I remember when I found out that most quilters sew a scant 1/4" inch seam. Aha! It felt like being officially initiated. And suddenly my blocks weren't annoyingly small... instead they'd finish just that little bit too large that I could neatly trim down to size.
Since that revelation, I've made all sorts of blocks in all sorts of sizes, and I've come to see that it isn't so easy as "always sew a scant 1/4" seam". Actually, sometimes you need a scant 1/4" and sometimes you need a true 1/4". And, happily, there is a method to the madness, which we'll be exploring during our precise piecing theme in the Penny Sampler.
As I worked on lots of small, traditional blocks for the Penny Sampler I saw also how little details like pressing seams open vs. to the side and even the thickness of sewing thread can effect accuracy. Now, I don't always want to work like this - striving for no-trim, near-perfect blocks. A lot of times I prefer to casually accept the not-so-right angles and slightly chopped points. If I'm having fun and the end result is pleasing to the eye, why fuss over the details?
But, other times I'm in a mood. You know the one? The one where doing it juuuuust right feels good. Real good. That's when those charming 6" traditional blocks (a la Farmer's Wife) start enticing me as a challenge.
The Penny Sampler includes a good number of traditional blocks, building on the folk heritage vibe of the quilt. Students will learn how to sew tried-and-true favorites like the half square triangle, hourglass, flying geese and diamonds. The smallest ones (the Penny Candy) finish at 3" square.
When I had got past the initial mental block of thinking all my Penny Sampler blocks would be the same size, I chose to make some of the more intricate traditional blocks larger. Makes sewing them a whole lot more fun! This is the untrimmed corner of my Ribbon Square block, which finishes at 12". So many pieces!
My personal favorite I call "Snowflake". It doesn't have too many pieces, but is nice and sharp with good movement. Thinking on making a whole quilt of snowflakes someday...
But then I'd like to do that with more than one block in this quilt. So much to explore!