Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trimming Points

Is trimming points before sewing a waste of time?  I've always thought so, and I still do, but when sewing a trapezoid piece to a quarter square triangle to make this frame for my old blocks, there are two places that must line up perfectly.  

Here's what the finished piece should look like--straight on the bottom, and with a quarter inch seam allowance at the top so you don't lose the point.  Eye-balling the placement for this is hard.  Believe me I know.

So I thought I'd give Judy Martin's point trimmer tool a try, and I'm a believer, at least for this.  It took some experimentation for me to work this out, so in case anyone else needs to do the same thing, here's what I learned.

To trim the 45 degree angle on the trapezoid that goes at the top of the join, I used the C trim, lining it up with the point of the triangle.

The triangle has its tip cut off, also with the C trim.  (If you use a quarter-square triangle tool, the tip is already cut off.  More about that another time.)

Then use the B trim to cut off the 45 degree points, like so.

Triangle trimmed:

When the pieces are lined up for sewing, they look like this, a perfect match:

And the result is also perfect, or almost:

You just repeat the process with the other side.

Now this is rather tedious, I certainly admit.  But it makes the sewing so much faster that I think it's worth it.  But I still wouldn't want to trim hundreds of these pieces like that, would you?  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Claiming the Blog

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Here I am claiming my blog, whatever that means.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Black and White

Larry's quilt is done.  Isn't he a beauty?  Quilt looks ok too, if I do say so.  It's packed up now, with backing (also pieced, using more black and white prints) and binding to be finished for a guild giveaway.

Black and white prints are unexpectedly tricky to work with.  The value contrasts are sometimes surprising.  The first set of triangle squares didn't seem to have enough contrast for my taste, and so on the second set I over compensated and made them with too much contrast.  The pieces or blocks are hard to square up too, because the fabrics blur together making it hard to see the seam line.  None of these problems show up in the photograph though.  Interesting.  That must also have something to do with the particular characteristic of black and white prints.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Made to Order

I had to find a use for those black and white triangle squares, so I'm putting together this quickie quilt.  I guess maybe I made it for Larry.  It suits him, anyway.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winners and Cutting: A Brief IHQS Report

The number of entries, vendors, and I believe class attendees was down from last year.  Nonetheless, there were some outstanding quilts.

You can see pictures of the winners here.  Marilyn Badger's Eureka won best bed quilt.  It was a big medallion, it was bright, it had fabulous quilting.  Best wall quilt was America, Let It Shine by Sherry Reynolds.  This quilt has won other awards, and you have probably seen pictures of it.  It seems an odd quilt to be such a winner, in some ways.  It lacks the knock-'em-dead-from-across-the-room impact of many others because there's so much apparently blank white space.  You have to be at least mid-distance or even closer to see the unique qualities: phenomenal quilting, not just dense, but very precisely patterned, lots of metallic thread, superhuman piecing, and last but not least, the thousands of tiny crystals.   Amazing, indeed.

In Debbie Caffrey's Power Cutting class we learned, among other things, her technique for making triangle squares.  Here are mine: there are about 40 of them, 2 1/2 inch square, very accurate and with no dog ears to trim.  I can actually see using this technique again.  I repeated it after I came home, and as promised, it was easier the second time.  I will also start using my smaller cutting board so I can turn it for cutting from the other side.

Debbie presented a huge amount of information.  She's one of those engineer-type quilters, very interested in efficiency, planning, and the mathematics and logic of the process.  I learned plenty I didn't know about some of the tools, especially the Omnigrid triangle tools, and have ordered Judy Martin's point cutter tool.  Ironically, I had one of those once, but put it in a white elephant sale because I never used it.  But now, I think it will help me do a better job on the triangle/parallelogram placement.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Quilt Shows, Past, Present, Future

Present:  I will be leaving tomorrow for the Indiana Heritage Show in Bloomington, Indiana, which I like to visit every year.  I don't have a quilt in the show this year, but I'll be taking a class called Power Cutting with Debbie Caffrey.  I chose this class because it teaches a process, not a project, and I THOUGHT it required no sewing machine.  But, alas, when I read over the supply list yesterday, I saw: "sewing machine".  Blast!  How could I have missed that?  So it's time to load up the heavy thing after all, along with fabric and cutting tools.

Last year at this show I took a wonderful class from Sally Collins called, I believe, Precision Piecing.  This was a delight.  She's an excellent teacher, and the skills learned have carried over, at least a bit.  I now try to be very careful in starting and stopping each seam, and I set the machine at a slower speed when I piece.  It makes a difference.

In the class we worked on this block:

In class I completed the center basket; the outer frame was added later, and I made it into a pin cushion. The overall size is 3 inches, and the smaller triangle squares measure 3/8 inch.  Although this sounds impossible, there is a system to sew and then cut down carefully that produces amazing results.  Enjoyable, even though I'll probably never do anything so precise again.  I'd recommend Sally's books. They're as clear and inspiring as her teaching.

Future:  Yesterday's mail brought a brochure for the IQF show in Chicago, June 20. Having been out of the loop recently, I didn't realize this show was coming back to Chicago.  Cincinnati must have been a bust, as many predicted.   Interestingly, there are no classes scheduled for this show.  Does anyone know why?