Sunday, November 20, 2011

Four tips from piecing the Storm at Sea quilt

The queen-sized Storm at Sea quilt is progressing thanks to some hours I've been able to put in over the weekend. I hit another bump in the road, though, and I want to share my mistakes to hopefully save you from repeating them on your projects.

1. Get a 1/4" sewing machine foot pronto.

I waited to get a 1/4" foot until after I started piecing this quilt. I figured I would just move my needle position to create the 1/4" seam. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my machine was resetting the needle position every time I turned it off. I was too far into this quilt by the time I realized it, so this mammajamma has 3/8" seams. You lose fabric this way, and it adds up fast.

2. Follow the instructions if the pattern tells you to press seam allowances to one side or the other.

I mindlessly started pressing seam allowances to the darker fabric on my sashing blocks. Fail. The blocks didn't come together right. Luckily I made a test block first and realized my mistake. I only had to rip out a few seams, but I still had to repress about 180 seams.

3. Cut extra pieces to allow for big mistakes down the line.

Because of the 3/8" seam allowance and my preference for longer drops on bed quilts, I'm going to have to add extra rows of blocks to this quilt.

4. At first, assemble only the blocks you know you'll need.

I take an assembly line approach to piecing blocks. This can be a problem if you stop paying attention and make the same mistake 70 times. (See point 2.)


With my sashing blocks, there's a long diamond shape and four right right triangles attached to make the block a rectangle. Two of the pieces are attached in the same orientation and the other two pieces are just reversed. I had extra diamond shapes and mindlessly attached two right triangles to all of the diamonds I had. By the time I started attaching the second two triangles to all of the diamonds, I was low on triangles. If I had kept count of blocks I was completing, I would have set the extra diamonds aside. As it is now, I got some more Kona white, and it's back to the cutting table.

I hope your projects are progressing with fewer snafus!

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips Claire..
    I'm about to start a Storm as Sea, I was concerned about those reversed triangles. I'm the queen of Automatic Pilot..consequently i'm also the queen if the Unpick!
    You've reminded me to remember to actually ~Pay Attention~ ;)

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  2. They're always worth the snafus, though, lol.

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  3. I made a Storm At Sea quilt for my daughter. It was the third quilt that I had ever made, and I didn't realize how challenging it would prove to be. You will have such a feeling of accomplishment when you finish it, and, if you're like me, then you will never ever want to make another one! I've made many quilts since then, but, to this day, I avoid quilt patterns that have squares in squares because they were so challenging with that quilt.

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