Saturday, December 19, 2020

Practice on Some Simple Blocks

Less than two weeks left until the Sew Along begins! I suspect some of you have been secretly making blocks since you purchased the book  . . . . 

But for those of you who may be beginning quilters or who are anxious about making this quilt, let me reassure you - These blocks are simple and pretty much a piece of cake. Not one is really that difficult. Some may require a little patience but for the most part they are straightforward. Nothing fancy.

When we begin the sew along on January 1, we'll start with Block number 1 and then go on making the others in order. That's how I started making the blocks for my Dear Jane quilt. Please - I am in no way comparing my quilt to the awesome Jane Stickle quilt, but it does have some similarities (small blocks, similar fabrics) and yes, I modeled one after seeing and working on the other. 

I fell in love with that quilt the first time I saw one. Then I started seeing them more and more so I knew everyone else was as entranced as I was. I liked sampler quilts and, being a lover of small quilts and 1800s reproduction fabrics, the fact that Jane's sampler was comprised of small blocks and made in the 1860s with fabrics from that time really drew me in.

Dear Jane quilts on display at a show in France. 

A few of Jane Stickle's blocks.

A few of my blocks. 

Unfortunately, when I started making the Dear Jane blocks in order I quickly ran into difficulties. I was not a very good piecer, hand piecing was just not my thing, my applique left lots to be desired and I had no idea how to paper piece. So, when I ran into challenging blocks, I became frustrated and often set them aside. However, by skipping around and making some of the easy blocks first, I was able to warm up to the small piecing. I gained confidence and polished up my skills. I found it was a great way to practice precision and patience. The difficult blocks became less difficult because I practiced. It was my journey to becoming a better quilter as I picked up quite a few new skills. My blocks are far from perfect but I still think they're pretty good. And, I can now paper piece with ease and my applique doesn't stink. I can even do reverse applique. Who'd have guessed?? 

I think making any sampler quilt is bound to do this for you. Anyway, the point I am making is that the blocks in my quilt are MUCH easier than those in the Dear Jane quilt. There are no difficult blocks, just blocks that take a little patience and practice.

So, if you're a beginner or a quilter who is just not used to working with smaller pieces, you may want to spend a little time practicing on some of the easier blocks. 

This will allow you to gain some skills for putting the small pieces together and may make the others a whole lot easier. If you have the book, please read the section on page 8 - Tips for Sewing Small Blocks. Try making a few of these blocks first - # 9, 11, 17, 19, 23, 24, 25, 27, 30, 37, 38, 40, 43, 68. And probably a few others.  These blocks are mostly made from squares and triangles. A few larger half-square triangles. If you follow the directions, they should give you no problem. And, if you have that scant 1/4-inch seam down, they will go together easily. After this, you may even want to start a Dear Jane quilt or go back and finish the one you started. 

Have a good weekend. I hope some you are able to take some time to enjoy the holiday season! No snow yet here in the Chicago area but I know some of you out east are cursing it as we speak . . . . . 


sue bennett said...

Gorgeous blocks Kathy, Looking forward to the SAL.
I know that you will finish that Dear Jane.
Good advice to start with a few of the simple blocks so the other will come easy to you.


marian said...

Kathy, i love seeing your blocks and i'm itching to get started on the Schoolgirl Sampler. I'm happily busy with other small projects at the moment but i'll be ready to get started on the sampler blocks come Jan 1st. I know you're itching to get back to your Dear Jane :)) hugs, Marian

Unknown said...

Need to sign up to join got my book


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