Question for quilting Dopers

I just finished blocks for a block-of-the-month sampler quilt – two quilts, actually. (Man, am I sick of sampler blocks.)

I changed presser feet and sewing machines during the past year, which has nothing to do with anything except that it’s my excuse for the blocks not finishing the same size. Most of them are 12-1/2 inches, which is the right size, but a couple are 12-1/4 and a couple are just 12. !!

I don’t want to remake any of the blocks – I can’t get the same fabric (and it’s weird fabric – nothing in my stash has the same color or value), and I don’t want to cut any of them down to 12.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? I’m going to finish the top with sashing and sashing squares, but if the blocks aren’t all the same size, will that even work?

Yeah, you can make it work. Just make the seam allowance on the 12" blocks very, very small, the 12.25" small, and the 12.5 what you normally would do. Or, you can frame each block first, before sashing.

I can’t explain why it happened, other than not religiously using a 1/4" seam allowance. I never do, so my quilts aren’t ever 100% square.

:smack: Why couldn’t I think of that? It looks like I’m an expert at varying seam allowances anyway! Thank you. :slight_smile:

That’s my biggest bugaboo – consistent seam allowance. I’ve tried a couple of things – a special presser foot (which won’t fit on my new machine), better lighting around the machine, even marking the fabric.

I also have that problem when quilting. Not all my squares are exactly the same size. If Ginger’s idea doesn’t work for you, you could take the squares that are a bit off, and put them on point, and place them in the 4 corners of the quilt (as part of the border, or a frame.)

Just a thought.

That’s another good idea. I’ve never done a quilt that was only partially on point. Interesting. Thanks!

I’ll check my books and magazines and see if I can find one done that way. I have a hard time with spatial relationships. That’s one of the reasons I never move furniture – I can’t see how it’ll work until it’s been moved.

After re-reading my suggestion I had to laugh, at myself. I am SO anal, that I couldn’t even THINK of doing that with a quilt!!! If the main quilt is sewn not on point, NO WAY IN HECK could I put the BORDER on point!! Maybe, in my old age, I am changing!!

Actually, it’s not a bad idea. I thought about it for awhile and realized that I have done one like you suggested – I just didn’t realize that that’s what I was doing. Photo here. The blocks in this one are smaller than the sampler, but I think it might work.

Oooh, pretty! I’m lucky if half my blocks are one size and half another, and I’m careful about my seam allowances! If you can’t trim down the worst offenders without losing points, then sashing strips around each block is the best way to go. Slight variations on the widths of the sashing strips will be less noticeable, and then each block will be a standard size. I’ve seen quilts with skinny sashing strips that frame just a few blocks as if it were planned that way.

AuntiePam, that quilt is gorgeous!!

Thanks, PandaMom.

kittenblue, that’s what I’m doing. The sashing is three one-inch strips*, so I’ll have more opportunity to fudge on seams. I think it’ll be less noticeable than if the sashing was one strip.

I’ll skip sashing squares this time – trying to get those right would defeat me, I’m afraid.

*Solid deep red, a black print, the solid deep red again. It picks up colors from 11 of the blocks. The 12th block has purples and browns – guess that one will go on a corner. :slight_smile:

In order to keep your seam allowances consistent, don’t mark your fabric or use a guide. Place a strip of masking tape 1/4" (or whatever measurement you wish) from the needle.

If nothing else, you could make a smaller quilt than the pattern calls for, and use the odd sized blocks for pillows. That’s probably what I would do, but then, we love our afghans and throw blankets around here.

Thanks, Ginger. I’ve tried the masking tape tip too. I think it’s me. It could also be my cutting. And it happens mostly with blocks that have lots of pieces. If I’m off by 1/16th on a few pieces, those 1/16ths add up. One block had 80-some pieces.

Lynn, that’s a good idea too. I’ve done two rows with the triple sashing. I put the odd blocks in one row. (That might not have been the smartest way to do it, now that I think on it.) But it’s looking okay, so far.

I added two lamps in the sewing room, and I’m hoping the better light will help my cutting, so this won’t happen again. Too often. :slight_smile:

Nothing to add…

Only wanted to say that my mother started quilting about 6 months ago. I asked her what it was like and she suggested an easy table runner I could make. Well 7 hours and every cuss word known to man later I tore the POS in half and gave up.

I love quilts but don’t have anywhere near the patients and skills needed to make one. Godspeed to those of you that do.

Heh. I made several quilts before trying a table runner. There’s lots less room for fudging in something small like that.

The first quilt I made was a basic one-block quilt. Four-inch squares in shades of pink, blue, and white. It’s still my favorite quilt.

Don’t give up – if you think quilting is something you’d like to do, or if you just like to sew.

There ain’t no such thing as TOO MUCH light in a sewing room. I don’t know how our foremothers managed, unless they simply cut and sewed outside in bright sunlight.

I hope your quilt turns out well.

Thanks, Lynn. I’ll post a picture when it’s done. I’m thinking of doing a fancy border – maybe a row of stars or something, instead of plain old strips.

I have a quilt-as-you-go table runner pattern that I have been afraid to try. Now that my quilting obligations are done (I taught a BOM club at my local fabric store), I can sew for ME. Maybe I will tackle that beast!!

I’m thinking of tackling a beast too. The quilt shop’s next BOM is supposed to be more complicated. They’re offering a class for each month’s block.

I hope there won’t be curved pieces. Curves scare me. So does applique. Hell, I’m not that crazy about triangles. :slight_smile:

I have done curves. 700 of them!! I made a spinning spools quilt for my bed, and had 700 individual pieces that curved. AND… I hand pieced the top. And hand quilted the majority of it. Now that I DID it (it took 2 years to totally finish the 96x120 piece… I WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER hand quilt again. Did I say EVER yet??? I did it to say that I did. But the quality of the stitching was not strong, and pieces are already coming apart. Granted, I probably did it wrong, but still. I am a machine quilter at heart.