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The Making of a Special Quilt, Part Two

Piecing a quilt top is a process that I really enjoy but don’t spend a great deal of time doing these days. Since we purchased the long arm quilting machine six years ago the majority of my sewing has been on it. So when I have the opportunity to sew on my domestic machine I jump at the chance. I also enjoy the challenge of navigating through a new pattern. And the Interwoven pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery that I am making for Lindsay and Dustin provided several challenges!

The first challenge was to ensure that my 1/4” seam was accurate as this quilt is made up entirely of 1 1/2” strips. Since some of the blocks have 10 strips sewn together a slight variation can have a big effect. After spending some time experimenting with that seam I was confident that it was accurate. I then followed the pattern directions and stitched five blue strips alternating with five white strips. I did this twice so that after cutting 10 1/2” squares from those strip sets I had six B1 blocks. Then I discovered that my blocks actually measured 10” x 10 1/2” - they were all 1/2” short. Really? How could that be? I then got to spend some quality time with my seam ripper and I unstitched everything I had just done - all six blocks!

When I began to sew the strips back together I did them one at a time and measured the seam after each one. It wasn’t long before I was truly confident in my 1/4” seam - I know I said that the first time! - and I could just sew. I then altered the pattern’s instructions and cut each long strip set into the lengths needed for each block. Then I could chain-piece the sections which was a lot more interesting than just sewing long strips one after the other and then seeing them together. I also learned that it worked best to cut the strips a little longer and square the block when it was completely constructed. And I had plenty of fabric to make that work.

The challenge with block B2 was to make sure that there was a white strip on the left side of the vertical strip set. I had already done five of them the wrong way before I noticed that was important. Oops! Just another chance to bond with my seam ripper!

Block B3 proved to be the most challenging one of the four. I had to completely redo several of them before I figured out how to do them. To add to my frustration was the fact that I needed to make two of block B1 in order to make one block B3. That’s a lot of stitching! So every time I cut it wrong I had to make two more blocks instead of just one. I finally figured out that I should cut one of the blocks diagonally and then match the stripes and pin them so that the chevrons would line up when I pressed the block open.

Block B4 was fairly simple - I was ready for that by this time! - especially when I determined that I could use a portion of the discarded section of B3 in this block. Less waste and less piecing - a win-win!

Once all of the blocks were complete I needed to lay out the entire quilt so that I could prepare the rows that I would stitch together. The challenge with this step was that I needed an area about 120” x 120” and I do not have that at our house. Fortunately my parents do so we headed to Omaha to lay out the quilt. It was fun to see the colors and pattern. Now I wonder what challenges will arise when I am seeing it all together. Stay tuned!!

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