Can We Talk About Rulers? (Giveaway)

Stack of Rulers

When I teach,often there seems a disconnect between what rulers students have and what rulers they need.  So I thought I’d write a post talking about the basics that I wish everyone could have.  [And while I’m at it, rotary cutters need a mention, too.  The largest I’d recommend in a classroom size is 45mm, for a variety of reasons.  I think the larger ones are less helpful, and sometimes even dangerous.]  

Read through to the end, leave a comment telling which ruler you use the most, and why, and you can be entered for a Giveaway (US only).  Giveaway now closed; thanks to all who entered!

Vintage Folding Ruler

I use this folding carpenter’s ruler when measuring the width and length of quilts.

I got started on my ruler fetish honestly, when a mild-mannered shop owner named Carolyn hosted weekly class based on making a sampler quilt.  And every week, she’d hold up a new ruler saying that we needed this to make the block that week.  My friend Leisa and I would exchange glances, knowing that Carolyn was a Ruler Enabler of the Worst Kind: she made it so necessary, that you just knew you couldn’t go on without it.  Because of this, I’ve used a ton of different rulers, and have two drawers and bin full of those plexiglass gridded items.

Tips:

  • Please don’t buy the cheap rulers.  Take your time to accumulate these, and buy sturdy rulers, as too thin rulers can warp out of shape.
  • Buy rulers that have some sort of coating on the back, preventing slippage.
  • Please buy rulers that have accurate measurements on them, and enough gridlines on them.
  • I am not partial to any one brand, but I did notice that most of my rulers seem to be from Creative Grids, Omnigrid, and Olfa.

I wish every student, every quilter had these basics:

rulers 6 x 24

6″ x 24″ ruler

What it’s used for: large initial cuts off yardage, long narrow cuts of yardage

rulers 6.5 a 12.5 inches

6.5 x 12.5″ ruler

What it’s used for: when working in a smaller space (some classrooms are beyond tiny, and some of our sewing spaces are too), it’s useful to fold the fabric to get the longer cuts.  Also good for truing up smaller parts of blocks.  Good for even-ing up sewn sections.

Caveat: some people hate having that extra 1/2″ on the edges of their ruler.  I got used to it and appreciate it, but for some, it can be distracting.

Small Square Rulers

Small square ruler

With this size, you can rule the world.  You don’t need specialty Flying Geese rulers, if you know how to use this.  The small one is easy to flip around, when truing up blocks, and easy to use to cut smaller shapes, when scrap sewing.

Square rulers, ranging from 6.5″ – 9.5″ – 12.5″

What it’s used for: I use the 6.5 the most, as I believe in truing up sections of a block before sewing it together.  But the other sizes are great for truing up larger blocks, helping you trim your corner of quilt borders evenly.  One day I even purchased a 16.5″ gigantor square ruler, and believe it or not, I do use it more than I thought I would.

BlocLoc 6.5 inch

Bloc-Loc ruler for trimming up Half Square Triangles

What it’s used for: Keeping your sanity when truing up HSTs.  They are expensive and I rarely see them on sale.  I’d start with a 6.5″ BlocLoc and invest from there.  Here are some of the others I’ve picked up over the years:

BlocLoc Rulers

Specialty Rulers I think should be in your stash:

Triangle Rulers

A few of my angle rulers

30-60-90 ruler 

Some times, for some patterns, you need one of these, like when you make Annularity.

Tri-Recs Ruler

Tri-Recs ruler

If you are a traditional quilter, or jump in on one of Bonnie Hunter’s Thanksgiving Quilt-A-Longs, you may find yourself needing one of these one day.

Essential Triangle Tool

Bonnie Hunter’s Essential Triangle Ruler

I only purchased this because she said I would need it.  Since then, I ‘ve used it a ton of times in making triangles, and now I consider it one of my go-to rulers.

rulers Cute Cuts 4.5 inch

Lori Holt’s 4.5″ Trim Up Ruler.  Careful.  You can go broke on these, as she has them in every size from newborn to old age.  I have only the 4.5″ and the 8.5″  But what makes these unique is that is is a form of a “centering ruler,” a tool I had to purchase when I studied Clothing and Textiles in college (and which I still use today).

rulers 2.5 by 6.5 inch

2.5″ by 6.5″ ruler.  Verrry handy for trimming up.

