Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Sixth Times the Charm Crib Quilt - Alternative Piecing Method
When a friend noticed I was making the Sixth Time's the Charm Crib Quilt from Handmade Beginnings, she sent me a heads up that it creates a big lot of scraps. I asked her if she were to make it again, would she do it different? Her hearty affirmative was the push I needed to create an alternative piecing method
Anna Maria Horner readily admits that this quilt creates lots of scraps. In fact, she even has another project in the book, the Nappy Scrap Pillow, that is designed to make good use of those scraps. But, I have no desire to make a pillow for this particular nursery, and I really, really hate making lots of pieced scraps. Pieced scraps just aren't very versatile.
If you follow Anna's directions in her book, you make three rectangles from your fabric strips and then fold and cut those to make two triangles from each rectangle. At the end of the day, you'll have six usable triangles, plus the equivalent of more than three triangles worth of pieced scraps. Yowzers.
To minimize extra piecing, I created my triangles via this alternative template method.
First I calculated the desired finished dimensions of the triangles. Next I created a triangle template guide for piecing. Unfortunately, my cutting mat is not big enough, so I made the triangle template on my dining table using a carpenter's tape measure and my 60 degree ruler. This was much easier than I thought it would be!
Double checking each corner with my ruler ensured a perfect equilateral triangle.
When the triangle was roughly pieced, I aligned the bottom straight edge to the bottom edge of the triangle template and secured it with masking tape. I stabilized the rest of the triangle with a bit more tape, since my table in slippery.
Using my ruler and fabric pencil, I traced the desired edge of the triangle on top of my work. Then, it was as simple as sliding in my mini cutting mat and making the cut along the pencil mark.
At first I was fairly paranoid that I would mess up the triangle angles. But, after the first one came out correct, I relaxed and started enjoying the process. I pieced all four larger triangles required by the pattern on Sunday using the template method.
Today I decided to piece the remaining two triangles (which are a slightly different size) via the method outlined in the book. I was surprised to see that it really wasn't faster because of the time spent piecing large sections that weren't even needed. I was also pretty nervous when cutting the triangle shape out of the large rectangle that I would cut the wrong angle, ruining my work in one fell swoop. But, happily, that did not happen. (And apparently, triangles make me nervous.)
After trying both methods, I would 100% go with my triangle template method if I were to make this quilt again. I don't know that one method is simpler than the other - that's not it. I just don't like to do more piecing and cutting than is necessary, regardless of whatever future uses those pieced scraps may inspire.
P.S. I have not included the desired finished dimensions of these triangles out of respect for Ms. Horner. If you'd like to make this quilt, please reference a copy of her book. There are many lovely projects inside. It is my go to book when sewing baby gifts!