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Thread: Hidden Wells - making me crazy!

  1. #1
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    Hidden Wells - making me crazy!

    Can someone please offer advice on making this quilt? I find the center square that forms in the center of the blocks is not of uniform size. The 1/4 wedges are sometimes off even tho I heavily starched fabric before starting, cut strips uniformly and my 1/4" seams are spot-on. I find myself re-doing and futzing with almost every block to get it to look right. Some of the middle squares are smaller than others...but the width of the strips measure the same and the seams are identical. Also, i read this was an easy quilt and I'm not new to quilting but I would definitely not classify it as easy even if my bands were matching perfectly. I'd love some words of wisdom on this one bc i love the pattern and thought of making several of these but I first need to understand what I must be doing wrong?
    mea

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    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I've never made this pattern but I found a couple of tutorials online. . . maybe they will be helpful to you!

    http://moosestashquilting.blogspot.c...-tutorial.html

    http://www.reddawn.net/quilt/hwells.htm
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    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    If it's just a question of size, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Do your seams match up when you are putting your blocks together?
    I cut my strips in varying widths so that all my centre squares were a different size http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...lt-t56286.html.
    Could you post some pictures? I find it hard to pinpoint problems if I can't see them.
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

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    I'm not able to post pictures, Woody. I know i screwed up a few blocks trying to "trim" the corner triangles to match. my seams do match up but the points in the middle wind up being of various sizes...usually too small. When i diagonally cut my big square units into quarters, i notice the triangular tips that form the square are not the same size. the strip that forms the square was cut at 2.5" all the strips measure 2.5" and the seams are accurate. I use a guide to cut from one diagonal corner to the other. I feel this just has to be the step that is causing the problems? some triangular points are quite a bit smaller than others! at this point, i'm just hoping to get enough "good" points to have enough blocks without buying more fabric. it kind of defies logic how equal squares can be diced into unequal parts!
    mea

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    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    From what you describe, it does sound like the problem is with the cutting. I haven't made one of these quilts, but from the instructions I would not classify it as an easy pattern. You have to work with bias edges, match lots of seams on a diagonal, and cut and stitch very precisely. The quilts are beautiful though, and there's the element of surprise, not knowing what it will look like until you start to assemble the pieces.

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    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    It should be an easy pattern as done by the original method from Mary Ellen Hopkins. Her booklet Hidden Wells is still available from http://www.ecrater.com/p/14808478/qu...den-wells-3-by for $4.50.

    Jan in VA
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    Thank you, Jan. I am ordering the booklet now. No cc's so am mailing a check. I looked on Amazon and elsewhere...your link is best price, for sure. It looks like there are a total of 4 different blocks and i'm making only 2 different blocks. I followed Red Dawn tutorial precisely (i thought). Apparently I need this book! I do love these and maybe the next one will turn out better. I'm beginning to suspect i over-did my ironing of the strips. they were cut perfectly but i sewed them all together before ironing them and I won't do that next time. This little triangle thing has to be due to cutting or ironing. i do notice some of the pics DO have larger and smaller center triangles such as woody's. maybe i have combined the wrong sub-units. I didn't even realize middle squares could be different by design!
    mea

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mea12 View Post
    I'm beginning to suspect i over-did my ironing of the strips. they were cut perfectly but i sewed them all together before ironing them and I won't do that next time. This little triangle thing has to be due to cutting or ironing.
    Are you sewing unironed fabric together ... did I read that right?

    You'll find it much easier to get precise piecing if you iron and starch your yardage before you make any cuts. If you purchased 1 yard and you only need 1/2 yard - starch and iron 1/2 yard (and a few inches beyond) then start cutting.

    After that, the only ironing (pressing actually) you should do after you sew pieces together is to press the seams (either open or to one side).

    Especially important for triangles as all additional handling of the triangle can stretch the bias and throw the whole thing out of whack. I try not to iron my seams when working with tri's until I've sewn at least two seams of the tri (preferably the two bias seams) and even then ... you need to be careful not to stretch those seams when pressing the seams.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    QM
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    I love the fact that there are so many helpful people and great quilts shown on this site. Hidden wells looks like one I'd like to try.

