Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Spotlight Wednesday

Today we are going to put the spotlight on one of the Quilters Fab Four Feet. And this weeks one is proper little workhorse.
Today we are looking at the humble quarter inch foot.
This foot is a real must have for patchwork. Yes you can manage without it.
You could use a piece of tape to mark the quarter inch.
You could use the measurements on the base plate of your machine,
or you could move your needle across to quarter inch.
And all of these ideas will work to a degree. And indeed when you first start piecing your patchwork blocks these ideas will help you get started. But once you know you are going to be a patchworker then your really need to consider investing in a quarter inch foot.
Luckily it is one of the least expensive feet to buy. It's only small. But boy will it make a huge difference to the accuracy of your piecing.
When I first began patchwork and quilting an experienced quilter told me the most important two things about piecing where accurate cutting and accurate piecing - that's stitching quarter inch seams. And it has proven to be the most valuable patchwork advice I have ever been given.

So to re-cap that's accurate cutting which means learning to use a rotary cutter.
And accurate quarter inch seams and that mean getting a quarter inch foot.
And when you consider it, it makes perfect sense. When making a patchwork block if you have just four seams, and your cutting is out by just an eighth of an inch and your piecing is out by just an eighth of an inch in a 12" block you would be out by an 1".
Mind you if you are in the market to buy a new sewing machine for patchwork and quilting. You will find many 'quilters' models come with the 'Fab Four Quilters Feet'

So, the first picture is of me stitching my half log cabin blocks 'factory piecing' or 'chain piecing' style - and that's a bit of a sneek preview because factory or chain piecing is what next Mondays video will show you. But in this picture you can see I'm using  my quarter inch foot. You can also see the piece of tape I have put on the stitch plate just to show you what that would look like.

 And these two pictures (above and below) show it in close up. Each machine manufacturer produces it's own version of the quarter inch foot. This one is Bernina's. It's rather unique in that it has notches (the little v shapes you can see three on either side of the foot) Each of these v's is a quarter of an inch. Which means you can easily see where a quarter of an inch is in all directions from your needle. Useful if you need to stop quarter of an inch from the end or in from the beginning.

The picture below is of Janome's quarter inch foot on the left and the Bernina one on the right.  The black arm on the side of the Janome foot acts as a guide and can be useful although sometimes gets in the way. And I have been know to push a piece of paper in the side of the arm to hold it out of the way.

Anyways, now you know how useful a quarter inch foot is please consider getting one - and if you have one and don't use it please give this little foot a try.
Yours in stitches, Joy

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