Saturday, 7 January 2017

One Eighth is a Challenge

Yesterday evening I finished this little quilt, and entered it into a challenge. Here is how that came about.

Recently Helen of Archie the Wonder Dog posted a tutorial as part of the 2016 Quarter 4 Finishalong on how to sew an accurate 1/4" strip. I remembered having done that technique before as part of my City & Guilds. But because my sewing machine foot is different, it worked out a bit differently for me.

Helen (or Archie as I tend to think of her/him - sorry, this can be confusing, I hope you don't mind, Helen) showed how you use your 1/4" foot to follow the previous stitching rather than the cut edge to get better accuracy when sewing a strip so narrow. Her foot has two 1/4" sides either side of the needle, but my foot has a 1/4" guide to the right of the needle, and a 1/8" guide to the left. This results in me having to turn my work with the cut edge to the left rather than to the right as usual.

Which made me think that if I turned it the usual way, I'd be guiding with my 1/8" side of the presser foot... with that a challenge was born!

And so I started to limber up with a test piece, sewing a 1/4" strip, soon followed by a 1/8" strip:

In the corner you can see what my 1/4" presser foot looks like.

In the mean time I was thinking of another challenge: Project Quilting.
This is a challenge where a theme is given after which you have a week (yes, only seven days!) to think up and finish - completely finish - a project within that theme. There is a link-up, and much encouragement online, all in all great fun. I have never done a challenge like that before, but had been thinking that this year I would take part if I could. The first theme was given on January 1st - Eight is Great. But what to make... it was already day 3.

Suddenly it clicked, 1/8" and eight are quite related... So I started with the initial idea to make eight blocks, each with eight insets of 1/8" wide 1/8" apart, made in different colours and the same white background. It would make a lovely small quilt.

I started and made my first block. Do you know how much time it takes to make a block with eight 1/8" inset strips, each 1/8" apart?! That makes fifteen 1/8" strips in a row! Sewing, pressing, trimming, sewing again... I had to rethink!

In the end I made four blocks, 6" unfinished (5 1/2" finished size), each with eight 1/8" inset strips in different configurations. Three blocks also include (a few or many) background strips of 1/8". After the first block with parallel strips, the other blocks evolved as I worked.

I auditioned sashing fabrics:

...had some setback... Yes, I unpicked that - twice - ...

...auditioned border fabrics...

...and after two days not doing much else, finished it off!

I turned the edges in and quilted it "in the ditch" around each block and between the sashing and the outer border. The edge has an extra line of quilting, and each block has a little quilting in it, though because of the size I felt it didn't need too much:

I even added an extra set of eight 1/8" strips into the border:

And there you have it, thanks to my youngest who held it up for photography with only a little persuasion...

Now all it needs is a space to hang!

Linked up (and you can vote for 10 favourite entries there, too) with Project Quilting challenge 1 of season 8 (1/8 again...) because

Eight is Great, One Eighth is a Challenge!

Name: "one eighth is a challenge"
Total size: 18" x 18"
Machine pieced, and machine quilted.
All cotton fabrics, cotton wadding, cotton thread.
Backing: calico (muslin in US terms), including a sleeve for hanging.
When: 5-6 January 2017
Where: Rural North County Cork, Rep. of Ireland

And I'm adding the Project Quilting button to the side bar so you can go and check it out for yourself...



  1. Your finished piece is WONDERFUL!

  2. It's fabulous!!! I'm so pleased my tutorial came at just the right moment! And no, I don't mind being called Archie ;o)

  3. WOW! I really love your finished entry...such patience and persistence to piece such tiny strips!

  4. This is fantastic! I saw you auditioning borders on instagram and think you have definitely made the right choice. This seems like a technique with lots of possibilities.

  5. This is incredible! I'm saving this to go check out that quarter inch strip tutorial when I have a bit more time! WOWZA! Thanks for joining in on the challenge!

  6. Love what you made with thin strips. Very stylish!

  7. We both had the skinny strip idea this time, in two completely different directions! I love everything about this - it looks like a quilt I would have made, but you beat me to it :)

  8. I didn't realize until I read your blog post that you actually made the fabric to make the quilt! I am fascinated by the tiny straight lines! Beautiful!

  9. It is fantastic! Congrats in getting it done so fast, that is amazing too!


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