Good morning, everyone!
Well, we did get hit with a snowstorm, but it really wasn't too bad. I hear we had about 11 inches of snow (but to the north of us they did get 2 feet, according to Caroll at The Attic Window!). It stopped snowing early last night, but it did start snowing again ths morning. The worst of it was the wind. There is a lot of bad drifting. I was worried we'd lose power with all the wind (we live in the country), but fortunately that didn't happen either. Regardless, school officials announced last night by about 6 pm that the local schols would be closed today. Shortly thereafter, they announced the university would be closed, too. That's unusual! But, I don't teach classes on Wednesdays...it's my day to prep, grade, have meetings with students, etc. So, it's really just one less day to get all my work done! I'll have to do some work at home today, but I also plan to play a little, too.
Thank you to all of you for your supportive comments about my intuitive angle piecing! I did not expect such an outpouring of comments. Like I told you, I am so out of my comfort zone on these projects, your comments really motivate me and make me feel like I should continue with this journey. Thank you!
Did you stop by to see Lynn's piece? Click here to go to her blog post from yesterday. Here's a little teaser to get you over there:
This is one of Lynn's photos (used with her permission) of her first strip of inuitive angle piecing. Hers is more abstract than mine. I didn't realize (or if I knew it, I completely forgot) that she was using the same fabrics as I was! So, you really need to hop over there and see the really cool piece she created using the same fabrics and same strategy...but the result is completely different from mine. I absolutely love what she is doing! Seriously...go check it out!
Okay. True confession time. Remember when I said I wouldn't start that new Edyta Sitar quilt until I finished my Tree of Life UFO? Well, I'm sticking to that.
But.....I started a new project this weekend. I know....I'm bad.
But here's my reasoning (read: rationalizing):
- My camera battery died last weekend, so I couldn't make progress on my Quilted Fish Design Team tutorial.
- I have made great progress on my Tree of Life UFO last weekend; besides, that's handwork and I do it at night in front of the TV. I needed something else to move onto in the middle of the day.
- It's a small project that I think I can complete in a couple of weekends and will give me something to practice more free motion quilting on.
- I just got the new Triangulations 3.0 CD and needed to try it out.
- I have had this Schnibbles book (Schnibbles Times Two: Quilts from 5" or 10" Squares (That Patchwork Place) ) for over a year and haven't gotten to make anything out of it yet.
- I had this new French General fabric that was burning a hole in my stash drawer...it wanted to get used so bad.
- It's time to take down Lucky Charms, since it's a holiday quilt. I need something small to replace it.
I could go on. Do you want me to? I didn't think so. Let's get on with it.
I thought I'd show you this new project and at the same time do a product review of the Triangulations 3.0 CD for you today, since I have a little extra time. Here goes:
I got this book a while back and really want to make the small versions of the quilts:
When I was in Marshall recently, I saw this little French General charm pack:
Had to have it. LOVE this fabric. I decided I'd make a quilt from the Schnibbles book out of it.
I decided on this little quilt, since it would look good in my hallway, where I'd like to put the quilt (when I retire Lucky Charms until next holiday season). I think the French General fabric will look good in this pattern.
I had sort of shied away from this pattern, because flying geese scare me. Lots of sewing on the bias, points to match up. EEK! The only time I've had success with flying geese is when I did the Stars for a New Day quilt last year, and we paper pieced the flying geese.
Well, I have been wanting to get the Triangulations CD for a while, because I've also had the most success piecing half-square triangles using those papers (and Edyta Sitar's papers). I haven't had the best of luck with...oooooh, I can't think of the name right now...the ones where you cut your fabric into long strips and sew your triangles. (Postscript: Just remembered--Thangles!) I find that the strips have a tendency to wiggle around on you a bit. I like Trianglulations because you are working with wider pieces of fabric that seem to be more stable for sewing on. I get better accuracy.
And I like paper piecing.
So, I finally decided to break down get Triangulations.
Well, I just learned a new version has come out, Version 3.0. Version 3.0 now includes paper piecing patterns for quarter square triangles (hour glass blocks) AND flying geese in addition to the half square triangles.
