Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Group Quilt Projects

This is my President's quilt, a signature gift from my guild. No, that's not laundry under it...that's a pile of crochet items for another charity!

At some time you will likely be involved in making a group quilt project (though you try to avoid it!).

In a guild this is liable to be a raffle quilt or a gift of some kind (for charity, President, member or family). Quilts are popular and traditional fund-raisers, so you may be roped into to making one for any group!

I know you are rolling your eyes right now! But I have some help for you.

Group projects are notorious for having such a variety of workmanship that they are difficult to assemble. While part of the "charm" of a group-made quilt is that variety, the process can be an excellent learning process. Quilt guilds should encourage their membership to imporove skills, though not at the hands of the "Quilt Police".

You really cannot expect someone to do better unless you give them some idea of how.

I wrote the following handout for my guild several years ago. It has appeared in the newsletter and been available to pick up as a flyer. Since we are starting in our President's blocks for this year, it will go in the newsletter and on the website.

I'll share it with you now.
If you'd like to use it for your own group, please be sure to include my website and/or blog when you copy it.
When you’re making a block for a group project….

1. Check the directions or call the leader to find out the CORRECT SIZE OF THE BLOCK. You may want to know both measurements: The finished size (how big it looks when sewn into the quilt) and the unfinished size (from raw edge to raw edge). The unfinished size is what you will be checking. It will be 1/2" larger than the finished size, to allow for the seams.
2. Measure your block on each side to see if it is right. It must be within 1/8" to be usable.
3. The edges should be straight. You should not have any sections sticking out uneven from the others.
4. If the block is not right, check your 1/4" seam allowance first. If it is too small, you can just re-sew the right size. If it is too big, you have to rip out the seam and then re-sew it.
4. If the seams are OK, check the strips cut for the block. Sometimes it looks right but is too narrow or wide. Even if you cut exactly, an inside layer may have been off.
5. Too-small blocks can be marked and used in another project where they don’t matter.
6. Too-big blocks can be taken apart, re-cut & re-sewn…..if you feel like doing that much work!
If you decide to just trim off an oversize block, it cannot be more than 1/2" too big. You will need to very carefully take the same amount off EACH of the four sides.
7. You cannot trim down a block that has a point at the outside edge. If the pattern does have a point at the edge, be sure there is 1/4"seam allowance beyond it.
8. When the block looks nice and is within 1/8" or perfect, then you can proudly hand it in!
You can avoid “reverse sewing” an entire block by checking the UNIT SIZE before completing the whole block. If you measure and make sure of the correct size whenever you sew two things together, you will be correct through all the steps.
Thank-you for your work on all our guild projects. It really is appreciated. Nobody expects all the blocks in a group project to be exactly the same or to be perfect. But they should be the best you can do.
By following these guidelines, now you know how to do your best!

1 comment:

Sweet P said...

What a gorgeous quilt. There are a lot of talented quilters in your guild.