My quilt project this week, Nightlites, had lots of matching star points. Timid quilters often avoid patterns that involve so much matching, sensing the frustration that lies ahead. It’s a love-hate relationship, I admit, but for me a relationship worth pursuing.
When I decide to make a more complex quilt design, I take a few extra steps to insure that my points are sharp, crisp, and matched up. Here is the method that works for me.
If I’m sewing a point that doesn’t have to match up with another point on the underside, I stitch 2-3 threads to the right of the X intersection of the seam allowance. This takes into account the rollover effect and keeps the point sharp.
Matching two points from the back side of a block can be a challenge since you can’t always see the intersection. Additionally, the second point is under the top block so it’s impossible to know whether it will be in position or not even if you have pinned the seam.
In the case of matching two points, I pin and pre-sew across the intersections (about two inches) with a 4.0mm stitch length. I then check the front side to see whether the points are matched and sharp. Sullivan’s Glue Pins can also be used to accomplish the same thing. If all the points match, I sew my regular seam allowance and stitch length, simply sewing over the pre-stitched areas which now serve as guides.
If the points don’t match, I pull the top thread out and start over again. When sewing long rows of stars and other design points, this can take some patience. In the end, however, I’m rewarded with sharp points and perfectly matched stars—a good feeling.
I can always choose not to invest the effort and have mismatched points. The problem is my eyes will go immediately to the errors and drive me a little crazy each time I view the quilt—not a good feeling.
This may explain why wonky blocks are so popular. Who wants to spend all their quilting time matching points? But occasionally exercises in precision quilting can benefit the overall experience.
I hope you find these quilting tips helpful.