Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Part 2: American Beauty Block of the Month

I’m not worried about “selling you” on the beauty of this quilt or the charming elegance of the “Wild Rose” fabric collection.

I’m not worried about running an organized monthly auto-ship program.  Laurie-Ann looks after all of that for me. 

I’m not worried about accurately cutting and neatly folding fabric packets for the monthly shipments. Ellen & Joyce take care of that.

What I am worried about is that some of you might think this quilt is too hard for you. It’s not, if you can follow instructions & sew an accurate 1/4” seam.

I’m also worried that you might not be “sold” on the template idea. 

The best introduction to the Perfect Patchwork templates is here.

The best way to learn about the templates, is to dive in and try them.

So, that’s what I did:

Template Set L looks like this in the package:

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And like this when you lay out the pieces:

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I like to cover the back of all of my templates with Invisigrip.  This revolutionary product adheres with static cling so there is no adhesive to worry about.  Rulers and templates are much less slippery when with a layer of Invisigrip on their back.  Click here to purchase Invisigrip.

Here’s a close-up view of piece 68.  Note the “L” arrow to indicate the straight of grain, the laser cut accuracy, and the corners- “Not just blunt but revolutionary double blunt corners engineered for perfect alignment”

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Some of the smaller pieces are the same width as some of the larger ones:

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So the larger pieces can be used to measure strip width for the smaller pieces.  This is actually very useful.

Follow me closely… to cut a strip of fabric for the half-square triangle piece 71, start by placing rectangle piece 69 against the right straight edge of your fabric piece:

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After you have aligned template 69 carefully with the right straight edge, align your regular acrylic ruler with the left straight edge of template 69.

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Gently move template 69 out of your way, then cut your strip in the usual fashion, using the right side of the ruler as a guide.

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There.  Your strip is the perfect width for template 69, and any of the smaller template pieces that are the same width as 69 (including template 71).

To cut a fabric for 71, align the template with the fabric strip, and carefully cut around it.  I cut the long edges first:

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Then carefully trim off the “dog-ears” with quick, firm cuts with my rotary cutter.  Once you get confident, you can stack your strips and cut through more than one layer of fabric at a time.

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   And that’s truly all there is to it. 

Block assembly is a snap, once you have accurately cut out all your template pieces. Blocks are pretty much assembled in the traditional fashion, but because the “dog-ears” are trimmed away before overlapping seams are joined, even complex blocks are free of bulk and distortion.

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Oh, and the fabrics in our kit are an exact match for the original kit, plus a color cutting guide is included to make fabric placement easy.

One block kit looks like this:

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One note about the fabric in the individual block kits.  There is plenty of fabric if you read the instructions carefully, and don’t make any cutting areas.  However, you do make a cutting error… hmmm…

Let’s just say that as I was getting the hang of cutting strips for template pieces, and then sub-cutting into block elements, I made a few errors. 

Wesley swears that I never read the instructions.  He’s wrong.  I always read the instructions.  But sometimes, my brain refuses to follow them… Or, I think I can do it “my way”.

Obviously, I’m not perfect.  And, I don't expect you to be.

When I made a mistake, I just cut a new strip of fabric from the complete quilt kit I was working from.  Block of the Month members won’t have that option.

To avoid this frustration, we decided to include an extra fat quarter of the background fabric, and a fat eighth of all the other block fabrics in your first shipment. This will alleviate any anxiety you have about learning to rotary cut using the template set, and allow you an occasional imperfect cut now & then.

Yes, it adds a small monthly cost.  One dollar a month.  But, we think it’s well worth it.

And, if you don't use your "Oops" fabric for your quilt blocks, you'll have a pretty little fabric bundle for another project! Maybe at the end, we can come up with a  challenge to use up what’s left of your “Oops bundle”!

Next time, I’ll show you some of my finished blocks.