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Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekend projects and lessons

A lot of things happened last weekend! Let me try to summarize them :)

I tested the "Dazzle" pattern for Esther ( and this is the result:

Beautiful eh? I tell it to myself :) I think I did a good job in matching many points :) and this are the few lessons I learned along the way:

1. The pattern is very nice but it required me some courage because it is based on the two things I fear the most in paper piecing: weird angles and matching points. :) I try to avoid/minimize them in my patterns because of this fear. But the only way to overcome a fear is to practice and to get good at it :) and in this case there was not much pressure in the sense that, yes, I was a tester, but the final block will make a pillow or similar for me and since in my house quilting police is banned, even if some points do not match perfectly, that's ok ;)

2. The trick to make this pattern work I think is in the color choices (if you are worried about the central point). My idea was to use the same dark color for the external border of the flower (so that the shape is easy to see) but use two "interlocking" colors for the petals inside... in this way the "flowing" of a petal in the another will trick the eyes to flow around the central point instead of focusing on it :) this is the reason why I picked two colors with some contrast (yellow and orange) but not too much contrast... in this way the human eyes is not going to notice imperfections in the center (I said "human eyes"... the quilting police eyes will still see that my center is not perfect, but as said before, the quilting police is not allowed to enter my house! ;) )

3. Listen to what the author of the patterns says :) There was a tip like "Please do not try to sew it all in one go!"... and I thought "come on, they are just 12 pieces, I can do it"... well... no :) don't try this at home! :) after 6 wedges I was going crazy :) there is nothing wrong in the pieces, but they require focus so I suggest you to listen to the advice and sew 3-4 wedges max and then take a break ;)

4. Since there are many pieces to match, I tried all the possible combinations to make the points match... and I think the strategy that worked best for me was to start from the center, going up half way (or a couple of matching points), check them (if not good, you have a shorter seam to unpick) and then start from the other side and go toward the center. Since there is not much fabric in the block, I never found a case in which the fabric built up in the center of the seam... and the half+half helped me matching things much better.  

I loved the pattern, and now I am less scared of angles and matching points: just give yourself some time and take some breaks... this will solve all the issues! :)


My July Block Swap partner (Teresa) received my blocks so I can share them with you :)

She asked for a Cactus Pot block, so I made two as the one above, but then she said that she will send me some selvages for my selvage project so I wanted to add an extra block for her. However another identical block was kind of boring for me... so I start playing around with squares and triangles in Inkscape and I designed the block below (called: "Not all Cacti are created equal") :)

I think it's a pretty fun block that matches the other, but it has its own personality :) 
She likes it so I am pretty happy about that :)

My boyfriend birthday is coming up this week so I finished a couple of presents for him.

The first one is this "Finger labyrinth":

I designed the embroidery pattern for this block and it is now available on Craftsy. In the pattern there are different design for the center. I thought the heart was a good choice for him, but I made a flower and circle center that can be used with the same external labyrinth.

I then quilted an echo on the external side and stitched also the heart in the center. So the back look like that:

I love that fabric and I love the final effect of the quilting.
BTW, it's important NOT to quilt around the path of the labyrinth itself. Otherwise the "height" of the embroidery walls will be flattened and the goal of the finger labyrinth may be lost (since it's going to be hard to "walk" the labyrinth wit your eyes closed... for people not familiar with what a finger labyrinth is and how it works, you can read about it here. Please note that the labyrinths on Craftsy has been designed by me, and they resemble other labyrinths available on the web. However these pattern were not built to fulfill any specific requirements about angles, systems of numbers, design, etc. They are my version of the finger labyrinth concept and they are designed to fit a small square block (10'')).


Another part of the birthday present for my boyfriend is a Toothbrush travel kit. I found the tutorial here.
And my final result is the following:

I did few changes to the tutorial: this are my advice for you or for me next time:

1. you can skip to put the bias tape at the top of the internal pocket if you cut the pocket keeping the band on the side of the towel. That saves you the seam and the binding tape, plus it adds a perfect place to add a personalized embroidery message! Because what is better than a handmade toothbrush travel kit? a personalized handmade toothbrush travel kit ;) 

2. the project is suuuuper-fast... I cut my binding (I used a 1.5'' strip because I didn't read properly the instructions ;) but I think it worked out pretty good, and WOF was the perfect length), sew the seam in the middle to divide the pocket, sew the binding on, sew the button, done! :) super fast, super easy, super cute, super useful ;)

3. next time it would be better to sew the button on the pocket before sewing everything together. Because it was kind of hard to put the button especially because  there is a seam in the middle of the pocket so you have to put the button right next to it, putting your fingers inside... and it's not very easy... possible, but next time I will do it on the pocket before :)

4. as you see above, I didn't round the upper part of the kit... but it's a good idea to try that, because in my version the two corners kind of stick out when you close the kit with the ribbon (which is kind of centered). Next time I will try the round version... and if that does not close properly, I will add two little buttons and two ribbons, one for each corner. That should solve the issue.

If you have any question/comment about this, please write me below. I would love to hear from you.

I also finished another couple of blocks that will be in the mail this week so I cannot show them because they are a secret.

And I also prepared 3 I-Spy blocks for Sharon (for her A quilt for Blake idea), but I forgot to take the picture of those :( Anyway they were very simple and with cute fabric :)


Now the weekend is over so it's better that I go back on my week job :)


  1. Oh my word Alida, you are a bussy bee! I love the diversity in your blocks! Of course I love the Dazzle block! ;-) Thank you very much for testing the flower for me!

  2. Your Dazzle block looks fabulous. I love the colors you used. I am testing the pattern too, but mine is not together yet.

  3. Your Dazzle block turned out beautifully!! Great fabric choices!

  4. I really love your Dazzle block and think you did wonderfully.

    And the Quilting Police are banned from my house, too.


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