Curve it Up – Block 7 – Log Cabin

UnknownIf you can believe what is on the internet (ever) then you might know that the log cabin quilt dates back further than the pioneer days in the United States.  Supposedly, similar designs were found on an ancient Egyptian mummy and in an English quilt predating 1830!  While that is all fine and good, the design makes me think of the pioneer spirit and workmanship and bravery of those who rebuilt their lives in new territories.

I would like nothing more than to built myself a log cabin home as a retreat (complete with a real floor and AC). I’m afraid I would be left sleeping on top of my sewing tables!

logcabinThis curvy log cabin block starts out the same as a traditional log cabin.  Lore says a red center symbolizes the hearth of the home, and yellow a welcoming light in the window, My pink centers represent something else entirely.  For a long time, I hated the color pink.  Don’t ask me why, I just couldn’t mentally handle it.  One day after college, before I became a mother, I decided it was time to “girl up”  and come to terms with what is now one of my favorite colors, though I lean toward the darker pinks.  My centers are not “just pink”, they are built of peony medallion and navy haystack fabric with a hint of traditional navy.  They represent my “inner girl”  that used to hate pink…

I really liked making this block, and may need to build an entire quilt like it.  The only “trick” to the completion was the tapered 1/4″ curve to finish the curved center.  IMG_7298Start your seam  1 3/4″ down on your curve and taper your seam to the normal 1/4″ seam allowance.  Taper back down on the other side.  It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but mistakes were easily corrected.


Update (11/2016):  I recently received a bunch of inquiries regarding the pattern for this block.  It is part of the Sew Kind of Wonderful, Curve it Up, pattern.  It is not free.  I think a link to my site was listed under free patterns somewhere incorrectly.  I hope this clears up some confusion.


Night Stars – August – Spinning Stars

“How did it get so late so soon?”  Dr. Seuss

I finished my Craftsy summer blocks for August.  They are all spinning star variations.  The construction is straight forward, with the triple triangle units as the focus point.  Honestly, I didn’t make it through the whole tutorial this time. Kimberly Einmo did point out in her video that the important thing is to keep the bias edges on the inside seams so that they are not exposed on the outside edges of the block, preventing easy distortion.  Good tip!

I used traditional ruler cutting and piecing.  The only block I was not happy with was my center “on-point” square surrounded by triangles.  Either my cutting was off, or I mishandled the edges, stretching the fabric.  It did not make the perfect square it should have.  You can’t tell after it was all put together, but I knew!

I feel good to have finished them just slightly late!
I plan to make up for lost time this holiday weekend.  I will be sure to cut all of my September blocks which are Ohio Star variations.



Block 6 – Curvy Geese – A Breeze!

I tackled the next block in the Curve it Up series.  It is called Curvy Geese.  Assembly was a breeze and used curved flying geese blocks similar to the Block 2 Sawtooth Star.  I like how the center is a large pinwheel.

Curvy Geese

I used some unscented Best Press instead of the Terial Magic today.

bp60034I sprayed it directly on the blocks, and my ironing board when I pressed the seams out.  It worked well and though not as crisp as the Terial, helped maintain shape when squaring the blocks.

Unfortunately, it left residue on my iron, so will I need to clean it off before switching projects.  The residue did not leave any discoloration on the fabrics.  Has anyone else run into this with Best Press?

  • Do press your seams out to reduce bulk.  I even pressed the seams out between rows, otherwise my intersections were too bulky.
  • Use a stylus to help with the end of your curves.
  • While fabrics is pulled through by the feed dogs, hold your top layer of fabric up slightly to encourage less puckering of the curved seam.
  • Don’t try to sew fast!  Slow and steady makes the most even seam.

Take a look at a real time video of one flying goose – slow & solo!


