Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tuesday's Tip & To-Do List

The other day as I started doing the pattern writing for the Pieces in the Garden Sew Along, I considered the importance of the SCANT 1/4" seam in quilting.  It seems (to me, at least) that is something overlooked.  When I first began quilting the 1/4" seam was taught to me... and that I could just use the edge of my presser foot for accuracy.

It wasn't until two quilts later, and much frustration, that I realized that the edge of my presser foot was NOT a 1/4" from the needle... it was more like 3/8 of an inch.  My first quilts were sampler quilts from a block of the month club and when it was time to assemble the top, the teacher was quick to encourage us to make sure that all of the blocks were the same size... and if they were not, gave instructions to "simply add borders to the blocks and trim all to the same size."  

So... I am here today to encourage you to check your 1/4" seam for accuracy.  And when working with small blocks with many pieces (like in the Pieces in the Garden row quilt) a scant 1/4" will save you time and frustration.

What exactly does a scant 1/4" look like?  

It looks like this!  

You mark the sewing line 1/4" from the center and when you sew it, you sew just inside the line.

When making 12 or 16 blocks of the same pattern at a small size, if each block is 1/16"  or 1/8" off, it can result in the loss of 3/4 inch up to several inches in a row.  THAT is significant!  Thus the importance of the SCANT 1/4" seam!

And that brings me to my To-Do list...  What was on last week's list?

✔  Small piecing - 12 blocks, 4-inches in size are pieced and have been photographed.

✔  Time on the computer with pattern writing, story writing and making a sew along logo 

The formal announcement of the sew along was made this weekend!

The first pattern has been written and it is ready for release on Thursday.

There may still be a few more minor adjustments made to the first story before Thursday, but even if published today, it would be fine.

This means that I have a little time to play!  I have had my collection of orphan blocks on my design wall through most of January and I have a small section of them sewn together.  

❧  I am setting a One Month Goal of getting them together and ready for a border.

❧  I need to continue writing patterns for the Garden Quilt - Row 2 will be 3-inch blocks, requiring 16 blocks for the row.  Half-Square Triangles will be involved...  another opportunity to practice the SCANT 1/4" seams.  

❧  Quilters participating in the Pieces From the Past BOM event at the shop in Raton will be gathering on Saturday afternoon.  I will be preparing the various steps and samples needed to show them how to piece the Mayflower Block and the Flower Garden Block.

What do you do with orphan blocks?  
You know... those blocks that didn't quite turn out right, or are left over from some other project... 

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
One Month Goal at Elm Street Quilts


  1. I use a lot of my orphan blocks to make placemats for our Guild's Meals on Wheels project. I just add borders to get to about 12 X 18.

  2. Your orphan blocks look great together! I don't have many "orphans" because I mostly make the exact number of blocks that I need and if I'm not happy with a block, I'll take it apart and redo it. But the couple of orphan blocks I did have in my stash came in handy when I was learning to do stitch in the ditch quilting with a ruler on the long arm. I just slapped those orphans onto backing and batting fabric and practiced SID along the seam lines before proceeding to try it on a real quilt!

  3. I love how your orphan blocks are coming together, Melva!

  4. Gosh I love your orphans. Mine don't go together in any shape, color, or form. I have a small box of them and actually started the SAHRR this year with one of them, so maybe eventually they'll all find a home - lol!
    Thank you for linking up with To do Tuesday! Looking forward to Thursday. :)

  5. Oh, your Orphan block quilt is really shaping up! Using mine is still a "one day" project. My favorite OB quilt of all time is the one Victoria Findlay Wolfe made back in 2011 which can be seen here:
    With blocks, it's like scraps: waste not, want not!!

  6. I don’t have very many orphans, most of them become part holders.

  7. One thing to do with orphan blocks is to add some fabric to make it a tad bigger, quilt it and make a zippered pouch out of it. I have definitely had the same problem with early seams when I began, and now with the scant... blocks that were supposed to be 5 1/2" unfinished are bigger... so too much scant! But I think they are all the same so I just need to cut the setting squares that size too.

  8. I recently made two quilts from orphan blocks, strips of fabric that had been sewn together to cut blocks from and block pieces that ended up being extras. Used ugly fabric I was gifted to make backing. I used my even foot to just stitch through them in lines equally spaced. I bound with scraps pieced together. Voila, I have 2 camp quilts. I also free motion on my domestic machine, HQ Stich 710 but I just did not want to put that much effort into 2 quilts that will be dragged around the beach and campfires. I am going to try to do your row by row. I have quite a lot of scrap stuff to use up. I am intrigued by your blog especially about family members who quilted. I love that your sewing room is so organized and that you quilt for others on domestic. Others have approached me to quilt but so far I have resisted. Do you have any special tips forvsandwiching? I am trying to use a 3 roll quilting frame I was given recently and it works but I probably had the best luck just using dowels and basting as I went. I may try this fusible batting - wondering how hard to reposition. Do you do just the backing first and then turn over and do front?

  9. I have not done much with orphan blocks, I have a few from starting BOM projects and not completing them. Thanks for the inspiration to make use of them. I also appreciated your information about scant 1/4inch seams. They have been helpful while doing one of my latest projects.

  10. What a great use for your orphan blocks! Thanks for sharing your idea on Wednesday Wait Loss.