Now, I know I've been whining about the weather some lately, but I thought I should show you why. This was what whas happening when Caroll and I went to lunch on Saturday. Yes, snow. It has not only been rainy here (which I could tolerate), it has been COLD. We did see the sun for a bit yesterday, but the rain is starting again now. At least it is supposed to be in the 60s today. It will be the first day we've hit the 60s yet this year. By the end of the week, we are supposed to be back down into the 40s--and it's supposed to rain for the next 8 days. So, rest assured, my whining will probably continue. I hope you agree it's warranted at this point. ;-)
Jodi Barrows came to the Attic Window quilt shop and to my local quilt shop, too. But I couldn't go to either event. Jodi has a ruler called the Square in a Square (SNS) ruler. Caroll was kind enough to bring hers for me to try so that I didn't feel completely left out. Thanks, Caroll! I thought I'd share with you what I thought about the ruler. I brought some scraps and followed the instructions that come with the ruler. You can start with any size of square you want. I fussy cut that medallion. Then, the instructions give you a formula for determining how wide your strips need to be, and you sew those onto the square (start with top and bottom, then the sides). You then use the ruler to line up the 90-degree mark with the corer and trim the fabric off. You get a perfect square-in-a-square block. You can add as many rounds of strips as you want. Here, you can see I've started with the center medallion, added the pink, and now I'm about to trim the red round.
I decided to add another round. (hee hee, got my feet in this photo, but decided not to crop them out!). You can see that as you go out, the width of your strips needs to be much wider each time. Again, Jodi gives you a pretty easy and clear formula for figuring this out.
Here it is trimmed, and you can see the size of the waste increases each time you cut. On this one, the strips were so wide, that the ruler wasn't even wide enough to go all the way across. I had to abut another ruler up against it to cut. You can see ths block is about 7.5" square--and it's already too big for the ruler to handle. So, just keep that in mind...You can't go much bigger that 6" square, I think, if you want the ruler to completely cover your fabric.
(Can you see now the ends of the triangles are cut off on the polka dot scraps? That's important for below.)
I was a little concerned with all that waste. So, I took the two smaller sets of triangles and sewed them together. I thought I would make half-square triangle units out of them
I tried another ruler everyone at bee was raving about. This is a half-square triangle ruler from Eleanor Burns. It can cut half-square triangles up to 6.5" square. Here I've sewn together a red and pink square. Before I press it open, I line up the ruler with the marked line on the seam line for how big I want my finished square to be. I then trim around the ruler. Then, press the block open.
I made four of these blocks and put them together in a pinwheel. You know I love pinwheel blocks. My half-square triangles came out perfect, and the pinwheel is looking good! This block is about 4.5" square.
Next, I cut some more of the red fabric to match up with the large polka-dot scraps. I had to cut those triangles down a little, because the points were all chopped off as a part of the trimming. You might be able to see that in the photo above, where the polkadot scraps were sitting on the table with the square-in-a-square block. I used the Eleanor Burns ruler to make these half-square triangles, too. They were much larger than the first ones, finishing at 4.5" square. This entire block finished at 9" square. And look at my center! Perfect! (I attribute that to starting with perfect half-square traingles!)
Here are all the blocks I made. I made them all in about an hour or so. It was pretty fun. I have no plan for them. I'll throw them in my orphan block drawer and someday do something with them. I just wanted to try things out. I had fun doing so and thank Caroll for the opportunity!
(I'm counting these as three blocks completed for Shelly's 350-block challenge, even though I have no plan for them! What?! I did finish three blocks. It's fair! Right, Shelly?!)
As far as a review of the rulers...The jury is still out for me on the SNS ruler. It made fast work of the square-in-a-square block, that is true! And they turned out really nice. Jodi has several books that go with the ruler, and I think you can use the ruler to make something like 30 different blocks, including perfect flying geese. So, it may be well worth the money. I have very limited experience with the ruler, so this really can't be considered a thorough review...take it for what it's worth. I would have to play with it more. And I may. Caroll said I could borrow it any time. I may try it again. I will say, I was a little concerned that I couldn't make a very big block with it and that the larger the block got, the more waste there was. (Maybe that's all the more reason to stay with small blocks.) So, check it out. If you are making small square-in-a-square blocks, this may be a really useful tool for you. I do like how you could start with any size center you wanted and build out from there.
On the other hand, I loved Eleanor Burns' half-square triangle ruler. That one came home with me. I really like tools that help me get perfect half-square triangles. When your half-square triangles are dead on, it is so much easier to get a good point in your project. There are many methods for getting good half-square triangles. I like to have lots of tools in my toolbelt for that so I can use the one that makes sense for my project. Sometimes I just don't feel like sewing on the some of the triangle papers that are out there....or I don't have the right size of triangle papers handy. So, this is a good tool. She gives you the size you cut your squares/triangles, and there is minimal waste. I highly recommend this ruler if you make lots of half-square triangles. I am happy I have it now!
Hope these thoughts were helpful. Tomorrow, I'll show you some of the scrappy happiness that was going on at our bee. It was a delightful day. You might want to check out Caroll's blog this week. She took a lot more photos at the bee than I did. You can see all the wonderful things people were working on. It was a lot of fun.
Until next time,