There is a Kinokuniya here in the greater Portland area, and I frequent them as often as I’m able. Which really isn’t that often. I have managed to amass a nice collection of Japanese craft books over the last several years, but really haven’t made a whole lot from them. I decided to make a few things from them this past week. One of the books (it roughly translates to 1030 Collection of Patchwork Pattern) is just quilt blocks. There are no instructions, not that I could read them anyway, but just diagrams of the finished block, the breakdown, the backside of the block showing seam direction, and then a general idea of how to draft it. One of the blocks caught my interest. They call it a “log cabin”. I loved the idea of a curved log cabin.
Lately it seems like I needed a company for some crafting project or another and I don’t have one. Well, I have several from my school days, but don’t ask me where they are. They were the cheap ones anyway, and I’ve been wanting a nice sturdy compass. So I recently ordered the Kum PenPass. I liked that it folded up flat like a pen and has a cap to go over the lead and pointy part of the compass. With a little guy around, I thought it would be much safer. I also liked how easy it would be to take along with me if needed. So with this project I finally had an excuse to put it to good use. It’s great. Much better than those cheapie compasses you pick up at most stores around here. (This photo is image mapped, so you can click on the items to go directly to them at JetPens website.)
I have a big roll of freezer paper on a wall mounted rod on my wall so I tore a sheet of that off and started drawing 1” grid lines on the freezer paper. Then, following the included diagram, I started making the curved lines as needed with my compass. After that I erased the lines I didn’t need so I wouldn’t confuse myself and then cut out each of the curved shapes.
Next, I ironed all of the pieces onto the back side of the fabric I would be using and cut them out, leaving myself a 1/4” seam allowance beyond the edge of the freezer paper. I started by cutting the outer straight edges with my ruler and rotary cutter, then I used my ruler and FriXion pen to help me trace the curves. Many of you may do this yourself, but if not I’ll give a quick explanation: I choose a point on my ruler to use consistently around the curve (here I was using the 2-1/4” line on the ruler) and put it right on the edge of my curve. Then I make a little mark with my pen. I then shift the ruler down the curve a bit and make another mark and continue in this manner. A circle is after all just a bunch of tiny straight lines. Usually this is done pretty quick, I leave my pen down as I rotate the ruler around the curve (draw, move, draw, move, draw, move…). I do the same thing for concave (curve in, as shown here) and convex (curved out) curves.
After my curves were drawn I could then complete my cuts with scissors around the curved portions. For the inner curves on piece I would draw my 1/4” line for the straight parts with my ruler and Frixon pen and then I would mark my curved lines before cutting those. I didn’t use the rotary cutter to cut these inside straight lines as I would potentially cut into the curves.
Once I had everything cut out I arranged it how I wanted them sewn and then started sewing. And quickly realized what a pain that was going to be. Those curves are nasty. I didn’t like the end result so I pulled out my seams and instead decided to applique this. So that’s what I’m currently doing. Hand applique goes pretty quick for me, but it’s a project I generally only work on at night and it’s just kind of sitting on my bedside table forgotten right now. I’m sure I’ll get it finished soon, because I really don’t like unfinished projects laying around (I have too many of those as it is). I’ll make it a goal to finish that up this week. Maybe I can share it next weekend.