Edited to add: I'm linking this to Cheryl's Workshop in Progress linky since I posted there asking for thoughts on my fabric selection process - I thought it might be nice to show how things are coming along.
Last week I worked like a dog to finish some oppressive work projects so that I could have the weekend to devote to my sewing machine. Friday night I made a few spiderweb blocks, like the one here, to add to those made by my friends in the 2010 Maple Leaf Bee.
But I was really saving my energy for Saturday and Sunday, when I embarked on Curlicue Crush. Thanks to all the feedback in my fabric selection process, I ended up with 20 FQs that worked well together. I was very excited to break out my Curvemaster sewing foot and try my hand at the curved seam, but this pattern is another one, like the kaleidoscope quilt, where you can't sew a single block without knowing which blocks will fall on all sides of it. So I had to do all the cutting before I could start sewing. And it was pretty time consuming since it involved a lot of template tracing and cutting. Boo! Down with templates! I did have one unhappy realization in the cutting process. I ordered this FQ bundle of Sugar Pop from Pink Chalk for the core fabric selection, and built up additional fabrics around these.
Since I chose fabrics from a number of different lines, fabrics that differed in how thin they were, how closely woven, etc., I figured I should prewash them. But when it came time to cut for this pattern, I found that I didn't really have enough of the Sugar Pop FQs. Either the cuts were short initially, or they shrank dramatically, but in nearly all cases, they measured a scant 17" at the best, at sometimes even less, instead of 18", which meant that I couldn't square them up to get a clean initial cut, but sometimes couldn't even get a full 3.5" width out of the last strip from the FQ. Unhappily, this resulted in several poverty blocks, where smaller pieces were sewn together to make a larger piece, and it two cases I had to supplement entirely different fabric for part of a block. I've not had this problem with Pink Chalk before, so I wonder if it is an issue with the Sugar Pop fabric line itself. This is kind of disappointing when you are making a quilt from specially selected fabrics rather than scraps, but what can one do? Never mind - I am hoping that the overall effect will be so stunning no one will notice these unfortunate make-do moments.
Here you can see how I number-coded the pattern and matched each number to a fabric swatch. I needed to do this to make sure I was sewing the right concaves to the right convexes. It took me all day to do the cutting, and I managed to do all the curved seams on Sunday.
I used my new Curvemaster foot. Turns out it matters which curve goes on the bottom. This photo shows the right way: concave on the bottom and convex on the top. I was particularly interested in learning how to sew curves without pins. If I had to put a million pins in each curve, the way the pattern says to do it, I knew I just flat out wouldn't make it. I hate fiddling with pins!
The idea is that you can sew without pins if you lift the top piece up and away from the bottom piece as you are sewing (I used both hands normally, except when I needed one for the camera), and keep both pieces aligned against the sewing guide on the right. This gives you the proper 1/4" seam allowance. If you bring the pieces together and allow them to touch before they are right under the needle, it all goes spectacularly wrong and ends in tears. But if you do it right, you get nice little curved seams!
Which you can then clip and press. I am not a pro yet by any means, but some of these are pretty good. Some (not shown) are really a dog's breakfast. All in all, I feel quite proud of myself. I'm desperate to finish piecing this - only straight seams remaining now.
I did manage to get out for a couple of hours on the weekend to take in our winter festivities downtown.
Open air hockey.
Ancient Greek ruins in snowy miniature.
Steam train covered in snow
And don't forget the souvenirs!
Must run for now - stay tuned for further adventures wherein I introduce my Whipstitch Sewing Buddy and perhaps show some photos of a bit of fabric bought today!