That's all I needed to know. I bought it right up, because I'll really use this. I decided that instead of piecing the flying geese strips according to the instructions in the book (which use the "bikini method," [the link is to instructions from www.patchpieces.com] which--to be fair--I've never tried), I would paper piece them using my new Triangulations 3.0 CD.
What is Triangulations 3.0 and what comes in it?
Triangulations 3.0 is a CD-ROM from Bear Paw Productions that you put into your computer and it has a series of PDF (portable document files) on it that can be opened on any computer (PC or Mac) if you have Adobe's Acrobat Reader, a free download on the web. All of the files print out on regular 8.5" x 11" paper, and you can print as many or as few papers as you need.
One PDF file are paper piecing templates for half-square triangle units sizes 1/2" to 7 and 1/2". These are available in increments of 1/16"! So, you can basically get any half-square triangle unit size you might need for any quilt pattern.
Another file gives you quarter square tiangle units in sizes 3/4" to 7 and 1/2" in 1/8" increments. These can be for making hourglass units, if you want to.
Another file (called Tamed Geese) gives you flying geese units in sizes 1/2" x 1" to 3 and 3/4" by 7 and 1/2".
For all of these, there are clear and detailed instructions for how to determine what size you need, how to print them, and how to paper piece them, including excellent photos to guide you through the sewing process. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
In addition, there are four very pretty, full-sized quilt patterns that feature half-square triangles, quarter square triangles, and flying geese units included as well.
How does it work?
Here is part of a sample page for the half-square triangles. You can see that rather than sewing long skinny strips, you are sewing on larger squares. You would take two pieces of fabric, lay them right sides together, and place this paper on the wrong side of one of the fabrics. You sew on the dashed lines, and you cut on the solid lines. See the arrows on the dashed lines? Those tell you which direction to sew so you can do all the sewing in one continuous line. There are even lines for where to trim of the corners of the units so you don't have "dog ears." If you sewed all of these on the page, you'd have lots of matching half square triangle units when you're done. If you only needed four this size, you could just cut four off this sheet and sew those. Or, there are pages you can print for sewing individual units.
For my project, I went to this chart for the Tamed Geese. My pattern called for flying geese units that were 2" x 3 and 1/2" raw. In this chart, that is what the "Sewn Size" column indicates. This was the only tricky thing for me to figure out...which column I needed to be looking at. I needed the column for 2" by 3 and 1/2" raw, but the page I went to for these has the "finished" size (1 and 1/2" by 3") at the top. So, I really had to double check that I was making the right ones!
The next column to the right indicates what size the unit will be after it has been sewn into the quilt (so without the 1/4" seam allowances). I went down the first column until I got to where it said 2" by 3 and 1/2". Then, if you go across the column, you can see the column "Chained Geese on Page," and below that it gives the page numer in the document where you'd find the chained geese that size. For me, that was page 15. This is what I wanted. In my pattern, the geese are sewn in a chain (see above), so it would be easiest to use the chained pattern. If I wanted an individual flying geese unit, I would have proceded to the next column, labeled "Single Geese on Page," and I would have printed that page (in my case, page 16) instead.
Here is a glimpse of page 15 of the document. You can't see it, because I cropped the photo (out of respect for the publisher's copyright), but for each of the two units shown here, there are 4 flying geese units in the chain. For my pattern, I need 20 flying geese units in each of 4 chains. So, for each chain, I need five of these 4-geese units. I printed enough of these pages to give me that many units. Easy peasy. Now, I was ready to cut fabric. See the chart at the top of the page? It tells me that for my background squares, which in my quilt will be tan, I need to cut squares that are 2 and 3/4" square. I then subcut those in half diagonally. Those will be for the triangles labeled 8, 9, 11, and 12 in the photo. They are oversized so you have some wiggle room, and you will trim later. It also tells me that for my "geese", I should cut squares 4 and 3/8" and subcut those twice from corner to corner. Those will be for triangles 7 and 10 in the photo. For me, this will be my dark charm squares. Charm squares are 5" square. I didn't cut them down to 4 and 3/8". I just let them be a bit bigger and cut my charm squares twice diagonally.
