Monday, March 2, 2015

Fast Four-Patches

Some call it chain piecing, but I learned it as "assembly-line sewing" from my hero, Eleanor Burns, way back in the dark ages when rotary cutting was new. Quilters often believe that the big benefit from the process is to save on thread, but that is really just a nice side bonus.

I really do practice what I preach when it comes to staying organized. Just as the pattern indicates, I sort my pieces into zip top bags as I cut them.

I hate, hate, hate looking for things, and the more I fumble around looking for the right piece the more the chances improve that I will settle on the wrong one. Sorting the pieces so that I have only the shapes I need for the next step makes it harder to make a mistake.

(My hubby, a mechanical engineer who really does know how to do everything, suggests that "idiot proof" is impossible. The best we can hope for is "idiot resistance".)

Before I start, I set out the parts in the configuration in which they will be sewn. If it's hard to tell right from wrong side on a fabric, I take the time to flip them all right sides up in each of their stacks.

Now, all I have to pay attention to is the quality of my seam allowance. The top pair is sewn together, then the bottom pair, then the top pair and then the bottom pair, all the way to the bottom of the stacks.

My goal is always to have just a single stitch in the air between the pairs. When it comes time to sew the cross seam, the thread will act as my pin, holding the first seam in just the right place for that perfect intersection.

I'll be back in a couple of days with pressing strategies and more sneaky piecing tricks for sewing on the triangles.

In the mean time, I'm working on setting up a Pinterest board, and a linky thingie so we can share our progress. I hope you're working away out there, are you? Once we get these sashing strips out of the way, it's all fun and games.

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