Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Skill Builder BOM

This year I am excited to be participating in Alyssa's Skill Builder BOM over at Pile O' Fabric. Last year I wanted to participate, but was overwhelmed with projects at the time (and with the fabric requirements!) This year I have much less on my plate and was ready to dive in.

I'll be honest, the fabric requirements are still a little suspect. This thing calls for 11 yards of fabric...that's enough for something like (if I did my math right) 92" square front and back. The finished quilt here is 52" x 56", so it seem likes we are buying almost double the fabric we actually need. Plus I bought a little extra fabric because I wanted shades of a few of the colors. I'll be curious (and terrified) to see how much fabric I have leftover at the end of this year.

Fabric aside, I am impressed with how many tips and tricks I have learned just in the first two blocks. I think of myself as a relatively skilled quilter - yes, I have a ton to learn, but I have been doing this awhile and know at least the basics of all of the techniques we will be covering this year. However, it's those little things that make all the difference between a good quilter and a great quilter. I've already learned a ton of tips about ironing that I would have never thought of before. The main one is to not use steam. I LOVE steaming everything up to get nice flat seams, but it turns out that it really does warp the fabric a bit and cause it to be no longer straight. I had perfect straight seams on my ruler block until I steam ironed it and then they were all wobbly. Whoops!

I'm also ready to take the plunge and spend some time with my machine figuring out where a true 1/4" lies. On the thread spool block, somehow my spool was a 1/2" too big. I spent forever doing the math in my head trying to figure out why it was off, but the real answer came when I held it up to a ruler: my seams were too scant, so each piece was slightly more than 1/2" instead of exact. All those little size changes added up over thirteen strips to create a block that was significantly off!

Plus, solids are pretty unforgiving when it comes to hiding little imperfections. See the puckers along the seams? I should have squared my blocks up prior to joining them, but didn't, and they ended up being off. Lesson: ALWAYS SQUARE UP!

All in all, I am having a lot of fun and hope to continue to document things I am learning about myself through the year. You can join too - it's only $25 which is frankly a steal.  This week we will start quilt-as-you-go on these guys, which I have never done before. Wish me luck!

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