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New Quilted Projects
Exploring New Quilting Designs
If you have read any of my quilting hubs, you will have discovered that I like to make quilted items that have some illusion to them, such as the Card Trick Block and the Tumbling Quilt Block, as well as the Attic Windows Quilt Block. Although I have made these blocks using the traditional methods, I also like to find easier ways to make these items. My favorite projects are ones that use Half Square Triangles, but instead of following any of the patterns found on the Internet and in books, I decided to design my own project using 3 colors of fabric. I have also, by accident discovered a way to make a tumbling block using no y-seams. I also experimented with a new quilting ruler that I purchased, that came with no instructions, and any instructions found on the Internet were very vague. My first attempt did not work out and I was ready to give up on the Simply Crazy Tool, but about 2 months later, I came up with the idea of using wider strips of fabric, so I gave the ruler a second chance. The result was brilliant. All photos were taken by the author of this article
Simply Crazy Tool Instructions
When I received this specialty quilting ruler, I looked for the instruction sheet, but it came with no indication on how to use this ruler . After looking at it, I realized it was in the shape of a pentagon ( 5 sides ), but unequal sides. I could not figure out how I would match anything up that was cut with this ruler without using a lot of inset seams, which I can do, but did not want to.I searched the Internet and only found one site that give partial instructions, but to get more, I would have to become a paid member of the site. It did mention adding strips of fabric around the cut block, using the log cabin style. Since I knew what that meant I proceeded to give it a try. I started adding strips of 2 inch fabric strips around each of the 5 sides and trimming after each once. After going around the block 3 times, I still did not have room to get a square out of it. I gave up. Later I came up with the idea that my strips should be at least 3 inches wide. I only had to go around the block once to get a 6-1/2 inch square. I made 9 of these blocks and the result is shown in the Photo.I chose to use 2 colors for the pentagon shape, as I wanted to use up some of my scraps of fabric. I then chose to surround the block with the 3rd fabric, which I had more of. This ruler provides you with a shape to make a scrappy quilt. If you are a very creative person, it is very possible to come with this idea yourself, but my creativity only works some of the time, and at other times I just draw a black, so for me this ruler was perfect. I would highly recommend it. The only step you have to be careful with is the positioning of your square ruler on the final result, is to make sure there is enough fabric around your shape for quarter inch seam allowances. If your square happens to be cut on the bias, just don't stretch it out of shape. Although all the seams matched up when sewing the 9 blocks together, it would not matter if they did not, as this is a scrappy quilt. Although I enjoy matching up seams to make everything look right, it was kind of nice for a change not to worry about it. I used 2 colors when cutting my shape out, but you could use just one color and surround it with different colored fabrics. When using strips that are less than 3 inches, you will to surround the shape at least 4 times, as a lot of that fabric is taken up in seam allowances. Also, your last 2 strips of fabric can be less than 3 inches. Experiment and have fun with this quilting ruler.
My Crazy Quilt In PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
My next project involved making half square triangles with fabrics I had left over from other projects and fabric I had purchased in small quantities. I found 3 colors that I enjoy using together--green, navy, and a shade of purple. I ended up making 20 squares of navy and purple, and 28 squares of green and purple. My next task was to arrange all of them in a pattern that I found pleasing to my eye. After some time, I came up with a table runner you see in the photo. I have no idea if this design is found elsewhere on the Internet, but it is entirely possible, as there are millions of quilters worldwide, and thousands of them are trying out new designs. The only thing I may have in my favor, is the colors I chose to match together. As you can see from the photos, I tried a couple of layouts before I decided on the final designs. I also made one using hot pink and mauve, which I gave away to my step-granddaughter.As you can see, I used a 4 by 4 grid, which uses 16 squares. There countless ways you could lay these out. Experiment and have fun and come up with your own designs.
Half Square Triangle Layouts
Making a new design in photosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tumbling Blocks With No Inset Seams
Look Ma, No Y-Seams
I have made a quilted table topper that featured tumbling blocks using Y-Seams. The item turned out reasonable well, but I thought that there must be an easier way to make these, and someday I would look into it. That was last year, and this year, I finally discovered a way without any Y-Seams. I discovered this mistake, by trying another idea of making Half Rectangle Triangles, or HRT's. This should be easy enough, or so I thought. i cut 2 rectangles in 2 different colors, each 5 inches by 7 inches. I then placed them rights sides together and drew a line on the diagonal and sewed a quarter inch on each side of the line and cut down the middle. What I ended up with was not what I wanted. I ended up with a kite shaped diamond. There was no way to put four of them together unless you used Y-Seams, and you would need 4-1/2 of these units.I then thought I would cut off the top part of these units, and ended up with triangles, but they still would not fit together properly. I then realized that if these triangles were to fit together properly, they would have to be 60 degree triangles.
Once I used my 60 degree triangle ruler to make them the right shape, 6 of these units fit together perfectly. That is when I realized that I had just made a tumbling block using no Y-Seams. When you take a look at a tumbling block quilt, you will soon realize that it is made with 60 degree diamonds, and a diamond can be made by making 2 60 degree triangles and butting them together. While this method might be acceptable if you wanted to used 2 different colors in each diamond, but it will not look right if you wanted a particular pattern in each of the 3 sides of the cube. You now have 2 choices; you can learn how to make inset seams, or you could make 2 diamonds using the patterned fabric, and then for the diamond on the left, you could make a solid colored diamond by making 2 triangles and sew one to the top unit and one to the bottom unit, and then sew those 2 units together. The unit on the left will have have seam joining the 2 triangles.
My next project will be making one of the quilt tops using solid colors in each of the 3 units, and then putting a number of blocks together. Check out my photo gallery to see how I came about this method. Yes, I know that I came about by taking the long way, and could have saved a lot of time by looking more closely at the first tumbling block quilt I made.
My quilting experiment in photosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Specialty Quilting Rulers
Owning one of these is a real plus.
I have used this ruler, and the results were fantasic
The Tumbling Block Debate
Which way do you prefer to make the tumbling block quilt