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Thread: What is your favorite book of quilt block patterns?

  1. #1
    Super Member Veronica's Avatar
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    Can you tell me what is your favorite book for quilt block patterns?
    I'm looking for one that has traditional quilt block that doesn't use a scant quarter inch.
    I have so much trouble with the scant quarter inch, my block are always off.
    I know that it's my error but it's just frustrating, it's taking the fun out of making them.
    When I need a 12 inch finished block it comes out 12" unfinished, not 12 1/2" as required.
    I need one that will allow me to use a quarter inch seam, so that I will stop wasting fabric, money and time.
    Thank you in advance for your answer.

  2. #2
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    This is tough for me b/c I don't have that many books of just patterns anymore.
    A good one is/was Maggie Malone's. I don't even remember the name of it.
    You could check your local library for books of this type.

  3. #3
    Marion Jean's Avatar
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    Have you tried adjusting your 1/4" seam on scrap fabric? sometimes just a stitch width adjustment makes a difference. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Marion Jean's Avatar
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    Have you tried adjusting your 1/4" seam on scrap fabric? sometimes just a stitch width adjustment makes a difference. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Super Member ksea's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Susieallaboutquilts. Maggie Malone's books are great. Here is the cover of one of hers that I just love, I can't ever imagine needing more than 5,500 block designs. I purchase this new at Barnes and Nobles for $24.99 but am sure that you could find it cheaper on Amazon.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica
    When I need a 12 inch finished block it comes out 12" not
    12 1/2" as required..
    That's the way it's supposed to work.

    You mean the unfinished block is 12" not 12.5"?

    Unless you want to work on improving your 1/4" seam - and the problem is not necessarily the sewing, it could be the cutting and pressing as well that are contributing to the block being off - then I'd suggest applique - needleturn, fusing, freezer paper. :wink: :wink:
    The seam allowance issue doesn't come into play so much with those methods.

    Really, I don't mean to be flip, but at some point you're just going to have to figure out a way to slowly master it.

    Sally Collin's book - The Art of Machine Piecing - is a sort of a classic bible. I learned a ton from that book. I wasn't interested in making 3.5" blocks like she does, but her methods and techniques are incredibly helpful. Basically, they help you understand why you're off - and how to check at every step to make sure you stay on track. It is a bit anal, but it's great stuff to know.

    People can suggest PostIts and all kinds of notions, but you really have to understand your equipment - the machine, the rulers and how the thickness of the lines affects your cutting, and your iron.

    So the issue isn't the block pattern, it's really improving your technique. And I'm not talking about the quilt police. If you want to make traditional blocks, and NOT lose every point and be off every seam, then at some point you have to work to master the basics. :wink:

  7. #7
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    see if your library has or can get you '501 QUILT BLOCKS A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork and Applique'. it's put out by Better Homes and Gardens.

    it has a colored plate of each block and very easy to understand instructions. i like it because it doesn't bog you down with any information you don't need. for online blocks, go straight to

    http://www.quilterscache.com/QuiltBlocksGalore.html

    they have the widest selection in one place for every kind of method.

  8. #8
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    If all your blocks are 12" instead of 12.5"; it doesn't matter. Consistency is what you need so if all your seams are a hair more than 1/4"--it works out fine. If the problem is in your cutting--again--as long as you cut them all a smidge too small--it's ok. If the problem is in your pressing--that needs to be fixed.

    As for good books--I agree about Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs being one of the first I purchased.

    Paper-piecing might be the method for you. You don't worry about scants and 7/8's. You just sew on the line. Wrapping your brain around the flipping the paper over and sewing on the "wrong" side takes a little getting used to but once you get it; you'll have points so sharp they'll scratch glass!

  9. #9
    Marion Jean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica
    When I need a 12 inch finished block it comes out 12" not
    12 1/2" as required..
    That's the way it's supposed to work.

    You mean the unfinished block is 12" not 12.5"?

    Unless you want to work on improving your 1/4" seam - and the problem is not necessarily the sewing, it could be the cutting and pressing as well that are contributing to the block being off - then I'd suggest applique - needleturn, fusing, freezer paper. :wink: :wink:
    The seam allowance issue doesn't come into play so much with those methods.

    Really, I don't mean to be flip, but at some point you're just going to have to figure out a way to slowly master it.