 

Giveaway Ruler

P.S. I had this toy from Berlin way before Megan Rapinoe led the US Team to a World Cup in soccer.

I hope you’ll contribute to this conversation by leaving a comment, telling us what your favorite ruler is, what brand it is (if that’s important), and why you like it.  That will enter you in a Giveaway for a ruler, as I’ll be sending out (USA only) a 6″ ruler, courtesy of my pocketbook and a recent bonzo coupon at a national chain fabric store.

Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway.  I will notify the winner by email in a few days.  Thanks for entering!

Although the giveaway is now closed, and the winner has been notified, the comments here are a wealth of information and helpful ideas, so I hope you’ll take a look at them.  There are a lot of very experienced quilters out there! Thank you all for entering.

Temperature Quilt & Giveaway

temperature quilt_10

I’ve jumped on that colorful bandwagon and am making a Temperature Quilt, or as my scientist husband likes to refer to it: a Heat Map.  And, I’m hosting a

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…so keep reading for how you can win. Teaser:

tempquiltgiveaway_1

No, it’s not a Featherweight…

Giveaway now closed.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 8.03.43 pm

Here are some examples of heat maps:

heat map_world touristiness map

World Touristiness: in other words, where the most photographs are snapped.

heat map_gym locations in dc

Gym locations in Washington DC

heat map_natural gas prices

Gas Prices 2014

heat map_tornado watches

Tornado Watches, 20 year average

heat map_australia 2017 feb

And one we are most used to: temperature heat maps.  By the way, between the polar vortex and Australia’s heat waves, the heat maps this year are really getting quite the range.

Over the space of a few days, I’d looked up the range of temperatures in my area, chosen my colors, and then set to choosing colors.  I had bins of my favorite solid fabrics: Painter’s Palette by Paintbrush Studio and what I didn’t have, I found at the Pineapple Fabrics booth at the Road to California, which just happened to be open this week. (See below for more information and the giveaway).temperature quilt_1temperature quilt_2

temp colors and chart

This swatch line-up is mostly accurate, but I have made some changes, reflected in the chart, although I did swap out Beryl 095 for Agave 094.  

I made myself a preliminary chart, but by looking at Weather Underground’s calendar for this month for my city, I could see I would need to add a couple more lows.  The chart on the right is the final one, and I added a color for rain, since that’s a Big Deal around here. Here’s the website for my city; you can type in yours and get your own calendar.

I was following along with Michonne’s Instagram posts for her Temperature Quilt last year.  Like me, she’s not a fan of the heat (she lives in a hot climate, too) and since I didn’t want a whole quilt of reds and oranges, I switched up my colors.  I don’t think it matters what you do, just keep a chart and be consistent.

temperature quilt_3

Because I recently had rotator cuff repair surgery (aha!  you knew it had been quiet around here…well that’s why), I was back to drawing lines on cloth and cutting them apart with scissors. It’s my right arm that’s out of commission, so no rotary cutting for me for a while.temperature quilt_4

I put them all in little baggies, labeled with their place in the chart, the color number and name, and the temperature degrees spread.  I went with a three-degree spread because I wanted a lot of variation and colors.temperature quilt_5temperature quilt_3atemperature quilt_6

I only made a few of this color, because if it’s over 115 for too many days, I don’t know what I’ll do.

temperature quilt_7b

If the day is warmer than the day before, the middle arrow points upward.
If the day is cooler than the previous day, the middle arrow points down.
If it’s a tie, I’ll look at the day’s low temperature and let that be the deciding factor.
If everything is a tie, then it stays pointing up.
Rain triangles always go on the left side of the big triangle when it’s pointing up (even if it is flipped around).temperature quilt_8

I penciled in the date in the seam allowances.temperature quilt_8a

It’s interesting sewing with the dominant hand mostly out of commission.  I’ve gotten better at wrangling the iron left-handed.  And I iron in steps, as shown above.  Everything is  s l o w e r.

