Learning Curve

The other day I got an email from the quilt shop and decided at the last minute to take another class that was being run on the weekend. Titled “Metro Hoops/Metro Rings”, I thought it would be a great opportunity to finally learn how to sew a curved edge!

Prior to the class you had to choose which pattern you were going to make and with six of us attending we all coincidentally decided to do metro rings. We also had to buy a specific ruler that went with the pattern, a bit pricey, but worked great for these patterns (to be fair the ruler comes with an included pattern). The Quick Curve Ruler and Metro Ring pattern comes from Sew Kind of Wonderful, a company from the States started by three sisters (see http://www.sewkindofwonderful.com for more information).

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Quick Curve Ruler and Metro Rings Class Fabric Prep.

Both patterns require 2 1/2” strips and I had planned on using scraps from my stash to learn how to create the block. Because I wasn’t sure how this pattern would work I did end up buying some new fabric but as I worked on the block throughout the day I really believe that this would be a great way to use up some scraps. All you need are strips of fabric at the minimum of about 7” – 10” in length, depending on how you want to develop the pattern for your project. The height of the ruler is 7” but you will need to include room to square up before you can make your first curved set. That first bit of waste is about 2 1/2”, leaving you room to make the 2 1/2” curve set. Having strips at about 10″ will let you make two sets but if you were doing a larger project and wanted to save waste you would use longer pieces to make multiple sets. The pattern suggests 20” strips which should give you about 7 identical strip sets. The longer the strips the less waste you have but more sets of identical strips.

Sewing the curve turned out to be pretty easy! Don’t be daunted by the awkwardness of how it sits while you are sewing and just focus on the fabric in front of the foot, making sure that just that bit lines up. Like magic it just ends up working out! My teacher suggested sewing the curved edge with the two sides of the fabric together and oriented so that the fabric on top makes a “C” shape.

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Put the two pieces together so that the top piece forms a “C” shape. You wouldn’t sew these two pieces together but this is a good example of the shape I am trying to describe.

We learned about overlapping the edge to start, meaning that you want to leave about a quarter of an inch of overlap on the top fabric to account for starting the stitch on both fabrics at once. We did not use any pins but just manipulated the fabric by hand as it went through the foot. So easy and I got a great smooth curve every time.

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Overlap the edge on top at the same width that you are sewing your seam (1/4″). You would begin sewing at the spot on the left where the two pieces meet. I didn’t line them up exactly so that you could see how the bottom was sitting compared to the top but normally you would match the curved edges of the two pieces together.

It was really interesting to see how other people in the class were using their fabrics and I thought all of the different blocks were so interesting. This is a really versatile block and I think that mixing and matching from scraps and different fabrics would make a really exciting quilt every time.

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Finishing up the first block in class with a second on the go behind.

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Block samples from my classmates and I with finished samples of the metro rings and metro hoop pattern on either side.

As I already have a lot of quilt projects on the go, originally I was going to make a table runner by using three of the blocks. I ended up only making two as I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make these into pillows instead or maybe some place mats. The problem is that the blocks are so beautiful that I don’t want them getting dirty with messy eaters! Time will tell what I decide to do but for now I am going to let them sit until I get some other projects finished.

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Two finished 4-block units placed side by side.

I have another class coming up in April through SNAP where I will learn a Japanese dyeing technique called Arimatsu Shibori. I can’t wait to try my hand at dyeing fabric for a quilt!

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It Takes A Village: Quilt Communities

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit dissatisfied with my “laziness” when it comes to the technical aspects of quilt production and so decided to take a class through my local quilt shop, Earthly Goods, in hopes it would get me back on track. The class, titled “Rotary Cutting Basics + More”, is a beginner class teaching burgeoning quilters the basics of measuring, cutting, and making the perfect ¼” seam. My teacher was bit surprised to see me but I really felt like this was the perfect time for a review. I got so much out of the class and it’s really gotten me thinking about the social aspect of quilters and the communities they build.

In the first ten minutes of the class I had felt I had already gotten my money’s worth as it became quite clear that my rotary cutter was severely lacking in it’s effectiveness…I was missing a piece and my blade was on the wrong side! How embarrassing. 🙂 I’m not sure how this happened but both problems must have stemmed from the very first time I tried to change a blade. The piece missing was a large yellow washer resulting in my blade being loose and wobbly. I had also switched the side of the blade on the cutter so that I was using it as a left-handed quilter would, which I am not. No wonder I wasn’t happy with my cutting! We also learned how to use and care for our cutting mats and rulers. And I finally figured out how to use all of the diagonal lines on my Omnigrid.

Having quilted for a few years now I also came to the class equipped with questions about continuing issues with my sewing machine, something I would not have been prepared with if I was a beginner quilter.

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Try taking a class or going on a retreat! Image taken from the Timberhaze Retreat Website. http://timberhazeretreat.com/quilting-retreat/

As a solitary quilter, this class has really gotten me thinking about the benefits of taking an active part in quilt culture. Check out your local quilt store and find out the local guilds in your area. A quick Google search will show you a whole world of quilt retreats and vacations (quilt cruise!) and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for any exhibits and shows that might be in the works.

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Image from the SAQA 2016 Conference. Image taken from http://craftindustryalliance.org/saqa-conference-report/