For me it happened during my second year of quilting. I don't remember the pattern name, but I remember the quilt. it had browns, reds and tans. It was going to be big -- queen size. I had reached the stage where I had gained some confidence in my piecing abilities and to be efficient I cut out the entire quilt top before I began piecing it. Yes -- all nine yards of fabric beautifully cut up, stacked and ready for a day at my sewing machine.
I then proceeded to work through each of the steps -- before doing step two, I finished step 1 for all 20 blocks of the quilt. I reached the point where I needed to add a large half square triangle to a previously pieced unit. I found I had to really stretch the triangle to make it fit. Hmmm. I began checking the normal suspects:
- Did I mis-cut any pieces
- Too large of seam allowances
- Did I use the correct pieces
Everything seemed to be ok on my end. I finally pulled out a sheet of graph paper (this was pre-Electric Quilt) and redrafted the block and checked the math using the Pythagorean theorem from high school albegra.
Now I wish I could say this was the only time I found an error in a pattern.
I've now learned the importance of decomposing a pattern and checking the math. This technique can be done with graph paper -- but I find I am much more efficient with Electric Quilt.
For this weeks video, let me share how I did this with Flower Box, a pattern I purchased from Laundry Basket Quilts. (The pattern for this block plus a great quilt, can be purchased directly from Laundry Basket Quilts.) Note that there were no errors in the instructions -- but I wanted to redraft the block in Electric Quilt so I could play with some different layout options. I picked this one because it was a beautiful (but complicated) block.
Rule #1 - Subtract 1/2" (.5) from length and height cutting measurements for square and rectangle units.
Rule #2 - Subtract 7/8" (.875) from length and height measurements for squares cut once on the diagonal for two half square triangles.
Rule #3 - Subtract 1-1/4" (1.25) from length and height measurements for squares that are X-cut or cut twice on the diagonal for four triangle units.
Rule #2 Half Square Triangles
Rule #3 X-Cut Triangles
Most units can be decomposed using three simple math equations once you have the cutting instructions for the block.
When looking at the triangle units note the X-cut units (#3) have one edge that is on the straight of grain. Those cut once on the diagonal (#2) have two edges on the straight of grain.
Featured Pattern - Sun Rays
The Sun Rays quilt is based on a favorite antique block. The quilt may be completed with seven fabrics or may be scrapped. I suggest using just one background fabric for continuity. On the cover quilt, I used a controlled scrap technique. For this technique, I used the same fabric in each of the main blocks, but used different fabrics for each of these blocks. (For example, I had 12 different Medium Tans – one for each block.)
Size options include:
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