temperature quilt_9

I was excited to get this to use for tracing around for cutting, but whoops. This just won’t do.
I corresponded with the company and apparently I need to iron the seam allowances toward the smaller triangles to make it work.  I haven’t done that.  Those of you who are long-time readers know I appreciate the sculpting that can happen with the direction the seam allowances are pressed. Because I want the larger triangle to pop, this won’t work, but I’m keeping this ruler around anyway. (I ended up using a smaller 4 -1/2″ ruler with a rough undersurface to help things from slipping around.)  [And no, I’m not obsessing if the tip of a triangle is cut off a bit.  There’ll be over 365 of those in this quilt, and since I’m working left-handed, it’s a miracle they are even sewn.]

temperature quilt_10

And so here I am on this nearly last day of January.  I planned this so I’d have pinks in the scorching temps and lots of blues in the moderate temps, but was surprised at the combination of oranges and greens in January’s temps.

 

It reminds me of the citrus bushes next to my driveway (kumquats) and if you ever drive by, you are welcome to pick some.  It’s citrus-picking season around here (Valencia oranges come on later in the season).  But no worries, I’ve lived before in Wisconsin in during one of the coldest-it’s-been-in-80-years winters, so I am familiar with how it feels be up North.  Obviously their temperature maps this year will be blasting open the lower ranges of possibility:

heat map jan 2019

(By the way, more than happy to see the National Weather Service and NOAA back up and running!)

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Pineapple Fabrics is the place where I buy all my Painter’s Palette. (If you use that link, you’ll be taken right to the place to purchase the fabrics.)  There are several of us who are total manaical fans of this fabric and after you try it, you’ll be converted.  Linda has written about why you should try this fabric; I’m in love not only with the colorfastness, but the silky hand and fine weave.

I’d like you to be able to try some.  Because I can’t get to the Post Office (not cleared for driving yet), and because my husband is the one doing all my errands, I’m going to limit this to U.S. readers only.

And you’ve got to get your quilts quilted, right?

Colorwheel Blossom_quilting

Quilting _Annularity4a thread

When I did the top quilt, all in a rainbow, Magnifico was just new on the market.  Some of those sections are Magnifico, some are So Fine, both threads by Superior Threads Company.

 

But when I quilted my two most recent quilts: Northern Lights Medallion and Annularity, it was Magnifico all the way for one reason: it makes your quilting look great.  Superior Threads has graciously agreed to give away some thread, too.

tempquiltgiveaway_2

If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the hottest day you can remember and where it was.

tempquiltgiveaway_3

If you want to win this bundle, leave me a comment about the coldest day you ever lived through and where it was.

Both bundles have one spool of Magnifico Thread, and two yards of Painter’s Palette Solids.  Yep — you have to choose: either the Hottest or the Coldest.  If you write for both (always interesting) I’ll use the first comment you left for your entry.  If you are a follower, you get two double chances.  I’ll close the giveaway February 1st.

And many thanks to our donors:

superior threads

pineapple fabrics

Leave me a comment!

Giveaway now closed.  Thank you for entering!

Mad for Solids Wrap-up 2018 and Giveaway

Giveaway Thanks

I’m sure you have seen a version of this photo before, as I participated in the Mad for Solids 2018 for Painer’s Palette Solids.  Paintbrush Studios, the people who manufacture this line of solids first contacted me about four years ago, asking me to make them a quilt for Quilt Market.  Paintbrush who? was my first response.  But I jumped in and made them a medallion sort of design.  I was paid for this effort.  But simply being paid doesn’t keep me coming back.  I have also sewn for “free” for them.

Paint Chips Painter's Palette Solids

Why do I keep agreeing to do this?  When they do send me fat quarters/half yards of a variety of colors — whatever they are setting up as their parameters —  it challenges me to design a quilt using just those fabrics, and I use it as a design challenge.  (Of course, if any of you have participated in any of the MQG challenges, you know that even if you get 3 fat quarters for free, you end up buying about more on your own.  Typical, right?)

Paintbrush Studios Colors_chart

When I first was considering designing/sewing for them, I asked, “Is your fabric of a good quality?”  Painter’s Palette was a new line, made with a bit tighter weave and finer threads, and while the first launch had 80 colors, they now have many more than that (latest card is above).  I don’t need 500 colors to be happy; I need enough to make the designs I want to.  My favorite part about this fabric is how it feels in the hand–almost silky, but with a good weight. I also like that if I have to “un-sew,” this fabric will hold up to the repeated picking out and re-stitching.  It also steams into place well, if the block needs to be flat, or seams eased in.  I’m not the only one who is in love with this fabric.

