Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Single Girl" Support Group: Joining up the quarters to make a ring and some thoughts about "squaring up" the blocks

First off, let me apologize to those of you who have never made or don't even have plans to make a "Single Girl" guilt.  I will be moving on to other things soon.

I have been concerned about the postings on the Flickr group because it seems that many people are experiencing frustration with the construction of this pattern.  "Single Girl" is a very well constructed pattern, but not really one that you want to cut your teeth on if you are a newbie quilter or sewer.  The teacher in me can't help but want to address some of the questions, so here is a short tutorial on putting the quarters together into a ring.

You now have four quarters finished.  The next step is to join two of them together.

I pin the two sections of the ring first.  Fold down one side so that you can put the seams together, then pin.  Do the same with the other side, then pin the background areas together.

I start sewing in the background area.  It is much easier than starting the other way.  When you connect the two halves, you will have to start sewing near a ring section, but I have a little trick to make that easier, too.

Do not sew over the pins.  Stop your machine before you get to the pin and pull it straight out to the side.  When you get to the ring sections, sew onto the ring seam allowance, then pull out the pin.  Having your needle in that seam allowance before you take out the pin will mean that you have a better chance of keeping the seams of the ring lined up.

Press the seam open.  You want to minimize thick seams at this stage.
The two sides of your ring should line up.

Sew the other two pieces in the same way so that you now have two halves ready to go together.
Fold down one side to line up your center seams and pin.

After the centers are pinned, I pin the two ring sections, then work my way to the center on each side pinning the background fabric.

When you join the two halves, you have to start with the ring side and with most sewing machines, the pin being so close is going to cause problems getting started.  Life up the presser foot and lower the needle into the fabric, then remove the first pin. Lower the pressure foot and begin sewing.  Press this seam open as well and your ring is complete.

Some thoughts on "squaring up the blocks"
Many people have posted on the Flickr group about squaring up the blocks both at the quarter ring and/or the finished ring stage.  Personally, I question the wisdom of this.  I put a ruler on the template for the outer background piece for the above photo.  Think about it.  Before you have seamed this piece, it is only 5/8 of an inch in width.  Take away 1/4 of an inch for the ring seam and another 1/4 for connecting it and you are not left with a lot of fabric. If you trim anything off to square up the block, your finished rings are going to be right on top of each other or even overlapping.  Personally, I think it is much easier to be accurate with your templates, cutting, and piecing, and skip the squaring off.


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Thanks again Dana! Your experience will be very helpful when I start putting together my quarters! Yours looks great.

Dana W. Fisher said...

Thanks, Mary. I can't wait to watch yours come together.
Warm regards,