Monday, October 28, 2013

The hubby and I went camping in Alabama last week after the hectic past few weeks we have had. Work and quilting obligations have worn us both out, we needed to re-charge our batteries!!

The main activity was relaxing!! We also hiked to the highest point in Alabama - Cheaha. It was beautiful there!! 

Mostly we relaxed, walked to dogs and experimented with cooking over a camp fire.

I did manage to visit quite a few shops during our trip. We stopped at Pale Moon Yarns in Andalusia, which by the way has a large amount of quilting fabrics and many beautiful yarns!! Thimbles in Birmingham carries beautiful heirloom fabrics and quilting cottons. And the last shop we stopped at was Sew Bernina in Montgomery, they have a friendly staff and modern fabrics.

Last night I started a secret Christmas swap project doing improv trees, which is due on Nov 9th at the quilt meeting. More about this later...

The fish bags are done and in the nick-of-time!! I was finishing them up during the last guild meeting - the time they were due, so I don't have any good glamour shots of them - sorry.

The Boo Bat mini quilt is finished and my swap partner loved it! This picture is from the ECMQG site here.

Now it's back to work and more deadlines - gotta make that money so I can play with fabric :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Perfecting the Scant 1/4" Seam Allowance for Quilting {RePost}

I've had a lot of people ask me lately why their blocks are coming out smaller than they should, so I thought I'd re-post and oldie but a goodie on Quilting 101.

Sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance is absolutely essential to success in quilt making! If seam allowances are too large, wide, or 'fat'; the finished block will be to small or out of wack (so to speak). Just think about how many pieces and seams there can be in one block.

For example this Clay's Choice Block (above) has 32 seams, in the end the block can become so distorted that it ends up not the intended size or the pieces in the block also will not fit together. If the seam allowance is off by even just a tiny teeny weenie bit these small 1/64" or 1/32" differences when multiplied by at least three can add up! Well, you can see how the inaccuracies can become very troublesome. The same is true of the width of a seam if it is too narrow, only this time the resulting block would be to large.

Just because you have a 1/4" foot does not mean your sewing a scant 1/4".

Key word here is scant not exact, a scant 1/4" refers to making the width about two threads or 'hairs' less than the very accurate perfect 1/4" seam. This allows for the turn of the fabric when the seam is pressed, either open or to one side. This can make a large difference in how your finished block measures.

Check your seam allowances!

Accuracy Test
(yep it's a pop quiz)

Cut 3 strips 1 1/2" by 3 1/2", sew these strips together along the long side. The finished block should measure exactly 3 1/2" by 3 1/2" when finished and pressed.

If your piece is wider than 3 1/2" try sewing a new set of strips and widen your seam allowance just a bit. Or if your block is to narrow, make a slightly narrower seam. After testing and finding that sweet spot - place a a piece of painters blue tape on the throat plate or machine bed to use as reference when piecing.

Of course all this being said, quilting is for the fun of it. If you sew a block and its off then don't despair use this as a wink from the artistic spirit in you and create textile art as you so see fit!!!!

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