September 17, 2014

More than a Peek


 I don't often share a project before the pattern is published but I just couldn't keep this secret any longer.  So there was a photo shoot...



and props.  Mary at Mary on Lake Pulaski and Carrie at A Passion for Applique were my super Supremes and their quilts turned out amazing.  Please click on over for a visit.  If their post isn't up just yet it's worth checking back.  I know, I've seen their quilts.  :o)


The name -- Rummage.  Lots of vintage goodness in this quilt.  It truly uses an eclectic mix of "things."  Perhaps you notice it's my blog banner?


Quilted by the awesome Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts.


Flies in the Cabin is also "coming soon."  Candace was the super Supreme for this quilt.  If you want to see her lovely version please click on over to Squash House Quilts.  I really am lucky to have the best Supremes ever!  Thank you ladies.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 12, 2014

Okutama

 
The change in weather tells me it's time to bring out the quilts.  Autumn...my very favorite season.  I'd like to share my favorite Autumn quilt and it's story. It begins in Japan, visiting a beautiful region called Okutama, in Autumn when the leaves are gorgeous and the air is crisp.  The year, 1991.

In case you don't know I lived in Japan for 3 years.  I was a brand new quilter and while shopping one day I found some gorgeous indigo fabric and the wheels started turning and I knew I had to make a maple leaf quilt to remember the gorgeous trip to Okutama. I also purchased some coordinating fabrics for the leaves.  The year, 1993.

This is the fabric I bought for the back.

The story continues in California, our next move. Both kids were now in school full-time so I had more than normal alone time. Perched at the end of the dining room table I started making leaves. Not quite sure how I wanted to put them together I put them aside for another day. Well that turned out to be another state. We now move to Oregon. One night I couldn't sleep and headed into my very first sewing room to play with the leaves. The light bulb went on and a quilt was made. The year, 1997.

I liked the idea of falling leaves, spilling into the border.  The mister used to rake up big piles and let the kids jump in them and I felt one needed to float astray. I'm sure someone could analyze that...

By time I got the top together an unexpected move happened...Ohio. The year, 1998.  Once we settled and I unearthed the quilt top I decided to baste it and hand quilt it.  After it lay basted for quite some time I un-basted it and took it to a machine quilter. Completed 12 years ago, finally.  I love quilts with stories.  Do you have a favorite quilt story?

On Instagram I noticed the "new" trend many quilters have jumped on is "modern maples."  Perhaps I was "modern" in the 1990s and didn't know it! 
~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 11, 2014

Happiness


Happiness!



A few years ago I happened upon a bag of Grandmother's Fan blocks.  I had no clue how many were inside until I got home and counted.  48!  About half did not have the background piece attached and the other half did.  


 I decided to play with the ones without the background piece.  I did my best to trim them evenly.  After I played with different layouts I decided on circles, of course.


Finds at my local antique mall.  I think red might be rare as it isn't a color I normally see.  I did a quick google search but didn't find an answer.  And just look at those roses...If you'd like to read more about the history of feedsacks visit HERE.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 10, 2014

Caity Did It Again


Connecting Threads kitted Caity Did, again, using the amazing Leo Lounge by Cotton + Steel.  I might have to buy a kit!  Is there anyone on the planet that hasn't gone fruit loops over Cotton + Steel?

If you didn't know, Connecting Threads has in house designers and they manufacture their own lines of fabric.  However, Connecting Threads has now expanded to include some lines of fabric by outside manufacturers such as Cotton + Steel and RJR.  More fabric, more possibilities, more goodness.

 I fear I did a little "cart before the horse" yesterday in a brief blog post that was published.  All of my existing pattern PDFs are currently only available through Connecting Threads.  I heart them.

 ~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 8, 2014

Abby Rates the Ruler

 

Now that the 4 pieces are assembled into one block I wanted to give my final thoughts on the Quick Curve Ruler.  By time I got to sections 3 and 4 I figured out on my own that using a regular ruler worked much better trimming the edges.  The ruler is great for cutting the curve pieces but useless to me to do any trimming.  Just my experience...perhaps it's the way my brain works.


I folded the one section in half and pinch pleated to give myself the center mark for reference.  Then I opened the section and  was able to trim from each edge to give the 9 1/2" width requirement, using the center mark as my guide.  Next I laid the ruler 1/8" from the curve to trim off the bottom excess.  This was trickier as the block isn't square so you have no idea how high the block is.  It's straight on one edge and pointy on the other.  


In this close up the white circle is showing how although my points match near perfect there isn't even widths of the black print fabric on either side.  I'm OK with this.  This circle is where the sections are sewn together.  Only I notice this but I want to point out the imperfections.  The black arrow shows how the rings don't always make a nice point.  While this doesn't bother me a lot I'd prefer this section be more accurate.  This happened when I used the quick curve ruler to trim the 1/8" and also when I used a regular ruler.  An 1/8" is a futzy measurement to work with.  As eyes age you might as well tell me to trim to 1/32".


I think pressing directions are important, especially with something as not straight forward as this type of pattern.  It shouldn't be assumed we just know how to press.  The pressing directions assembling the curved pieces are in the directions.  However, when assembling the units to make the "big" block there are no seam pressing instructions.  The last direction of any kind is to assemble these units then "refer to the layout and position blocks accordingly."  NO pressing directions when assembling the blocks to form rows or when sewing rows together.