    Sally Collin's book - The Art of Machine Piecing - is a sort of a classic bible. I learned a ton from that book. I wasn't interested in making 3.5" blocks like she does, but her methods and techniques are incredibly helpful. Basically, they help you understand why you're off - and how to check at every step to make sure you stay on track. It is a bit anal, but it's great stuff to know.

    People can suggest PostIts and all kinds of notions, but you really have to understand your equipment - the machine, the rulers and how the thickness of the lines affects your cutting, and your iron.

    So the issue isn't the block pattern, it's really improving your technique. And I'm not talking about the quilt police. If you want to make traditional blocks, and NOT lose every point and be off every seam, then at some point you have to work to master the basics. :wink:
    Sally Collins really is a perfectionist, but her techniques are worthwhile - a bit time-consuming, but beautiful results. Sometimes I'm just in too much of a hurry - need to sloooow down. LOL

  10. #10
    Marion Jean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica
    When I need a 12 inch finished block it comes out 12" not
    12 1/2" as required..
    That's the way it's supposed to work.

    You mean the unfinished block is 12" not 12.5"?

    Unless you want to work on improving your 1/4" seam - and the problem is not necessarily the sewing, it could be the cutting and pressing as well that are contributing to the block being off - then I'd suggest applique - needleturn, fusing, freezer paper. :wink: :wink:
    The seam allowance issue doesn't come into play so much with those methods.

    Really, I don't mean to be flip, but at some point you're just going to have to figure out a way to slowly master it.

    Sally Collin's book - The Art of Machine Piecing - is a sort of a classic bible. I learned a ton from that book. I wasn't interested in making 3.5" blocks like she does, but her methods and techniques are incredibly helpful. Basically, they help you understand why you're off - and how to check at every step to make sure you stay on track. It is a bit anal, but it's great stuff to know.

    People can suggest PostIts and all kinds of notions, but you really have to understand your equipment - the machine, the rulers and how the thickness of the lines affects your cutting, and your iron.

    So the issue isn't the block pattern, it's really improving your technique. And I'm not talking about the quilt police. If you want to make traditional blocks, and NOT lose every point and be off every seam, then at some point you have to work to master the basics. :wink:
    Sally Collins really is a perfectionist, but her techniques are worthwhile - a bit time-consuming, but beautiful results. Sometimes I'm just in too much of a hurry - need to sloooow down. LOL

  11. #11
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica
    Can you tell me what is your favorite book for quilt block patterns?
    I'm looking for one that has traditional quilt block that doesn't use a scant quarter inch.
    I have so much trouble with the scant quarter inch, my block are always off.
    I know that it's my error but it's just frustrating, it's taking the fun out of making them.
    When I need a 12 inch finished block it comes out 12" unfinished, not 12 1/2" as required.
    I need one that will allow me to use a quarter inch seam, so that I will stop wasting fabric, money and time.
    Thank you in advance for your answer.
    The difference between a scant " and a regular " is only about a sixteenth of an inch and would not result in you losing a half inch off your unfinished block measurement. Test the width of your " seams when you use your piecing foot. You could just need to adjust your needle position.

    If I read your question correctly, you are looking for something that shows you how to sew an accurate 12" unfinished block, is that correct? A book such a Malone's is simply a compilation of block designs, not a how-to book at all. There are many tutorials online on accurate seam allowances, try searching through some of those for help.

    And stick with it...quilting IS fun and once you get the basics down pat, you'll have a ball!!

  12. #12
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I often use the "It's OK if you sit on my Quilt" book because it has the blocks broken down into a grid pattern. For the 12" swaps I usually use the 6-patch blocks and double the size of each increment.

    As for the 1/4" seam, I think it's important to KNOW where you need to align your fabrics with the foot to get a clean seam.

  13. #13
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    My favorite book is Carol Doaks "50 fabulous paper pieced stars". Its probably the only book I may actually wear out!

  14. #14
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    I have the Better Homes and Gardens book "501 Quilt Blocks" and I really love it.

    But you have to make all your own templates from the block diagrams they show, so if that doesn't appeal to you, you might want to look for something else. I suggest going to your local library and trying out different books they have before buying one.

  15. #15
    Super Member Veronica's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your advice.
    I know that the problem is the way I'm sewing the blocks together, maybe even the cutting and pinning.
    So, I'm slowing down and checking everything twice.
    Ordered a few of your book suggestions from the library, to see which ones may be best for me.

  16. #16
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Also if you have a Half-Price Books near you they often have some of the basic books.

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