Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Setting up my assembly line

Every quilter has their own ways of doing things that makes the quilting process most efficient for them.  What may work for you may not work for me and 
vice versa.  But it's always nice to see how others do things so we can tweak our methods if needed.  So here's my system for this quilt, maybe you can find an idea or two that would work for you.  And even better you might have some advice to make my system better.  
Before cutting fabric for this quilt the first decision was should I strip piece or piece by piece.  Since most of my scraps are to small for strip piecing the decision was obvious ...the dreaded piece by piece.  However with a pattern this simple it really is going along quickly.  One block took 5 minutes to piece.  Putting each individual piece on the wall took FOREVER.  Making sure two of the same prints or color didn't touch or get to close to one another.  Cutting extra print pieces was very helpful with this process,  I could just grab a spare square and replace it.

The next decision was can I piece more than one block at a time.  For me that's a big ole fat NO.  Again the simple block is too simple and it would be to easy for my easily distracted brain to mix things up and then let the ripping begin.  

So my plan is to remove 4 blocks(one row) at a time from the design wall, immediately putting each block on it's own design board that has been label 1,2,3,or 4 with my little homemade number pins.  To keep the direction of the block correct  while piecing I put another pin sticking up in the top row of each block.  You can see it in the picture above.  This is very helpful once I start pressing.  It's also nice if those pins have glass heads so the iron doesn't melt them.  Well worth the extra money.  After years of melting pin heads I decided it was cheaper to buy the glass head.  Now I know what your thinking...why not just put the numbered pin directly in the block.   Pressing would melt my flower head pin.  

The boards are stacked by the sewing machine and ready to go.  My tiny block pressing table is on the other side of the sewing machine, you can see it in the first picture on this post. It's a sewing assembly line!

Even though I'm piecing using the Eleanor Burns no pin method, I want perfect matches every time so I'm pinning anyway. This no pin method also keeps my blocks in the correct layout .  Here's a tutorial I made for the no pin method.

If you're following along on my Podunk Posy quilt and want to make one of your own, this center section has (288) 2.5" scrappy print squares and (288) 2.5" white squares.  16 blocks total on a 4x4 grid.  You can start cutting in advance! I'll post a quicky tutorial for these blocks and middle section as soon as I get them all pieced.  

See you soon!

~ Lea Anne ~

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  1. I'm following your project closely. I love all your bright colours. And I'm waiting for the butterflies. They've started to fly outside now. I'm collecting, photograping and registrating them, you see.

  2. I like to pin, too, even when nesting seams, especially the seams that face towards the machine foot on the bottom. Those'll flip almost every time, making it impossible to flatten the seams of a four-patch. (I love collapsing the seams!). I think anything you can do to head off reverse sewing is a win! Those boards that hold your blocks to sew - are they just for piecing the block or can you press on them, too? Just curious about how versatile they may be!

    1. No I can't press on the boards. I made mine from cardboard and fusible batting. I suppose a person could make them more versatile. I like for them to be thin, taking up less storage space. I've small 12 x 12 pressing board I made from wood, batting and a fat quarter. My iron and the small board fit nicely on a tv tray.

  3. Sometimes pins are just necessary. Your quilt is coming along nicely!

  4. No matter how hard I try i always seem to get one row in backwards! Looks great to me and perfect points!


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