Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fun New Things

I had great fun participating in Amy's IGQuiltFest in March, even though I was late to the party.  It was a great way to see how other quilters do all the same things you do, from labels to bindings to stash building.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Amy has up her sleeve next!

I've also seen a lot posted about Olfa's new Endurance Blade lately, so I had to pick one up.
 Jo-Ann Fabrics does have them in stock (at least my store does) and since rotary tools were all 40% off when I bought it (plus a 20% off coupon which is the same as my employee discount) you could get one for only $6.24 the day I bought it.  I confess, I'm not big on changing my rotary blade often; I just become accustomed to its poorer performance and really only change it when a nick means it always skips cutting at a certain rotation.  But I had a new project in mind and thought a fresh blade would make a big difference,  so I splurged.  The proof is in the duration, so I'll post again with time!

My project involves trying out Moda's Cake Mix Recipes.  I love precuts, but I never bought a layer cake before.  I like charm packs for small things and jelly rolls and honey buns for strips, and fat eighth or fat quarter bundles if I wanted larger cuts, but a layer cake seemed limiting.  Maybe I'm exactly the type of quilter these were invented for?  So I picked up a layer cake of Jen Kingwell's "Behind the Scenes" from Green Fairy Quilts, and four yards of Kona Cotton in Celestial, and set to work with Cake Mix #2 which I'd ordered from Missouri Star Quilt Company.
This is easy and fast - just like using a cake mix is easier and faster than baking from scratch!  Layering the squares with the paper takes seconds.

Sewing one of them takes me less than three minutes.  The advantage to these long straight lines is that I could put the pedal to the metal and zoom over these straight lines.  (Side note - I need to look into getting a foam pad of some sort because my whole sewing table vibrates when I sew that fast!)

Then it's slice, press, and pull off paper to yield a dozen HSTs to rearrange into any of a number of block settings.

Here's the one I've chosen!  I may switch it up from the block design to a streak-of-lightening/chevron design when I put these four blocks together in the end.

My only challenge is working with pins ... I'm not a quilter who uses them often and I keep poking myself!  But it's a small price to pay for speed, accuracy and convenience!

After I cut all of these with my Olfa Endurance Blade I enrolled a course in the One Block Wonder quilt, which is essentially turning a gorgeous piece of fabric into kaleidoscope blocks.  It was a fun day of cutting and sewing at the Blue Hen Quilt Shop, and I'm looking forward to returning in a few weeks with all my completed half-hexie blocks to lay it out and put it all together!  (Repeat pics from my Instagram feed here, sorry!)

I must add that the instructions/supply list for the class told me to bring multiple rotary blades since I would be cutting through six layers of fabric and it would be tough.  Well, this is where I thought I'd put Olfa to the test - I'd just cut an entire cake mix recipe with paper and fabric so I brought ONLY my rotary cutter with the Olfa Endurance Blade.  No problem!  Sliced through all six layers on the first time, every cut.  Gotta love it!  When it's finally time to replace it, you can bet I'll be buying another one.

Finally, my last big exciting bit of news almost deserves its own post.  I just got my preview copies of Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks Volume 15, and not only was I a happy tester for the issue, but I am the proud AUTHOR of Block # 1435!  Tune in to Quilty Pleasures for the blog tour May 1-5, 2017.  I'll also be showcasing my block here then, and giving away issues to a few lucky winners.  Testing for Volume 16 begins next month also, and I'm looking forward to being the first to test those ... maybe I'll come up with a design to submit for Volume 16 as well!

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