Writing this blog has me looking back at the process of making my quilts. I have a bit of perfectionism in me ;) and I find I struggle with this a lot when it comes to inaccuracies - in sewing and matching up seams, picking material, FMQ and the look of the final product. The pattern for this quilt is called Falling Charms. The quilt was made from an Island Batiks charm pack and Kona Solids Leaf Green Jelly Roll. The border and binding were purchased from an LQS. For the first time, I used wool batting. More on that later. The tutorial was another of Jenny Doan's and can be found here. I use this quilt to snuggle under every morning :) Here it is (just took these pictures so it is washed and well used):
With this quilt, I found I was having major issues with cutting accuracy. I could not for the life of me figure out what the problem could be. I thought I was being very careful with my measurements and cutting. Why was everything so off??? I ended up squaring up every square prior to sewing the quilt together and continued to be completely baffled as to how those blocks ended up so wonky! With time, a little more experience and A LOT of reading, this is what I discovered:
1) There is a HUGE difference between ironing and pressing! I know, some of you are saying duh! But as a new quilter, I had no idea and I had read and watched some tuts on ironing and thought the entire time - "Really? How much difference can that make?" As I have said before, my theory is all rules are meant to be broken and I thought this was a good one to test :) Not so much! Here is a good tutorial from Nancy's Notions on pressing. I admit it, I press my seams open. It works for me and it has increased my accuracy significantly. I do press to the side when pressing curved piecing but other than that, my seams are pressed open. Again, this is personal preference and I read once that wars were started over less than the controversy in the quilting world over the pressing of seams... I believe it! Again, as a rule breaker, do what works for you :)
2) A FLAT cutting surface is essential - I was using my sewing cabinet which has a large area to the left. There is an extension that can be put over the top drawer when it is open. I had my cutting mat on this extended portion of table and it extended over where the extension and the table met. There was a bit of a slant at that connection and it was throwing off my cutting accuracy! Even a very slight variation in your cutting surface will make a difference!
3) Rulers make a difference. I was using a 'Quilters Ruler' that had raised black ridges on the side that was on the fabric. I had also bought a Creative Grids ruler and was using both of them when I was cutting. Alas, there is also a good reason there are many, many posts, hints, tuts out there that advise using the same brand of ruler! It doesn't matter what brand you use, just use the same brand for all of your go to rulers.
OK so now for the embracing the 'mistakes' part of this post. After the blocks were sewn together, I watched the video again (OK, so I had watched the video over and over again as I was making the quilt to see various details as I was working through the project.... good thing those videos don't have a watch limit!) and realized - my quilt doesn't look like Jenny's quilt!! GASP haha I looked at the video again, looked at my quilt, looked at the layout section of the video, looked at my quilt... I think you are getting the picture. I couldn't figure out what I did 'wrong.' So I went to the forum at Missouri Star Quilt Co's web site, posted a picture of the top and asked the question - what did I do 'wrong?' The answer to that question in the end is NOTHING! I think it looks great the way it is :) What I found out was that I laid the blocks out in a different configuration. What I ended up with is what I call "Double Falling Charms" haha Embrace those 'mistakes' that really are not going to make a difference in whether a quilt will function as a quilt. I still struggle with this, but I'm getting better.
Wool batting - LOVE it! If you like a bit of loft to your quilts but don't want to use polyester batting, this is the perfect alternative! I have only made a couple of quilts since this one that did not have wool batting. I love it that much! It is a dream to FMQ on, it is a little loftier (which I prefer) and I think it makes for a softer quilt.
As always, comments and questions are encouraged and appreciated!
In my next post, I will talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of working with Minky.... Until next time, keep on quilting!!