I think the pressing shows most clearly in the illustrations below, but isn’t this Castle Wall block pretty from the back?
Russ says it’s almost pretty enough to be the front!
It is a beautiful technique and I think that you will want to use it whenever you hand piece. It’s not just for castles!
Focus on one intersection at a time.
You can start anywhere, but just focus on one at a time.
Press the seams clockwise around the first intersection. The seam allowances open and lie flat. Touch with the point of a hot, dry iron.
You may have seen the same method used in 4 patches. When you press the seam allowances to the side around the intersection it distributes the bulk and makes the intersection look better from the front.
Since we only sew from crosshair to crosshair when we hand piece, the seam allowances open perfectly and lie flat. (This method also works for machine piecing, but it is necessary to loosen a few stitches.)
We love pressing this way! It looks better from the front and is easier to quilt.
Move to an adjacent intersection (purple arrows) and press the seam allowances to the side around it in the opposite (counterclockwise) direction.
The first one goes clockwise (black) and the second one goes counterclockwise (purple).
NOTE An “adjacent” intersection is not just a nearby intersection. It must share a seam allowance with the intersection you have just opened. The direction the shared seam allowance is pressed determines the direction you will go around the next intersection.
If you always move from one intersection to an adjacent intersection, the whole Castle Wall block works out perfectly, as shown.
It takes less time to do it than it does to explain it!
Then move to any adjacent intersection (two choices in this case) and press clockwise (black arrows). It is easy because one seam allowance is already pressed.
Keep alternating clockwise and counterclockwise, always focusing on one intersection at a time.
Notice that when the intersection is pressed clockwise (black arrows), the seam connecting to the adjoining intersection is already pressed, so that the rest of the seams around the adjoining intersection will be counterclockwise (purple).
After a few intersections, you will be fast at twirling the seam allowances ahead of the point of the iron.
Try it! I think you will be surprised by how quickly it happens.
You can tilt the iron to use the point on each intersection. Press just enough to hold things in position until you are ready to flip it over and finish pressing on the front.
Keep going all the way around, always moving to an adjacent intersection, not hopping around randomly.
If you press all of the blocks identically (black arrows), when you set the blocks against each other (without sashing or other alternating blocks), the seam allowances will not nest (circled).
This is not the end of the world, but there are two simple ways to make these seams nest. It makes assembling the quilt top easier and reduces the bulk so it is easier to quilt.
THE TWIST AT THE END!
There are two ways to ensure that the seam allowances nest (pressed in opposite directions) when you assemble the quilt top, as shown above.
1. Press blocks which will be next to each other (adjoining) to be opposites (purple arrow).
OR (my favorite)
2. Press all of the blocks identically, but without the corners!
Wait until you are ready to assemble the quilt top to add the corner triangles (HST). This is the preferred sewing sequence I described in an earlier post.
When you add the corners, all you have to do is turn some of the blocks 45º to make them opposites! Easy peasy.
I love this second method because it is faster and gives me better results.
- I can chain piece the HST to the corners by machine. There is no advantage to hand piecing them.
- I can decide at that last minute which blocks will be next to each other.
- All of the seam allowances nest perfectly to make assembling the quilt top easier and more precise.
How often is faster also better? I love it that Inklingo makes it happen!
MONKEY’S BONUS TIP If you have already pressed several blocks identically and wish you had done some of them in the opposite direction, you might find it easier to move the corner triangles than to re-press the block.
Finish pressing from the front.
This method ensures the block looks perfect and lies flat.
As usual, we use a hot, dry iron when pressing quilt blocks. No steam!
All Inklingo Design Books include detailed pressing instructions like this too.
New to Inklingo? Start free!
Please start with the Guided Tour and the FREE Diamond Triangle Square shape collection. It includes the first chapter of The Inklingo Handbook. That and the Top Ten Tutes on this blog will give you a great start.
I will add the rest of the trapezoids to this Castle Wall block before I press. I do not add the corner triangles until I am ready to assemble the quilt top.
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I hope you will try pressing this way! Thank you for visiting.
Linda & Monkey
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