“Use a scant 1/4.” I’ve read this in multiple patterns and though it’s not necessarily a difficult concept to get my arms around, knowing why – or more importantly when – to use it has always escaped me for some reason, until yesterday.
First, let me show you the current view from my desk at any given time during my day (when I’m not cutting fabric or living life, in general).
Add to this to my growing love affair with Bella Solids in general, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to create a quilt with Moda’s Sampler Shuffle – a series of 30 – 6″ blocks designed by Moda designers – which were released to quilt shops last November at Quilt Market, Houston. I can’t say I’ve seen them created with Bellas, but as I’ve spent the last week or so staring longingly at the above image, The Sweetwater Bellas became an obvious choice.
So far so good…
All was going well until I made the 4th block, which had an awful lot of pieces (equating to an awful lot of seams)
Needless to say, I made it once, but decided to remake it. Here’s why:
Meh. 5/8″ isn’t all that big of a deal, right? Actually, it’s not the end of the world, until you’re trying to put a bunch of blocks together that are supposed to be the same size. 5/8″ can be a lot and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to have to stretch my seams that much to make them line up comfortably. This is where the proverbial ‘scant 1/4 inch’ comes into play and why it is sometimes a pretty handy and necessary process for making our blocks the right size.
A scant 1/4″ is really nothing more than this:
Essentially, it all boils down to just how many seams we’re incorporating into any given block. Think of it this way – the more seams, the more seam allowances; the more rows, the smaller each block has the propensity to become as we go along, depending on how much attention we pay to seam allowance with each seam we create.
ALSO! In case you wondered – the fineness of the thread we use can make a difference as well. It’s why when I first tried Aurifil 50wt , I switched to it without even passing Go or collecting $200 (Monopoly never really leaves your psyche once you play it as a kid, ya know? But lest I degress…). Anyway, while you wouldn’t think the density of thread would matter much, I find that it makes my seams less bulky, which can make a sizable different across the span of a quilt, not to mention – a bunny outfit.
“What did you do with the poor, little too-small block?”
In the end, the question begs: is it really critical to pay so much attention to precision at the tiniest level with respect to seam allowances and thread density? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to two things – the longer we’ve been quilting, I think, the more it begins to matter to us that our work reflects our level of experience. Secondarily, every little seam, whether attentive to exactness of seam allowance or what kind of thread we use, adds up. For the purpose of this post – I’m just giving you a little food for thought 🙂
Lest I drift dreamily into the 80s movie, Breaking Away, about 4 young men (including a very, very young Dennis Quaid with very, very washboard-like abs; go ahead and watch the movie trailer that I linked above just for fun – you’ll see them!) who spend their days mostly trying to avoid going to college. The main character is Dave (played by Dennis Christopher) a soulful guy who’s taught himself Italian and walks around his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana speaking it as though he came over on the boat (leading especially his dad to think his only son is totally off his rocker). The main premise of the movie is that Dave wrangles his three buddies into a quasi Tour de France bicycle race in their town. The subplot, however, involves Katherine – a beautiful college girl with whom Dave falls immediately in love when he sees her at a college bar. He calls her Katerina and she actually assumes he’s Italian (which he doesn’t exactly argue at the time), obviously there to study in America.
WAIT, you say. Isn’t this a quilty/sewing/fabric blog?
The short answer is YES. The long answer is that you’re reading the thoughts of a girl who grew up in the 70s and 80s, who has a slightly roundabout (and often flowery) way of looking at the world. In other words – if I’m explaining something, I sometimes like you to know the details behind how it sits in my brain. Ask my hub – I always get to my point, and LUCKY YOU – you get to know a little more about ME as we go along.
(Are you rolling your eyes yet?)
Ciao Bella! It’s what Dave said to Katerina when he saw her. It’s an exclamation that means Hi Beautiful! And it’s what I think of every time I hear the word Bella as it relates to Moda Bella Solids. Ciao Bella! Hi Beautiful! I can’t help it – it’s a singing sort of feeling!
(See how I got around to my point there? Now how about if I chill as I start my next paragraph so you don’t think I’m totally off MY rocker)
The reality is that Moda Bella Solids have been around for some time and though similar to Kona Solids with respect to the quality they’re known for in the industry, I love Bellas most for the fact that whenever I’ve wanted to pair a Moda printed fabric with a solid, I need only seek out my handy, dandy Bella Color Card to find an exact match.
That’s why I was thrilled when it was recently announced at Spring Quilt Market that Moda would be releasing Bella Designer collections assembled by some of our favorite designers!
The beauty of these Bella Designer Collections is that each designer assembles the 12 fabrics that most exemplify the palette they tend to draw from when creating their collections. What’s more, each has also designed projects to go along with their Bella grouping. Above is Joanna Figueroa’s of Fig Tree Quilts, which arrived on our shop last week. Along with it…
One of the coolest things is that all the patterns in the booklet not only utilizes Joanna’s fresh, summery Bella Solids, but also a variety of different cream prints to complete the projects.
Now, before I start floating off the ground speaking italian like the aforementioned Dave from that great old (already?) movie – I want to just say that although the Fig Tree bundle is our first Ciao Bella! bundle – it’s certainly not our last.
Welcome to the Sweetwater Spring 2016 booth. I mean, how much Sweetwater Heaven can we take in one spot?! Not only are we geeked to the nth degree for the arrival of Treehouse Club (used in the quilt on the far right), but see the mini block quilts on the left wall? Yeah…those are the Sweetwater Bellas, and before you even have to ask – yep. We’ll have the pattern booklet for the minis too!
Did you know that Ciao means both Hello and goodbye, in Italian? If you didn’t, you do now.