Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mystery Quilt Begins...

Let me begin by saying, WOW!! It is truly amazing to have so many quilters on this quilt along!! Thank you so much for giving this a try....

It is my hope that you enjoy this journey through the next 17 weeks. Please be assured that your favorite techniques and methods of quilt assembly do not need to be altered; just because you are following this project. Feel free to experiment with different blocks, and while you may try new methods; it is totally fine to adjust any process to fit your present ability.

As quilters, we love the opportunity to share our successes; and when things don’t go as anticipated; there is usually someone available to help. I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you.

Quilting Week-by-Week
Each week, we will be making the blocks together. Following this plan, means there will be no finished quilt available to guide you in color selections, optional layouts, etc., and this works out beautifully as a mystery quilt along.

However, I do have another strategy…. Not to show you these things; but to instruct you on using spare blocks that may not be the proper size; as they can still work in this design. As I discovered when I measured my blocks; they were too small. Instead of the required 5”, they were only 4 3/4” square. If only, I had used a scant quarter-inch to sew the seams! If this happens to you, I have an alternate way to still achieve the size needed. (Photos below to illustrate this option.)

Also Note: Only the first set of pieced blocks, need to be accurate in measurement – at 5” square. The rest of the quilt can be stitched with either a scant or regular quarter-inch measurement.  

If you have difficulty sewing a scant quarter-inch seam, or just like the regular quarter-inch seam better; do whichever one you have more success with, or just prefer the most. There are several options offered to allow everyone success, with this quilt project. 

When something goes wrong…. There is generally another way to utilize something that didn’t work or fit in a past project, or plan another approach. This gave me the idea to give several options for the selection of the pieced blocks; in order that everyone can be successful.

I will also be using my too small nine-patch blocks to stitch up this design for you to see a complete quilt top (without the appliques, of course); coming later in January.

Quilt Blocks Too Small
Making quilt blocks on a block of the month or quilt along, or just on your own; and come out with measurements below the required size? What do you do about these results?

Not everyone knows that a lot of quilting designs require a scant quarter-inch seam, now; instead of the regular quarter-inch seam. For me, growing up sewing clothing, the seam allowances were 5/8" wide. So, when I began quilting, I thought sewing with a quarter-inch seam was quite small; and not wide enough to hold the quilt together. And, then in 2012, I learned about the scant quarter-inch seam.

My first thoughts were, why? I already save my fabric scraps, create pretty designs with selvages, save my tiny, tiny scraps for pillow stuffing; and want to use my "fabric stash" instead of buying more fabric, that I don't really need. Even the word itself seems so negative.  But, there comes a time, when it requires at least a try.....

It was just last week, that I did some practicing to try and sew a perfect scant quarter-inch seam. I'm not sure if I've got it, yet. And, then, I don't know if I am truly ready to commit to this. So, it is up to you how to go about this; and if you have trouble with your finished sizes, I'll even show you how to overcome this situation.

WARNING: (If you like lots of rules, then you'll have to make up your own; because I can't seem to even strictly follow my own patterns; let alone expect anyone else too.)

This quilt is scrappy, has lots of options, and will be beautiful; however, you make it!!

Getting Block Size Exact
Okay, so if you are getting perfect results. Congrats! However, if you are having some difficulty, here’s my suggestion to get a perfectly sized pieced block. 

I am not a fan of the scant quarter-inch seam, just yet. So, I tried some sample blocks, to see how I could achieve the proper size, using a regular quarter inch seam. 

To begin, the squares were cut 2 1/8" x 2 1/8" wide; instead of the 2" dimensions, in the pattern. A regular quarter-inch seam was used to stitch all the blocks together. And when, trimming off the excess, there was very little to cut off. But, now this block is 5" x 5" square.

And, that's how you can get this part of the quilt ready for assembly, in week 14. The process is to make one block at a time; this way each block will have the ability to be moved around in the quilt layout, for best results. Also, if you want to mix and match pieced blocks; they do not all have to be the same type.

If you still don’t like the results, either try again; or try another option, to replace this block with another simpler block.

Photos to Measure and Trim Blocks to Proper Size--Using a Regular Quarter-Inch Seam Allowance

Nine-Patch Block

For clarity, these colors were used to allow you to see how the ruler is placed onto the center square. If size is adequate, it is ready to trim. (shown in next photo)


Place Ruler as shown to Measure

As the ruler is correctly placed (in photo above); the top and right sides can be trimmed. Then, readjust the ruler, and trim the other two sides. The block is now the correct size.

Trim off Excess Fabric

Happy Quilting...
Next week, it's about the appliques.

So... if you have questions about the applique blocks, I'll share my thoughts to assist you.


Lynda Joanisse said...

I haven't been able to see the applique block yet and my mom has joined as well, she has info. about a Christmas tree applique block. What am I doing wrong I wonder?

Darlee Byron said...

I need to know what you've tried, Lynda. Can you go to the website again and click on the quilt image, where is says: "Where is this Quilt A-Long Pattern?". I've added an instruction page. See if this helps; if not; send me an email. Darlee

Lynda Joanisse said...

Ok Darlee, I am on track now! I had the first reveal only! I did the nine patch tonight! Christmas tree will be done tomorrow I hope! Thanks for getting me back on track! :)

Darlee Byron said...

Your welcome, Lynda. Sounds great. Technology challenges us; but it is so cool to interact with quilters far and near.