Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips

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I have finished the second quilt top for this shirt-quilt project. Once
again, it is lovely, and once again, the strips have come out different
lengths.  But upon further examination, the situation is mysteriouser and
mysteriouser.

Again, the design is six Wild Goose strips alternating with seven strips of
sashing and side-borders.  The top of the quilt top is perfectly straight.
If I use a T-square across the uneven bottom, squaring up it with the
side-borders, it looks like the right bottom corner is four inches longer
than the left bottom corner.

Thank heavens I didn't go ahead and cut on this chalk-line.  Instead, I
measured the lengths of the rightmost and leftmost Wild Goose strips.  They
are exactly the same length!!!  And the Wild Goose strips in between are
differing lengths.

So I suspect it's an issue of how the quilt will block when its assembled --  
the whole quilt-top is kittywompus right now because of the shirt fabrics,
patchwork, and assembly seams pulling every which way.

(1)  It seems to me that the _safest_ approach is to measure each Wild Goose
strip and cut them all the same length (truncating the bottoms of some of
the Goose blocks in the process).  Thoughts?

(2)  But if I do (1), it looks like I'll be cutting the bottom of the
sashing strips at angles between each Wild Goose strip.  Thoughts?

TIA,
ep
(Incidentally, I never trimmed this problem out of the first quilt top I
finished, so I still have my options open on how to treat the first as well
as this second one.)



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Is it possible the strips are shifting as you sew them together? I think
I would start by measuring each of the six Wild Goose strips (before
attaching the sashing and side borders). What's the variance in lengths?
  Ideally they would all be the same, but the shirt fabric probably
isn't as cooperative as 100% cotton! Hopefully they're somewhat close
though.

If they're fairly close in length, I'd determine the average length and
cut my sashing and side borders that length. Pin each Wild Goose strip
to a sashing or side border, easing as necessary. You should then end up
with six sets that are the same length. Then sew two sets together,
again easing as necessary, etc. until you have the whole top pieced.

And if this is how you've already proceeded with assembly, you can just
say, "Well, THAT wasn't much help," and we'll try to figure something
else out.

Is it possible to post a picture on Facebook so we can look at what
you're dealing with? Maybe we can figure something out from that.
--
Louise in Iowa
nieland1390@mchsi dot com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Sounds like your shirt fabrics are stretchy! What happens if you hang
the top on a design wall, so it's all spread out, with pins at the top
of every vertical seam, and just let it relax for a couple of days?
See if that changes the measurements. And measure before and after
while it's on the wall.
Roberta in D

On Thu, 13 May 2010 16:16:24 -0500, "Edna Pearl"

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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


I'm even more mystified today than yesterday.  My measurements from
yesterday seem impossible, intuitively.  My SO is better at math and
geometry than I am, and he's mystified too.  We have a floor with square
tiles, so we're going to lay it out on that, see if the grid of the floor
gives us any hints about what's going on, and measure the quilt-top every
which way.  Hanging it on the wall to let it block out might well be a good
idea -- thanks.

There's nothing to photograph.  The photo would show that the right corner
hangs lower than the left corner over the edge of the table, but that's only
part of the story; it's misleading. A photo can't show that the far-right
strip is 84 inches long, and the far-left strip is. too.

These problems with the shirt fabrics are so time-consuming.  I just zip
right through making these quilt-tops until I get them fully assembled
(except for top and bottom borders) and start trying to figure out the best
way to address the irregularities.  Then I just stall in frustration and
head-scratching.

ep


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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


I'm thinking you need to go back to the basics and review yourself step by
step.  When you said you 'zip thru' it gave me a clue.

Set aside what you've done and start fresh with a single block- use scrap
fabric if you like.  As you add each piece of fabric press it very carefully
to not get any tiny pleats and so the fabric doesn't get stretched out of
shape by the iron and/or steam.  Then measure and be certain everything is
what it's supposed to be.  Then stitch the next step, press carefully and
measure again.  It would be impossible to make a wrong sized block if you do
it this way.  Then make a second block and repeat.  If everything is working
out then proceed- continuing to measure.  If something is off stop right
there and determine what happened to make it the wrong size.

As you make each and every unit- and after each step- and stop and measure
to be certain your piecing is accurate you will discover what went wrong on
your earlier piecing attempts.  Normally this would be overkill but right
now you need to analyze what's happening- even the tiniest error can
multiply and become a BIG error.  Constant measuring would have to be less
frustrating than what you are experiencing right now.  If everything is
accurate at every stage then the borders will have to go on with no hitches-
it couldn't be any other way but perfect.