Here are the quilts I’ve made with Painter’s Palette Solids:
Starry Compass Rose
Cinque Terra Tiles
Northern Star (in progress)
Annularity

RedWhiteBlueStar_final1
Red, White, and Blue Star (free pattern)

Sky Rocket Variant

Guccilicious Block, above, and here too
(Note to self: I need to finish my ideas on this one)
Electra Magnetic

six-ways-to-blue_front
Six Ways to Blue (above)
Rose Window

focus_front

And this little one, Focus, made for their first booth at QuiltCon 2017 from scraps from the first quilt I made for them.

Mad4Solids2018votesign

I make these little pictures on my phone, using the app Snapseed. Easy-peasy.

Thank you all for your votes and support in the Mad for Solids 2018.  I really owe you all a quilt or something, but I decided instead to have a little giveaway of Painter’s Palette fabrics, in the exact colors I used for my Northern Star (which is still in process), so you can try them for yourself.

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I ordered these from Pineapple Fabrics, which is where — until I can persuade my local shop to carry them– I purchase my Painter’s Palette Solids.

I have two stacks of 8 fat quarters, which I’ll give away to two people.  I will announce this on Instagram and on my blog, but only comments on my blog will count. (I will ship internationally as well as domestic, for those of you overseas who are wondering about that.) If you are a follower of this blog, leave an extra comment to double your chances (and thank you for reading!).  I’ll let this run for a couple of days, and then draw a winner, who I will notify by email.

To enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment telling me if you’ve ever seen the Northern Lights in the night sky.

Giveaway now closed.  Thank you for entering!

Zipperstop Zippers Giveaway!

IMG_9440

18″ Zippers from Zipperstop

That’s all–a giveaway of zippers from Zipperstop, USA recipients only, no international. I’ll choose two winners, one from this blog and one from Instagram, so leave a comment in both places to get two chances.

[Backstory: I had a change-up of an order from my regular zipper people: Zipperstop.  I have been doing business with them for years, and love dealing with them, not only for their prices, but also to call and hear the essence of New York City on the phone. (I especially like their YKK #3 assortment, and you can specify the colors.)

So, instead of returning the zippers to them they said I could do a giveaway, so here it is–these are perfect for those Christmas projects you are starting to crank out. These are all 18″ YKK zippers.]

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.  I’ll close this on Thursday morning, November 30th; I’ll choose the group for you.

Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to Susan S.!  I’ll be in touch to get those mailed out to you.

Hot Mitts • July 2017

HotMitt_7

It was time.  When I last made hot mitts, it was 2013 and now,  many hot pans later, I was in desperate need of new hot mitts.  Scary picture of old mitts, below.

HotMitt_0

I made it really small so you wouldn’t faint.
HotMitt_1

DON’T DOWNLOAD THIS for pattern!

So I looked up my tutorial about when I first made these oven hot mitts.   I printed out the pattern at 100%, checking that picture of the ruler to make sure it matched 1″ on a real-life ruler. I taped the two parts together (shown above…again DON’T use that photo as your pattern!–refer to the tutorial), and set them aside..  Layer up the fabrics, according to the directions in that original post.

 

I chose my thread, using a variegated So Fine for the Amy Butler floral, and quilted the fabric layers together by just scribbling and swirling all over it. I’ve also used my walking foot and done straight lines.  It really doesn’t matter what you do; just get those layers secured together.

HotMitt_5HotMitt_6

I cut out enough for two mitts: that’s four hand-shaped pieces.  Remember to reverse the pattern when cutting a pair (as shown in the top photo).  Then it was make bias binding time.

making-bias-tape1I followed the instructions, as before (old picture, above), but if you need a more detailed refresher on how to make bias tape, head here, to the Dritz website..  (Or download their PDF file here, if that link doesn’t work: dritz-tutorial-how-use-bias-tape-maker)

I now have some handy-dandy new hot mitts.  Reminder: they are a little big until you wash them a couple of times.  I built in that shrinkage to the pattern.

