Saturday, June 30, 2018

tip # 44, buy the new tool

I am happy with how I cut with the tools I have.
But, it is good to be open to innovations. Some can make my job so much more pleasant.
Also, with aging, I find my eyes work better with different brands than I have been using. The only way to know is to try them out. For a period of time, not just for a cut or two. All tools feel clunky at first because they are different from our usual working. However, forcing myself to use them for a day or two can show me if I can increase my accuracy or make the job simpler.
Sticker price is high on some of them, but, face it. Most of us can do a month or two with no fabric purchases and put that money into trying a new tool.
I have links directly to Bonnie's and Doug's sites. I want to support these innovators.

This past year I have purchased several new tools.

Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool!/Bonnie-K-Hunters-Essential-Triangle-Tool-List-$24-95/p/69971252/category=14176326
Replaces: traditional cutting with 7/8" or 1 1/4" added to strip, or the EZ angle and the Companion Angle
What I like: The quarter and half square triangles are on one tool.
Learning curve: You place the ruler at a different orientation than the EZ angle, but once that rhythm sets it it works. The color of the lines is unexpected, and work for me.
Verdict: I still use the EZ Angle and their Companion angles at times, but Bonnie's triangle tool is my go-to ruler most days.

Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corners Ruler
Replaces:There are so many methods for making flip and sew corners and I have used them all effectively.
What I like: I like to cut then sew, not sew then cut so this works very well for that preference. It is more efficient for me moving to the next step rather than going back to trim.
I also like how the ruler size stabilizes the piece while making the cut.
Learning curve: I made one miss-cut before I got used to the placement lines
Verdict: When I heard of Doug's innovation I did not see it to be needed, but upon recommendations from others and with working on two quilts using this technique, I decided to try it. I love it. I sew up the waste triangles right away. I could trim them into exact sizes but for now am putting them into a free-form style piece so I am not doing any squaring up. Let's see how that goes!

KAI scissors 5045 rotary cutter
Replaces: Olfa cutter
What I like: Feels different in my hand. Great blades.
Learning curve: No lock so I have to be careful not to drop it. Has adjustable pressure to engage the blade.
Verdict: I am not throwing away my Olfas, but I do find I reach for the KAI more and more often. A good addition to my table.

Large squares
I own several squares and can use any one of which to cut down a piece or block but, in trimming down my hourglass blocks (A job I really hate to do), it was easier to purchase a new 8 inch square ruler than to keep rotating the blocks. I can center it on the block and make all four cuts.
Replaces: larger squares where I would have to rotate the block to make the third and fourth cuts
What I like: I can see right away if the block is square and that I have room to trim on all sides.
Verdict: This is the hardest purchase to justify but makes life so much easier. I have bought 4 and 6 inch squares for squaring up crumb piecing or string piecing. Even though it is hard to make these purchases, every time it has been worth it.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

barn, top completed

Block finishes 8 by 6 inches

168 blocks set 14 by 12
84 by 96 inches

one 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch rectangle
two 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch rectangles
One triangle cut from 3 1/2 inch strip with EZ angle's Companion Angle or Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangles Tool

one 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangle
two triangles cut from 4 inch strip with EZ angle or Bonnie's tool

The roof section floats. See barn tutorial for details on how to make this

Piece Pressing
Left sky to roof, Right roof to sky, barn door to barn
Block pressing: half the blocks with horizontal seams up, rest with seams down

Alternate the blocks
Press rows left or right, alternating rows
Press rows up

My design, use at your pleasure.

Really a fun quilt to make. I love the barn shape and the float on the roof construction makes assembly much easier because I did not have to keep watching the points.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

what is is?

This wonderful nursery rhyme vintage fabric came my way from my friend Rebecca.
I've been trying to identify the rhymes depicted and have my 88 year old mother, my school librarian sister, and my children's literacy specialist sister arguing on the circled item.
The pictures seem to be close to scale in relationship to each other and are oriented the same direction.
I am really trying to see the Old Woman's shoe that Beth sees. She has sent this to her children's lit students and colleagues who are arguing about it!
Once this mystery is solved, what is the kid below the well doing? Drowning a cat?
And what nursery rhyme is where the woman hits a kid with a stick?

Friday, June 22, 2018

tip #43, take in a handful of scraps

Even though I am trying to get rid of much, I do continue to accept scrap offers from my friends. I am not committing to purchasing the minimum fat quarter and still get the benefit of bits of great fabrics.
I try to limit it to just a handful. Cutting them down and adding them to my scraps adds depth to what I have to work with.
Here is a delightful mix from my friend Donna this past week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

flicker, top completed

Block finishes 9 1/2 inches

99 blocks
Set 9 by 11
85.5 inches by 104.5 inches

Print: four 5 inch squares
Solid: two 3 inch squares

I used Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corner Ruler. You could use any sew and flip version.

To the solid triangles, to the print squares, to one side of the block

Rotate every other block and all seams will abut

This is a big quilt! I like the bits of color flickering over the prints.It is one of the simplest in the series and went together quickly.

That sort of figure 8 look in the middle of the quilt is irritating me, but it only is strong in photographs and is much less prominent in real life. I'll look at it under different light and see if I need to do some block moving.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

living dangerously

I started this quilt long ago.
The earliest I find in in my blog is 2009 when the top was completed.

I used fabrics from many sources, including precious bits I purchased in 1989 in Japan at a department store. Paul was an adorable blonde toddler who got me access to many things, including a bride who let me watch her try on her wedding kimono.

It is made with Bonnie Hunter's pattern Chunky Churndash.

I finally had it quilted and today made the binding. I had a piece of 1980's Hoffman woodblock collection and hoped it would be enough, and it was.
It was like when knitting faster and faster in hope there is enough yarn to finish the project.
All that remains is pictured here:

Tuesday, June 05, 2018


finishes  by 6 by 8 inches

I designed this block to have a float at the top so I wouldn't have to watch the triangle points while sewing long rows.
I plan to make 143 blocks, set 13 by 11, 78 by 88 inches.
My design, use at your pleasure.

For this tutorial I feature a block made with a delightful vintage fabric depicting gold panning, pick axes, and bags of gold dust. My neighbor Sharon took in the sewing stash of a neighbor who died and I chose this. It was the cut aways from a shirt construction and there was just enough for this block. It is a rough weave cotton and I guess it is from the 1950s.

Cut one 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangle and two triangles from a 4 inch strip using Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle tool or the EZ angle
Cut two 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangles, one 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch rectangle, and one triangle from a 3 1/2 inch strip using Bonnie Hunter's tool or the EZ Companion Angle.

After sewing left sky to the roof and pressing to the roof, use ruler to trim away excess

Press left sky to the barn roof; press right roof to the sky
Press away from the door to the barn
Press the lintels up in half the blocks and down in the other half so every other block will nest into each other.
Press left sky to roof
Carefully trim excess sky to have a straight sewing line for right sky
Press roof to right sky piece. Trim dog ears.
Sew three sections together
Press horizontal seams up or down every other block so seams nest