Saturday, April 7, 2018

Fussy Cuts Tips & Template Play

Machine Pieced 60 Degree Star in 
Digitally Printed Fabric

After my short experience with English paper piecing, I decided I needed a better method to achieve 60 degree piecing. See 60 Degree Shapes. Measuring with standard quilting rulers was successful with 60 degree diamonds, but my interest piqued in specialty templates for more complicated shapes. I was travelling light for a few days, but 2 new Marti Michell template sets, G & H, were small enough to pack in my carry-on. Both sets are based on 60 degrees shapes, but in different sizes. I'd bought them several months ago, but had no time to really spend getting to know them since. Now I had a weekend ahead wide open for play. Off we went!

Two Florida quilt stores were on my list to check out this trip. Quilt Lover's Hangout in Ft. Myers where I found these new-to-me Riley Blake blenders called Shades. They are darn close to the Moda Grunge at 2/3 the price. Yes, thank you! I will take an assortment of those!

Check out the Kaffee umbrella project 
in the upper right! How cute is that?

And my favorite Florida shop of all, Three Crafty Ladies in Sanibel! The small store is packed wall to wall with beach and sea themed fabrics including batiks, and everything else you need to finish that quilting project on vacation. Specialty and applique projects line the walls. There are quick crafty projects for most ages, and wonderful customer service. It's not a trip south for me without popping in there to see what new goodies are in stock. I promise you'll love it as much as I do!

Tokyo Milk

I found a few more pieces of Tokyo Milk left in fat quarters, and even a bolt from the Tula Pink Saltwater collection on the shelf. (I left you some if you're looking for the blue octopus fabric! Give them a call.)

I started to see a theme with the fabrics I was choosing.

And these too.


This line is full of fantasy with its mermaids, sea life, and flowers, and I wanted to do something with the small pieces I found this weekend. The scale on some of the pieces was quite large, and so I opted to use the larger of the two template sets I brought along. It was important to both get as much of the large scale motif into the hexagon, and use the valuable fabric most efficiently.

Work from the Wrong Side

If you flip your fabric to the wrong side, you can feel free to mark in pencil or water soluble marker while preserving the right side. 

I started by marking the most ideal subjects to fussy cut. The spacing of the repeat in this particular fabric made it very easy to keep my templates close.  I cut the largest hexagon as many times as possible, and then I turned to the other templates in the sets G & H.

Several templates were quite small, and I cut until there was no fabric left.

I was left with nothing but bits at the end.

A nice selection of fussy cut hexies, and some half hexies here.

And some smaller pieces with the scraps here.

Eager to sew some things together, I just started. When this first group was done, I was less than satisfied.

I added another hexagon. Still, it wasn't working. The colors weren't quite right, but what? (Too many, I think now, but pull the purples at least.) 

When you hit a dead end, you turn and try another path. So, maybe if I try a pieced hexagon, I thought. That might pull those colors together. Yeah? No?  And just so you know, this is how it is when you play without a pattern. The goal of improvised play is not necessarily a finished project, but more of a series of experiments. It may or may not fit your definition of successful.

That's when I machine pieced this star with the smaller set (G) pieces. It turned out nice and flat for my first attempt, and I was happy. It was not difficult to machine piece because the templates make the odd pieces very accurate, and it's just dot to dot sewing. But...

It's too big. 
I have so much to learn, but 
I've also discovered a lot today.
I know what doesn't work now, 
and that's a good place to really get started.

I wanted to share this with you because it wasn't wonderfully successful. Would you term it an epic failure though? I haven't. Things like this happen when you experiment, but it's not the end of the world. Tomorrow I may rip out some of the colors I'm not tickled pink with, and replace them with something else. That's how design works. Some days are harder than others, but keep on playing. And...

Never, ever give up!
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Crazy Mom Quilts


Stitchin At Home said...

Keep on playing! Experiments are fun and intriguing. I start with a concept and as with you some work some don't. Those that don't go in the orphan block drawer some day they'll get a chance to come out and play.

KaHolly said...

I love how you share your playtime! I have several 'attempts' kicking around, but unlike you, I give up too easily. You certainly acquired some beautiful fabrics!

Barb Neiwert said...

From the looks of it, you sure had fun playing, with all those creative juices flowing. What's next?

SandraC said...

I agree....learning how "not" to do something is a valuable lesson! I'm going to voice my opinion on your fabric choices....I absolutely love them, they are right up my alley, but I think the turquoise aboriginal dots is the spoiler.

Julie said...

Thank you for the suggestion, Sandra. It’s not always to see. I’ll oull that one first.

O'Quilts said...

Oh My r so clever...and you have the best eye for color...and design. Thx for the encouragement on my blog...

Angie in SoCal said...

May be big, but it's a great hexie. Love how the fussy cutting came out. Head on over to Mary Huey's blog She knows a lot about those sets and how to use them.

Sandy Panagos said...

Thank you for sharing your process. It's encouraging to know it doesn't always just fall into place. I'm thinking that octopus fabric would make a great one-block-wonder!

Kate said...

You picked some very fun fabrics to play with. Looking forward to checking out your next playful endeavor.

Linda Swanekamp said...

You certainly have an entirely different skill set than I do. Whether my fingers are too fat or I am challenged, I can't EPP. I decided to try Inklingo and print the shapes on the fabric and sew on the lines. It works for me. I am attempting some rosettes of Passagalia.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

That star...oh's amazing. Wow.