Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use the Stable Piecing patterns to make my own blocks without the foundation?jennyf
No, these patterns were not designed to be standalone patterns. Therefore, each pattern is written as a companion to the corresponding Stable Piecing block, with cutting directions to make the most efficient use of your fabric, have most to all of your pieces' bias edges on the inside of the finished block, and tips and tricks for easier piecing on the foundation.
Do I really need the companion pattern?jennyf
If you really like doing the math, figuring out cutting directions to get your bias edges on the inside, and measuring and figuring out every aspect of the block, then the pattern probably is not for you. However, if you like sitting down and getting right to the fun stuff of cutting the fabric and piecing, then the pattern takes all of the rest of the "figuring it out" out of the equation so you can get to doing what you love!
We recommend the pattern because it includes the cutting templates and efficient cutting directions, piecing directions, and tips and tricks we've learned along the way about piecing this block on this foundation. Also, if you're a beginning piecer with little to no experience with foundation piecing, we would especially recommend the pattern.
Can I leave the foundation in when I’m finished piecing?jennyfYou can leave the foundation in on a lighter use item, such as a decorative table runner or wall hanging (something you will not wash a lot). We do recommend that you tear it out after piecing if you will use the item frequently and wash it a lot, such as a bed quilt. This is due to the fact that over time, with washing, the foundation will separate at the perforations in the seams and bunch up in the quilt. We'd hate for you to spend all that time making something and then have it ruined by something as simple as washing! If you plan to leave the foundation in, make sure to use a regular stitch length of about 2.5 to reduce the amount of perforations in the foundation.
Why do you sell Stable Piecing foundations and patterns separately?jennyf
We sell foundations and patterns separately because we often find that people want to make larger quilts that require more than one package of foundations. We try to maintain a sustainable and environmentally friendly product by saving paper and ink waste that would come if we included a pattern with every package.
Do you sell blank Stable Piecing sheets to print on in home printers?jennyf
No, we do not. A huge part of our product is our piecing and size accuracy because every block is printed straight from the original file.
We also use special printers and ink to print our material that can take the wear and tear this fibrous material puts it through. Domestic printers cannot withstand this process and will quickly wear down and break - we went through several to find the commercial printers that we use now!
How well does the Stable Piecing foundation tear out?jennyf
It tears out very easily, and doesn't distort your seams when tearing. We use a stitch length of 1.5 to 1.8, or 18 to 20 stitches to the inch. This perforates the foundation more often, allowing it to tear much easier than a longer stitch length.
What size stitch length do you use?jennyf
We use a stitch length of 1.5 to 1.8, or 18 to 20 stitches to the inch. This allows for a much easier time tearing out the foundation, and doesn't distort your seams in the process.
When do I remove the foundation in the piecing process?jennyf
We usually remove the foundation after piecing the complete quilt top, or until it gets too stiff or bulky to work with comfortably. If this occurs, we start in the middle and remove the foundation to within 3-4 inches of the edge. This keeps us from stretching the blocks as we add more.
If a block has units, in the case of the Gum Leaf or Mariner's Compass, we piece the units together, tearing out the foundations in the seam allowances only, until the quilt top is completely together. This lets the seams to lay flatter, without the added bulk of the foundation. We don't remove the final 3-4 inches of foundation around the outer edge until after the border is added.
Why does it take so many blocks to make a quilt top?jennyf
When we piece the blocks for a quilt top, we set all the blocks directly together, without any sashing, and usually with smaller borders. This means that we have to have enough blocks side by side to make the top in the desired size. Usually, this means quite a lot of blocks, especially in the larger quilts (56 for a queen size). You can make this number smaller by adding sashing and larger borders.