A long time friend is getting married. I promised to make a Single Wedding Ring Quilt . I saw it in a library book Quilting Makes the Quilt by Lee Cleland. Check the book out, sometime. It is an amazing feat, in and of itself. The author made twelve different quilts and quilted each of them five different ways. Holy shit. That means that she made five of each quilt pattern.
The design calls for twenty pieced blocks. Each block is made with 16 HST (half square triangles) and nine 2.5 inch squares. I am sure that the block has a name. I don’t know.
Instead I followed the directions in my All-in-One Quilter’s Reference Tool Betsy ordered two of them one night when she was drinking wine and shopping. It is a useful reference. There, I learned to cut 6 inch squares out of each color and place the right sides together. Draw diagonal lines, and sew 1/4 inch seam on each side of the center diagonal lines, Next , cut the square in half both ways and on each diagonal line.
|PHOTO OF CORRECT SIZE BLOCK|
I put the first block together. The pieced squares were larger than the plain ones. (see above) I stretched and sewed and the block came out very wonky.
I changed machines. I paid careful attention to my seam allowance. The second one was less wonky but still not acceptable. I changed feet, better but I had to cut down the finished squares. Something was wrong. (Yes, Lizzy, you did not read the directions)
Then I remembered reading about the Magic Eight. I made my squares five and three quarter inches. Much better.
In hindsight, as I write this, I think I will go back to using 6 inch squares at the start and trim them. I know it is more cutting, and likely will end up making as many cuts as if I had cut 160 squares, but I think the accuracy will improve making the end result much more precise.
I was very careful. I made one block at a time. In truth, I sewed four Magic 8 blocks and then cut two for the 16 HSTs. Then I would construct the block. The QRT recommended keeping the straight grain all the way around the outside edge of the block whenever possible. Indeed. I was fastidious about this I discovered that if you positioned the 5 3/4 inch squares so that the straight grain went one way in one block, and the opposite way in the other block, your HST would have straight grain on opposite edges and I was able to keep the straight grain on the outside on all of the blocks.
Ninety minutes per block, start to finish. Honest. Despite my best efforts, I had some pretty wonky blocks. I sorted through them and used the best for the center of the quilt, where matching seams is so critical.
I laid out the whole quilt top, sans borders, on my two six foot tables in the loft. There is barely room to circumnavigate the tables so I won't keep them set up this way. I like having all this room, though.
By Five Thirty PM I had all the strips pieced. Before I went in for supper, I so wanted to get the two middle strips (and the longest) sewn together I thought that by starting in the middle and working out to the edges I would get the best result. Failure. I had to rip the whole seam out. It took about fifteen minutes. Then I carefully pinned the seam and sewed it up. I figured it would be best to match the dark colors and if the exact center is off it won't show as much since it is the light color.
I might make this quilt again. I would like to get it right in the middle. Before I do, though, I think I will get some advice from real quilters. There must be a way to get these seams to match up and I think it has to do with the grain.