Tuesdays Tips -Quilting: HST Tip Tool

Tuesdays Tips -Quilting: HST Tip Tool

Hi! Thought you might enjoy a quick tip when you need to join half square triangles (HST) the traditional way–by sewing two triangles together.

I’m working on a Christmas quilt, and the pattern calls for cutting squares in half (corner to corner) and sewing them together.

I usually make my HST by cutting squares a bit larger, stacking them right sides together, drawing a line from corner to corner, sewing 1/4″ on either side of the line, cutting between the lines, pressing and squaring them up to size. You know the drill.

Or (if I have the right size die) I’ll use my Accuquilt to cut perfect triangles with the dog ears pre-trimmed. But for this pattern, I didn’t have the right size die.

So…I happened to remember a sweet little tool I got at the Quilt Expo quite awhile back (and amazingly was able to find it)! It’s a Porter & Fons Triangle Trimmer. It made the job so much easier.

Just line it up with the corner and trim!

Why? Because it makes the triangles easier to line up, and easier to feed through the machine (easier to get the trimmed edge under to needle than that tiny point).

And because once they’re opened up and pressed, there are no dog ears to trim.

I was lucky…these HST finished up right on target, so there was no need to spend time squaring.

So if you’re into a project that calls for sewing HST the old fashioned way…take a look in your tool stash. You just might have forgot about this great little tool.

Hope this tip was helpful. Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesday Tips Quilting: Straight Lines

Tuesday Tips Quilting: Straight Lines

Have you ever intended to quilt some beautiful straight lines on your quilted project with your domestic sewing machine and walking foot, thinking you can easily eyeball it from block to block, only to finish a few rows and find you wavered a bit? …that the lines aren’t quite as straight as you’d like?

I know I have. It’s not as easy to sew nice straight lines as you’d think, without a little guidance.

Sure, you can mark one straight line on your quilt and then use the edge of your walking foot to keep every consecutive line straight. But even so you might not keep the lines perfectly straight as you travel along. And maybe you don’t want your lines so close together.

Another option is marking the lines on your quilt using a long ruler & some kind of removable marker (like chalk, disappearing ink, water soluble ink, or pencil). But that’s time consuming and adds another step of getting rid of the marks after you’re done.

So, what’s the solution? My tip is to use good old blue painter’s tape (usually blue, sometimes green).

I just roll out a long piece and tape it onto the quilt, using the blocks (or a ruler) to make sure it’s straight and where I want the stitching.

Line your needle up to one side of the tape or the other and sew away!

Just be sure you sew close to, but not on top of, the tape! Remember, it’s not a race..you can sew slowly.

The strip is reusable…I was able to use the same strip of tape about 10 times or more, so I only needed a couple of long strips to “mark” the entire baby quilt.

And voila! Done in no time, with no marks to wash out.

Love it!❤️

That’s it for Tuesday Tips! Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Have you ever made a “One Block Wonder”?  To make one you place 6 layers of the same fabric on top of each other lining up the patterns exactly, and then cut them into triangles then sew each group of 6 triangles together into a hexagon.  It’s so much fun!

I’ve discovered a wonderful internet site with a free tool to help you in your design process:  You can find it here:

http://oneblockwonder.com/design-helper/#

Once you’re at the site, you’ll see this screen under the tab “design helper”.

OBWblog1

Just upload a photo of your fabric by pressing “Choose image” and finding it on your computer…

OBWBlog2

Then press “MAKE HEXIES”, and this is what you’ll see!

OBWblog3

The software magically changes the fabric into what the OBW quilt might be!  It’s set at the usual 3.75 inch triangle size and 40” wide fabric, but you can change those parameters if you need to.

I gave it a try with a fabric I recently made into a OBW lap size quilt. Here’s the fabric:

OBWBlog4

After uploading the jpeg, I pressed “make hexies” and this is what appeared…isn’t it fun?

OBWblog5     OBWblog6

The first screen shot is random, but this second screen shot was made when I pressed “by color”.  Then press “snapshot” to get a jpeg that you can save to your computer (right click).

I realized that the photo I uploaded showed less than 40″ width of my fabric, so I tried changing the parameters tothe size of the fabric on the photograph.  Let’s see if it changed the outcome:

OBW3

To compare the program’s outcome to my actual fabric quilt, here’s a photo of my actual OBW quilt on my design wall in my sewing studio…

OBWblog6a

And here’s the same OBW quilt after it was quilted and finished:

OBWblog7

Doesn’t look exactly as the program’s projection, but it’s not too far off.  I had an inkling that this fabric would work, but wouldn’t it be great to use the program to confirmed it?

In some ways the program spoils the surprise–which is half the fun.  But at the same time I think it helps you decide before you buy if the fabric will work.  …And when you need to buy several yards of fabric (quite an expense),it’s nice to be sure it will look good and work well..

Here are some more examples showing some fabrics I have and how they might look.  The original jpeg of the fabric is in the upper left-hand side (note they’ve shown where the cuts will be for triangles), and the lower section shows how they might look when sewn together…

KaffeFassettLotusLeaf  KonaBay LAV1-09  199STrendtexFabr

The first is a Kaffe Fassett Lotus Leaf, the second is a Kona Bay fabric, and the third is a fabric by TrendTex that I’ve had for ages and I’m surprised how well it works.

I’m not sure about the width of fabric in the photo I uploaded. For example, if the fabric is 40″wide, but the photo only shows 20″ of it, I should probably change the parameters to 20 inch width? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know –it’s a lot of fun to play with.  And it’s a great tool for getting some idea of how your fabric might work as a OBW.

For example, here’s a fabric I KNOW won’t work well –it’s too much of the same colors, doesn’t have enough movement, and the print is too small.  The photo I took was of 20”, so I changed the width of fabric in the website program to 20”.

Let’s see what the program does with it…

PhenFall

YUP, as you can see–although it’s pretty,  it doesn’t really work.  It’s too much the same.

So why not take a moment to give the new website tool a try?  Take a photo of your fabric, and play.  Or if you don’t have a photo, go to their “Menu” tab where they have some sample fabrics to try.  Have fun…

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts