Block 5 – Nine Patch – Parametric Diamond

Better late than never… I finished this block a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t post it right away (sorry).  This block was either more difficult than the others, or I am off my game.  Be patient!

Cutting was easy, utilizing the same techniques used in many of the first four blocks.  I tried to pick colors carried over from the last block, but can see that it is time to throw some brights back into the mix.

Since this block is chock full of curves, it was a perfect time to try out my new presser foot called the “Curve Master”.  The Curve Master foot came with lots of shank adapters that I did not need for my Brother snap on shank sewing machine.  I purchased the presser foot kit with some patterns on Massdrop recently as it was touted online as a great tool.

The construction of the foot I received is plastic.  Out of the box, I had to press the pin for attaching it to my machine as it was not entirely seated.  The pin or post diameter seemed a little small, so the foot had a little play and did not sit as straight as I would like.   If you look closely at my photo below, you will see that the right edge of the foot doesn’t make a clean straight line across my needle / throat plate. IMG_7133

I’m not one to give up easily, or judge too soon.  I proceeded to stitch all four of the curves utilizing the techniques shown online for the quick curve foot.  The trick to using this foot is to slightly lift the top layer of fabric while feeding the layers between the feed dog and the foot.  The fabric should align to the plastic guide wall on the right side of the foot to give you very even edge match.

My edges aligned very well, but something went terribly wrong and my block was uneven.  Enter… The seam ripper.

My favorite seam ripper for quilting is the Clover 482/W.   I have tried several brands (Dritz, Foclover-seam-ripper-13ns & Porter, generic rippers that came with my machines, Ginger, Seam Fix) but find this one to be sharp and has a fine point to catch the stitches.  I also like the rounded handle.    The only thing that would make it better is a silicone end like the Seam Fix and a hole to allow me to hang it around my neck!  I always keep one close…  What is your favorite?  Leave me some comments.

I think that my new presser foot might be defective.  With a slightly larger press fit pin, better hole alignment and some polishing of plastic burrs left from molding or other manufacture, it might be handy.  Someday, if I am bored, I will play with it again.

Instead, I went back to my favorite 1/4″ foot for curves.   Remember this?

The diamond border was the most difficult.  It you don’t get the narrow curves centered, then you will not have enough fabric to trim the nine block to the correct size for the next step.  The overlap is not generous.
If I was cutting fabric for the outer borders again, I would have paid more attention to pattern direction.   I like that butting the strips together doesn’t matter here since that portion is trimmed off for the next curve.

This would be aIMG_7140n interesting alternative to mitred corners for quilt borders.
While way more complicate than a nine block, what should we have expected from a parametric diamond.  Anyone up for a math quilt?


Curve it Up – Block 3 – Rail Fence

I promised my mom that I would finish a block a month of the curve it up project.  Fitting for May, I kept my promise.

A traditional rail fence quilt block is a simple design, typically consisting of three to four uniform strips of contrasting colors sewn together.


Quick “history” reviews state that it was usually one of the first blocks taught to new quilters, but it remains a versatile favorite!

Patterns from pinwheels to chevrons can be created depending on how the pieces are assembled.

Now, let me “rail” on the curved rail fence!  This is definitely not a beginners block.  There are so many ways to go wrong.  Hopefully my tips and tricks below will keep you on the right track with a beautifully uniform curved rail!

This is an example where I didn’t follow the pointers below!
It is possible to mess up this block! 
In this case, I cut the fabric the same as all of my real blocks, but stitched them together with a poor seam allowance, in two directions, in the wrong order, and pressed it wrong.  What “wonky” work! 🙂

Note:  For those that like pre-cuts, this block is Layer Cake friendly!


IMG_6589You will need 2, IMG_661110″ squares of your background fabric and 4, 10″ squares of your focus fabrics.  Once you have these, you utilize the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR), by Sew Kind of Wonderful, to trim the squares into the curved pieces.

The instructions for lining up the ruler for the cuts are very good.
Pointer 1:  The slot in the ruler is fairly wide. To keep your strip width even, try to hug either one side of the slot or the other, but keep it the same each time.
IMG_6614 copy

Pointer 2:  Sew the strips from left to right.  Do not stitch all of the inner curves together first.  Errors made by accidentally stretching the curves, compound as you move across the pieces.  The white backing with a straight edge helps stabilize the curve shape.

Seam allowance is important for this block.  I found a scant 1/4″ seam allowance to work best.  I tried sewing the curves using two different quarter inch feet.  The foot without the guide worked best for me and allowed me to keep my seam more uniform.

Do not start in the middle of the block and work to each side.  Start at one end, and leave a quarter inch “dog ear” like we have done on the other blocks. Don’t worry if one edge is more even than the other.

These are the two presser feet I tried.


Once you have sewn all six pieces together, it is time to PRESS!  Using a starch helps keep a block crisp, but I did not find I needed it for next assembly.

IMG_6622The block will not lay very flat until after pressing.  It might look something like this before pressing.

Pointer 3: This block is interesting, and with all of the curves needs  pressed from the back, gingerly.  DO NOT IRON!  The movement back and forth will distort your block.  Press all of the seams in the same direction, one at a time. I liked starting from the first seam sewn to the last.


After pressing, we will trim the block using a traditional square template. The template needs at least 1/2″ increment markings.  The “wonky” block I made could not be “fixed” by squaring it up since the curves are so far off!
By completing four of these, you can then piece them together just like a four square block.