Measure Twice, Cut Once…or you’ve got to do the math

Seems like everyday I’m learning something new.
Make that re-learning something.

For a couple of days, I’ve pondered what I’d make with a stack of Fat Quarters that I won back in the fall. It’s beautiful, cheery fabric. I knew I wanted to make a traditional block. Something I could cut all the pieces at once and strip piece them and be through in a jiffy. I guess I’d had enough (for a while) of the sampler quilts and BOMs (Block of the Month)
although I really enjoy those, and I was waiting for the next BOM to come out. I looked through myriads of quilting books, quilting websites, and drew up a few sketches. Yes, I’m an “old-fashioned” type with a pencil and graph paper instead of the new fangled computer programs. (I also refuse to buy the fabric shape cutters when I’ve got all these rulers and rotary cutters to use.)

I thought about doing the popular Wild & Goosey but I’m not that wild about paper-piecing. I did make one from scraps. Had to rip out a seam 3 times—yes, the same seam!

So I have officially made one of these tiny blocks. I learned that you do have to cover all the corners, but, hey, it was my first one. It won’t be my last, I suppose. Even though I got frustrated with it and had to redo things, I learned in the process. Or maybe I learned the process. It should be easier the more I do them. Right?

 Wild and Goosey

I finally decided on the Monkey Wrench or Churn Dash. Simple, easy, quick.
But instead of doing all the cutting and piecing at one time from the beginning, I made the first cuts on 2 fabrics only. I’d drawn out two sketches. One with skinny sides and a 6 1/2” center and another with a 4 1/2” center (more of a traditional equal sized 9-patch style.)
Looking at the fabric and figuring out how to cut and how many pieces I could get from one set of fat quarters, I went with the 4 1/2” center/half square triangles/columns. I cut the 2 1/2” strips across, then the 4 1/2” strips to cut into squares to sew into the HST units.

If any of you are really good with math and have been doing this for a while, you already know where I made my mistake. Sewed the strips together and then made the HST units. Now to square them up. Put my ruler on the fabric to cut it to 4 1/2” squares and it wasn’t even big enough to cut! Auugghh! At least I had enough fabric to recut the squares to 5” and trim them down but did not have enough to make the negative/positive images I had in mind. Time to back away from the project and leave it alone for a while. Here was my first block.

1st block

I should have known better than to cut the squares to make the HST units the same size as the finished product. No, I DO know better but instead of taking time to figure it all out, I ended up with mistakes and frustration. It’s better to learn the right way the first time than to have to relearn something later on.

Today, I went in and cut (correctly) enough fabric to make 18 blocks. The strips and HST units are sewn together so far but I’ll wait till I have all of them cut to put them together in blocks. Here are a couple of pairs. Aren’t they just cheerful fabrics?



If you’ve made it through this post so far, here’s something to think about. How many times in life do we plan and make lists and get everything organized only for something to go wrong? Did we miss something along the way in the planning stage or did we just get too lazy to “do the math”? What is the “math” you need to do in your life? Goals to be healthy, travel, be happy, retire and have time for the grandkids? We can go through all the steps in planning but miss something in the follow through. I’ll be addressing my goal to be healthy in an upcoming post. Until then…

Don’t forget to do the math!


3 thoughts on “Measure Twice, Cut Once…or you’ve got to do the math

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