About this blog

I am Amy, but here on the web I go by A.J. Dub. And hey, I like to craft!
Sometimes things turn out well so I will share with you how I did it.
Sometimes they don't turn out well and I will share that with you too!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trying 2 new somethings

Join Melissa at Happy Quilting for Trying New Things Thursdays.

Well, Monday was one of those days when I was just puttering around, doing a little of this and a little of that. I had put a load of laundry in the wash and sat down on the couch to wait for it, and I was also listening to a podcast (The Scientific Quilter) talking about Sudoku quilts. What a fun concept for a relatively simple quilt. Anyway, she was talking about different ideas to embellish them and I was reminded that I had wanted to try and put a ruffle, or ruching (say it rooshing) or gathering within a quilt block as a border. I knew I had some "disposable" fabric from Jo-Ann's left over from a project I made with my daughter (I will have to post about that interesting experience). We bought a fat quarter pack that was 1/2 off just to get one single fat quarter that was in it. Most of the rest of the fabric was quite atrocious (to me anyway). So I hopped up, pulled out that fabric and ironed it while I tried to figure out what the gathered fabric was going to border. Then I remembered something else. I had a ruler that I had been given as a Mother's Day gift a while back and I have never tried it. It is supposed to make half square triangles super easy to make. So I ran down to the garage to track that down.

Let's start with the ruler. It is called the Strip Tube Ruler.

The concept is that you create a tube by sewing 2 strips of fabric right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam down the length of both sides.
Then you line up the ruler on the bottom seam, cut up the sides of the ruler and you have a triangle, which you then unfold to miraculously have a half square triangle unit.
Well, this may be my quilty ignorance, and I am sure there is a formula for knowing how big to make your strips to get a certain size HST unit. But I don't  know what it is and they didn't tell me. So I fudged around and ended up with 2 that were one size and 6 that were another size. There were a couple of corners that were cut off so I couldn't use those as is. I will have to cut them down.

I sewed those 2 larger ones together and they did not match up.
 I got the others arranged and pieced, but they were not very straight and they were distorting pretty easily. Once the block was pieced it was a little odd in the center. It kind of bowed up in one spot. Some of the points were cut off because the seam allowance was off as well.
So, anyway, I tried the ruler, and I am for sure going to have to keep playing with it because I seem to be missing some critical information on how it works. I did get HST units, but I was not very happy with them. The ruler does another type of block as well and I am going to try one soon.
So no thumbs up yet for this ruler, but I am reserving my thumbs down for the moment.

Next up is the gathered border. A while back I purchased a gathering foot, tried tp use it, it would not go on my machine, so I was going to return it. I kept forgetting. Last month I pulled it out again and tried one more time to put it on and succeeded. I just needed to lift the presser foot up high in order to get the back bar on the foot to go where it is supposed to go.

Once I had the gathering foot figured out (at least how to get it on my machine) I was ready to go. I started with some grosgrain ribbon, but no matter what settings I used it would not gather it. It does say on the package that the type of fabric can make a difference. What a bummer though, since ribbon makes such cute ruffles. I found a good setting for quilting cotton and made a note for the next time I wanted to gather something.
That day was Monday. I got the foot out and cut a strip and made a failure. :) I forgot to change my stitch length and tension. LOL

Once I fixed that , it was smooth sailing.
I made the ruffles, and then sewed the ruffles to the center block like you would any regular border.
It was a bit hard to keep the seam allowance the same, since the ruffle, is well, ruffled. :) Lots of pinning helped, but I still had a couple of spots that were not matched up.
And with the funky seam allowances on the HST units some points were really cut off. :P
But, overall,  I liked the way it turned out in spite of the errors. I learned a lot and will probably be using this technique again, but with more practice before a "real" project gets the treatment.

Now put your shades on 'cause this block is BRIGHT!



  1. Way to not give up on that gathering foot!! I am so loving the block with the ruffles in it. What a great idea!!!

  2. I love the gathering on the block! I'm not great at gathered stitches which is the main reason why I stay away from sewing clothes.