Thanks to everyone for the warm welcomes!
Problem: no matter how carefully I cut and sew my smaller units when I join them the seam allowences are usually less than 1/4 ". Also triangle points and right angles and very difficult to match as in a nine patch made of squares and half square triangles. Should I square up everything as I go? If so about how much larger than instructions say should I cut. The only place I've seen this done online, on tv or in books is on Elinor Burns show. Thanks.
Maybe you could adjust your needle position, if you can move it, so that your seams come out 1/4". If you can't move your needle, mark the throat with a piece of painter's tape or the glow line tape (it clings without adhesive -- it's what you can put on your rulers to spot your lines easily). If you're cutting according to a pattern, your problem probably lies in the seams not being accurate.
It sounds like the problemI lies in your seam allowance. I take one of my rulers and lay the quarter inch mark right at the needle point and then mark with tape or a marker at the edge of the ruler. Do I remember correctly that you have a Baby Lock? If so they make a quarter inch piecing foot that has a guide on the edge of the foot. Place your ruler against the edge of the foot and move your needle position to the right until it lines up with the quarter inch on your ruler.
I square my block "units" up to the correct finished size after I have finished piecing the block. Does that make sense???
You're right, I've got a new babylock (with a quarter inch foot). I double checked the measurement on the machine,foot and the seam allowance. Both are ok. After I posted I saw on Answers.com that they square up their smaller pieced units , like half square triangles, rather than fussing with exacting measurments. Maybe I'll try that.
Good luck. You will find the trick that works for you.
David, also be careful if you are press as you go with an iron. Remember to "press" and not "iron" the pieces or you may stretch them out of shape.
Melissa http://ardeasnest.blogspot.com"Love isn't what makes the world go round, it's what makes the ride worthwhile."
I also like to pin my intersections and points. I know that many quilters don't, but I find that this works for me. Also, forget the need to press all seam to one side. I see this as an antiquated quilting technique. When I have lots of points in a block, I press the seams open as I stitch the units together. The bulk is redistributed and makes for easier matching of seams with crisper points. Also, sew with point of a unit facing up, so that you can make adjustments as you stitch the seam. I also may adjust my units to less than a 1/4" seam if it will cut off a point. I may also stitch from the middle out, then, flip and sew the other side, when one unit is wider than another, so that I can ease in the fullness. The wider unit always goes on the bottom.
The more accurate the piecing, the easier a block goes together. Especially when there are lots of pieces in a block.
Just as a note: some longarm quilters will tell you they don't like open seams because it can be a problem when quilting.
Hi David! I am no expert as I am a newbie but I had the opposite problem in that my 1/4" seams were larger than they should have been. I took a ruler to my needle too and found the 1/4" mark, then moved my needle over a notch or 2 "for good measure". They came out much better after that. That, and I had to slow down and think about what I was doing as I was sewing. Since I'm used to speed seaming for skirts, etc. it was an adjustment to try and be exact.
What Babylock did you get? I have an Ellure Plus and love, love, love mine. I bought it last June. I bought it for the embroidery function but that was before I fell in love with quilting. This past weekend I picked up the 1/4" foot with a guide but have not tried it out yet. Good luck with your piecing!