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Monday, March 12, 2012

Perfect Points

One of the things many of us quilters have in common is the never ending quest for perfection. It's been my experience, anyway, that most of us are, by definition, perfectionists. And every now and then I come across a tip that promises to solve one of the many quilting quandaries that has me pulling my hair out, if not my stitches. I came across one such tip in a back issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (July/August 2002/No. 344), in an article called "More Slick Tricks."

The tip, "Three Pins for Bulk," was actually intended for achieving perfectly aligned triangle points, but I somehow managed to misread or misremember it to be a tip for achieving perfectly matched seams (when piecing nine patch squares, for example). Usually, I line up seams by butting one seam allowance up against another, like so . . .

However, this technique can't be used if the seams are not pressed in opposite directions, or if the seams are ironed open. So, undoubtedly, when I first read this tip a little light bulb must have gone off over my head. "Ah-ha! I can do this to match up seams too!"

While recently piecing quilt squares in which I would need to match up diagonal seams (ironed open), the misremembered tip sprang to mind. This is how I remembered the tip: insert a pin directly through the center of both seams to line them up, insert a pin on either side of the first pin, remove the original pin. I don't like to pin any more than absolutely necessary, so this is how I left it . . .

How did it turn out? Well, of course, I achieved a perfect point on the very first try.

Eureka! Before I got too excited, though, I thought I better try it again. Would the results be consistent? Nope. I got a consistent result, but not the one I wanted. About three points were perfect, and the rest were off a tiny bit--like this one . . .

I tried again, inserting the two pins I originally omitted to see if it would make a difference, but the result was the same as above. On the other hand, I was using a slant shank machine for which I don't have a walking foot. Would this technique be more consistently successful  using a walking foot? I would think so, but I haven't returned to this project yet. I'll keep you posted. For now, though, I'm not too worried about it. I doubt the recipient of this quilt will be examining it this closely. What's your tip for perfect points, and/or perfectly matching seams?

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