Saturday, January 7, 2012

Forward Progress on All Fronts

{this} close to being done 

First things first, I'm {this} close to finishing up my HST quilt. In a burst of energy the other night, I finished the last few inches of quilting, made the binding, trimmed up the edges of the quilt, and then attached the binding to the front. I seriously considered machine binding this quilt so I can cross it off the list asap, but I'm craving a little bit of handwork. And it's been nice to have a project for Netflix night this weekend.

Time to press some seams 

The other night, I finally started on my jelly roll quilt. Like I mentioned the other night, I'm reluctant to post step by step instructions for this project, since it's published and all. BUT I will direct you to other posts describing how these blocks can be constructed and throw in any helpful tips I encounter.

This month's pattern comes from Strip Smart Quilts by Kathy Brown. The premise of the book is that with strip-piecing and a fancy schmancy ruler, you can create a pretty wide variety of block designs. Last year, Kathy held a blog tour for her book, which is how I found out about it.

During the blog tour, Camille actually had a few pictures of how the ruler works and how the blocks come together. Go ahead and click over there to read it. I'll wait.

So here's the thing. I try to be selective about which rulers I bring into the house. (Less money spent on rulers = more money to spend on fabric, amIright?) So before I haul out the fundz to buy a new one, I play around with the rulers I have to see if I can get away with not buying a special one.

I'm going to let you in on a secret. To make the quilts in this book, you don't need to buy this crazy ruler, unless you really want to. Since all the block units are cut at a 45-degree angle, you can use the 45-degree line on one of your basic rulers as a guide for cutting.

So first, sew and press 2 strips together (a jelly roll strip and a background strip in my case).

Next find the 45-degree line on your ruler of choice. It's amazing how often I use this ruler and forget that these angles are marked.

find the marked lines

Then line up the 45-degree line with the top of the strip set as far to the left as possible without clipping the bottom left corner of the strip set. Your ruler should be on the diagonal, with the top of the ruler on the right and the bottom of the ruler on the left.

line up for the first cut

The right edge of your ruler should now be set at a 45-degree angle and ready for you to cut, like so.

(Note: I definitely save this little swatch of fabric that I cut off the ends because, well, we all know I'm nutty about scraps. I'm thinking about salvaging the printed pieces to paper-piece hexagons or maybe make some 9-patch blocks)

To get the triangle shape with a 45-degree angle on the other side, simply flip the ruler to the right 90 degrees, so that the 45-degree line that's going in the other direction on your ruler is lined up with the bottom of the strip set. Your ruler should be on the diagonal, with the top of the ruler on the left and the bottom of the ruler on the right.

ready for the second cut

The right edge of your ruler should now be in place for you to cut at a 45-degree angle.


Ta-da! Your first unit! Now just keep flipping your ruler back and forth, left and right, all the way down the strip set, until you've exhausted your fabric.


If I'm not making sense, you might also take a look at Missouri Quilt Co's blog post about using a large square ruler to cut 45-degree angles.

I was able to get 8 triangles total from my strip set, which should be enough for me to make 2 blocks. If you're working with strips cut from fat quarters or scrap strips, your results might differ.

Do these units look familiar? They're the same basic building blocks that are used in the double-hourglass blocks, as seen here (that's me!), here, and here.

Now, let's take a minute to meditate on the wonders of geometry.

If all this ruler madness isn't your style, you can also make a template a la Allison's instructions @ Cluck Cluck Sew to get the same shape. Just start with a 9" square template, instead of the 7.5" square as she tutorializes.

I hope this teeny-tiny demo has been helpful!

1 comment:

  1. Great progress, and I love brilliant, cheap people! Thanks for the easy substitute for another expensive template!! Can't wait to get started on my jelly roll quilt...