HotMitt_7a

Mitts in action.  Recipe is my go-to Summer Pasta Salad, found on ElizabethCooks.com, my recipe blog (see below).

summer-pasta-salad-with-asparagus-and-tomatoes

Now I can cook in style.

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The ongoing OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway is still going on: you get a new book and I get more shelf space in my sewing room.

OPQuilt Summer 2017 Book Giveaway

Here’s the total stack of books I’m giving away.  The first two titles are lined out as they are all finished, and next up is the Denyse Schmidt book.  I’ll let this one run until August 3rd, and will notify the winner by email.  I’m letting you know what is coming up so you can either enter all the giveaways, or just the one you want.  I’m still very happy to receive your comments, though!  This week’s Intentional Piecing has been given, in accordance with the strict rules of the Husband Random Number Generator, to Andrea in Florida.

4-in-art_3

The penultimate Four-in-Art reveal for 2017 is coming up on Tuesday, with the Challenge of Stained Glass.  Join us all then to see the quilts our group makes.

Denyse Schmidt Book

Leave me a comment below to enter the giveaway for this week.

creative block

(Yes.  Lower case title, just to reclaim some of my quirkiness.)

I recently posted about taking a break from the creative world, from the quilty world, from whatever and while I was gone, I had some to time to think about how I’d gotten to that non-creative place.

irons in a fire

I’d say, for me it was a factor of four: Time, Health, and Mental/Physical Fatigue, as well as a Too Much to Do.  My Dad used to say “Too many irons in the fire put out the flame.”  While a reference to the bars of iron that blacksmiths use, I did have too much going on.

creative block_99U

from here

I was intrigued with the idea of Creative Block, and one article “7 Types of Creative Block and What to Do About Them,” from my favorite place online (99U) discussed this issue, that apparently is a very-much-real thing.  In that piece, I liked the sub-topic of  Work habits that don’t work, as I have been struggling to (re)learn three new computer programs: EQ7 (I learn it, then forget it, and there’s so many hurdles with the design of this software…but then that’s another post), Affinity Photo (to replace Photoshop) and Affinity Designer (to replace Illustrator).  Three more irons in that proverbial fire.

99U’s advice to “[s]tep back and take a good look at how you’re working, and where the pain points are….If you don’t have enough energy, are you working at the right time of day? If you feel paralyzed by freedom, introduce more structure and order into your day. If you feel constrained by routine, find room for improvisation” felt like it was just for me.

I always love the Brain Pickings articles, and the review on a book from Danielle Krysa (Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists) seems to hit some of those stuck spots:

Creative Block_Alex Cornell

Jessica Bell noted that “When I can’t make progress, it is often because I am mentally scattered; this happens when I am overcommitted or have a schedule without any breathing room in it. I have to have a lot of space and quiet in my head to think my best thoughts. An artist I admire told me a few years ago that “you can’t make art in the cracks.” Carving out a block of time devoted to nothing else but the pursuit of new work has never steered me wrong.”

So,  Miss Gasoline Station stepped aside and made space for some creative time.  I’ll be posting a few projects in the next post, but since it’s summer and it’s time to play, it’s good to keep a balance between working and quilting and cooking and playing and family and friends…

Family Reunion_stone house

Eastmond Family Reunion, atop Brian Head Peak (11,000+ feet)

Thanks to all of you who wrote and left comments on my last post.  We headed out that day for a family reunion and I left the keyboard behind, but I read them all and appreciated your encouragement.  I’m slipping back into the creative life, one stitch at a time.

7 Magic MountainsThe block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. –Thomas Carlyle

Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

–R. L. Sharpe

Giveaway Banner

Because who knows what might spur your creativity, I’ve got some books to give away.  If what I’m giving away (this will go on, erratically, for several posts) tickles your fancy or appeals to you in some way, if you leave a comment, please let me know you’d like to enter the giveaway.  Some of the books are ones I’ve purchased and read, and no longer need; others were publisher giveaways at Quilt Market, and it’s time to pass them on.

Grifka Book1

The first one is Lines by Design by Debbie Grifka, a lovely book on how to make elegant modern quilts.  Good luck!  Giveaway will close in a few days and I’ll contact the winner by email and get it sent out.