I hope you have been well. I am happy to back again to visit with you and chat about the joy of needle and thread. Before I really get into sharing about what works for me in piecing quilt blocks, I want to share with pictures of my daughter’s current stitching project. Gwen is stitching the Beatitudes by Little House Needleworks, and absolutely loves improvising on the design and adding her own touches (like stitching the climbing rose).
In case you missed it, Gwen is an Aurikid, who curates her own thread collections for Aurifil. She has guest-posted on Aurifil’s blog HERE.
I also want to thank you for purchasing my patterns! Please know that I am making the quilts right along with you. So today, I am back with a couple of behind-the-scenes tips that have worked well for me when I am piecing quilt blocks. I am zeroing in on the Parcels in the Post blocks today.
You may purchase the pattern HERE.
My 2 cents #1: I never ever cut all the pieces I need for the blocks that go into my quilts! I actually prefer to cut as I go because:
- I always risk cutting errors in a monumental way if I cut all the pieces at once.
- I never sew more than 10-15 minutes at my machine. I like to get up from my machine and cut more fabrics for the subsequent blocks or pressing the blocks I am working on. I think it’s just a little healthier that way in that I am not stuck to my chair at a long period of time.
- Another reason is that — since I am home by myself during the day, sometimes when I get up, I will take a slight break to clean one thing around the house before I go back to sewing. That way, I can sew and clean at the same time.
My 2 cents #2: I ALWAYS make a test block based on the instructions where I check the size of block is what it is supposed to be.
My 2 cents #3: Then, I start my batch cutting, based on how to break down the quilt block I am working on, as well as how many blocks certain fabrics appear in the quilt. So, I cut, and then I sew up the units. I repeat until all the necessary units are constructed, then, I work on putting the blocks together.
To illustrate, let me use a Parcel in the Post block —
Strategy #1: If you are going by the fabric requirements in the pattern, you will see that (1) Fat Quarter is used to construct (2) blocks. There are (35) blocks total in the quilt. So, we need a total of (18) Fat Quarters, with (17) Fat Quarters making a total of (34) blocks. The remaining (1) Fat Quarter will be used to make (1) block.
S0 — right away, that lone Fat Quarter is one I will use to make that test block. I cut all the necessary pieces for just one block. If things work out correctly, I know I already have one block done.
NEXT — I will just tackle (2) blocks at a time using (1) Fat Quarter and the necessary background fabric.
Strategy #2. Now that we have the general strategy, let’s get down to the details.
Step 1. I would first cut the pieces for the following unit enough for two blocks. Then, I sit down and make the units.
Then, I get up to press, trim, and cut more fabrics for the subsequent step.
Step 2. So with the units made in Step 1 and more cut pieces, I will make these units. At this point, I would make sure I have the orientation correct for all the pieces. Since mirror-imaged units are involved in the Parcel in the Post blocks, it’s a good idea to keep the units separate. The Clover Wonder Clips are what I love to use to keep my pieces organized!
So I make these units. I get up and press and cut the pieces that go in the next step.
Step 3. Things should be pretty smooth-sailing when I get to this point.
I sew the pieces together, and then proceed to add the sashing pieces to complete the block.
Then, it’s rinse and repeat type of operation. I would usually keep making (2) blocks at a time for a few more times. Once I am familiar with the measurements etc, then, I would make (4) to (6) blocks at a time — which at that point, things will go fast! And soon, I will have all the blocks I need for the quilt top!
I hope that sharing this might be helpful to some of you. I find that piecemeal block construction works best for me because it helps me avoid mistakes. Let me know if you would like to see how I break down the construction of the blocks in my other for-sale quilt patterns.
I do want to emphasize that my way is NOT the only way. I always encourage quilters to do what works best for them. Feel free to share your piecing tips and tricks in the comment section.
Since my last post, I also added a new pattern for sale in my Etsy shop: Maisons de Patchwork. I will be sharing progress pictures of that quilt soon. If you know me, you know I adore house quilts, and aspire to make as many house quilts I can! Next post, I will be sharing all the house quilts I have ever made!
Click HERE to purchase Maison de Patchwork pattern.
That’s all for now, Friends! Till next time, Happy Quilting!
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My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring
Thank you to all who have supported my little shop and contributing to my daughter’s college fund. Remember, threads always ship free!