It is time to tackle the Tennessee Circles How-To Blogs!
I am going to skip the detailed marking your fabric instructions as I will be covering that in the first Facebook Live segment. And I have covered it many times in the past with the last being for Carolina Favorite block blogs that you can find just by scrolling back to the August blogs. I am working on a general “how to mark” your fabric video that is going to be on the Hand Piecing page that this being created for the website as I type. This page is going to host links to all How-to blogs for each individual design and a host of other info. But as a “one woman” operation here I can only create so fast. It will happen soon. I have the holiday season into January off and I have quite a list I am determined to see thru to finished.
So here are my fabric pieces and here is the general template identification graphic that is included in your instructions in your template package. Just remember when tracing your templates, both inside and outside lines, on the backside of your chosen fabric you want to be as precise as you can on the “inside” line. Tilt your marking pencil or pen, at an angle so that the tip is as close to the template edge as possible. I pretty much use a #2 pencil about 90% of the time for marking. I keep my lines fairly faint, but have stepped up the pressure on them for the blogs so you can see them. I also use a Sakura White Gel Pen for making fabrics with a dark color. Always test your marking tool on a small corner of your fabric to make sure it does not bleed thru to the front.
I usually spend a day tracing and then have a cutting fest in the evening with a good movie on Netflix. Individual block pieces are then stored away in sandwich bags at the ready for piecing at a moments notice. Prep work makes hand piecing happen frequently and thus blocks truly get done faster then you imagined.
Let’s start with the piecing of the corners on this block. The D-E-D unit.
Using two pins (white in my picture) you are going to line up your drawn sewing guideline corner. In hand piecing we never line up pieces by using the fabric edge as we do in machine piecing. This is because we are human and cutting on a hand drawn line with scissors. Sometimes we wobble. So we use the inside line that we traced from the template. The line that we took the most care to trace and did not cut. By doing things this way our accuracy improves greatly.
After lining up my corners with the white headed pins I then pin on the drawn line. I use Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins for hand piecing, they come in two lengths, 1” (seen here) and 1.5”. They truly have changed my hand piecing for the better. So lightweight and easy to sew around which will make more sense in a moment.
Check the back of your pinning to make sure everything is indeed lined up.
Now it is time to sew. I used a Hemming Milliners needle size 11 and Aurifil thread. You can use any needle you like, sharp, applique, milliners, even straw, just make sure it has a sharp point. Hand needles can dull out just like machine needles. And they bend. I have never found one that doesn’t. So if you needle is pointing in the opposite direction as your needle eye it is time for a new needle.
Back to sewing. A simple running stitch with a back stitch every 3 stitches is what I use.
And this is IMPORTANT>>>
I DO NOT SEW ON THE DRAWN LINE.
I hover a thread or two above it into the seam allowance. Think hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch. Because my templates are ¼ seams and windowed (so you can mark both outside and inside edge in one setting) we need to reclaim the bit of space that is lost by the width of whatever marking tool you use. You are also going to want to start and stop your seams a thread or two also into the seam allowance.
Now it is time to add the second triangle to the D-E-D unit. Again pin the corners to align them. Make sure your right hand pin is only going thru the new triangle and piece E. The first triangle should be pulled out of the way. Now it is time to tackle the Roundabout Technique for making lovely tight intersections of fabric in hand piecing. Since you don’t sew out the edge of your pieces as we would do in machine piecing you need to make a Roundabout every time three or more fabrics come together to interlock the fabric and not have pin holes at your intersections.
You do have written instructions for this in your template box and I will be demoing this technique on Facebook LIVE this week. Look at the three fabrics coming together from the top and envision that intersection as a circle and you are going to go around it -TWO fabrics at a time. That is the key, you only move your needle thru TWO fabrics at a time.
So here we go – stab your needle thru the matched corners (you can remove the white head pin while holding your pieces in place) Triangle 2 to Square. Pull thread thru
Now Square to Triangle 1.
And finally Triangle 1 to Triangle 2. Make a back stitch and sew across to the opposite end of your seam line. Remember to HOVER over the line! Knot off and clip your thread.
Finger press (I rarely press any block until it is completely sewn) and viola your first D-E-D unit is done! Repeat 3 more times.
On to the B-C units. These are easy-peasy. One straight seam each! Make 4.
Here is where you should be.
The first Facebook LIVE segment is going to happen tomorrow at 9am. Yes it is early but remember you don’t have to be there at the LIVE time. It will remain on my Facebook Page so you can search it out whenever you can get to it or need it. I will cover marking your fabric and the Roundabout Technique.
The second half of the How-to Blog will post on Friday, Oct 26th with another Facebook Live happening on the following Saturday!
If you haven’t ordered your Tennessee Circles templates yet you can do so here or ask your local shop to contact me for wholesale pricing! And Tennessee Circles is also available in the English Paper Piecing format!
Have a wonderful day!