I am so pleased with the excitement about the 2015 Block of the Month class with Craftsy and the number of you who have already enrolled! While I will not be answering questions directly or be participating in the class discussions, so many wonderful questions have been raised which can apply to more than just this class that I am going to address them in my blog. The first one I want to look at is why your finished block might be too small.
First of all, the pattern for the Craftsy BOM is correct. The finished size of all the blocks in the quilt is 9″. That means that with the seam allowance your blocks should measure 9 1/2″.
If your block does not measure 9 1/2″ when you finish it, don’t panic. Once all the blocks are finished, I will explain in a later lesson the technique of adding additional strips to the blocks that allows them all to be floating on the background. In that lesson, I will tell you what to do if your blocks do not all measure the correct size. I will explain how to adjust those strips to accommodate blocks that are too small or too large.
So then, there is the question of why sometimes blocks do not come out the correct size.
1. First and foremost it could be the set up of your printer. As you set up the printing, make sure that it is set to print the actual size (100%, no scaling) not “fit to page.” Once you have printed it out, please note the gauge on the template page of your pattern and make sure to use an accurate ruler to see that the pattern has printed in the correct size. I downloaded the pattern and printed it and found that it did not print to the correct scale. It was a bit too small. When there is a pattern with so many seams, even a small deviation can cause the finished block to be off by as must as half an inch. All printers are different and while most do a fine job, not all print accurately. In my computer, I went to “page set-up” and fiddled with the numbers and found when I printed the pattern I had to scale the printing up to 101%. Your printer will be different from mine and if your pattern is off you will have to play around with the scaling until you get the correct size.
2. If your block came out the wrong size with the proper scaling, did you rotary cut the pieces or use the templates for the lesson? The blocks in the quilt are drafted from a variety of different “grids.” May Basket uses a grid with five equal divisions. For a 9″ block, each of those divisions should be 1.8″. This means that the “finished” size of the short sides of the half square triangles in May Basket should measure 1.8″. It is pretty difficult to accurately rotary cut 1.8″ which is why templates are used for this particular lesson. Other lessons have blocks that are drafted with grids that are friendlier to rotary cutting. If your ruler does not measure these divisions accurately, your templates/foundations will not be the correct size.
For more information on how to determine the grids that are used for drafting blocks, see my book “The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.”
3. Make sure the pieces are cut accurately and that you take the exact quarter inch seam allowance when you sew.
I have loved seeing all the blocks which have already been finished…..keep them coming!