Sunday, December 29, 2013

Making Birds in the Air

Clue #5 in Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt has us making Birds in the Air units.

Unfortunately, this step uses those 100 extra Half Square Triangle units that we had to sew in clue #5... and which I never got around to sewing. So, a little extra cutting, and we get...

500 little pieces to make 100 Birds in the Air
That's five, stretchy half square triangles to make each unit!

First I got all those pesky HST units sewn together. Then I laid out all the pieces how they need to be sewn. Flip over the first wing, making sure that the edges all align...

Sew the pieces together, and then very gently finger press the unit open. I like my seams to lie very flat, but with bias edges on both sides of this seam, I'm not about to drag my fingernail down the seam like I might usually do. Instead, I'm going to use my iron this time, but I'll have to be very, very careful about it. I'll admit that I'm usually prone to ironing my seams open rather than pressing, but with these units, I have to be especially conscientious, making certain that the iron moves up and down ONLY, and not side to side!

Lay out the pieces again, flip, align and sew.

Finger press open, and carefully press with the iron as before. Then add that big half square triangle. The big HST should be the exact same size as the unit that has already been sewn. I line up all three edges, and then add a fine pin at the center and at the tail of the unit. Then we're ready to sew!

Start sewing the seam, but keep an eye on the center point of the unit as it comes up. The trick to getting a perfect point on that small HST unit is to bulls-eye just a thread to the right of where those seams cross on the HST unit. That extra thread's width will disappear in the edge of the seam, and your point will be spot on. Yea!

Aim just to the right of those cross hairs!
Gently finger press open. Very carefully press, don't scrub!, with the iron. And voilá! A beautiful Birds in the Air unit is done!

Some tips for squaring up:

  • For Celtic Solstice, these units should measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" (green line)
  • The center seam should fall under the 45° marking on your ruler (blue line)
  • The edges of the Half Square Triangle unit should each fall on the 1-3/4" line (red lines)
  • The points of the inner half of the HST unit should lie 1/4" in from the edge of the unit (orange circles)

Birds in the Air, like Log Cabin is a very versatile block. Check out my next post, Playing with Birds in the Air, to see some of the fun things that you can do with it, by itself and with the other units that we've made for Celtic Solstice!

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