Based on the words coming out of my mouth while making Metro Rings, Abby is not able to rate this pattern or ruler 4 paws up.  She's giving it 2 paws.  Again, this is only my experience and not meant to discourage anyone from trying the ruler.  I've seen lots of gorgeous creations on blogs and on Instagram using this ruler.  If you are new to curves start with one of the simpler patterns.

If you care to read another straight forward review of this ruler  please go HERE

~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 6, 2014

"Quick" Curve Ruler -- Product Review

 

I do love curves and I'm not a novice at doing them even if I don't do them often.  The first actual quilt I ever made was a Grandmother's Fan.  The most ambitious quilt I ever made was a paper pieced NY Beauty -- 120 blocks of curved piecing.  And I have taken a Double Wedding Ring class and made a small wall hanging.


It's rare I buy a pattern or a tool.  However, I've been loving these Metro Rings.  Because Connecting Threads was having a 40% off tool sale I caved and bought the Quick Curve Ruler Ruler and the pattern.  The pattern calls for strip sets so I decided to use coordinating dots, of course.  I write on patterns and make notes to myself.  The pattern calls for 2 1/2" strips x width of fabric or a jelly roll.  Then you cut the strips into 20" - 22" pieces.  My strips were no less than 20 1/2".  Width of useable fabric depends on the size of selvedge as well as the manufacturer and if you pre-wash and allow for shrinkage.  When I write patterns I allow for 40" of useable fabric as it's rare there is more than that.  This pattern states the yardage is based on 44/45" fabric.

You are to get 7 curve pieces from the strip set.  I got 6.  That means perhaps the yardage requirements might be off.  I haven't made an entire quilt using the pattern yardage so I don't know this for sure.

The strip sets sewn together measure 10 1/2" wide.  However, before cutting the curves with the ruler you are to trim the strip sets to 10" wide, so that's 1/4" off of each long side.  I found out this has to do with the placement of the ruler on the strip set before cutting the curves.  I found it a wee bit of an annoying step.  This also means each outer strip is narrower than the rest of the pieces in the strip set.


The cutting directions for the pieces all make sense.  That went pretty smoothly.  Curves = bias.  The pattern specifically says "you do not need to pin."  Well I found at least an initial pin very necessary to keep the two pieces from shifting before I got it to the sewing machine.  Does this look like these two pieces will sew easily together?


Well you have to sew slow, needle down, and this ruffling does happen as you try not to sew accidental pleats.  It actually did sew together fairly well.


This is the back before pressing.  The pressing directions are good.


I did not end up with perfect curves but acceptable for a first block. I'm happy I used a darker, patterned background as imperfections would be glaringly obvious if I used a white or light solid.


This is the most confusing part of the pattern -- there are diagrams but they sure didn't make sense for this part.  You are to square the blocks to 9 1/2".  Now a square is 4 equal sides.  The width of the block measures about 10".  No worries as you'll be trimming.


The height of the block is 8 1/2".  How do you "square" it?


Just to show you the ruler edge and the fabric to be trimmed. The notebook paper is so the fabric didn't blend into my cutting mat.


You are supposed to trim 1/8" above the curve but when you lay the ruler on the block there is a reference mark going the correct direction on one end of the ruler but no 1/8" reference mark on the other end.  It could be my fault but I'm following the diagram here!  There is fudging, eyeballing, or use of another ruler.  With this entire step of the process I crossed my fingers, grabbed the rotary cutter and hoped for the best.


By now Abby is covering her ears.  Now that you have two of these sections you sew them together.  As you can see the edges don't match evenly.  You don't know this until later but it's ok.  There is more squaring up later.  The pattern just tells you to pair them up and sew right sides together with a 1/4" seam.  It needs to tell you to match at the seams, pin, then sew


or this can happen.  Oh and even if you pin like I did, this can still happen.  I think it all goes back to that weird 1/8" thingy.  There are a few more confusing parts to the pattern and things I could figure on my own -- like you should at least pinch pleat the corner triangle to center properly before sewing.  I think the pattern was written with the "assumptions" that people know these things.


And this is one section of the Metro Rings.  I made a football.  I considered adding laces and stopping at just one but now I've made two.  Two more to go to get a complete "ring" section.  I do love the look.  I'm in awe of those who have the math minds to figure these things out.


There is waste but perhaps no more than other rulers or templates or even in applique.  So the waste isn't an issue for me.


Final thoughts:  This ruler is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the beginner.  A class with a knowledgeable instructor would be very helpful.  It's probably also helpful if you've done curves before.  Online tutorials are provided which I did not watch, yet.  If I buy a pattern and ruler it should be fairly easy to follow with diagrams and written instructions.  Now I will watch the tutorials to see if there is more I should know.  I would love to make the entire quilt but I'm still sitting the fence...There are lots of possibilities with this ruler and there are many patterns available for it's use.  So it's a multidimensional ruler and I feel it's worth the full price, but best at 40% off price.

As with any product I choose to review, I do it of my own free will.  I was not asked to do this review.  I did read a review prior to starting this project and it seems I'm not the only person who has had some issues.  I think honest reviews are beneficial and not those with sugar coating.  I'd love to know if you've given the "Quick" Curve Ruler a try.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

September 4, 2014

Playing with Polka Dots

 

Yesterday I stayed home and played indoors.  Polka dots?  Yes, please.  Adorable KOKKA fabrics and polka dot corduroy asked to become a new Little Sprout from Uncommonly Corduroy.  


They asked nicely.  Who could resist?  I had this yummy flannel polka dot goodness in my flannel stash.  A perfect quilt back.  Life is good.

~Piecefully, Stephanie