The author states that although her suggestions for cutting are oversized, they aren't oversized by a whole lot. I assume this is to decrease the amount of waste you'd have. She recommends that you test sew to make sure these are big enough for how you sew. I found they were big enough for me, but it was close. If I was new to paper piecing, I'd cut them bigger to allow myself more wiggle room. I had a couple of close calls with seam allowances almost not being big enough. As I said, my center triangles were bigger (5"), and they worked out swell. So, you might consider cutting your squares a little bigger. You'll have more waste, but it might make your piecing easier and less frustrating.
When I cut up my charm squares, I sorted the triangles into a silverware sorter that had four separate bins. I put one triangle in each bin from each charm square. Then, when I sew each of my four chains, I can make sure the fabrics are equally distributed across them. The vertical bin you see on the right is the one I was using for chain 1. I pulled all "geese" from this bin for chain 1. I'll pull all "geese" for chain 2 from the bin on the bottom of the photo, and so on. (I cut more triangles than I needed in each bin so that I'd have a pretty random assortment and order. I'll sew up these extras and save them for something else...maybe the back?)
Here's an example of one sewn unit. I love how my points are just perfect. I can only do this with paper piecing...honestly! And see how my seam allowances are great on the sides for when I join these to the sashing rows? Love it.
And here's how it looks from the back. You can see I sewed on the dashed lines, and I cut on the solid lines after I sewed. The numbers indicate the sequence in which you add fabrics and sew. That is very helpful. For example, you sew the line between 1 and 2 first, then the line between 1 and 3, then the horizontal line... (Don't worry...this is ALL detailed very well in the instructions, with photos to assist you!)
A couple of tips...use the cheapest, flimsiest printer paper you can for this. It tears off more easily. Unfortunately, I have pretty good quality paper, and that makes tearing off more difficult. I also shorten my stitch length to about 1.5 on my sewing machine. That also makes tearing easier (more perforations), and the stitches stronger.
Here's a row where I've started to sew the units together to form an even longer chain. I leave the papers on for this step...again for accuracy and stability. I probably won't take the paper off until I've sewn these to the sashing strips, just for stability and accruacy. (It makes removing the papers a little more time consuming, however, so many people would remove the papers at this point. You can certainly do that.) It took me about 2 hours to sew this chain of 20 flying geese units. And I've already started on the second chain.
Would I recommend this product?
Yes. Without a doubt. I used these papers one other time in a class. A teacher brought them to help us piece half square triangles for one portion of the project we were doing. That's where I fell in love with them. Ever since then, I've wanted this product, so I could print out my own templates for when I wanted them. Now that it also includes flying geese and quarter square triangle units, I felt it was well worth the $28 it cost me. If you have trouble getting your points just right or with stretching/accuracy (like I do) when you sew half or quarter square triangles, this product just might help you a lot. There is a huge variety in sizes you can print, so I imagine you'd find whatever size you need on the CD ROM.
The instructions provided on the PDF files are really very good and very clear. So, if you have never paper pieced before, I think you would be able to follow these instructions very easily and experience success.
If you like to sew your units really scrappy, this might not be as helpful. Like I said, when you print out a sheet of half square triangle units, you get a lot of matching ones. But you can cut the templates up, make the single units, or you could just make a bunch of units and keep the unused ones for other projects. This is probably most useful when you need lots of half square triangle units that look similar.
As you can see, it was really easy for me to do the flying geese scrappy with these templates. That was no problem at all, because each geese unit is still sewn one at a time (even when chained). That was nice.
This is working up quickly. I bet I can have it done in another weekend if I work on it a fair amount. In fact, that is what I may work on a bit today, after I do some schoolwork.
By the way, this is the beautiful fabric from the line that I'm going to use on the back. I just love it. And don't you love the little pattern French General puts on the selvedge? I think I might actually have to cut these selvedges off and start saving selvedges!
I hope this product review was helpful to you. I also hope you're all staying warm and cozy during this snowstorm that is sweeping the country right now!
I think I'll post my UFO progress tomorrow, because on Friday, I'll be giving you a link to KarrieLyne's tutorial for the Quilted Fish Design Team! She's the first one up, and I know she has a really cute project for all of you! Yippee! Can't wait!
Until next time,