My first quilting weekend was very successful!
The hardest technique for me to master was cutting fabric, as crazy as that sounds. Even after replacing the blade on my rotary cutter, I still had trouble getting through a few layers of fabric. Aunt Kate taught me a little trick to help with this: instead of pulling the ruler away immediately after making a cut, pull the fabric away instead to see if you’ve sliced all the way through. If not, just make the same cut again! I used this hint quite a bit.
Since I chose a lot of blocks that use half- and quarter-square triangles, I learned another trick for making precise diagonal cuts. Make your first diagonal cut, then turn your mat and make the second. Sounds simple to experienced quilters I’m sure, but I was very thankful to learn that one!
Very quickly, this iron became my best friend. In this picture, I’m setting my seam by laying the iron on it for just a few seconds before I open the fabric and press – always toward the darker fabric if possible! Who knew how important seam placement could be? I had to re-press quite a few until I had them going in the right direction to make sewing easier.
This was a great block for me to start with. It’s listed as a beginner block and it is great for learning how to cut and sew half-square triangles and do some simple strip piecing. The Shoo-Fly Block instructions on McCall’s site includes a great tip for sewing half-square triangle units. Rather than cutting the corner triangles apart and then sewing, draw a diagonal line down the center of the wrong side of the lighter fabric square. Layer this square with the darker fabric, then sew a ¼″ seam on either side of the line. Cut apart and you’ve finished 2 triangle units!
The second block I chose to try was Party Hats. I learned right away the importance of laying the fabric pieces out to make the block before AND during the sewing process. It is very easy to sew the wrong triangles together and have to rip seams and start over.
This one was more difficult as it requires sewing on a bias. I made some errors, but overall my completed block turned out pretty well!
These two blocks were so fun to make and I learned so much by creating them. What was the first block you ever made?
Check back soon for more updates on my progress!