Sunday, August 11, 2013

My next quilting goal in the works

Gen X Quilters Sisters Ten BOM Blocks
I had an epiphany moment a while ago while watching a Fons and Porter quilting show on TV.  The mother/daughter duo were chattering away discussing how they aim to get their quilt blocks perfectly sized as they sew them and not trim them down after sewing. 


You mean you CAN sew a 12.5 inch block and have it actually measure 12.5 inches on all sides when you're finished?  Doesn't everyone just trim them later to a smaller size?   It made me realize I'm really lacking in the most basic of piecing skills.   I decided right then my next quilting goal is to actually read and follow directions and finally master that 1/4" seam.   Is it possible that I could make perfectly sized blocks right from my sewing machine?  I guess I was about to find out .....

At the beginning of my summer sewing lull I joined two block of the month alongs (Gen X Quilters and Sew Lux Fabric) and decided that the least I would do these hot months is to sew the monthly blocks with the mindfulness and carefulness I was missing before. 
My lone 9" block.  The result of  a direction reading deficit.   

First observation:  I don't read directions well.   The Gen X Quilters BOM gives two sets of cutting instructions.  One for a 12.5 block and one for a 9 inch block.  Right off the bat I cut all my pieces and took a break.  Went back later and thought, "Why did I cut all these pieces wrong?" and trimmed them all down to the correct (I thought) size.  That is why you will see one 9 inch block amongst all the 12.5 inch blocks.  For each block I've made so far I've cut at least one piece of fabric the wrong size.  READ DIRECTIONS MOLLY! 

Second observation:  My 1/4" foot makes my seams too large.  When I finally took it off and followed this tutorial to find my perfect needle setting and stuck a piece of tape on my machine as a guide I made much smaller seams.  Now my blocks are actually the correct size when I finish.

Third observation:  Wanting perfection is a learned art.  A couple times when my seams didn't match up nicely or my points were blunted I really just wanted to shrug and say, "good enough."  But I picked apart and re-pinned and re-sewed and re-cut where necessary.  Now seeing how nice the blocks look with everything all aligned and sharp really makes me want to continue in this vein. The gratification I get from seeing a nice, neat block really makes me wonder about myself.  When and why did things like this start giving me pleasure? 

This month's block came out all wrong and I don't know what I did.  Obviously I cut some strips the wrong size so I haven't mastered the following directions part yet but I didn't freak out.  I just left it and figured out a way to fix the problem without scrapping the whole thing.  Now I've got another perfectly pieced block under my belt.  Yes, I feel happy.  At least one tiny corner of my world is neat and orderly. 

Aha!! Another epiphany moment.  I think I just answered my previous question .....


  1. Great post! For blocks with many pieces, I measure as I go. It helps to spend the time up front to determine how big each pieced section is supposed to be. Its a bit anal but if I really care about that particular project being accurate, it's worth the time. Admittedly, sometimes I don't care so much :)

  2. Hahahaa! Great post Molly!:) You could always sash that 9" to make it fit!:)

    Yes, I think my 1/4" foot makes a bigger seam too but then I just go with it as long as I use it on everything they all will fit.

    What aggravates me me is when two sides are right and two sides are wrong...go figure!:)

  3. Your blocks are so pretty. Our sewing group did a precision challenge a few years ago and it drove me nuts, but then I really appreciated it after. I think I am so used to sewing for myself (not trading blocks) that I can skate a little now on the precision and get away with it.:) It's a good lesson!

  4. Good Lord in heaven - my heart skipped a little beat when I saw all that orange! So pretty, Molly. Can't wait to see this beauty.

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