The Aiming for Accuracy quilt-along (QAL) was held in the Summer/early Fall of 2013. The lessons, blocks and detailed photo tutorials have been removed from this site and are now available for sale as a complete booklet.
Find out more about it here: Aiming for Accuracy Booklet.
Welcome everyone to Lesson 5 for the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along (A4AQAL). If you’re new here, check out the main QAL page where you’ll find all the information so that you can join us on this QAL adventure.
We have weekly prizes that everyone can enter. Each Saturday, there will be a blog post available on the Quilting Gallery site, where you will upload your completed photo for that week’s lesson. Check the main QAL page for the link. You’ll have until the following Friday evening to enter. For those that have completed Lesson 4, submit your photos here before midnight on Friday (tomorrow) (EDT).
Quilting Accuracy Lesson
For this week’s Quilting Accuracy lesson, I wanted to touch on a couple of things that I hear mentioned in the Facebook Group.
Trimming and/or Squaring Up Blocks
I am a strong believer of NOT trimming or squaring up pieced blocks. Trimming your blocks, especially this design with lots of HST, QST and SQST units, means that you’re taking away some of the seam allowance needed to attach those triangle units to the sashing and still maintain the integrity of the triangle points.
If you’ve cut your blocks accurately, sewn with an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance, pressed correctly without stretching, measured as you go, and aligned all seam intersections and all edges of your block/unit as you attach them together, you shouldn’t need to trim anything or square up your blocks.
Remember, fabric is flexible, it stretches and two pieces can be eased together by taking advantage of your sewing machine’s built in ability to ease fabrics together so that they are the correct length. Anything that’s less than 1/4″ off, can be hidden in the next seam allowance too.
Now before I have several people scream at me, yes there are some blocks that need to be squared up at the end, such as appliqué, paper pieced and other blocks deliberately sewn oversized, which are then trimmed to the cut size and pieced together.
Measuring Large Units
A question came up on Facebook Group last week, on how to measure your blocks/units or sashing strips if your ruler is too small. Well, it depends on what tools you have at your disposal.
While I don’t recommend using your cutting mat to accurately cut your fabric squares/strips, it can be used to quickly measure if a unit is the correct size. Remember, we can ease the pieces together once they are joined to the next unit. As long as it’s within that 1/8″ or a bit more over/under measurement, it’ll be fine. You could also use a tape measure too, and you probably will need to use one when measuring the borders.
Now a word of caution, tape measures can stretch, so before you rely on it to be “good enough” as a measuring tool, check it against your favourite quilting ruler. Same with your cutting mat, they can warp and become distorted over time. I have a fairly new one, and I tested it against my ruler, and it seemed to me to be great, except for the starting line, which is a little thicker than the others, so I have to adjust for that.
Another reliable way to check if your block is correct, is to measure the inside finished units. For the blocks we’ve done so far, I’ve given you the grid size and the block’s finished size. For example, today’s A2 block is based on a 4×4 grid and finishes at 12″. Therefore, if you take the 12 (finished size) and divide by 4 (grid size), the individual unit size is 3″. Two of them sewn together will be 6″.
Remember, we’re ONLY measuring finished units in this example, i.e. units that have all four seams already sewn. Don’t go trimming off our 1/4″ seam allowances on the outside edges of blocks not yet sewn. :)
Again, while we are aiming for accuracy and the puzzle design does require a certain amount of accuracy for it all to fit together, please don’t stress over a tiny bit of difference.
Disclaimer: This quilt design, tutorial and all photos are copyright Michele Foster of Mishka’s Playground. Please respect my copyright and do not copy this tutorial or republish it, for free or for sale, in print or online. You may use this tutorial to create quilts for your own personal use for free or for sale. However, please credit Michele Foster of Mishka’s Playground for the design. No mass production is allowed.