Friday, September 30, 2011

The Mysterious Quarter Inch Seam

Achieving the perfect quarter inch seam has been haunting me since my high school home economics sewing class days.

I've tried many of the tips offered for the perfect quarter inch seam. On my old Singer the presser foot was the width of a quarter inch. I put down a piece of masking tape at the quarter inch mark. On my new Brother I use a quarter inch piecing foot.

But, even though I made sure the quarter inch was accurate, the quilt blocks never really came out the exact size they were supposed to be.

I have finally figured out this mystery....

Are you ready for the mystery to be revealed?

Here it is:

When piecing quilt blocks the size of the seam must be LESS THAN A QUARTER INCH! Its a "Scant quarter inch"! The width of the thread line, the width of the crease made when pressing, and whether or not the pieces are rotary cut or cut from templates, all go into the equation.

When I first got my quarter inch piecing foot, I thought my quilt blocks would magically all be precisely perfect. NOT!!! If I sew my seams butted up to the guide on the quarter inch foot, the blocks will be TOO small. I must sew a couple of hairs away from the guide. When I do this on a consistent basis the blocks come out the right size.

Now, some machines allow you to move the needle position a hair at a time until you get it right where you want it for that perfect quarter inch seam. My Brother machine only allows this for certain stitches, but doesn't do it for a straight seam. At least I haven't figured out how to, if it has that feature.

The bottom line is that you have to measure, measure, measure, and adjust the point that works on your machine, until your block is the right size. Your quarter inch seam may be slightly different than your friend's quarter inch seam. You have to know your own quarter inch seam.

Another point is that some blocks are easier to achieve accuracy with than others.

Sewing this block drove me crazy! The smaller the pieces the harder it is to obtain accuracy. Hardly any of these blocks were exactly the right size and they certainly didn't lay flat. I love the quilt, but just don't look too closely at how the seams match up!

Sewing these blocks is a joy! Almost every block measures 9 1/2 inches and they lay flat.

I've come to the conclusion that every time I start a new block design, I must measure the units of the block and the finished block to figure out where the seam line should be to make that particular block the right size.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In My Sewing Room - Thursday

This is my sewing chair. We bought it at a "junque" store. Rescued it would be a better description. This particular store has a tiny building with a big shelter and there is more furniture outside than in. This chair was not even under the shelter. It was sitting outside in the weather.

Its perfect for my sewing chair. I put the rug underneath it because I was scratching the wood floors.

I like the red toile fabric seat. I think someone covered the seat with the fabric and then painted the wood black with a distressed look.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Today is WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.I have been working on two of my WIPs this week.

The Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along. Go HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS QUILT ALONG. I am making this quilt from fabrics I have on hand and am trying to give it a masculine, antique quilt feel. My inspiration is from this quilt found on the Quilting With the Past Blog FOUND HERE. I fell in love with Lucy's quilt and realized that I have lots of older similar fabrics. This quilt will be for my son, Jacob.

Razzle Dazzle:

This quilt has taken over my life which is what happens when you really make up your mind that you are going to finish a certain quilt.

After work this week I am pin basting it in preparation for machine quilting this weekend. I am using Freda's table top pin basting tutorial FOUND HERE. I have worked so hard to get it basted, even enlisting the help of the hubster! This method's positive points are that you don't have to crawl around on the floor and you don't have to find an unoccupied floor big enough to work on. But, no matter how you go about pin basting a quilt, its a J..O..B..!

No other progress on my other WIPs that I can post, but they are growing in my mind!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In My Sewing Room - Tuesday

Good Morning!

Here are a few things that make my sewing room cozy for me.

Some Bible verses taped on the wall directly in front of the sewing machine. Lately I have looked up the Sunday readings for the upcoming week and then I write down some that have special meaning for me on index cards. That way I can keep them on my mind all week, which helps me to be ready for church on the following Sunday. This is better than just hearing them in church and then promptly forgetting about it.

A few pictures of some loved ones. These are of my Jacob and my Lori when they were small, along with a special cross stitched Bible verse that I received in a blog swap box.

A cork board with more pictures of loved ones and some other special things.

Hanging on this rack is a purple scarf my daughter crocheted for my birthday one year. I will always treasure it.

These things help to make my sewing room one of my favorite places!

Monday, September 26, 2011

In My Sewing Room - Monday

I love my sewing machine. So, I decided it was high time I got out the instruction book to see how to maintain it.

The only thing listed under maintenance is to clean out the bobbin case. No oil. So I dutifully followed the instructions and this is what I found:

That lint has a red tint. Would probably have something to do with the fact I have been sewing a red and white quilt for weeks!

I'm sure this machine will run much more smoothly from now on. And now that I know how to take care of it, I can clean out the bobbin case regularly!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Razzle Dazzle

I finished sewing the blocks together, and then the rows and borders on the red and white double nine patch quilt.

I've decided to name this quilt "Razzle Dazzle". Why?, you may ask.

Although technically this isn't an NC State Quilt, it does have the red and white colors, which is a winner at my house! If while watching football the Wolfpack makes a trick play, my hubby yells, "Razzle Dazzle". So that's why this quilt is named Razzle Dazzle.

I hope to start quilting this quilt soon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday Night Sew In Report

Each night I have been making three of the blocks for the red and white double nine patch quilt that I have been working on for..... ever. Last night I was really tired and got a late start, but was able to complete three more blocks.

