’s my one, there’s my 1-1/2. I’m at my 1-1/4.
I’m going to set that on here and I’ve got all kinds of guidance;
lines here, lines here, my straight line is here to here. I’ll try to back up so
I’m not blocking that and now we’ll give a cut. We will be doing this around all
4 sides. I’m gonna put this here. Hopefully I won’t disturb that. Let’s come over there
and cut that. Now they’re so tiny that if you put a pin in there – boy, I don’t know.
I don’t even know if it’s completely necessary. I think what I’ll do,
rather than cut all four sides, is I’m just gonna go right now – you know I’m
gonna do one with a pin and one without. Let’s just check this out together. Let’s
see if we feel like pinning – like there’s enough area. I think there is, so if
you’re more comfortable with the pin, go ahead and do it. Now let’s run over to our
machine. Let’s just sew those two sides for now. *sewing* My pin is in the way of
my machine. So maybe this is one of those ones, because it’s such a short distance
to go from corner to corner, maybe pinning isn’t, maybe indicated for
this one. It is such a short distance. Let’s do this side without. *sewing* I think we should definitely not pin and because it’s kind of – that other pin kind
of got in the way – that’s going to be your preference. That’s where you decide
what you’re comfortable with. Let’s press to the outside like we’ve
been doing on our previous blocks. Pressing is going to be very important
here. We want to fill that corner and we don’t want any distorting. So I am
visually looking here and here, because you can see, I can get this distorted. The
fabric is warm, it’s flexible right now, so you want to be aware that you’re
trying to continue this line with your white fabric. It doesn’t
bump up, it doesn’t pull down. Anytime I’m dealing with smaller pieces, I
slow myself down, take some extra steps, check myself far more carefully and slowly, because on little pieces mistakes become very, very
cumulative, especially when there’s 15 slight errors in a row, they really will
add up and your strips won’t come out to the size that you need. If
there was ever a block that you may be tempted to remake it’s probably going to
be this one. You have plenty of fabric in your
kit, don’t feel badly if you have to remake a block! It’s better to do it now
than wish you’d done it after you’ve already got your quilt done and you
notice it’s not exactly how you wanted it to be. So two more; lining up 1-1/4. Yep, 1-1/4, thought I
said that wrong for a second there. A lot of measurements happening here! We’re
gonna cut. *cutting & rotating* Rotate to the opposite side. Where’s our final square? There we go! *measuring & cutting* Okay, let’s take that to the machine. *sewing* If your piece moves because it’s not pinned right there, just adjust it.
Just do a double-check. *sewing* It’s little! Little, little! But it sure is cute.
Why is little so cute?! I don’t know, it just is. Like when something’s tiny I’ll be
like, “oh it’s so cute!” I don’t know why it is, but that is true.
Okay, we’ll press to the outside again. *pressing* Now we have a snowball block! So we have
one up here that’s finished. It’s got the 15 pieces with the sashing
on and this strip beneath here is just missing its piece on the end. Let’s see,
let’s make sure, which end do I need to add that snowball block to? I believe it’s
this end. Yes, so there it is and I will add that to the end here. So let’s go
ahead and do that. Now, as I mentioned before, before I run over to the sewing
machine, rather than just starting with two blocks and sewing them together and
then adding a third and adding and fourth, don’t do it like that! Sew two
together, sew two together, sew two, two, then with two – you’ve got two pieced together,
make that into a unit, and make that into a unit. It helps alleviate distortion
and kind of twisting but since, for demonstration purposes, I will go ahead
and just add this one on. Normally I wouldn’t be doing it like that, I would
have at least be pairs. You’d see this in pairs. And then in fours. *pinning* Okay. *pinning* Now,
consequently, I’ll be going over this little thing you may be seeing here when
we sew our sashing on and you’ll see why I have it. That’s called The Purple Thang! *sewing* Whenever I’m dealing with smaller pieces
and a seam wants to roll, I just try – I just have this handy so it kind of can
get in there and help me maneuver. This will be significant when we’re putting
our sashing on. You’ll see that in just a moment. *silence* So like you would expect, we’re
going to press that seam open. So let’s warm that up, and let’s press
that open. *pressing* So let’s see what we have here. We have
15 pieces! Now we have to hope that we are measuring the same length as our
sashing strip. Remember how I mentioned in the last video how just the seam
there is taking up a certain amount of distance? My expectation is when I lay
that sashing strip next to that pieced snowball unit, that my sashing strip will
appear longer. That’s normal! It appears just a little bit longer, like, I don’t know
