Sunday, April 29, 2012

When Good Blocks Go Bad

Thank Goodness There Are Do-Overs in Quilting!

I got behind on the Farmer's Wife blocks while I spent time on other projects.  When I got back to it,  I had six blocks to cut and sew.  No worry, plenty of time, just whip those puppies out.  Um, you can see where this is going to go, can't you?  The good news is that I'm building quite the collection of orphan blocks!

Three Blocks Were Keepers

Although Birds in the Air is one of the few blocks in the quilt-along that is also in the Farmer's Wife book, I chose a modern background fabric.  It has a marble look with rust and blue.  The blue fabric is actually a bit darker that it appears in the photo. 

Birds in the Air

I love the colors in this Sawtooth Star block.  The green is one I picked up at the quilt show a few weeks ago.

This block is called Hooker's Hat Patch (from Carol Hopkins' "Civil War Legacies).  The background fabric is muslin, which gives it a nice traditional look -- although it could use another pressing.  Later.  Sometimes I think I spend more time at the ironing board than at the sewing machine.  In fact, I know it!

Measure Twice, Then Measure Again

This Dutchman's Puzzle looked like a snap.  But I apparently measured something wrong.  There was little or no seam allowance on the sides of the flying geese.  I decided to sew them together anyway.  Maybe I'll put a pink border around it and call it a doll quilt.
Dutchman's Puzzle (sort of)
I started from scratch with a much better outcome.  See all those cute little seam allowances on the outside edges? 

Dutchman's Puzzle, Take Two

Trust me, this is squarer (?) than it looks in the picture.  This is the block before it was squared up, underneath the 6-1/2" ruler.  Not bad.

(Now that I look at these photos, they all seem to narrow on the right side.  Maybe I need a tripod!)

This one was one of the Bonus Blocks, unnamed (I'll look it up when I get a chance).   It was easy to sew, really came out nicely.  As well it should have -- this was the 4th one that I made!  I think I'll make a bunch more -- I've gotten pretty good at it!

The first time I made the block, it was absolutely PERFECT.  Well, except for the fact that it was about 1-1/2" too small!  I figured I'd measured wrong (again), but I didn't want to re-do this one.  So I put a little border around it.  But it was STILL too small!  Ack!  Time for a do-over.

Mini-me with border

 The second time, the units were looking good, but still too small.  I decided to try one more time and didn't bother to finish the stitching on this one.

 The third time, I figured that there had to be an easier way than cutting all the individual little triangles.  Why not sew them as half-square triangles, cut them, and resew?  Well, because then you don't get identical units, idiot!  This was was too small AND didn't fit together correctly.

After all this, I went back to the Barrister's Block, read the comments (posted after I'd copied the instructions) and discovered that there was an error in the original measurements.  No kidding! 

The Milky Way block is straightforward to sew, although the little squares don't leave much room for wobbly seams.  This was -- yes, you guessed it! -- not the first version.
Milky Way, from "Sylvia's Bridal Sampler"
The first one (below) was spoiled by a poor choice of fabric.  I tried using the fabric from an old, high-thread-count pillowcase, but it had no body to it; it slipped and was generally uncooperative.  It just didn't feed through the machine the same way as the quilting cotton.  It finally started to scorch, so I reckoned it was toast.


The next post in the Sow-Along is coming in just three days.  Meanwhile, I'll swap out the 1/4" quilting foot for the darning foot, lower the feed dogs and get back the free-motion quilting.  Wish me luck!

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