Anyway, the very first sewing exercise in the book is learning to sew strip sets. These were made up into the centre of a sampler block
Here is the example, and my effort. The next exercise is learning to make 4 patch blocks, which will become the corner pieces of the sampler. Several quilt projects which follow have 4 or 9 patch blocks, so I need to learn this before continuing on.
The procedure is simple enough, with Harriet emphasising accuracy throughout. A nifty pressing technique is also shown, called Fanning the Seams. It involves twisting the centre seam so it lies flat, reducing bulk. A tiny 4 patch appears in the centre of the square if it's done correctly.
I had no trouble with this for the 4 square sets, but when I joined them up to 8 then 16 squares, I just couldn't get the fanning to work. Kinda frustrating.
Measuring after each seam is sewn (tedious but necessary) ensures the blocks are perfectly square. I had to do a tiny bit of trimming, which is better than having to do a big chunk of trimming, but not as good as not having to do any trimmng at all.
My seams have a tendancy to skew slightly right at the end when I'm sewing. I watch out for it, but sometimes miss, causing the seam to be a little off and in need of trimming, as you can see above.
So I end up with a 4 patch, made up of 16 squares, which will end up as the corner blocks on the sampler. The sampler will not be completed until Vol 2, so I'll pack this away and hope the insects don't find it (plenty of starch in the fabric to attract them).
The book closes this exercise with a paragraph from Harriet "our goal is to have you learn to slow down, take a breath and enjoy the process of piecing. This is not a race. You will save hours of time ripping and much frustration if you will take the time to learn accuracy from the very start."
No matter how far I get into quilting, or how complex my future projects will be, this will be the hardest lesson for me to learn. I'm not known for my patience. The paragraph above will need to become my new mantra - or to shorten it
"IT'S YOUR HOBBY, WHAT'S YOUR HURRY?"