if you can see that. Just a touch longer. Don’t worry, by the time this kind of
flattens out and you get that accordion effect out, everything is going to come
out fine. If you have a major deviation, let’s say the snowball block is
significantly shorter, you may have just sewn with a too – a larger than 1/4″ seam
allowance. If your snowball block unit is larger than your sashing strip, first
I encourage you to measure your sashing strip to make sure you did cut it
with proper measurement, but if this is longer than this, then that means you
took less than 1/4″ seam allowance. Go back and examine your seams and maybe
you’ll be able to see – oh yeah, there I took a little bit of a shorter seam
allowance. And you just seam-rip that, go with the proper 1/4″ seam
allowance and it’s gonna fit. So you just kind of have to finagle it. That’s
part of quilting. All right, once you’re satisfied you’re where you need to be,
you know that our habit has been pinning where it has to start and pinning where
it has to end. And everything else in between is a bit negotiable, right? We
know that we will make it work. *pinning* So when I have a strip that’s this long –
and let’s look at this with the overhead camera. This is natural. Not every single
snowball block is going to sit in there perfectly. You’re going to
have some unevenness. Does it drive me crazy? Yes! But that just seems to happen
in quilting. So what I do is I try to lay my strip, if I use my table as a guide, that
helps me know – okay *lining up with mat* Maybe I’ll pin there. I want my strip to be straight verses
allow my strip to turn and twist. So my strip kind of wants to dive down here,
I don’t know if you can see that, let me move some stuff out of the way. I want you to see.
This is so important! The longer the strip becomes, the more chance of it
twisting here or here. Notice how it wants to dive down there. Well, I’m not going to
let that happen. You’re gonna be what Tammy says; “the boss of our fabric”. We’re going to do
that right now. Where we’re going to determine. We’re not going to let that
twist happen. *pinning* Notice I’m just pinning every three or
four. Here I’m gonna kind of put a little bit of pressure here. If
it twists badly here, you might want to just look at this and say “oh wow! It’s
wider here and narrower there.” I’m going to seam-rip that and sew that back
together. Figure out why that might be happening and make that correction. This
is within reason that this will absolutely work out and don’t feel a
need to seam rip that. But if you have something significantly turning
or twisting, figure it out. Just figure it out right now versus regretting it later
on. All right, you get the idea. It takes a while to put the sashing strip on when
you’re having to kind of just finagle it just a little bit. *pinning* Now one thing I want
to point out to you is remember how we noticed that – something else you might
want to think about. Top of consciousness. This is literally on the fly – look at all
these seams underneath here. Now I just pinned this from the top because I
needed to see it and I feel I need to sew it from this side. But the chance of
some of these seams rolling over is actually quite large. As it goes along
the sewing machine it kind of just starts to push these seams and they roll
over and you really don’t want that. The sashing won’t lay as flat as it
can. That’s where The Purple Thang comes in very nicely because it’s an extra
pair – it’s like an extra finger! I’m just going to be checking that my seams are
laying flat and I really kind of push here so they can’t roll. Then I will
check my next section. Once I’m satisfied nothing’s gonna roll, I will press here
with my fingers so it’s not gonna move on me. *sewing* Keep checking. *sewing & music* Okay, let’s press that to our white just
like we have been doing. So these little blocks, as simple as they are, can be
a little deceiving in that it’s like, “oh this is going to be a no-brainer”.
Well, making the block is quite simple, but the accuracy is so important so that
everything is the right size, so that everything matches up and works
beautifully with your sashing strip. So just pressing to the outside and that’s
what makes the snowball block. It’s adding the sashing that takes those
points and kind of clips them, so to speak, with your seam, and makes our
little snowball block. How fun is that? Always cute to add to any winter-type
project to have a snowball block. And we’ll just press to the outside. *pressing* Voila! I’m very happy with that! really happy with that. You should be feeling good about
what you’ve accomplished. This is a lot of piecing, a lot of pinning, a lot of
precise quarter-inch seam allowances, and pressing. And then of course you will
repeat the process with the other sashing strip; pinning here and there,
easing as necessary, pinning every four or five snowball blocks, press to the
outside, and you have your two snowball units completely done! So I can’t wait to
see you next week, we’ll be moving on to doing this unit here and I’ll see you
next week! *happy music*