That block is TOO small!!!

On Monday, I posted about my lemon block in the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge…..

When I first made this block using the quarter-inch foot on my machine……

…….it was well over 1/4 inch too small!! Mind you, there were FORTY-EIGHT seams in the 6-inch block but that just meant that I had to be much more accurate!!

I started working with the Bonnie Hunter’s Bonus Buddy Ruler….

To use this, you put your needle in the 1/4″ hole and the edge of the ruler marks the 1/4 inch seam allowance.

In my case, I used a stack of painters tape to form a ledge against the ruler…..

I figured that this would do the trick so I started over on the block, carefully sewing the strip sets and pressing them SUPER carefully, using my fingers first and then doing it again with the iron…..

And guess what, they were a bit too big!!! How did that happen!!

Then I started thinking about the rulers that I use and the way that I set them on the fabric before I cut and decided that the problem was starting there…..

I played with it some more but couldn’t figure out exactly where to hold the ruler to make the cut perfect. Finally, I decided that I wasn’t going to try to change my 25+ year method of cutting and instead change the seam allowance.

It took a few tries but I finally figured out where I needed to hold the fabric edge to make it the PERFECT size…..

It was easy to sew the blocks together, using the tape edge as my guide……

I seldom pin when I piece but decided that, for this intricate of a block, I needed to….at least in all of the matching seams……

The result was a block that was ALMOST the perfect size (may 1/8th inch too small)…..

Two other comments about this process…..

For my normal piecing of a large block with a normal number of seams, the 1/4-inch foot works just fine. The difference was simply the number of seams in such a small block!!

Although the painters tape ledge works well, you can use other things instead. I have used a magnetic marker (only for non-computerized machines), or a simple stack of Post-It notes……

It was frustrating to have to make the block a second time, it was a great exercise to figure out how to sew a PERFECT (or close enough) seam!!!

Geese Opt In

A quilt finish….

A quilt was finished in my studio this past week and it was NOT mine!!

Back in the summer, my friend Kaitlynn asked if I would teach her to make a quilt. We made a great start before classes started again for her and then things slowed down to a crawl.

On Monday she came over with the intent to FINISH the quilt in time to use as a Christmas gift for her Mom. She spent 4 hours bent over the machine, with the free-motion quilting FLOWING out.

The effort worked and before she left, we had a wonderful photo of her WITH her new, finished quilt…..

But the best photo arrived on Christmas Eve…..

….the smiles say it all!!

I’m being mysterious again!!

On the first of each month, we are given the next clue in our “Morewood Mystery” quilt presented by Meadow Mist Designs.

This month was fairly easy…..just making some four patches and another patch that will become part of an Irish Chain design.

The instructions called for using a “WOF” (width of fabric) for each set of patches, but since I was going with a scrappy approach, I decided to use lots of smaller strips…..

After they were all sewn together, it was time to Sub-cut them into 30 units. I did a video of this process giving a hint about an easier way!!

After the 4 patches were done…..

…..it was time to make the other units. It would have been good if I had realized that these two units are NOT the same……

Twenty-three of the ones on the left had to be un-sewn and re-done in the correct orientation!!!

But at the end of the day, step three was completed…..

Now I just have to wait a month to keep going!!!

Reflections on an empty spool

Well, this happened on Wednesday…..

At first it was just a hassle to have to stop, get the new spool and re-thread the machine. But then I started thinking how many hours of enjoyment I had obtained from that 3000 yard spool of thread.

It was used to piece an unknown number of quilt tops…quilts for babies, quilts for Veterans, quilts for charity and quilts just for ME!!! It was used to practice machine quilting, to piece endless scraps together and even to mend a few clothes along the way.

Sweet Claire used it on quilts made for herself, her brothers and her friends…….

….and my friend Ruth used it make a Christmas gift for her husband…..

After remembering all of these fun memories, I looked at the new (6,000 yard) spool and started dreaming of new projects to come……what will they be????

Sash-shaying around

A couple of months ago my “Cre-8” group issued a new challenge to use quilt sashes in a new way AND to include a fair amount of this fabric…….

When we received the fabric it was folded to the lighter side and several of us didn’t realize that and started planning a quilt using the “wrong” side of the fabric!!

I kept coming back to the idea of a lattice so, as is my normal way of working, I started a search for any photos showing lattice work. After drawing out several sashing designs from lattice patterns (and not liking any of them), I started thinking about making the entire quilt one big lattice…..

Now the problem was figuring out exactly how to piece this design. I really wanted the woven look to hold up so I realized that there were going to be a LOT of partial seams!!

I pulled out some scrap fabrics and started practicing the piecing process…..

The piecing worked, but I didn’t like the proportion of lattice slats to blocks.

I tried again…..

This time I liked the proportion better but didn’t get the feeling of a wooden weaving.

Then my eyes fell on this stack of fabric……

….and the top fabric in particular. The color seemed a bit intense, so I turned it over and found that the back was perfect…..

It even looked like weathered wood!!!.

So I started piecing…..using the BACK of the lattice slat fabric and both the front and back of the grey fabric. It is so ingrained in me to always sew with the right sides of the fabric together and I ended up ripping several seams out before I was through. It was apparent that I needed this meme……

Got to have your wits about you.

As I started sewing, I realized just how important it was to keep my seams perfect or else the whole top would be skewed in one direction. (It is amazing how much difference a small sliver makes.) This was good thinking, but not so easy to do, especially as I came to the end of the stitching line……

Oops!!! After I fixed a couple of these, I switched to a different foot that would keep a perfect 1/4 inch seam. It made a huge difference to my piecing…..

Once I got into a groove, I realized that I could piece 4 patches together before I added them onto the quilt top…..

This made it a little bit easier to keep track of where I was on the quilt. I finally started putting a mark on the pattern for each block group that I added……

I also got tired of trying to remember which was top and bottom of the quilt top so a strategically placed flower pin reminded me where the bottom was.

As I mentioned earlier, there were TONS of partial seams…..

….and I quickly tired of sewing thru a scrap fabric between each one.

Now, I LOVE technology and have always wanted to make each piece of equipment do whatever it can to make my life easier, but I have never used the thread cutter on my machine. For some reason, I had in my head that the next seam wouldn’t sew correctly if I had cut the threads so close to the edge. But, this little scissor button…

……worked perfectly and made my life SO much easier!!!! I can DEFINITELY get used to using it!!!

In a relatively short time the top was finished (but not trimmed down to the final size)…….

Now the question is “what am I going to hang on my trellis????” Interestingly, as I was working on this, I was watching an episode of “Quilting Arts” where Susan Brubaker Knapp was demonstrating the making of free-form flowers……..

Maybe that was divine providence????

But, the fabric that I was waiting on has arrived so I can get back to my Color wheel quilt….providence will have to wait!!!!