Americana – In Pieces

I’ve found through my last few projects that I like to complete quilts in an assembly type process, in other words, I complete a step with all of the fabrics or blocks and then move to the next step. This seems to help me stay organized and find stopping places that don’t make it as inconvenient to put all of my supplies away when my batcave turns back into an office for the work week. It might also, have to do with some sort of undiagnosed neurosis, but what we don’t know won’t hurt us, right?

One of the hardest things about this pattern is that it was pretty fabric specific. So, instead of calling the fabrics A, B, C, etc. the author described the fabrics she used. Since I was using my on fabric, it took quite a while to figure out what and how much to cut of each fabric. Let’s just say I ended up with a fair amount of extra pieces.

Next, I spent a decent amount of time laying out the fabrics, sort of a dry run for sewing the blocks.  I wanted it to have a scrappy look, so I tried to mix up the fabrics and keep like colors separated a bit. 

Even if all of your fabric is cut precisely (which isn’t super likely), when you’re piecing, it’s pretty rare to stitch the pieces and keep everything square and like-sized.  To make up for any differences in size and shape between blocks, at some point – before you stitch all of the blocks together – you have to square them.  This is where it gets a bit complicated.  When I pieced the baby quilt for my husband’s cousin earlier this year, I squared the components too early, which meant I had to repeat the process at a couple of different stages.  Each time I resquared them I lost a little more fabric, which diminished the size of the blocks more than I would have liked.  I also, simply squared them, without thinking through the relative size of the different blocks.  So, when I stitched the blocks together for the quilt top I was constantly fighting the different block sizes, making it a real struggle to get straight-ish lines and an overall squar-ish top.  It turned out all right in the end, but I definitely learned a bit in the process.

For the Americana quilt I wanted to remedy this, but I was worried if I waited too long to square the components, they would come out all wonky and lopsided.  So, I decided to wait to square until all of the block components were together, but before I added the sashing and borders.

I definitely had second thoughts along the way, especially as I started seeing some of the inconsistency between block components, but this is a learning process, so I decided to stay the course and see my little experiment through to the end.

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