Nine-Patch Square Dance Quilt-Along: Week 5
Week 5 of the 2021 American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt-Along starts on 3/22. The assignment is to assemble corner units. Here are some helpful tips. See more about the Quilt-Along here.
This week, we’re assembling our corner units. Now there are a lot of corner units in this quilt – more than 100, so there’s no time to waste in assembling them. We wanted to share a little trick with you that will make assemble these units faster and with little thread waste: chain piecing! Many of you may be familiar with chain piecing, but we wanted to share a few tips for really making the most of this technique in this quilt.
For those who don’t know, chain piecing the act of piecing multiples of the same units all in a row without cutting the thread. To chain piece, start sewing your units together. When you get close to the edge of your first pair, get the next units ready. Sew off the end of your first units and feed the next pair through without breaking the thread. No stopping is necessary, but you may want to slow down. If you do need to stop, stop with your needle in the down position. We find it most helpful to use the 1/4" seam foot, so we can get the most accurate seams. And if you're sewing units that already have seams like this Four-Patch, pay attention to the seams as they feed through your machine, so you don’t end up twisting them.
If you have to stop in the middle of chain piecing, say for the night, stop sewing halfway through a unit, put your needle in the needle down position and then turn your machine off. Then, the next time you're ready to sew, you can just start right where you left off without breaking the chain.
When you’re done chain-piecing units, you can either cut the threads with a scissors or use a small thread cutter. Or you can also leave the units pieced together, iron them, and then bring the chain back over to your machine to piece the next set of units together. It saves a step!