My Instagram feed is almost entirely filled with quilters, which I love, so I see a lot of invitations to quilt-alongs. I usually don’t pick up on those, but when I saw this one I was drawn in immediately. I love the geometry of the quilt pattern, I loved that the quilt-along was only 8 weeks and included a catch-up week, and I saw an opportunity to work on my piecing — specifically, accurate 1/4″ seams.
So I quilted along, and by March 20 I had completed (on time!) a throw-size Interwoven quilt using 11 beautiful Kona blues and a background of Kona Snow. Of course, the road wasn’t entirely free of bumps!
The first bump came along almost at once, but I didn’t find it until later. When I cut the strips, I used two different rulers. I used a shorter one for the colors, because those were cut from shorter lengths of fabric that were easier to fold. The Snow background was one very very long piece, so I folded it only in half and needed a longer ruler to reach from edge to edge. Turns out the measurements on the two rulers were not quite the same, so all my white strips were a tiny tiny bit thinner than all my color strips. Oops. Not that I was to know that… yet.
Our first task after cutting the strips was to test the accuracy of our 1/4″ seam. Ta da! It took a few tries and adjustments, but I got a lovely 1/4″ seam that came out right every time. I used the leftover scraps of blue strips to test. This was my second bump — if I’d used the white strips too, I might have noticed the sizing problem. But I didn’t, so I happily marked my machine with washi tape and felt confident in my 1/4″ seam.
Enthusiastically, I sewed my first strip set, secure in the knowledge that I’d worked out the 1/4″ seam. Imagine my distress (that’s a polite word for all the cussing) when I measured it at the end and found it was 3/4″ too short. You can’t fudge that much error. You can fake it if it’s 1/8″ short, but not at 3/4″. And I’d used all my sea glass fabric, so I either had to order more and wait for it to arrive, or unpick my strip set and try again.
Tears, cussing, and lots of cups of tea got me through it. I was so frustrated — I couldn’t figure out why the size was so far off when my seams were so accurate! Finally, I thought to measure the strips, and that’s when I discovered the Snow ones were a tiny bit too skinny. A tiny bit that adds up when you’re joining five of them together. Argh.
Luckily, I was able to fudge once I knew what the problem was, and I didn’t have to recut them all. But I have retired that ruler from use as anything but a straightedge.
One of the blocks in this quilt requires precise matching to make 90-degree angles and I was very nervous about it. But from the very first block they came out great — I was so pleased! Color by color, week by week, I kept up with the quilt-along.
When all the blocks were done, I carefully sewed them together in rows. The way this quilt is constructed, you sew the top together and then cut off the excess triangles of fabric to turn the final shape into a rectangle. I was really nervous about that since it would expose a lot of seams and bias edges.
I decided to sew a “victory lap” — stay-stitching around the edge of the quilt top, very close to the outside edge where it will be hidden under the binding — so that the top wouldn’t unravel when I trimmed it. I did the stay-stitching before cutting the excess off. I marked a line all round the edge where I would cut, and then carefully sewed 1/8″ on the inside of the line.
After that, I just trimmed off the excess and the top was done. It’s now in my “to-quilt” queue behind two others. I’m still debating whether to use an allover swirly pattern or quilt it with straight lines… we’ll see!