Here are the blocks laid out on top of a white blanket.

Only six more to go!

I will start sewing the blocks together this weekend. Then I will cut and sew on some borders.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

Handmade by Heidi

Won't you join us in doing some Friday night Sewing?

Tonight's the night ... (that's a song isn't it?)

I've missed the last couple of months, but tonight I'm IN!

Go HERE to sign up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bloggers Block of the Month

Canton Village Quilt Works

I've been thinking about doing a block of the month (BOM). I should be able to handle that, just one block a month, right?

Jackie at Canton Village Quilt Works has introduced a new BOM and I'm joining. The place to sign up, if you are interested is HERE.

The Block designs will be free and will be designed by 12 fabulous quilt bloggers, one each month. You can use the fabrics provided by Canton Village Quilt Works, or your own. Since I'm trying not to buy any new fabric, I plan to use what I have on hand.

I'm ready for September's BOM!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Its WIP Wednsday at Freshly Pieced. Here's my progress this week:

1. I have been working really hard on the red and white double 9 patch quilt this week! My goal has been to complete three blocks each week day and six blocks on each weekend day. Each of these blocks contains 49 pieces. Of course, strip piecing helps a lot, but still each block takes a little time to complete. I try to work for just a few minutes in the mornings before work, even if its only 5 minutes. Then after work I start to work on quilting while supper is cooking

I'm up to 57 blocks and I need 72. So just a few more days and the blocks will be finished. Then it will be time to sew all of the blocks together and match up all those seams!

The Stack:

Working on more blocks:

2. The Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along.

Here are the first two blocks. I really love how they turned out and am looking forward to making more. I made a decision not to buy any fabric and I've come up with some nice fabric combinations using what I have in all those plastic containers in the sewing room. I Can't wait to show you the blocks as I make them.

Here are close ups of the lighter fabrics in the blocks:

3. Crumb blocks

Here are a couple more blocks made from the crumbs I am accumulating while working on the red and white quilt.

4. Hand quilting the Grandma Quilt..... well it makes a great place to put projects.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jacob's Ladder Trial Block

In preparation for the Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along, I made a trial block on Saturday. I carefully followed the directions provided by Bonnie at Quiltville. I have to say that this block came out great. It lays very flat and is square. I'm ready to roll!

Information for joining the Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along can be found HERE.

Bonnie at Quiltville's instructions can be found HERE.

Spinning the seams on the back of the four patches worked!

I went through most of my scraps, remnants and other fabric this weekend and found some great combinations for the blocks. It will have a scrappy, yet masculine look.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday- Red and White Double Nine Patch

Its WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I've been working on my red and white double nine patch Irish Chain Quilt Top. After not working on this quilt for months, I made quite a bit of progress on it over the weekend and before and after work. I started out with 7 blocks and ended up with 31. I'll need 72, so I have many blocks left to make!

When I first started laying out the blocks, I played with the idea of using this pattern, which would alternate the blocks with plain white blocks. It makes an interesting pattern and would take half as many of the double nine patch blocks. But, after seeing the above pattern, I decided to stick with it and make enough blocks to cover the entire bed.

I haven't worked on any of my other projects, but here is a list of my quilts in progress:

1. Red and White Double Nine Patch: Piecing the top

2. Bluberri Breezes: Ready to baste and machine quilt

3. The Grandma Quilt: In the hand quilting frame to be finished

4. Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along: Picked out some fabrics and ready to make a trial block.

5. Crumb Quilt: Haven't decided if this will become a project. Just playing around with the idea. No commitment!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jacob's Ladder Quilt Along

I'm joining The Adventures of The Empress of the Universe in a Quilt Along. The pattern will be Jacob's Ladder.

Jacob’s Ladder QAL

If possible, it is preferred that the fabrics come from each participant's stash. So, you may recognize some of these fabrics from a previous quilt. I'm making this quilt for my own Jacob and will be using greens, tans, browns, rusts and most any fall-like, masculine fabric. The background or ladder of the block will be beige muslin.

The quilt along starts later this month, but I want to make a trial block this week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Little Scrappy Diversion

I've worked on the red and white double nine patch Irish Chain quilt during every spare moment this whole weekend and needed a little diversion. You can see some of the red and white to the left of these blocks.

I used the tutorial for Crumb Quilts found HERE on I just pulled out a handful or two of all kinds and shapes of scraps and went to sewing. When each square was big enough, I laid a 6 1/2 inch see through plastic square on top and trimmed around it with my rotary cutter. Before I knew it I had 4 done. I'm not sure how I will use them yet, but they make a great leader/ender project.

My first love in quilting is scrap quilting, so I love these! Looks like another WIP for the list.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

AAH, September!

Now that September is here and fall is on the way, I organized my sewing room (aka cleaned up the mess). I pulled out my 2 oldest UFOs and am ready to sew and quilt!

I know you are probably sick of hearing about my hand quilting of this Grandma Quilt, but here it is again. Believe me, you aren't nearly as tired of the non-progress as I am. Well, its time to finish this baby!

I set it up in the sewing room, so its out of the way of the comings and goings in the house. I can see the tv and my hubby from there.

The red and white Double Irish Chain Quilt.... same story!

Let the Quilting Season begin!