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.