Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Peace and Healing and a little precision piecing

In early December, a friend sent me  the link to a Bock of the Week she was starting from Piecing The Past Quilts Although I probably should not have taken on another project (my UFO list is completely out of control), I thought one block a week was reasonable to get done.
Week 1
I decided to do mine in scrappy reds and white/cream all from my stash.
Week 2
All the blocks are 6" so some precision piecing is needed!
Week 3
I made 2 of these. My first one did not have enough contrast!
Week 4
This one was fun and cute!
Week 5
The easiest block so far!
A little about precision piecing...the last couple of years many of my quilts have been easy piecing. This project is a chance to keep my piecing skills working - if you don't use them you lose them as they say!
Here are a few of my basics to keep your piecing on track. I think most quilters know these tips but if any of you are like me you get lazy once in a while, especially when making easy blocks.
  • Check your seam allowance before starting to piece. It's easy to take a little too much or too little.
  • When piecing 1/2 square triangles I always cut my squares a little bigger and trim once the triangles are pieced together. So if you are cutting squares 2-7/8" I cut mine 3" and then cut into triangles. Sew those together and trim to size keeping that diagonal line perfect (here it would be 2-1/2").
  • Be careful starting and stopping stitching so that your starts and stops are where they should be. Often we don't get the beginning of the seam lined up perfectly with the needle and a sewing machine wants to drift at the end of the seam. Even a little bit can really affect how a block turns out.
  • Press carefully and for construction. Often the seam will hint what direction it wants to go. I always try to figure out my pressing so that it makes sense for the whole block. Sometimes that means pressing to one side and sometimes it means pressing open. And I always try to be aware of bias seams and to take extra care when pressing them.
  • A little starch sometimes goes a long way. I used to hardly ever use starch because I was mostly a hand quilter and I didn't want to quilt through starched fabrics. Now with my arthritis hand quilting will be something that is rare so I have started using starch here and there. In this quilt I decided to use light starch on my fabrics. I still want my fabric to feel like fabric  (not stiff paper) so I'm careful. It does help keep the fabric from stretching so when piecing small components it can be helpful!
 I'll be practicing all these tips while doing this Block of the Week!
What kind of tips do you use to get perfect blocks?
Happy Stitching and Happy New Year!

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