Monthly Archives: March 2014

Product Recommendation

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I buy a fair amount of specialty rulers and other gizmos that come out on the market.  Most of the time they get used once, put into its place never to be seen again.  Not so with this product from Quilt in a Day.  I bought this ruler at least 2 years ago and finally used it last night!  Our bee was putting next month’s BOM together (hint, hint) and this gave us the best result.  It is the Small Flying Geese ruler.  This ruler comes in several sizes.  You can see them here:  http://www.quiltinaday.com/search/default.asp?search=geese&x=11&y=3.

I also have the mini set which I used a couple of weeks ago at my Dear Jane club that meets at The Fussy Cut in Beech Grove.  The directions are very clear and you end up with perfect flying geese blocks.  I love this product!

By the way, next month’s BOM will contain at least two 3″ x 6″ (finished size) flying geese units.

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BOM quilt

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As most of you know Susie Mc. won the BOM blocks at the March meeting.  She already has them put together and it looks fabulous!  It truly makes me want to make a Delectible  Mountain quilt.

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GREAT JOB, Susie!

March/April BOM–Irish Chain

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Please make this block with green and white fabric.  This block will be made in the month of March to bring to the April meeting.

Your block should be 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ when you are finished.  That will make a 12″ x 12″ block when it is put into a quilt.

Cut the following strips:

           Green fabric:

                      Cut 2 strips 1 7/8” x 20”

                      Cut 1 strip 1 7/8” x 10”

           White fabric

                      Cut 2 strips 1 7/8” x 10”

                      Cut 1 strip 1 7/8” x 20”

                      Cut 4 squares 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”


Sew the 20” strips together lengthwise putting the white strip in the center.

Sew the 10” strips together lengthwise putting the green strip in the center.

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Press the 1/4” seam allowances toward the dark fabric

Cut the strip sets into 1 7/8” units.  You should have:

           10 green/white/green

            5 white/green/white

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Lay out your units to make 5 nine patches and sew them together as shown.

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Achieving the 1/4″ seam.

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Several years ago my sister, Trisch, and I attended the AQS show in Nashville, TN.  While there we had the opportunity to go to an event with Mary Ellen Hopkins as the main speaker.  I had heard of her but not much more than that.  I left that evening a fan.  She was hilarious and inspiring.  The one thing that has stuck with me all these years was her insistence at having your own PPM (Personal, Private Measurement).  Her point was that an exact 1/4″ isn’t necessary as long as whatever measurement you use for seam allowances are the same throughout the quilt.

I don’t disagree with the concept of a Private, Personal Measurement as long as it is in your Private, Personal Quilt.  However, when you make blocks for a Public quilt there needs to be a standard and the industry standard is 1/4″.  If we didn’t have a standard we would have blocks of all sizes.  A seam allowance that is a few threads off is multiplied exponentially with each seam that is sewn.  That being said, today’s post is about how to achieve that 1/4″ seam.

Before you can fix something you have to know where the problem lies.  That starts with your machine and a ruler.  Use a ruler with clear markings and your 1/4″ foot.  Lower your needle into the down position and measure the distance between the edge of your 1/4″ foot and the needle.  It should be exactly 1/4″.  My machine is not.  When I turn on my machine the needle position is in the center at 3.5.

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The distance on my machine is more than 1/4″.  My 1/4″ foot allows me to reposition my needle somewhat.  I found that moving my needle position to 4.5 will give me a 1/4″ seam.

But that isn’t enough.  Now it is time to check the measurement in practice.

Start with three 2 1/2″ squares.

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Sew them together using your newly found (or confirmed) 1/4″ seam.  After pressing well you should have an exact measurement of 6 1/2″.

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As I said, it only takes being off by a couple of threads to make a huge difference.  Below is a picture of the squares sewn together before making the needle position adjustment.  See the difference?  That is about 1/8″!  Two more seams and it would be off an entire 1/4″.

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Not all machines or 1/4″ feet allow you to move your needle to make the adjustment.  If that is the case, there is always the old standby of placing a piece of painters’ tape on the bed of your machine.  But most importantly, however you make the adjustment double check it with the 3 square method.

On another note…..I’ve seen some blocks end up too small because of a sad pressing job.  If your seam isn’t fully extended when it is pressed that will also make a difference.  You can see in the photos below that this seam has a small fold over the seam.  Not only does that affect the size of your blocks it also creates extra bulk, which can lead to problems when you do your quilting.

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I’d like to challenge you to check your seam allowance using the 3 square method–you might be surprised!