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So this morning I'm ironing and prepping fabric, making sure it is straight (on grain) before cutting, so I have time to ponder - sometimes a dangerous pastime...

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a hard n' fast stickler for quilt rules.  I tend to fall somewhere in the camp of "I want know what they are and why, so I can decide which ones I follow (or not) on any given project."  I realize there are variables that come into play.  Some things I'm very particular about and some things I'm not.  

That being said, I've noticed more and more on video quilt tutorials and quick-piecing methods where straight of grain (SOG) is just tossed out the window.  I've even heard famous quilt teachers say they don't pay much attention to SOG in their quilts - especially scrap quilts.  Why is that?  

It seems to be a little bit counter-intuitive to what I've been taught.  The only thing I can figure out is that generally we are machine quilting the quilts so heavily that everything is held in place so distortion or sagging doesn't happen.  Do you think our hand-quilting ancestors were concerned about SOG in their blocks/quilts?

What are your thoughts on SOG?  Are you picky about it in your blocks?   

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Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on January 30, 2017 at 11:18am

Joan - I must have missed something, because I didn't think you came off sounding smarty-pants at all.  (hopefully my reply didn't sound sassy either - but hey, when two sassy gals get together, we speak one another's language, right?)  :D   I guess my point in all of this is wondering why quilt teachers seem to be abandoning the issue of SOG on squares and certain triangle units.  I was taught that HST and QST units were cut and sewn so that SOG was on the outside edges for stability.  The worst experience I had was a quilt where I used  "new quick and easy" technique for half-square triangles and ended up with ALL bias edges on the outside of my square blocks.  I was not impressed at all.  What was worse was that I was using flannel at the time.  I understand I'll have bias edges on curves and diamonds, etc, but I just wondered if maybe my preconceived  notions about SOG was just an "opinion" by the people who taught me.  Isn't it funny what we're picky about?  Some things I stick to and other things I'm not as concerned about.  This is probably one of those things I'm going to continue to be careful about.  At any rate - I loved hearing all the opinions and experiences of others.  I learn and grow from all of you.    

Comment by Joan on January 30, 2017 at 10:30am

Sorry for sounding like miss smartypants, P.Q., just spilling out what comes to mind.  Anyway, I do the same, try to bust out and do things different or an easy "hack", then when it gets right down to it I fall back on my old ways.

Nice to reminisce about the old days.  Wouldn't it be cool to have one of those meters in the corner of your sewing room, they probably weigh about fifty pounds.  Wonder if there's a warehouse somewhere out there with piles of those old meters.  Some were a yuck green instead of brown, maybe J.C. Penneys?  Wonder why the Amish won't use them, they're not electric...  

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on January 29, 2017 at 12:30pm

Pam, Someday I'd like to visit Amish country.  Way to play it safe!  :)  


Comment by Roxann on January 29, 2017 at 7:58am

I try to use SOG when possible. I think it makes things behave more, and as a longarmer, I appreciate when someone gives me a quilt that isn't bias everywhere, it's just easier to keep things straight and square. It's not impossible but you sometimes have to quilt heavier and not everyone likes that. 

Comment by Pam/NY on January 29, 2017 at 6:29am

I use to buy large amounts of fabric in Amish country in Intercourse, PA. It was a huge building with hundreds of bolts of fabric and huge rolls of batting. They only used oil lamps for lighting and yard sticks for measuring fabrics. It would take them forever to measure and cut. I'd leave and come back hours later to pick it up, mainly because if that place ever caught on fire it would have been disastrous! 

Comment by Irene Gallway on January 29, 2017 at 5:06am

Joan, I worked on the fabric dept. at WT Grants and they had those meters to measure fabric. I use to love measuring fabric with that tool.  Thanks for the memory.

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on January 28, 2017 at 12:13pm

Joan, I remember those days as well.  I've spent a fair amount of time pulling selvage threads to "straighten" fabric.  I still do it for my quilt backs.  Some things are just too ingrained for me to abandon now.  I'll probably still be particular about grain when cutting squares, strips or borders, and I'll probably pay attention to grain in my half-square triangle and quarter-square triangles.  

Comment by Joan on January 28, 2017 at 10:54am

Oh, Boy!  P.Q.  I don't know.  Mom used to pull a thread from selvage to selvage to get the grain, in fact I remember when the clerks in the fabric department would measure off your yardage on one of those brown meters, push down on the mark to clip it and then rip the fabric.  The selvages weren't always at 90 degrees, but your fabric was on grain.  Showing my age, Ha! Ha!  As far as using the straight of grain for piecing, or having the edge parallel to the selvage, I try to do that way when I can.  Especially for a block outside edge.  The warp, or straight of grain will have the least give, the weft, or width of fabric will will have some give, and we all know about the bias.  Paper piecing is more forgiving I think, probably because you have a backing to help hold the fabric stable.  And starching the heck out of the fabric helps as well.  :-p

Comment by Barb/WI on January 26, 2017 at 6:16pm

Finished is better than perfect, and I think of SOG as a suggestion, rather than a rule :-P

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on January 26, 2017 at 3:39pm

Thanks, Carol Ann, I'll look forward to seeing pictures of the show quilts.  Anything finished is a win in my book.  

Soooo, after starting in on one project, the design part of my brain seemed to be on strike, so I moved to another project I figured wouldn't take much thought - totes made from feed bags.  I've made several and "knew" (ahem) what I was doing, so I started in without refreshing my memory by actually looking at the pattern and ended up making a rookie mistake.  It was fixable, but just created more work for myself.  In  hindsight, I should have dusted the cobwebs out of the sewing corner of my brain before jumping in.   

DH said it was a good thing I wasn't actually working on a quilt project today!  Things weren't going all that well.  Maybe tomorrow.

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