Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Saturday, April 6, 2013

QA Vol 3 - Techniques

I have some triangles to cut.  Harriet gives suggestions on using 8 different methods of cutting half square triangles.  I gave some of them a try.

Here is the most basic way of cutting half square triangles (HST) using the equipment you already have.  No speciality rulers required here.  Oh - that's not actually correct as the finished triangles are trimmed using the Precision Trimmer 6, but you could use your normal ruler for trimming if you want.

Fabric is cut into strips, cut into squares, cut diagonally in half to make triangles which are then chain stitched together, snipped apart. pressed and trimmed.

The instructions in the book have you make these strips/squares larger than needed, so they can be trimmed back later.  More work but more accurate.  Not only does the book have detailed cutting instructions there are also detailed pressing instructions, as pressing triangles is trickier than pressing squares and can be easily pressed right out of shape!

As suggested I'm putting the results of all the different methods into envelopes with notes on the technique written on the front and my impressions written on the back.

In this envelope are another 15 squares like this one to be used later in a Table Runner

For this method I used the QUICK QUARTER and the ANGLER 2 as well as the PRECISION 6

The Angler 2 and the Quick Quarter 

Again strips are cut oversized then cross cut into squares.  The Quick Quarter is used to draw sewing and cutting lines on the fabric.

The Quick Quarter
The book also suggests using the Perkins Dry Goods' Perfect Piecing Seam Guide when sewing the triangles but I don't have one of those, so can't comment.
The Angler 2 is attached to the bed of your sewing machine.  It's got lots of lines marked on it which you are supposed to follow without the need to draw lines on your fabric.  I wasn't able to get the hang of this at all.  But used in conjunction with the lines I drew with the Quick Quarter, the sewing was really accurate.
Attached with surgical tape which has no sticky residue (which I also use to tape down the ends of unruly threads on reels).
The lines on the fabric matching the lines on the Angler 2 make for really accurate chain sewing
Then of course the inevitable trimming.  The Precision 6 does a great job with this
Despite not being able to use the Angler 2 properly, I really like this method.  No squares were rejected for being out of square or undersized.
This method uses Marti Michell's templates from her B set.  I ended up buying Sets A & B plus the Vol 1 book as a package deal and of course paying for postage.  As I used only one template from Set B, this was an expensive method for me.  I'm hoping I'll get future use from the rest of the template package.
Template 13 from Set B
Again we cut strips then place the template against the edge and cut around the template.  I used a small rotating cutting mat and a 28mm rotary cutter but still found the process tedious and clumsy.
A fiddly but accurate method
Even though these are cut to size  you still need to measure to check the finished size of the squares for size accuracy.
The Marti Michell triangles have neat blunt corners
Again we cut strips and use this tool against the edge of the fabric to cut our HST. 
The Easy Angle
The Easy Angle has a black tip which is positioned below the edge of the fabric, making this tool fast and easy to use.  I like it.
Simple and efficient.
The Easy Angle gives you a blunt edge which makes it easy to get it under the presser foot and sew accurately.
I had to reject 2 of the resulting squares which were out of square.  Making your triangles a bit larger and trimming them back would be better for me.
This method was not included in QA Vol 3 but as I already had the ruler (long story as to why I own this) I decided to include it.  This is an Australian product and info about Westalee can be found here http://www.westalee.com.au/ 
The trick to Westalee rulers is the sliding fabric guide which you lock in making your cuts extremely accurate.  The seams are included with this ruler, which is also a bonus feature.
Using this is similar to the others with fabric strips being cut and the ruler placed along the strip.  I like this technique as well.
Westalee also make a really neat little trimmer to take off those dog ears.  The hole in the centre for your finger makes it slip proof.
Gahh - a bit of fuzzy focus - sorry.
So in summary which method do I prefer?  Hmm.  I like the Quick Quarter but I don't think I'll bother with the Angler 2 (unless I figure out how to use it properly).  Hated the templates, really liked the Easy Angle both for the efficiency of cutting and those blunt edges, but I would need to make them a larger size and trim them back.  I suppose my preference has to be the Westalee HST ruler.  That sliding guide is so accurate it's virtually impossible to make a bad cut.  The Precision Trimmer is a must have!

So I've invested a bit of money in purchasing all these different rulers only to find the one I like the best is the one I already owned! LOL.  But as the book suggests, no one method is perfect for all situations. 

I still have several more methods to test - off to the sewing room!



Monday, April 1, 2013

Quilter's Academy Vol. 3 - Junior Year

Book 3!  Yay, it's taken a while but I got here.  Admittedly I still have one more quilt to quilt from Vol 2, but that will be done soon enough.

Book 3 is all about triangles.  I've barely done any work with triangles at all , so I am feeling very much back in beginner mode with this book.  The first project in the book is a table runner, but I have a fair bit of work to do before I get anywhere near Project 1.

There is a whole lot of valuable information on the equipment required for triangle making, as well as a refresher on the basics.  Then it's detailed info on sewing precise triangles.  I set up my machine, armed myself with an awl and a finger presser and gave it a go.  I made a bunch of test triangles to make sure I could produce an exact 2 1/2 inch square from 2 triangles.

Practice and more practice!
Before getting started on the first project, I need to audition some speciality rulers.  The book suggests several different rulers to try.  Apparently, there are lots of different ways to make half square triangles, all of them good but not all of them appropriate for every situation. 
I have been trying to track down all of the rulers used in the book.  Not all of them are available in this country or are economical to purchase here, so it's been a bit of an exercise trying to find them all.  I've also added a ruler from Westalee, a local product.
A bunch of rulers which make half square triangles
There are 8 methods documented in the book - all the techniques result in a 2 1/2 inch square made from 2 triangles sewn together.  Each technique produces 16 squares and these will all be used in 2 projects later in the book.
I'll be trying out all of these techniques and giving my 'report' on how I managed with each one.  Sounds like fun!