I always thought I was a pretty decent piecer, that things more or less fit together as they should and lay the way they were supposed to.
Then I got my longarm and started practicing on some real quilts. And that’s when I realized I needed to actually, you know, learn how to piece well. Now that I was beginning to quilt the real deal, I noticed just how much wonky borders, big seams, and ripply blocks kind of suck.
I’m a self-taught quilter, so to help fix my precision piecing I’ve been reading Sally Collins’ The Art of Machine Piecing (kindle version), and have been rethinking some of my piecing techniques. I’m going to try using a dry iron from here on out, for starters, and I’m also going to try the cutting technique she discusses, where you line up the black line on your ruler on top of the cut line. There’s so much there, though, I need to really go slowly and make sure I remember it all. Her work is all tiny (these blocks range from 3 to 6 inches finished), but I’m considering making some of the blocks for the practice.
Speaking of electronics, I just downloaded an app that helps solve a problem I’ve had. I’ve been wanting an app that would allow me to draw quilting designs over photos of quilts and blocks I’ve taken so that I could see how it would look, in general. There are many apps out there that do this in the $10 range for the iPad, but this one, Tracing Paper, is $2.99. and does exactly what I need: traces over pictures, I can put a grid over it if I choose, can change the shades of the pencil line, email the designs, etc. The “lite” version is free.