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Thread: PP problem with finished size

  1. #1
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    PP problem with finished size

    I am in a boomerang group and I chose to make a block from QuiltersCasche for one of the boom members. I choose the block called "Checkerpins". It's a gorgeous block with a paper pieced pin-wheel in the center and 6 patch checkerboard in each of the corners (which is strip pieced). Here's a link to the pattern.

    http://www.quilterscache.com/C/CheckerpinsBlock.html

    I LOVE the block!!

    Because I've never made this block, and I don't have a whole lot of experience paper piecing, I decided to make a practice block first - wise choice! My block came out just shy of 12.5" - too much shy for my comfort, especially since I'm sending it to someone else.

    I remember reading a piece of advice that Hollice gave. I'll paraphrase - when something doesn't work, find out WHY.

    I had measured every step of the way so I was perplexed as to why the finished product was off. This morning I de-constructed the block into it's 4 sections, measured them, and all of them measured the correct 6.5".

    I know why now.

    I sew a scant 1/4" seam. I set my needle to the right and then measure the seam after it is sewn and ironed. When you join two blocks and one of them was PP and you sew on the PP seam line ... you lose that 'scant' seam. So I reconstructed the 4 sections and used my scant 1/4" seam and the block is now 12.5" ... but I discovered a new problem.

    If you DON'T sew on the 1/4" seam line - you lose your points in the center of the block!!!!

    How can I fix this??? Will it work if I add a smidge to the long straight edge of the PP pinwheel block which will make that piece a bit longer and allow me to use the 1/4" seam marked on the pointed edge of the block?? I think it might ...

    Oh. Here's a pic of the finished block. The size is correct, but I've lost the points in the center.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  2. #2
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    I see nothing wrong with this block.
    A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway.

  3. #3
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    Wow, that block is beautiful. I see nothing wrong with it. The points are perfect from here.

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lillybeck View Post
    I see nothing wrong with this block.
    Because I had to resize the photo - you can't see the center very well. Here's a close up of the center - I have huge gaps where the points should meet.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  5. #5
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    I don't see a "huge gap", I see a "beautiful block".
    We are our own worst critics.

  6. #6
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I see what you mean by the points not matching perfect, It is a pretty block, and I have seen worse gaps that people don't notice, but if it bothers you now, it will always bother you. can you paper piecs normal, than make pieces around it just a hair larger? I have noticed with some of my older rulers when I cut along the edge and don't keep my rotery cutter straight up and down (sometimes it leanes to one side just a bit) my cut can be off just a hair, using small pieces with lots of seams and those hairs can add up. Good luck

  7. #7
    Super Member crafterrn1's Avatar
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    One thing I notice from the pattern to the finished block did you print at the correct size? What I am asking is did you check the 1 inch square to see that it is a 1 inch square? If the paper piecing is off then it could set the block off. Also this sounds strange but where do you place your ruler on your fabric. Do you have the edge of the ruler on the fabric so you can see the fabric at the breaks in the ruler spacing? If not that will change the size as well. Also I would try a thinner weight thread like a 60 weight for the paper piecing and regular piecing. It could just make a difference. As well as sewing just touching the outside of the paper piecing line will help as well. Let me know if any of these things helped! Luann in CT
    Live Love and Laugh Enough!

  8. #8
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Thanks Ladies ...

    yes, I had checked to make sure the PP printed to the correct size - I checked both the 1" test square and the size of the whole block (both on paper and after piecing).

    I'm convinced that the problem is that I'm using one method (scant 1/4" seams) on one half, and another method (true 1/4" seams) on the other half ... it's not going to work! I suspect that this is always a problem when marrying a PP block to a block made with scant seams. DUH!

    I'm making another block right now. I've made the PP unit just a smidge larger. Will see if this works.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  10. #10
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I see what you mean but I think it is exceptable. Very pretty block!
    Anna Quilts

  11. #11
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    I have just been posting about pping so you know I am no expert. I have made two previously and because I was nervous about the process I purposely made the block over sized so that I could trim it down to the correct size. Is that possible to do with this block?

  12. #12
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Are you sewing the blocks together with the paper still on? I find that I can't sew the blocks together with the paper on--never works for me. I know others swear by it but it just throws my seams off unless I remove the paper to put them together.
    Bernie

  13. #13
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Looks beautiful to me. I don't see a problem with the points.

