The Violet QAL Week 3 - Pinning

This post is about pinning in general - while I do talk specifically about The Violet Quilt Pattern, these tips can be applied to any patchwork project.  


The Violet Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting


I am a big believer in pinning when piecing your quilt blocks. If you pin, you will get better results than if you don't pin. There are lots of different pin options out there, but my favorites are these Clover Fine Patchwork pins. They are very thin and slightly flexible. They also hurt like @#$* if you step on them, so I don't recommend that.


You may not be as zealous about pinning as I am, and that's fine. I've said it before: I'm not the quilt police. However, my method gets consistently good results so I am going to share it with you and you can use it if you wish. If you don't want to go quite this crazy with pins - at least pin at the places where you have seams that line up - that is the most important place.


The Violet QAL - Week 3


When I pin (and I pin EVERYTHING that I piece) I place a pin at the beginning/end AND at every seam intersection AND every 2 inches. It is a lot of pins, but I just turn on an audiobook and pin a big batch of pieces at once. It is one of my favorite parts of the process. 


The Violet QAL - Week 3

I pin them in that order too - a pin at the beginning, then one at the end. Then if it is a longer seam I will add a pin around the center. Then I pin everywhere there is a seam and/or every 2". It seems like a lot, but it helps so much in keeping the edges of your fabric lined up (which helps maintain your seam allowance) and it helps your fabric evenly feed through your machine.

On a sewing machine, there are feed dogs that feed the bottom fabric through the machine. Unless you are piecing with a walking foot (or your machine has a built in even-feed system), that means that your fabric that is on the bottom will go through your machine at a slightly different rate than the fabric that is on the top. Pinning helps keep everything even. 

The Violet QAL - Week 3

I keep a Grabbit magnetic pin cushion close by so I can just toss pins at it. Obviously some still end up on the floor which is how I know how it feels to step on the pins, but it's pretty minimal. 

Are you a pinner? Or do you just like to wing it? If you haven't tried pinning, I think it is worth it!

Tomorrow's post: pressing!

9 comments

  1. I'm definitely a pinner. Perhaps not to the same extent as you, but it's interesting to read how you do it. I do the same. Pin at the beginning, end, then center, then all the seams. Actually, as I write this, I realize I really do it almost exactly the same way. lol I'm going to check out the pins you use, though, as I'm not terribly happy with the ones I have.

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    1. Sounds like we both are excellent pinners! These pins are really great - I discovered them a few years ago and buy a pack about every year or so to replenish.

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  2. I am a pinner.Ifeel more secure that way.

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    1. Me too - I think it leads to fewer mistakes that need to be corrected.

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  3. I pin as you do. I also like Clover Fork pins for intersections. They are superfine piano wire. Check them out.

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    1. I haven't tried them, I will definitely check them out. Thank you!

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  4. So funny you talk about stepping on pins. I teach a 4h sewing group at my house and at the end of every meeting I have them get down on the floor and check their area for dropped pins. They all know my quote “ if my husband finds a pin on the floor we can’t sew here anymore!”
    I also put a little magnet strip on their machines so they have a better spot to keep pins.

    Thanks for the great article.

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    1. I love that saying! I almost always wear slippers in my sewing room and even when I don't, the pins tend to be flat on the floor. But it has happened a couple of times!

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  5. Great information. I am a pinner also. If I miss pinning as I fer distracted and forget to check I find my seams don't line up.

    Thank you so much!! And pins do end up on the floor. Have a grest day Julia

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