Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Project 1 - Sampler continued

So what do you do if you can't sleep?  Head to the sewing room of course.  There's something rather unreal, yet peaceful when sewing at 4am!

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



  1. Hi Lesley,
    I saw your thread on a Craft Forum and followed it to your blog... It's funny I have been looking at this same book in the bookshop I work for and have thought about buying it for much the same reasons you have stated... Now that I have seen someone else actually using it that whets my appetite all the more... I will watch this space with interest....

  2. Hi Sharon - Just do it! Really, it is so worthwhile. As a beginner, what I am hoping to achieve more than anything else is to start with good habits and avoid the quick 'n dirty style of bad habits (which is what I tend to lean towards). Carrie and Harriet really inspire, with this book to do it right or do it again. Besides all that, it's brilliant practice at piecing.

  3. I was so excited to start sewing this first project. Little did I realize that one MUST READ carefully the instructions. I wondered why I had so many triangles left. It appears I used the wrong triangles on the side panels. Rip and Tear is my next project. It is exactly one inch too short on both side. Thank you for posting your work. I really do appreciate it and in sharing my frustration.