Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

New York Beauties Block 3: Radiate

Third Wednesday of June means the third block of New York Beauties, and since I love that orange band out there and it reminded me of the glory days of being a teenager and feeling the warm sun on my face, I called it Radiate.

Stats: It will measure 9-inch when finished. Remember to print it off so that the size gauge of 1″ is one-inch square.

Honey, I shrunk the rays.
But then I added the band, so all is good. Are you getting the hang of this? I’ve written a longer post about how I manage foundation paper-piecing (FPP) if you aren’t. Keep reading.

You know the drill by now: overlap and tape or glue at pink dotted line to make the larger arc.

And then do the rays, Piece C. I cut off the little bit of overlap on the top piece and throw it away.

Remember in Block Two how I cut out a rough shape of the ray? I did the same thing here.

Checking colors. I also did a half-ombre on this set of rays — from lighter pink on the outside rays to darker pink in the middle. I like how the blocks all play together nicely with the shaded areas leading the eye around the circles.

More checking colors. The arcs are just pinned up for the Radiate Block.

Rays block, before the haircut — er, trimming. You can see the gradation of the pinks here. I also tried to color them slightly on the pattern; hope that helps. I pressed this, trimmed it, then set it aside.

I started from the center, sewing the coral-orangey-red quarter circle to the yellow band. I always press marks at the center, and half-way to the center on both pieces to help with pinning. I have more success with the concave piece on top, and the convex piece on the bottom.

Here’s a drawing for you, if you need it like I always do. The green arc actually has both a concave surface (where it faces the yellow quarter-circle), and a convex surface (on the right side of the arc).

In the top photo, you can see my press marks to help in sewing the arcs evenly onto the matching convex surfaces.

And in the bottom photo, three are finished. I’m working on the fourth one now, and I think I can probably share how I think about the weird-o parts of FPP. The first time I did this ever, it was a nightmare: limited fabric, doing it for someone else, and too much for a novice to tackle. I was terrified about running out of my beemate’s fabric because I was always sewing and cutting it backwards.

Verushka (and you might really really want to take her class–so many good things and I think she explains them well) taught us to fold the next segment backwards, gauge the size of the fabric piece you’ll need, then proceed from there. I’m am using segments from Block Four in these illustrations, and I know so so many of you are Total Pros and will find these tips sophmoric or useless. (Then just move on…it’s for the rest of us.)

There are two basic rulers used in FPP. One is Add-A-Quarter-Inch and it’s yellow. The other is Add-An-Eighth-Inch and it’s the green one, above. This green one has the sweetest edge, right there by the red arrow. It’s really thin, so it helps in folding (this step). Align that thin edge with the line for the next seam. In this case, we are working on the blue triangle.

Keeping it in place, fold the paper back over the edge, and put a good crease in it.

Remove the ruler. I know you are probably rolling your eyes at this step, but it’s just in case you are sewing at night and your brain is fried.

Notice the position of everything: the completed rays are to my left. I work left to right, and concentrate on keeping this oriented this way. Also notice–that triangle marked in green (the blue ray) is what I’m focusing on. If you compare FPP Tip #2 with FPP #4, you can see I’ve brought in a blue fabric triangle and laid it in the approximate position I’ll need to sew that seam (*marked in Tip #3 with a red arrow*).

Now I’m going to show you this step from another set of rays–a little bigger so you can see more easily.

A bigger triangle, same green outline. If you can see behind the deep purple seam allowance, I’ve positioned a lavender piece of fabric, which is cut larger than I need, but in the approximate shape. (Remember how I always trace the ray, but a bit bigger? This is that piece of fabric.)

Okay, back to the small rays.

I’m holding it up to the light (this is where some people use a light table, which is a great idea).

Now here, in 6a, You can see the oversized blue triangle piece behind the FPP assembly (marked in blue). I try to line up the side edge about 1/4″ away from where the seamline will be (red arrow). Some people like to trim this edge to 1/4″ before lining it up. I’ve done that. But when I’m working with small bits and am on a roll, it’s another step. Your call.

Pin the fabric in place, or just hold on to it tightly. Unfold back your paper, exposing the marked seamline. Stitch with a 2.0 stitch if you are using vellum, or something a bit tinier if you are using computer/copy paper.

DON’T GO ANYWHERE OR PRESS ANYTHING YET!

Head to the cutting table. Fold back the paper one more time. Reach for the yellow Add-A-Quarter-Inch-Seam ruler. Lay the inner edge (yellow arrow) bumped up against the folded edge. Lay your rotary cutter against the outer edge (red arrow) and slice off the excess.

Please notice that I still keep the orientation the same: the active place is on my right. The completed and sewn section is on my left. (Verushka has a great way of describing it to help you remember. I am forever indebted to her!)

Now you can go to the ironing board. Unfold the paper (again), and smooth the fabric over. Press from the “right” side. Remember that everything looks reversed now, but this is the weird-o-ness of foundation paper piecing. You’ll start this whole process again, this time with a lavender triangle/ray.

I’ve become much faster at this, and if you are not already a pro, you’ll get get faster, too, as you go through these New York Beauties.

Final Tip

After working on these blocks, it suddenly occurred to me that after I made each arc of rays, and trimmed them up…I didn’t need the paper in there anymore. So I peeled it off before sewing the ray-arcs to the plain arcs. I referenced this a little bit in the last block, where I tore off the paper at the seam allowance. Generally, in FPP, you only need the paper where the seam lines will be lining up. Generally. But in these NYBeauties, the paper just got in the way. Without the paper, I can use a more reasonable stitch length, and the fabrics will work together. Try it and decide if you like it.

Because it’s June and Why Not? I’ve left up Blocks One and Two, so with this post, now you have three (and a peek at Block Four). I love all the sweet notes you write–if you feel like following this blog, that is also a nice thank you. I post weekly (but this June, it’s like bi-weekly). I’m also on Instagram, if that’s more your style.

Our hashtag on Instagram is #newyorkbeautiesquilt so let’s post and tag and share our beautiful blocks!

Radiate (Block Three) is available for download in my PayHip Shop.

Take a breath…and keep quilting!

8 thoughts on “New York Beauties Block 3: Radiate

  1. Another beautiful block. I took the Double Wedding Ring class from Tara Faughnan and made all the arcs with freezer paper, which is also a great tool to have in your FPP toolbelt. It was SO nice not to have to remove paper after sewing all those arcs.

  2. Thank you for another pretty summer block. Your tutorial is well done and informative. So many people despise paper piecing. I have loved it from the beginning.

  3. Also, each one of these blocks is such a beauty, and you are so very generous in making them available for free. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for yet another gorgeous block. I’m following right along and have the first two blocks done. What a great summer project!

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