Monday, January 20, 2014

Row Along "Row 1"

Today begins my Row Along.  I will begin with the finished row.
This is a very simple Road To California block but when blocks are rotated will create a zig-zag effect.
The fabric requirements for the row is as follows:

Color A  1 strip - 4 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric)   subcut into 8   4 1/2" squares
             1 strip - 4 7/8" x WOF                            subcut into 8   4 7/8" squares

Color B   1 strip - 4 7/8" x WOF                           subcut into 8   4 7/8" squares

Color C   2 strips - 4 1/2" x WOF                          subcut into 12   4 1/2" squares

For each individual block you will need:

Color A    2    4 1/2" squares
               2    4 7/8" squares

Color B   2     4 7/8" squares

Color C   3     4 1/2" squares

Now that the fabric is cut create your half square triangles.

You will use:   2    4 7/8" Color A  and   2    4 7/8" Color B squares.

You will need to draw a double line on the back of one color of your 4 7/8" squares.  To do this I like to use a sandpaper board, a ruler from the Omnigrid Ruler Trio Set and a Pigma Pen.

Place your lighter colored square on your sandpaper board and center the black center line of the ruler at the opposite corner of the block. 

Draw a line on each side of the ruler.

Sew a line of stitching on the inner side of the black line.  You can chain piece these and then just turn the chained squares around and feed them in again than create the half square triangle on the other side.

Lay a ruler on the stitching line on your finished square and cut along the edge of the ruler to create 2 half square triangles. Repeat with other square.

Press the seam to the dark side of the square. 

Trim off the dog ears.

Measure the finished square at this point to be sure it measures 4 1/2" square.  If the Square is more than 4 1/2" trim.  If it is not 4 1/2" you have taken too deep a seam and will need to unsew your stitches and resew further away from your pencil line and closer to the cut edge.

It is now time to lay out your block as shown below.

I generally sew my rows across and then sew those three row units together.
After sewing the first row of squares together, measure the unit to be sure it measures 12 1/2"

And now I interrupt this blog post for a word about 1/4" seam allowances.  You often hear about having a perfect quarter inch seam allowance.  Well, even though being fearful that the quilt police will lock me up I will venture out to say I personally do not find having a perfect seam allowance on the back of my piecing gives me the size necessary to achieve the size block needed when multiple blocks are used in a design.  If you are making all your blocks the same such as all Ohio Star blocks everything will come out correctly without regard to your seam allowance. (Although I have found if I do not have a correct seam allowance the pieced squares do not line up perfectly with the unpieced squares)  But multiple blocks in a quilt such as a sampler requires an accurate seam allowance to achieve the correct size block.  Do you sometimes read about a scant 1/4"?  This is what I am taking about.  You ask "what is a scant 1/4"", well in my humble opinion it is whatever gives you the size block you need to achieve the correct size when the block is constructed.  In the case of this Row Along the size is 12 1/2".  Many of us have a "quarter inch" foot and that is what it gives us....a perfect quarter inch.  On my machine I move the needle position to the right 4 spaces to achieve the scant 1/4" I need to get the results I am aiming for.  This is something you will need to work with until you get the results you desire.  If your needle position does not move I suggest you place a guide for your fabric to follow on the throat plate of your machine or I have also found success with a couple of layers of masking tape along the guide of the 1/4" foot to take up a little of the space.  This may take a little time but the end result will be very rewarding for achieving accurate patchwork. I will now get off my soapbox and get back to the tutorial.

Sew the three rows together.  Repeat process with remaining three blocks.

Lay the blocks out in this order and sew together.

Well, that is it for this row.  Have a fun, quilty journey til I'm back with Row 2 on February 20th.


  1. Looks like a fun sew along Sherry. Your fabrics are so pretty. I struggle with a consistent 1/4" seam allowance. I also have a 1/4" foot and still have to adjust the needle position a few spaces. I'll keep working at it, practice makes perfect...right?

  2. My machine as an automatic scant 1/4". It's nice, I never have to think about it. :)

    Lovely blocks you've got going on here!

  3. I really like that block! I want to try that one out. Thanks for the pics.

  4. Thank you for chatting about the seam allowance. I try to cut and sew accurately and still find the finished blocks tend to be 1/4" short. I use a 1/4" foot too. I'm not so sure I can set my machine to a scant 1/4". I'm going to try the masking tape trick on the foot to see if it helps. Thank you