Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Moment Of Truth

In every quilt there's a moment of truth.  The truth of how well their peiced.  Sometimes it's when we add the next piece to the block....oh that tricky quarter inch can cause some hair pulling moments.  And then there's the truth when adding borders.  And I think the one that is the most disappointing is when it's all done and being loaded to a longarmers quilt frame only to find out our quilt is a longarmers nightmare.  As a long time quilter I've had all of the above happen.  But with each one a lesson was learned...  ACCURACY at all times.

With the Lone Star the truth isn't when it's on the wall but when you lay it on the floor.  Holding my breath I toss it on the floor....Perfection!  No mushrooming center! Yeah she's laying flat!   I can breath now and add the borders.

So I thought today I'd share my process for accuracy when piecing a Lone Star.  It may seam like a lot of work but really it's not.  Remember I just started this quilt a few days ago, and one day was spent in the garden and one day shopping with mom.  
I can't stress enough that before cutting your fabric 
STARCH YOUR YARDAGE...STARCH THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF IT.  Mine is so stiff it feels like paper.   
When cutting your strips make sure to line up the fabric at the top and bottom with the horizontal lines  on your cutting mat.  Don't worry about the far corners(red arrow) they never line up, and they are scrap anyway.  After every second strip cut, you need to make an accuracy cut.

To make an accuracy cut just line up the 45 degree lines on your ruler to the lines on the cutting mat, don't forget to check your fabric at the top and bottom to make sure it's still lined up with the horizontal lines on the mat.

Here's what I cut off.  Quite a bit of difference from the top to the bottom.  This would make a big difference in the quilt.

Now that my strip set is trimmed I can cut another strip, careful not to shift the fabric.  

After making the cut I move my ruler over on top of the remaining strip set to keep it from shifting, then I pick up the cut piece.

With any ruler that has a quarter inch line I mark the seams with a small mark a quarter inch in.  I like using a smaller ruler because with the larger one I was trying to line up all the seams at once and stretching the fabric.   Notice the quarter inch line on the ruler is setting outside the fabric.  The red dot's and lines show where to place your marks.  Some quilters will make these marks on the back side of the strips.  I get more accuracy by making them on the front.  They never show  because I sew over them.  If I can see them it means my quarter inch stitching was wrong.

With right sides together I put a pin in the marks.

That pin will keep my marks together as I slide another pin in at an angle.  Now I can remove the first pin.   This step may seem silly but it's very important.  If I were to just pull the first pin down and pin it, the fabric would shift about a 16th of an inch or more.

For the corners put a pin through the middle of the crossed lines.  Sometimes this takes more than one try to get it right, it could be my old eyes!

Again the first pin is just there to hold my seam markings accurately.  The second pin is slid in at an angle as close to the first pin as I can get.  

One last tip
  PRESS ONLY with a light hand.  
The more you handle these pieces the wonkier they will get.  I don't even smooth them on the design wall, I press them in place.  
Hope this has been helpful without being overwhelming.  It may seem like a lot of work but it's worth every extra pin!

~ Lea Anne ~

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  1. Great tips! It's definitely worth the time to be accurate as you go along; something I'm still learning! Your finished top seems to 'pulse' with energy. I look forward to seeing it finished!

  2. how big is your star? daughter wants one and i am going to try to make her one on my other blog and i want it big.

  3. Gorgeous. Thanks for the tutorial. Someday I will get brave and jump into doing one.

  4. Yay for a flat star!!! It is beautiful!

  5. I was drawn to comment on this post because I absolutely love the way this quilt top shines from the center. It feels like it is glowing in the middle around the red star. So beautiful.

  6. Oh my, another quilt for my must-do list! I love your quilt!

  7. I think that pressing must have been my downfall with my lonestar with the erupting center! I love all your tips...wish I had them earlier. I'm in love with your Lone Star! It's gorgeous (as usual with your work)! Maybe someday I'll try another star...maybe. How are the chickens? Have they given you fresh eggs? Give a chicken update. XO

  8. Great hints. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. Yours turned out perfectly!

  9. I hope to make one someday and have heard heavy starch is the answer. I use starch for all of my piecing and it has really helped with my accuracy. Thanks for sharing your experience. Your Lone Star looks prefect!

  10. Bravo! You are a perfectionist my friend. Thanks for the tips. Excellent precision points can be used for any block.

  11. Thanks for the great tips. It's nice to get a reminder of how important it is to be accurate from beginning to end. Beautiful quilt!

  12. These are great tips! Your quilt top is lovely!

  13. Great tips! Your color choices are wonderful and when I look to the center of the Lone Star, it almost seems to be moving.

  14. Those are great tips. I'm big about using pins to hold the pieces together, especially on paper piecing to match seams and to make sure they line up right, but never thought to use the first to hold in place then pin close with one to join them. That should help a ton! And your quilt is gorgeous. Looks perfect!

  15. This is stunning ... thanks for sharing all your tips on accuracy.

  16. Hi, Lea Anne,
    Will you please contact me? I'm the acquisitions editor for Quilters Newsletter, McCall's Quilting, Quiltmaker and Quick Quilts.
    Lori Baker


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