Thursday, June 7, 2012

That Pesky 1/4" Seam

The one thing that is stressed consistently in the quilting community is the 1/4" seam allowance.  Not only that, but a "scant 1/4".  Many books, patterns and teachers mention it, but don't always explain what it entails.  While there are quite a few patterns/techniques that don't require accuracy, there are many more that require more precise piecing in order to have the pieces fit together like puzzle pieces.  Yes, you can "fudge" small errors, but small errors evolve into really big errors as the number and size of the blocks increase in the quilt. 

The reason for the "scant" 1/4" is to allow for the thickness of the fabric and the thickness of the thread when you press that seam open.  The June Newsletter from Superior Threads has a wonderful explanation of how thread is made, the different types of thread and how thread choices impact your project.  The newsletters are archived and it is worth the time to read some of them for tips and good information.

So, here is an easy way to find your 1/4" seam for your machine.  Cut three 6"x 1 1/2" strips of fabric.  Sew them together lengthwise and press the strip set open.  Measure the middle strip (on the right side).  It should measure 1".  If it is too small, take a bit narrower seam and if it is too wide, take a wider seam allowance.  Remember that your 1/4" foot may measure an exact 1/4", but it doesn't take into account the fabric or thread that you are using.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Quilt Fest Registration

On-line registration began last evening at 6:00 pm and was very easy to complete!  Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this happen!  I've added a countdown gadget to the sidebar....109 days seems like a long time to wait, doesn't it?  Not really, since time seems to fly once summer arrives.  It does give you time to make a quilt for the show!  We have plenty of space to hang lots of wonderful quilts this year, so let's make it our biggest show ever.

Too many quilters say that their quilt isn't good enough to enter into a competition or they are beginners, or they are afraid to have it judged, or......Most of us have said something similar, right?  Here's a question for you.  Do you take your quilts to guild meetings for "show & tell?  If you answered "yes", that means that you've already shown your quilts and in theory had them judged by all of your friends.  It's very scary to have real judges critique your work, especially the first time.  Most judges will give you very positive feedback as well as let you know which areas may need improvement.  Their comments are not meant as a criticism for your work, but more as a tool to help you improve your skill as a quilter.