I'm stumped, but then I can't picture what's happening with your project.
But measuring each and every step so that the errors can't compound
themselves is a good start.

I hope you can find what's going on before it spoils quilting for you.

Leslie & The Furbabies in MO.

PS:  Another thought- when you are ironing the fabric with starch are you
stretching the fabric- with the starch holding it in the stretched out
shape?  It might be snapping back to it's original size and shape after you
start handling it and cutting and sewing?

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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


That should be "measure," not "easure."  Sheesh.

ep

<snip> plaquettes, collar points, pockets.  None of my blocks are the "wrong
size"
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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


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No harm done, Sandy, and I always appreciate your creative input.  Sorry for
taking it the wrong way  :-)

ep



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


If anybody is getting the impression I think it was a mistake to take on
this project or I regret it or am not enjoying it, please allow me to say
"no!"  It has been really rewarding, and I'm learning a lot from it, and I'm
very pleased with how well these necessarily quirky quilt-tops are coming
out, overall.  I expected technical problems from the start, I warned the
client about the unpredictability of such problems from the start, and she
doesn't care.

Far from regretting this project, I am *delighted* to think of the families
of six grandchildren with six quilts that *I* made, which commemorate their
grandfather and will be passed on to *their* grandchildren.  I can't think
of any comparable legacy I could leave, being childless myself.  It is
unlikely that I will ever get such an opportunity to create such a special
group of heirlooms.  It means a lot to me, no matter how crazy you think I
am for doing it  :-)   Just because *you* wouldn't want to do this doesn't
mean it's some kind of mistake for *me* to be doing it.

And please know that my asking for input like any other member of this group
doesn't mean I'm complaining, any more than you are complaining when you ask
for ideas.

Now, if I can just do a good job on the layering and machine-quilting . . .
. .  :-)

ep



Re: Lesson learned - Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Boy, did I just learn a huge, gi-normous lesson.  I blocked the two
quilt-tops I've completed out on the floor with my SO's help, tugging to
line up the edges with the square floor tiles and weighting the edges down
with soup cans.  Lo, the measurements of the lengths of the Goose Chase
strips are dramatically different from how they measured out on the table,
which is smaller than the quilt top.  And I'm talking about measuring
*several* times on the table and twice on the floor.

Why?  I don't know!  Something about the weight of the fabric hanging over
the edges of the table?  The tugging to square it up on the floor?  Who
cares?  The news is good!!!  Specifically --

The results on the floor are much more consistent with what I would have
expected before I started this whole project.  The variations in length
among the Goose strips is more like 3/4" than the 2-3" I was seeing on the
table.  Such consistency makes sense:  One would intuitively expect such
similarity if one assumes that each strip of 27 Geese will share, on
average, more or less the same distortions as the other strips -- the same
number of button plaquettes, the same distribution of fabric weights, etc.

When the tops are spread out on the floor, you can see the shifts in the
sizes of the Goose blocks as you look up and down the strips -- as much as
an inch difference in how they appear to line up from strip to strip -- as
the weights of the shirt fabrics change.  There is indeed a lot of variation
in the sizes of the blocks during assembly, but it apparently tends to
average out over the lengths of the six 27-block strips.

Now I have to figure out how to insure my quilt tops stay blocked square
during the layering and basting process, or whether that will just happen on
its own.  Hmmmmm. . . .  Thoughts?

All that time and worry wasted.  Another lesson learned:  Have more faith in
the process.  I seem to develop more of such confidence that it will all
work out (or quilt out  :-) with each quilt.

I'm posting this follow-up in case somebody else might learn from my
fumbling around with this:  When in doubt, measure flat on the floor.  I'll
bet a lot of you already have tales to tell on this issue.

ep

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Re: Lesson learned - Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


For a similar reason, "they" say to not let fabric hang over the side
of a table when  you are cutting it.

Bev in TX

Re: Lesson learned - Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


LOL - I wish I had heard or read that somewhere before I measured my quilt
tops ten times on the table!

I didn't measure the overhang, actually, I measured  the length of the
table, then pulled the overhang up on the table and measured it flat.  But
it seems to me that's not much different from measuring the overhang.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that moving the quilt-top
about on the table could very well lead to a different measurement than when
you get it properly laid out flat and squared up.  My SO is not surprised --  
a big portion of his masters thesis was devoted to issues of measurement, so
he knows how tricky it can be.  Now I'm saying "Duh!"

