Sunday, November 25, 2007

Toys, tools, tricks, tips, and a New Quilt


After living for YEARS with dull scissors, and NOT wanting to purchase another, I broke down and bought a scissors sharpener -- that funny looking yellow thing, AND a knife sharpener (not shown). I sharpened ALL my scissors, as well as my almost-useless and dull knives, cleaned out the kitchen drawer, and polished the flatware! Isn't it amazing how a small improvement gives a person incentive for more improvements? I can't guarantee I've done the sharpening correctly, but EVERYTHING works a LOT better.

Next, I had recently purchased that scissors leash - another nifty tool that eliminates that stupid question, "Where did I leave my scissors?" It hangs at the right length so you can use it at the machine, and still snip threads, etc.

But my new favorite tool, is this Easy Angle, by Sharon Hultgren, that I've had for years and never used.
This tool eliminates the need for the 7/8 measurement for making triangles - you just cut the strip the same size as needed - in this case, 3 1/2 inches. One end of the ruler is blunted, the other end pointed. I layer the fabric strips same sides together. The 3 1/2 inch line is the business end - don't worry too much about the blunted end, although it SHOULD end up at the top edge of your strip. Of course, turn it around 180 degrees for the next cut, and on down the strip. I've had excellent results with this ruler - better than doing the 7/8 inch thing -- those pointy ends always have a tendency to stretch for me. Using this Easy Angle method, I put the blunted fabric end in the machine, and it works for me. (I still have not taken the time to actually understand the marks on the ruler so don't try to figure out those numbers from my photo.)

Next, after seeing this quilt idea in several places, Bonnie Hunters site, a Better Homes and Garden quilt book, and a photo from "Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts" by Lynn Roddy Brown, I started this stash buster over the Thanksgiving weekend.

There are two blocks - one made of 4 4-patches and one pinwheel. The 4 patch unit can have either a light in the upper left corner, or a dark, depending how you turn it, and the pinwheel spins one way in one row, and the other way in the next row (must be sewn differently each row). To me, the most interesting effect is shown here. I liked the dark piece of the 4 4-patch, to meet up with the dark pinwheel. This sound confusing, until you start putting it together, and compare several versions of patterns. (Hooray for digital cameras!)

This quilt takes in excess of 169 blocks -- but it IS using up a lot of scrappy pieces. Hopefully, it will be queen size when finished.

Once again, thanks Bonnie for the incentives and inspirations.

22 comments:

joyce said...

I have often thought of getting a scissors sharpener but wondered if they really work. I am happy with the rotary blade sharpener so maybe a scissors one is next.

Morah said...

OMGoodness! Too, too funny! I've had the Easy Angle for a long time too and never used. Yesterday at Joannes, they had quilting tools 50% off. I had to call home to see if I owned the ruler or not. I do! It is still in the package. I'll use it soon.....

CONNIE W said...

I have an Easy Angle ruler and I used it just days ago to measure and mark a quilt on the longarm.

Kim said...

that's so funny we all have toys we never opened and played with. Judy on Sunshine Quilts has a tri recs quilt that I "finally" understand what to do with the ruler- and I've had it for years.
I love your latest finish, I started my 16 patches as a leader/ender project with the scraps Toni sent this week from her monday offerings....
So many prertty quilts on your blog,

Su Bee said...

Ooo -- LOVE that pinwheel/16 patch! That one is really talking to me....
I finally came to love my Easy Angle, but it took a few months. Handy for Marys Triangles too!

dot said...

That quilt is lovely.

paula, the quilter said...

I have decided that I need to stop and play with my rulers and templates. Thanks for the push and that's a great quilt, btw.

atet said...

Ooooh -- LOVE that quilt! Hmmn, Easy Angle did you say? I think there may be an addition to my Christmas list!

Tanya said...

I'm another one who has the easy angle but have never used it. That and the companion angle still in their plastic wrap. Nowadays I'm wanting the tri-recs tool that I've heard some people talk about. What am I going to use these tools on? No idea....

Anne Ida said...

Your version of Bonnie's scrap quilt looks wonderful! I agree with you - the dark squares meeting up with the dark triangles creates an interesting effect - go with it!

...hmmm... looks like another tool I need to get...

Libby said...

I am not usually a 'gadget' girl, but I recently used the tri-recs ruler that someone gave to me as a gift and found it to be quite handy *s* Now I'm going to have to investigate this ruler . . . sounds like something I could come to enjoy very much. Love the quilt you're making with it - scrappy quilts just sing *s*

Darlene said...

Great "toys"! :-)

The quilt is super lovely!

Karen (Misiz C) said...

LOL- Your post made me go look, but no, I don't have the Easy Angle. I'll have to look into getting one. Your scrap quilt is stunning. Thanks for the inspiration.

Patti said...

Marvelous looking quilt! I too have that ruler - I bought it for Bonnie's patterns - but haven't yet used it. I really like the effect created by the way you put the two different blocks together dark with dark.

Mary said...

I like this version. I made an all green/beige version earlier this year with my Mom and posted instructions on my MaryQuilts.com site. I told Bonnie when she posted hers that I need to make a multi colored version too.

Shelina said...

I have that ruler too, and don't think I've used it properly yet either! One of these days I will figure out how to use these tools that I have. Your quilt looks great. I can't believe you have this much done already just from Thanksgiving weekend. You'll probably get finished by the time I am finished typing this!

Jeanne said...

I have had the Easy Angle ruler for years but it's been out of use for a long time. Thanks for reminding me what a helper it can be. The quilt is just super wonderful! I love it and will be adding it to my immediate list of things I want to do. VBG

Anonymous said...

This is looking really good. Love the optical illusion.

Dawn said...

Finally I"m getting a chance to catch up! This is gorgeous! I"ve always love it on Bonnie's site. I really like what you've done with it! OK, you may make me break down and do it. And isn't that ruler awesome!

Kathie said...

Fabulous color placement--lots of depth and movement.

LC said...

Very nice quilt... and a good reminder to get out those odd rulers that I have thot were just for people who didn't know how to use their regular one (as if I do :-(). My only experience with two odd rulers are the ones that you MUST have to make a Dear Jane.

This does make me feel like tossing my hectic schedule and quilting all day!

lynn roddy brown said...

I was delighted to see my book Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts memtioned on your blog. The quilt on page 60 is the same block with a different set. This one also looks great in scrap.
lynn