I absolutely love the look of repeated block quilts, especially when sewn in solids. But I know from my own sewing experience, and from hearing students talk at workshops, that it’s hard to sew the same block over and over. Changing fabrics and making the block scrappy can make it more entertaining. And working on quilts with all different blocks is always a little easier too. Sewing the same block over and over takes some stamina! But I can’t deny the fact that repeated block quilts call to me and maybe they call to you too, so I thought I would share some of my tricks that keep me going and result in finished quilts!
One. There’s no doubt about it, chain piecing is most efficient. But there are a couple of down sides. People will make the same mistake over and over while chain piecing and not realize it until so much work has been done. That usually means the end of a project because at that point, you want to throw it out the window, right? We’ve all been there.
The other issue is that there is no instant gratification. It always feels good to complete a block.
My solution is to break the blocks down into batches and work in small groups of 6 blocks or so. That way, I balance the efficiency of chain piecing with the satisfaction of seeing complete blocks on my design wall…and catch any mistakes early.
Two. I like to intersperse a couple of other projects throughout a repetitive block project. The key here is that they have to be small projects that only take a day or so. This breaks up the project but doesn’t steer it off course!
Three. Another thing I like to do is keep a picture of the finished project out. The quilt cover shot works well for this. It’s great incentive and reminds you of why you are doing this work!
Four. Listen to music or watch tv. For some reason, music tends to distract me more so I usually opt for Netflix. I choose old favorites that I have watched before so that I don’t really have to look at the screen but they keep me entertained and focused. Most recently, I re-watched When Harry Met Sally.
Five. And finally, because the project is repeated block, there is no need to wait for all the blocks to be done in order to lay them out and decide on their placement. I like to start sewing them together in rows and columns as I go. It gives me a break from piecing and it’s nice to see the quilt come together. Otherwise, when I get all my blocks done, I feel like my quilt is done but I still have hours of sewing blocks together left to go.
I hope these tips help you keep motivated to reach the finish line as well! I never regret the work when my quilt top is complete!