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Curve it Up – Block 12 – Spinning Spools

My final block for the Curve it Up sampler quilt is completed.  I’m writing this from an altitude of over 14,000 feet after having about a day to recover from the pain…

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I created this block using the suggested “scrappy” method where the middle of each spool is strip pieced from small scraps at least 5″ wide.   The result was that I misjudged the amount that a long pieced curve stretches while gingerly fed under the pressed foot.  I literally scrapped three spools before I settled on a method that let me trim them to the correct size.

This block requires that you trim to 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ by lining up the rectangle on points of both curves.   If your sides stretch, at least one of those points does not fit.

Tip1:   Starch everything.

The starch will help limit movement of the fabrics and seams cut on th bias.  I was not successful until I did this.

Tip 2:  Fewer seams = less chances for stretching as the seam bulk goes under the pressed foot.   ( I tried making the spool using a solid middle, and was successful the first time.)

In the future,  if I am in a scrappy spool mood, I have another idea.  I plan to stabilize the center of the spool using a very lightweight fusible stabilizer.   I think this would eliminate my issues with the bias and stretchy seams.

I’m really looking forward to piecing my borders and sashing next.  I hope your spinning spools go smoother than mine did.   Never give up, even if they make your head spin!   They do turn out pretty.

 

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Curve It Up – Block 11 – Temperance?

Who knew that some history of traditional quilt blocks could be found at the National Park Services website?  Check out this Quilt Discovery Booklet posted there.

The Drunkard’s Path from the Curve it Up pattern is the most traditional design in the book (my opinion).  “A Drunkards Path” consists of 16 blocks.

According to the Quilt Discovery Booklet, the Drunkard’s Path was popular during the temperance movement.  The Temperance Union colors were white for purity and blue for water, the “purist” beverage available.  I also made my block in Blue and White.  However, if you know the source and how water is processed in many municipalities, I would not call it pure…   If you live in the wrong place, you might even be drinking Lead.   Maybe we would all be safer drinking Gin and Tonic!

My favorite thing about this block is the fact that there are NO POINTS TO MATCH.   If you can match rows with nesting seams, then this block is for you.  It is a very forgiving curvy block. Temperance is not required.     Cheers!
If you are interested in the math of a drunkards path, read on. 

 

A traditional drunkards path uses a smaller radius of curvature, AND the center of the circle or arc is placed at the corner of the block.

The block created with the Quick Curve Ruler uses a flatter arc, or a larger radius of curvature and the radius is placed further away from the corner of the block.  You could create this same effect by creating your own template, but make sure that you have the arc hitting on equal sides of the square.

Here are some example diagrams.

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When you cut traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks, the curve shown above is NOT your cutting line.  The reason for this is that it doesn’t account for your seam allowance.  Since you are stitching a concave piece to a convex piece, if you do not add additional seam allowance, your outside edges would not match.

The beauty of the Curve It Up pattern is that it suggests you start with a larger square than you need, stitch your curve, then trim the block to size. The method is used for all of the blocks in the pattern. I think this could be used for the traditional curved piecing as well, but you would need to increase your original squares of fabric to accommodate trimming to size and would have to be careful to keep curves centered.

If you are a math nerd…
I drew a curve using my Quick Curve Ruler and measured the length of a chord, and the height measured at the midpoint of the arc’s base.  Using those numbers I came up with a rough calculation of my Quick Curve Arc Radius.

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Quick Curve Ruler

Chord Length (W) = 6.5″
Height (H) = .75″

R = (.75/2) + (6.5*6.5)/(8*.75)
R = 7.416″

“To calculate the radius” above is from Math Open Reference Website:  http://www.mathopenref.com/arcradius.html

 

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Curve It Up – Block 9 and 10

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Block 9, Dresden Plate, is the same as block 8, but assembled in a circle rather than fans.  (Fans are more forgiving.)
Marking and matching seams was the most important part of this block.  The seams are not pressed in opposite directions, so you WILL need to pin in order to match the seams perfectly.  I think I used better fabric values in this block and am happy with the outcome.

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Block 10 is the Piece Star Block.  I call it the “wish I squared my pieces up” block!   If I made this block again, I would be sure to square up my center diamond blocks.  I changed this design slightly by turning the corner background blocks into half square triangle blocks to introduce another color into the block.  I should have nudged my diagonal seam over by the width of my thread to make the blocks the perfect size for piecing.  All of these things would have made the block lie flatter when assembled. All of the seams create thick intersections, so I pressed most of the seam open to make them lie flatter.

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Curve it Up – Block 8 – Fancy Fans

Whew… Too bad these fans don’t cool you off!Untitled-1The great thing about fancy fans is that if you make them meet in the center they will make Block 9 too, a curvy Dresden Plate!  Keep tuned for more in November.  It might take me four more to master this set.

The next time around I need to add some additional light fabrics.

Hint:  BE SURE TO MARK FROM YOUR SEAMS ACCURATELY.   (Otherwise you get to make an extra like I had to do.  There is something to be said for not piecing late at night.)  Keep cool!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Curve It Up – Block 1 Churn Dash

I completed the cutting and sewing of the first block of the Curve It Up quilt pattern today.  This was also the very first time that I have tried the “Quick Curve Ruler”.

My color selection didn’t vary much from the pattern (this time), call me chicken!

IMG_6340Step 1:  Choose your fabrics
I plan to incorporate a mixture of solids and prints in my blocks.  I will probably carry over one of the fabrics to each subsequent block to attempt to tie everything together.

Step 2:  Precut your fabrics – What I learned… I precut my fabrics to the sizes suggested.  The sizes are supposed to be a little larger than the final sizes needed for the curved pieces.  However, no extra is given for the more traditional non-curve pieces.

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Step 3:  Sew your block per the pattern…
So far, the beauty of the “Quick Curve Ruler”  is that it gives you a slot to follow for cutting the curve AND after you have pieced your curve (and it isn’t perfectly centered) you can use the ruler to correct it by cutting it down!

This ruler doesn’t make it any easier to match the starting point of your curve.  You also still need to be careful during stitching not to tug or stretch the curve.  I found the blue concave piece the most susceptible to the stretching.

Here is what helped me:
1.  To center the blue concave curve piece and the background convex piece, overlay them, and then mark where they intersect.  (I used a pink friXion pen… it will disappear with ironing, and will be within the seam allowance.)IMG_6413

2.  Use a stylus to help feed the two layers under your foot while sewing the curve.  I found that my fingers tended to tug at the fabric more than a fine edge.  I’m trying out “That Purple Thang”, and it seems to do the trick. 🙂

Step 4:  Press and admire…
The finished blocks of this quilt are 16 1/2  x 16 1/2.

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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
etc.

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.