Night Stars – July – Sawtooth Stars

I signed up for the Free Craftsy 2015 Summer Block of the Month.  The pattern is Night Stars, by Kimberly Einmo, and has a large star in the middle surrounded by a variety of different traditional stars.  July’s class focused on sawtooth star variations.   I had lots of practice with these on my last QOV quilt!

They look nice, but I was frustrated since all of my blocks came out about 1/8″ too small.  This isn’t usually an issue for me using a scant 1/4″ foot.  My theory is that the batik fabric (new for me), plus the thread thickness I was using was the culprit.

This table I found online supports my theory.
*  Remember, higher numbers represent finer threads.
** Some of these threads are 2 ply, some 3

Equivalent Thread sizes… 
Aurifil 50/2 – 25
Aurifil 40/2 – 20
Gutermann 50/3 – 17
Connecting Threads 50/3 – 17
Coats & Clark/Star 50/3 – 17
Mettler 50/3 – 17
King Tut 40/3 – 13 “

I have ordered some 40 wt. and 50 wt. Aurifil thread to see if it makes a difference.  All of my July blocks were stitched using 100% cotton, Gutermann 50 weight.  If the chart below is correct, the Aurifil thread may be a little finer.  A fellow class member used the Aurifil 50 wt, and her blocks were slightly large, so my first test will be with Aurifil 40 weight thread.

After I see the results in practice for August, I might have to put some of these under a microscope and rap get some photographs (just for fun).  Stay tuned!


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.


Curve It Up – Block 2 Sawtooth Star

I finished Block 2, Sawtooth Star, in the Curve It Up pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful.

Assembly of the sawtooth star was very traditional.  If I wanted to complete a whole quilt of this design, I would definitely change the cutting and assembly of the half square triangles and center checkerboard block.  Half square triangles can be assemblIMG_6462ed two  – four at a time, and the checkerboard would be easier to work in strips.

The QCR (Quick Curve Ruler) allowed me to cut gentle concave and convex curves for the curved half square triangle blocks.  Notice how the pattern had me cut the tips of the triangle off?  IMG_6459

This allowed me to align the curved slot to a corner on the fabric.

Just like block 1, the fabric for the curved pieces is oversized so that it can be squared up after sewing.

The curves on these blocks do not lie as flat as I IMG_6464would like after pressing.  If I clipped the curve, they would, but I wanted to leave the edge alone.

I “resorted” to a new product I had been meaning to try, Terial Magic by Terial Arts.  This product is meant to replace stabilizers and fusible for quilters and embroiderers.  It also can help keep fraying in check.  Best of all, it is water soluble and can be washed out.  I can’t wait to try it for cutting appliqué items using my Silhouette Cameo!  IMG_6482

When used by itself per manufacturer directions, It makes fabric VERY stiff and paper- like.  However, I diluted the solution 1:1 with tap water in a small, fine mist spray bottle.  I gently sprayed the back seam, and then pressed it.  This made my seam lie perfectly flat, and gave the blocks a slightly firmer hand. As an added bonus, my blocks will not stretch out of shape now when handled!

Good news: I sprayed this over my fabric and let some of it get on my new ironing board cover.  After I was finished, I damp wiped the surface of the cover, and there was no indication of staining or residues!  I’ve ironed on the board since, and there is no scorching or discoloration which you tend to see over time with other starch sprays.

I’ve sent an email request to the manufacturer for the SDS.  I am interested to compare it to starch.  Bonus, my regular starch is in an aerosol can and this is not!



Curve It Up – BOM – (Coming Soon!)

This quilt pattern, “Curve it Up” by Sew Kind of Wonderful was gifted to me along with the “Quick Curve Ruler” .  Over the next year, I plan to post information about the quilt construction and use of the curve it up ruler.  Come learn with me!

Here are my plans:

Blog 1 – Curve it Up:  Pick your fabrics!  – Overview of Moda Palette Builder
Blog 2 – Block 1
Blog 3 – Block 2

Let me know if there is anything else you want to see! I’m new to blogging and don’t know what others would like to see yet.