Happy New Year! We were fortunate enough to get the final clue for the CS mystery a few days early! I remember seeing the post on Facebook but thought it was good wishes for the new year. Off to bed I went and the next morning I actually read the post. There it was, the final reveal! I'm glad I didn't see it at midnight on the 31st, I would have stayed up all night!
I had a family dinner party to be at on the first so not much sewing was done. I stitched up the two blocks, just to see them, and put it on hold until later. Our party was wonderful fun. Then I banged out five of the 54-40 or Fight blocks.
Ever wonder why this block got that name? I asked my mom, who is a quilter, about it at our party. She said it had to do with the American expansionists moving out west and seeking claim of land from Oregon up towards Alaska in the 1800's. The numbers represent the parallel north navigational line that was desired for claim. There was a documented "dispute" over this movement and the catchphrase, also the name of this block, was adopted in 1846. The 49th parallel line became the boundary between the US and Canada in 1846, causing the US territory to not extend northward as planned. The quilters of the day must have thought it to be a good name for this detailed block.
Makes history pretty interesting, doesn't it? I was never very good in that class in school. Maybe if someone told me about it while making this block, I would have remembered!
In this block, I quickly realized three things: 1) lining things up well is important, 2) it matters what side you sew on, and 3) chain piecing will keep everything in order.
The first thing I did was count out the pieces for each row and laid them out in the way they needed to be sewn. Picking up pieces and trying to figure out which way they go each time did not work well and wasted lots of time. Even though I thought I could remember how I sewed the last pieces together, as soon as I got the next set in hand, I forgot how the last set was put together. After ripping out more seams than I care to admit in the first 5 blocks, I knew I had to do things a better way. Setting out the rows first did the trick.
Lining up the sets well and it matters what side you sew on:
Some of the sets can be lined up at the point of the V and the seam of the 4-patch. Line up on the seam line, not the edge of the seam! Once you see it looks good, slide the blocks together so the edge is matching. You can pop in pins if you feel the need. Turn it so the V is on top when you sew. It matters what side you sew on!
When you are lining up the third block, you can use the seam line and the stitch line as the guides. Double check the sides to match up points and edges. Pin it if you need to. Place the block with the V on top when you sew. It matters what side you sew on!
Chain piecing will keep things in order! Because all the pieces for all the blocks have been counted out and set up first, you know exactly what and where to sew. Isn't that freeing? Start on two piles for a set, like the upper left and middle piles, chain sew them all, and press.
This is not showing the V blocks on top. Things lined up more consistently when that point was in view while sewing. You can't control stitch placement when you can't see where you're sewing!
Then move on to the middle row, then the lower row. Then set them up next to each other again and sew through all the sets in the top row, then the middle row, and the bottom row. Press.
Only two seams left and these blocks are done!
It was a snowy day in the northeast. I managed to complete all 24 of my 54-40 or Fight blocks!
Sparkie and Sasha are pleased!