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Blockheads ~ Block 5

Blockheads ~ Block 5

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Happy Wednesday - its the weekly gathering of the Blockheads!

That's them.  And me.  I have a very well-honed skill for staying on the "right side" of cameras.

This is Week 5 - Lisa Bongean's week.  Coronation Star - it's gorgeous.  And there are a lot of pieces.  Most of them are small.

The block instructions are on Lisa's Blog - CLICK HERE to go to Lisa Bongean's Blog!

This is Chelair's Coronation Star, it's made with Lisa Bongean's Old Glory Gatherings collection.

This is Tammy's block - and a mini!  She's adding one each week so she'll have a wonderful mini Mini quilt by this time next year.

If you're counting... there are 58 pieces in the Coronation Star block.

With all the small-scale half-triangle squares, Tammy, Chelair and I have all been reaching for the triangle paper.  Specifically, Lisa Bongean's Primitive Gatherings Triangle Paper.

There are two options - large sheets that can be cut into smaller sections or 5" square papers designed for 5" charm squares.

Tammy had a great idea - if you only need a few half-triangle squares, just cut off part of the paper and piece just what you need.  The triangle paper makes these tiny HTSs much easier to manage, and consistently accurate finished pieces are a shoo-in.

There are two other notion-related items to mention - rulers with good 1/8th" markings and the GEasy Ruler Stickers by Gudrun Erla of GE Designs.

I love these Itty-Bitty Eights by Lisa Bongean - they're my favorites.  Other options for rulers with 1/8" markings are: the Omnigrid 4" x 8" with 1/8" Grid, the Omnigrid 4" x 4" with 1/8" Grid, the Bias Square-Plus Ruler by Nancy J. Martin and the 4" x 4" with 1/8" Grid by Quilting Rulers.

As for the ruler stickers, they are a terrific way to highlight - point to - the line-measurement you need, especially when it's an odd or incremental measurement like the 1/8".  (If you have Gudrun's awesome Stripology ruler, you need these stickers.

Week 5 - Question of the Week.  Sewing Machine Needles.

What size needle do we use?  And how often do we change them?  With the Aurifil 50wt. thread I use for piecing, I use a 75/11 or 80/12 Universal needle.  The 80/12 works well but I prefer the slightly smaller 75/11... and I have a lot of them.  I buy them by the box, and when I can find them, in the little bulk packages of 100 needles.  I use the Universals as the sharper Microtex needles don't "play nice" with my older sewing machines.

As for how often I change them - frequently.  For many years - back in the old days - the theory was that you changed sewing machine needles when they broke or were bent.  But about twenty years ago, the needle companies decided that wasn't good enough, and the sewing machine companies agreed.  So the recommendation for "with every new project" became the mantra.  But what if it's a small project?  Or you maybe perhaps kind of sewed over a pin near the end of a project... should you still change the needle?

Early on, I found a system that worked for me.  It's not supported by scientific data, mechanical analysis or a laser-reading of the wear on the end of my old needle... it's just a simple way for me to remember when to change the needle.  I wind five bobbins with thread and when they're out, it's time to clean and oil my sewing machine, and change the needle.  I wind five new bobbins and I'm off and running.

This is the little dish by the side of my sewing machine.  Yes, even when I am thisclose to finishing a project, I will stop, clean and oil, wind and change.

Yes, I am finding that ball-point awl interesting.  I admit that I expected to see a bigger ball-tip.  As for the dish, that's a bread plate from my Mom's china.  I hot-glued several thin magnets to the underside so the bobbins and other things wouldn't be easily knocked off.  I know that while my Mom would be initially horrified at my re-purposing her china this way, she'd also love that I'm using it almost daily.  And thinking of her every time I see it.

My blocks!  I didn't think I'd finish them this week as I was working on something else.

Scrappy Blue Reproductions - the background fabric is Snowberry and the assorted blue prints are Betsy, Jo and 3 Sisters.  I'm hoping someone mixes in a big nine-patch soon.

I made Lisa Bongean's Bonus Block from last week - if you missed it, you can get it HERE.  I also made my quota of flying geese for both sets of blocks.

And Coronation Star - ala Fig Tree & Co.  There was a bit more contrast when I was cutting fabrics, these sort of mooshed together.  It's those teeny pieces.  I was thinking about re-making this one but with 58 pieces... maybe not.

That’s it for today so be sure to visit the others to see what they made:

Be sure to see the blocks popping up in #modablockheads on Instagram and Facebook for more pictures.  The Moda Blockheads Facebook group is also busy with folks sharing tips, suggestions and support.

Happy Wednesday!