Thursday, November 05, 2009

Choosing The Path Of Least Resistance

No. This isn't a physics or electricity post. You won't fail.

I had a friend ask about how I chose to piece my Dahlia quilt and why I didn't just go around in a circle or add the center part as I was going along.

It's easy. Choose the path of least resistance.

When doing a pattern that you've designed, take the time to figure out the best way to piece it. If it's a purchased pattern, read through the directions thoroughly. It's one of the few times I actually read directions.

When I went over the taped outline drawing to find the easiest way to do this quilt I realized that it was full of inset seams:

From Quilted with Love
Every "X" is an insest seam. If you take a look where each line meets, it's an inset seam. To go around in a circle by fabric color would take forever and the seams would drive me crazy. I know that because I just now picked out my background color and have to do this 16 times around the edge.

No wonder people don't do this quilt. It's mindnumbing to think about all those seams. And I couldn't find a book.

So I thought about it some more and realized that I could do it this way:

From Quilted with Love
If I pieced them in a row, like it's circled above, it eliminated all the inset seams and then I could easily do 16 rows, match the seams and sew them up.

I also knew I needed templates. When I printed out the templates, I realized the lines were too thick and they wouldn't line up right. It was easier to trace the entire above circled selection, cut them out individually and number them. Thank you Sally Collins for your wonderful DVD on precision piecing or I'd never have figured out the template part. I used double stick tape on the back of each template so they wouldn't slide.

Sally Collins is a piecing genius and her DVD is worth every penny.

The center part:

If I had added the center piece with the each row (a), I'd be stuck with all these loose ends. And have problems going down the seams (b and arrow) with inset seams and meeting in the center.

* I also hadn't figured out my center fabric color.

From Quilted with Love

I also remembered that you can't just sew to the center piece by piece all the way around as it's a spiral. Remember the spiral staircases and that they wind up in a circle all the way to the top? The same thing happens. You have to do sew those pieces in two half sections and meet in the center.

***A lot of this information has been learned by trial and mostly error. Trying different kinds of quilts is a great way to learn. I have a huge stash of books and I pester a lot of authors via email when I have questions. So many of these ladies LOVE to help and no one has told me to go away.

QuiltUniversity has been a valuable resource and I have two 2-inch binders full of classes over the past 3-4 years.

Please don't think I suddenly just figure things out. You all are a wealth of knowledge too. Sometimes I think "DUH" *hand pressed to forehead* why didn't I think of that? when I read someone's post.


Jen said...

Great post Bethany!! I had wondered how you went about it!!

Anita - aka Granny Patches said...

Thanks Bethany for explaining the reason you pieced it this way. I can always use more piecing information. I store it for future reference.

Seeing your Dahlia quilt has me wishing one of my own. I put a note into my "future projects" file. Right now I'm having too much fun doing other things.