Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making it Up As I Go Along

I've been making some glacial progress on my Granny Squares. I tried a couple of blocks following Jolene's tutorial religiously. But the middle row of my blocks - the row with 7 squares - kept bowing to one side or the other, and then the blocks themselves would get a little bit frilly and wavy when I joined together all the rows. There's only so much I can do with spray starch. Please note, this undesirable frilliness is a result of my own subpar piecing skillz, NOT a result of Jolene's tutorial. She's fabulous. I'm so thankful that she started this whole craze. Here's the first block I tried out:

first pass

You can't tell from the photo, but once I pulled out my ruler to start squaring up the block, I realized I was in big trouble. I see lots of sashing in my future if I use this particular block. 

So after playing around a little bit with the layout, I decided to break down the piecing another way.

step 1: Instead of piecing one on-point row at a time, first I piece and press the 3 rows that make up the 9-patch in the middle of the block.

the core of the block

step 2: Then I piece the 4 rows of 3 squares that surround the 9-patch, press, and add them.

outer borders

step 3: Then I add the final background pieces to the edges and press.

the final touch

Here's the cliff's notes version for anyone who's a super visual learner:

broken down

There's much less likelihood that I end up with bowed rows and frilly blocks by making it this way. AND I'm getting much quicker at piecing the blocks together. I think it works out to less ironing, which is always a good thing for me. But I could be making that up because I want it to be true. I haven't actually timed how long I spent ironing doing it one way vs. the other.

progress thus far 

So that's the main action in the sewing room these days. I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Lee's place. Head on over there to see what projects other folks have been working on this week!

And it's been awhile, so I'm sharing my nutty WIP spreadsheet, in case you'd like to peek into the madness of my sewing organization. Even though I've finished up a fair amount of quilts lately, the sheer volume of WIPs in my life hasn't decreased all that much. As soon as I finish one project, I start a new one.

I had a breakthrough at some point last month. It's probably pretty obvious to most people. Finishing WiPs is the same as losing weight or increasing wealth/saving money. If you want to lose weight, the general rule of thumb is to burn more calories than you eat every day. If you want to save money, the general rule of thumb is to spend less than you earn each month or pay period. Similarly, if you want to whittle down your list of WiPs, it's probably advisable to finish more projects than you start. Duh, right?

So on the weeks that I decide to get serious about whittling down my list of WiPs, I'll try to be more accountable about the number of projects I've started and finished.

Stats for this week:
  • Projects started: 0
  • Projects finished: 2 (I sent a couple of my unfinished projects to Sarah for her quilt ministry to finish. More on that later this week.)
  • Total # of WiPs: Gulp, 25


  1. YOUR way I can figure out. Yes, I'm a visual learner. If I can't 'see' how the block is put together, then I can't make the block.

  2. That's really great! I think I'll try it that way, when/if I do any Grannies. :)

  3. Well, you know I'm happy to do what I can to relieve your WIP stress!! And I love your granny square blocks - I'm getting ready to try some myself!!

  4. I got hooked on granny squares too! Your method looks awesome, I am going to give it a go today. I have pinned your post on pinterest - hope you are alright with that, I just want to have it for future reference.

  5. I love your granny squares I made 40 of them. Cant wait to put them all together and get the quilt sewn up.

  6. I've been thinking I could just admire everyone else's granny squares, but it seems I may have to make some of my own! I like your system!

  7. I like the way you put the granny squares together. I have not started one yet but of course plan too. I love your WIP list I manage my list the same way. I like seeing where I am at on each of the projects.

  8. Love the breakthrough, haha! Sometimes the obvious answer is easy to overlook. I had a breakthrough this week too: to finish hand sewing binding quickly, take BiGGER stitches! So obvious. And all this time I've been wondering how people bind their quilts so fast. Geez ;)