Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help Me With My Piecing Skills

Behold, the power switch went on and there was light, and the Topaz sewed. And the I, the quilter, was pleased. Then I went to square the block, and the wrath of fury was unleashed.

I have not had my Topaz on for months. I've just stared at it, thought about trying to sew and walked past it. I've had no desire to use it. I've felt guilty. DH bought it for me and I figured he might think I was ungrateful but he's said not to worry about it. He knows I love it and that bipolar depression is the cause.

I'm surprised my rotary cutter didn't squeak when I started using it.

Directions for this quilt say 1 inch squares. I cut up a 1 inch strip of purple, cut it into squares. I do the same with the white fabric. I sew carefully, press, and...

From Quilted with Love
Oh yeah. That's a 2 inch perfect block. NOT. After 7 years, I still can't get perfect blocks. I don't care what size you give me, it ain't happening. I gave up a long time ago and just shove the blocks together and pretend they are perfect. I just MAKE them fit. Kinda like how I put my favorite jeans on.

Now granted, 1 inch squares are harder to work with and I know it. But I get really tired of this. The only way I can do this perfectly is pencil draw the lines on EACH piece. 15,000+ pieces, I don't think so. I really don't want this to be an A.D. project.

Please, if any of you can truly piece, HELP ME. I'm begging you. This was a test block to see how it came out, but I'll never finish this quilt if I can't get these blocks to work.

I'm using a Creative Grids ruler as the yellow outlines on the Omnigrid ones drive me insane.


Cindy said...

Instead of cutting individual 1 inch blocks why don't you cut 1 inch strips of fabric and sew three together, dark, white, dark and then cut the pieces apart so you'll have more to sew with than little tiny pieces, that's how I'd do it. Good luck.

Sewing Junkie said...

I hear you loud and strong. I can cut everything out and even sew it together in sections and they are fine, but the bigger the block gets the farther it is off. My problem is I look to the needle when I am sewing and not to the way the seam is feeding into the machine. The needle spot is maybe not at the correct distance for your 1/4 inch seam. Measure from the center of the hole and where it meets up on your foot. Sometimes that is the trouble. All machines do not have the same distance. Making sure you use the same ruler to cut out all pieces is another. 1 in. sq. on one ruler is different than another. Check them out and see. Also nerves of steel and slow down you maybe are moving to fast. Isn't that a song?? Practice Practice. Good Luck it can be frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with sewing junkie. You may also want to try measuring and trimming after each piece you add. to make a more accurate fit. I know it is tidious but will let you know where you are loosing fabric. Some quilters are perfect ironer and I can see why they work is amazing. I also know people do the one thread over by moving their needle. but this will require measuring everytime you add a piece. Hope this help.

Jennifer said...

I struggle with this too, and when I am doing little pieces like this, I prefer paper piecing to keep the precision. My best luck has been one of two things - using the quarter inch foot for my machine, or lining up a strip of tape/post its at the quarter inch line and keeping the fabric butted up against that. Good luck! I think this is the hardest thing in quilting!

Colleen said...

I don't have any different advice than what's already been given, and most of the time that advice doesn't work for me anyway. I struggle just like you to make them square. You are also not alone in your hatred of Omni Grids-Yuck. Just keep sewing away and know it will be perfect no matter what because it comes from the heart.

Pam said...

Remember your seam should be a scant quarter inch. Try a thread catcher piece of fabric to start and end your seam on. Pay attention to the seam width at the beginning and ending of the piece. I find that sometimes I don't guide the fabric through the presser foot evenly and the end of the seam will wobble and be too small.
I like to use a quarter inch foot with the guide/flange on it. I don't know if the Topaz has a 1/4 inch stitch like the Sapphire 870 does. I use that stitch on the 870 with the foot that is made especially to allow the needle to move to the correct spot.
Remember not all quarter inch feet/stitches are correct. Measure, measure, measure.
Since you are using small pieces, seam discrpancies are magnified.
Good luck.

West Michigan Quilter said...

I am so glad to see that others have the same problems I do. This drives me nuts and that's why I tend to stick to applique. I don't know if it is my cutting, or my sewing, but I can never gt a perfect block. I will keep checking back in the hopes someone will have the magic formula. Thanks for asking about this.

Gina said...

Check your quarter inch seam allowance on the sewing machine. You may need to move the needle.I've moved mine to a scant quarter inch. Also the seam allowance can be out because of the thickness of the thread you are using. Try pressing the seams open as this may help aswell.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Anonymous said...

I just bought a new machine and love its patchwork foot. It actually is accurate. I did the happy dance when I figure that out. Before that I quilted/pieced for years on a crappy old machine that I should have named my favorite swear word. So if the foot is not accurate cut a small rectangle of Dr Scholl's mole skin in front and to the side of your foot to line up your fabric.(This can leave sticky residue on the plate- I didn't care because I was desperate.) Tape doesn't guide the fabric as well. Find the scant 1/4 in by trying to sew 3 fabrics and measuring until the end result is accurate. Repeat with new fabric squares until you are happy on the placement of the moleskin. Someone also suggested to me to lower the weight of thread. (60 weight instead of 40 or 2 ply instead of 3 ply- I never tried this) It's suppose to reduce the 'bump' of the seam and thus fabric lost to the seam. Good luck. -Kristen