I'm thinking that the way to approach any trapezoidal quilt tops like this
second one is to truly block the quilt top just before I layer and baste
it -- lay it down, wet it down, and gently tug it square, just like I would
if I was blocking a piece of needlework or a finished quilt.  Then lay a
sheet over it and turn fans on it overnight to dry.

But I worry that such blocking may be defeated by the process of smoothing
while layering.  I'm still thinking!  All I can do is the best I can  :-)

ep

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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Sorry you are having such a time with the geese.  I hate flying geese and
avoid them when I can.  Any chance these would help:
http://www.trianglesonaroll.com/sewandfold.aspx
I've never used these but have used some of their products and they do give
a really accurate finished product.
Taria
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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


oh Taria,
you 'hate' flying geese? :(
i'm crushed.
they are my favourite block unit.
oh well.
j.

"Taria"  wrote ...
Sorry you are having such a time with the geese.  I hate flying geese and
avoid them when I can.  Any chance these would help:
http://www.trianglesonaroll.com/sewandfold.aspx
I've never used these but have used some of their products and they do give
a really accurate finished product.
Taria
 



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips



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I USED to hate flying geese because they either involved cutting triangles
or huge amounts of waste, especially on the larger geese.  Eleanor Burns'
method was interesting, but again, lots of waste.  I still use her rulers,
however.

My best success has been with the no-waste method:
http://www.patchpieces.com/files/flyinggeese.pdf

For 1 1/2" by 3" blocks I cut the big square (the "geese") at 4 1/4" inches,
and the four smaller squares (the "sky") at 2 1/2".  For 2" by 4" finished
blocks, the big geese square is 5 1/4" and the smaller sky ones are 3".  (I
cut the "sky" squares a bit - 1/8" - bigger than called for, because I hate
dealing with eighths of an inch.)  After I finish the geese, they are
usually a bit oversize.  This is good because I can use Eleanor Burns'
rulers to trim them down just about perfect.

I enjoy this method so much that I have two plastic baggies, one for the
larger and one for the smaller geese.  When I'm cutting fabric for other
projects, I often cut a few appropriately sized geese pieces and toss them
in the bags.  When I don't feel like tackling anything big, I pull out my
baggies and make geese!  I have a pretty big bin of them now and I'm
thinking about an appropriate project.

Once I get off my house kick, that is.  I'm on my second quilt with various
house patterns.

Iris



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Thanks Iris.  I have used this method and it works fine.  I took a class
years ago from Lyn Mann and she had a template she used that I have that
worked.  I'll have to make an effort to do more geese.
Sounds like you are building cities with all those houses!
Taria

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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips



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Well actually, the first one was a large wall hanging for my kitchen dining
area to go with my sassy lilac (yes, that's the paint color!) walls.
Scrappy, mostly blue houses.  That's done and looks good.  That house
pattern had a set-in piece in the sky area.  I'm not afraid of set-in seams,
but enough was enough.  After 25 houses of that type, I moved on to a couple
of different patterns that are simpler. Those houses and cottages are
alternating in a quillow top that is now on the floor in the sewing room
with various border options laid out.  This afternoon I will probably decide
on the border (already have a favorite!)

Oh yes, the new houses are also scrappy, but they have a lot of deep pinks
and a melon pink lattice.  Sometimes I just need my pink fix!  (And purple,
hence the pale purple walls in the kitchen.)

Iris



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


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That really does look foolproof and *fast*.  Other folks have mentioned they
like it, too.  I wish I could use that method with with these shirts!

I've apparently streamlined my cutting enough to get consistent results
using a template and scissors for the geese and rotary cutting the "sky"
triangles, but I sure do get tired of those scissors.

ep



Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


That is a really helpful site, Inez. I also like your idea of cutting the
pieces ahead of time for a scrappy quilt. Thanks.

After trying the other ways, I use that method now, too. No fuss, no waste,
no problem!
Pat

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Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips


Hello IRIS! You have a lovely name and I am so sorry but I think I let spell
check change your name to Inez! That is a nice name, too, but not your name,
IRIS.
Mea culpa.
Pat in Virginia

 


Re: Continuing issue with uneven Wild Goose Chase strips



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Ha!  Actually I LOL-ed out loud when I saw that!  This is nothing new,
believe me.  In my lifetime I have been, among others, Alice, Lois, Phyllis,
Rose (they knew it was a flower of some kind) and my personal favorite -
Irish!  My DH's uncle could not say Iris - it always came out with an "H" on
the end.

Inez is a new one, however - I will add it to the list!

(I think Inez is a form of Agnes - which is my mom's name!)

Iris



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