    On pressing: make sure your pressing motion is up and down, not the usual ironing. I prefer to use spray sizing, rather than starch, but please use one or the other. I am very careful in handling any bias cuts as little and lightly as possible to avoid any stretching. Once they are cut, no pressing until they are firmly sewn in place and stabilized.

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    Thanks to all! I believe maybe the problem arose with the pressing even tho the strips appear to be well-pressed and of the same size. I did starch my fabric before i cut the strips and used a press to do it. but i did not press again until all 5 strips were sewn together. All the bands match precisely when sewn. it is just the center square that is consistently OFF by quite a bit. I inspect these strips and blocks before cutting the diagonals and they LOOK fine. I'm not hearing this is a common problem to others who have done this quilt so hopefully next one will go better. i do LOVE this pattern!
    mea

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    Senior Member calicojoan's Avatar
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    I wrote the tutorial at Moosestash Quilting, and while I am no expert by any means, I will tell you after making at least 15 of these quilts. I still can't manage to get the very center points to all look the same no matter what I do. I definately don't think the pattern is "Easy" by any means, but it's doable for everyone, which is why I wrote the tut. It sure was addicting to me! Oh and if you can find an answer, let me know!

  12. #12
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like it's with the cutting - measuring can be such a challenge -

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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    I've never made this pattern but I found a couple of tutorials online. . . maybe they will be helpful to you!

    http://moosestashquilting.blogspot.c...-tutorial.html

    http://www.reddawn.net/quilt/hwells.htm
    The moosestashqulting site says to NOT have a seam down the middle of the strip set. The reddawn site shows a set of 6 strips in the demo. With a seam in the middle, you would end up with a lot of seams in the center of the block. Do I want to deal with this? I think it would be harder to get the center perfect. This is a lot like the Amazing Jelly Roll Quilt by Three Dudes, but that one is easier because you can use any number of strips, and they can be any width. They use 2.5 because they are using jelly rolls, but any width works. And any size square works. I've made many of them.

  14. #14
    Senior Member maxnme01's Avatar
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    Here's a really in depth link referred by Moosequilts. I copied the info into a word document to study later.

    http://www.reocities.com/quiltfrenzy...aterworld.html
    Keep smiling, it makes others wonder what you're up to!

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    OH Joan, I'm so relieved to hear that others DO have this problem!! That means it probably isn't the result of something I am doing wrong! I read and used your tute as well as red dawn's and relied on both equally. I intentionally cut my middle strip wider so that i wouldn't have a tiny dot in the center. I think its was 2.5" and after cutting the big squares into quarters...i noticed some of the triangles were just simply smaller than others. I used a rotary cutter and cut diagonally into each corner very precisely. so technically each piece should match up perfectly and be of the exact same size. Is there a good measurement to always use for the middle strip that forms the points? or maybe having a seam precisely in the middle would eliminate this problem? I want to do more of these and the way i'm solving the problem right now is to just toss the quarters that don't match so only solution i know is to buy extra fabric and expect some waste. The problem is i won't know if i will have enough "good" wedges til i've made all my blocks. I googled numerous pics of the HW quilt and noticed some def have alternating larger and smaller squares in middle. I'm even wondering how that could be possible if you're working w/ the same strip-set, they should all be identical!!! those quilts that i saw looked great, btw but do some people use varying strip sets to make these?
    mea

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    I wanted to report back to let everyone know how i solved the problem with the center triangles: I used a chalk wheel to mark the very center of the middle strip..next I chalked a line from each diagnal corner making sure all intersections crossed in the same spot on the middle line. Then I situated my ruler so that I cut right ON those lines. If you cut just next to the lines, your triangles will be off. Even with marking the lines, you may still be off a little bit. I know most people wouldn't mind being off some but I found doing this prevents you from being off by more than a skoche. I will definitely watch my pressing next time bc i think thats very important to the success with this one. In fact, cutting and pressing accurately is probably more important than keeping a perfect 1/4" seam. Technically I should've been able to slice from corner to corner but that was not the case. Maybe my experience will help someone else. I hope so!!
    mea

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