  14. #14
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie View Post
    Are you sewing the blocks together with the paper still on? I find that I can't sew the blocks together with the paper on--never works for me. I know others swear by it but it just throws my seams off unless I remove the paper to put them together.
    you know ... the solution might have been that easy!! Yes, I was using the seam line on the PP to join the two units together. I wonder if I had just removed the paper and used my scant 1/4" seam if that would have worked?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  15. #15
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Nailed it!

    Here's what I did. I started by making my paper just a smidge larger than the actual size. After sewing the PP section, I trimmed ONLY the edge with the point that would meet with the checkerboard. I left the paper intact and sewed the PP piece to the checkerboard piece. I then measured that finished piece and trimmed the whole block to 6.5" square. Then I removed the paper. The rest of the block I pieced with a scant 1/4".

    The size is perfect, the points in the middle are close enough that I wouldn't bother to correct them.

    Thanks all ... you helped me work this through in my brain. I'm now convinced that when you marry a PP block to block that has been sewn with scant seams, you could have a problem.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  16. #16
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    i always continue the seams out into the seam allowance too. seems to help points. the center seam can be pressed flat. since it's a pinwheel, you should press the seams going around in a circle. it should help the center matching seams too.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BSKTLOFR-QUILTER's Avatar
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    Good luck. I see a beautiful block. Sometimes something like this would bother me so I'd change it and then when I'm in one of those "oh, well" moods, I'd leave it. When you stand back it won't be noticed as easily as when up close.

  18. #18
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    I understand your need to make this block as perfectly as you possibly can since you are sending it off to someone else. If I were the recipient, I would really appreciate the fact that you kept working at it until you got it as close to perfect as possible. I've been in exchanges like this where some of the blocks I received were an inch smaller then the pattern required, so your attention to detail is highly commendable!!! And now you know the secret of the marriage of PP and pieced portions of a block!!!

  19. #19
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Ditto what Farm Quilter said - I admire and appreciate your attention to detail! I've never sent a block off to anyone but I would probably have to make that block 5 times to get it to come out correct! Good job and thanks for sharing the issues and the solution.

  20. #20
    Senior Member GemState's Avatar
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    Your block is beautiful! You mentioned that you measure the seam to see if it is 1/4 inch. Instead try measuring the block rather than the seam. It is the block you want to be the 'perfect' size.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Tweety2911's Avatar
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    I have found that using a thinner thread such as a trilobal polyester thread has made a difference. The tiny thickness in thread can make an overall difference. Hope this helps you. Beautiful block!
    Helen T.

  22. #22
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    Dog House Mom - you explained what always happens to me when joining regular pieced (scant 1/4 seam) block to a paper pieced block - I think the solution would be to use a 1/4 seam on all the blocks. Thanks for thinking about this and yes your block is lovely but some of us need the center to match up. What can I say LOL

  23. #23
    Senior Member Termi's Avatar
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    Your block is very beautiful! I know what you mean about the points in the center. I'm very critical of my work too. But with paper piecing I've learned to cut what will be the outside edges of the block about 1/16" bigger. That's helped when my block turns out a smidgen too small.

  24. #24
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Wow, love the block! I can see the small gap in the close-up pic, but it's close enough to perfect to me!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Johanna Fritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post

    If you DON'T sew on the 1/4" seam line - you lose your points in the center of the block!!!!

    How can I fix this???
    I have made pinwheel units that are paper pieced, where 8 quarter units are all meeting in the middle. I always sew on the sewn line. You never sew past the sewn line (back tack or spin the unit North to South, facing you, so you are sewing back over the stitch line without having to use the "go backwards" switch. If you sew this way, you should be fine.

    Also, when you join units at the center, (as in your example) - you join 2 units together to make 1/2 of a square. Start sewing in the center, where pinwheel is, and sew outwards to the edge of the block. Join the other 2 in the same way to make another 1/2 of your final square. Then join the 2 halves together, making sure to sew right on the line, and start from the center. I have a mini light on the side of my machine, shining at the needle. June Tailor makes "Perfect Piecing" (at JoAnn's). It is a very thin, almost interfacing like material, that you can leave in if you like. You don't need to flip it over to see thru it. There is also "wash away" paper that disappears. Both of these work with my mini 4" and 6" pinwheels. Good luck.

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