Curve is the Word
A month ago, Kate approached me about making a Heart Beat wall hanging to celebrate Valentines Day! Since this proposed project was coinciding with our ‘Love is in the Air’ Art Gallery sale we thought it would be fun to use a variety of Art Gallery Fabric quilting cottons to make it. This is the first quilting project I’ve done that uses curves, so I was nervous about the idea of making something that would be photographed. But, onward! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Mini Wonderful Curves!
The Mini Wonderful Curves book has 16 seasonal projects (including the Heart Beat), and all of the projects are small in scale – table runners or wall hangings. They’re a good way to dive into a scary new technique (curves) without making a commitment to a great big project. Each project incorporates the same basic curved shape, using the QCR Mini-Ruler to make the same basic building block. It’s surprising the variety that emerges!
Before I made the table runner, I made some practice blocks with the Mini Ruler. They were really pretty easy to do, and I was proud of my initial results. Who invents these techniques and clever rulers? I can’t imagine the combination of math skills and creativity involved!
The book recommends a 45 mm rotary cutter but I found it worked better for me to use a 28 mm cutter. It seemed easier to fit the smaller cutter into the curved slot on the ruler. Sewing involves matching a concave piece to a convex piece, which seems daunting but it was surprisingly easy to coax the two pieces into alignment. Here’s a quick, visual step-by-step to show you how one of these curved blocks comes together!
To make the basic curved block, align two squares of fabric (one on top of the other). Both should be right-side up. Position the QCR Mini Ruler so that one corner of the fabric squares is at the point of the two dashed lines on the ruler, and the dashed lines are over the adjacent sides of the fabric squares. Use the rotary cutter in the curved slot of the ruler to cut through both layers of fabric.
Take a convex piece of one fabric and a concave piece of the other. Position the pieces (with the concave piece on the bottom) right sides together. Let the bottom piece project ½” out from the top, and align the first little bit of the curved edges. Sew a scant ¼” seam, adjusting the pieces as you go so that the edges come into alignment. (Don’t be afraid to tug the fabric edges into place!) You will get to the end of the top piece about ½” before the end of the bottom piece.
Flip so that both pieces are right side out and press.
Next, trim all 4 sides of the resulting piece starting with two edges of the concave piece. The ruler has lines 1/8” in from 2 sides. These lines should be positioned so that they just touch the curved seam at its start and end points. Trim, and then flip the ruler so that the trimmed sides are lined up with the 4” lines on the ruler. Trim the exposed edges.
Simple as that
Ta Da! The book gives great directions (even better than mine!) and has lots of good photos. It’s fun to see all the different ways these curves can be incorporated to make different shapes.
The Heart Beat Wall Hanging
The project I made is called Heart Beat, and starts out by strip piecing some 1 and 1.5 inch fabric strips together and then cutting the curved pieces out of the result. I made it scrappy because I wanted to show off several of our Art Gallery quilting cottons.
Rather than making all four hearts the same, I decided to make two out of mostly pink fabrics, and two out of green and blue fabrics. It’s a very scrappy and colorful look, which I love, but – were I to make this again – I might include one or two fabrics that feature even smaller prints because the strips are so small.
The main challenge for me with this project was that, by the time I pulled the two curves into alignment, the strips themselves were pulled and stretched out of their original square shape. This was operator error, not a fault of the technique itself. I really should have practiced the curves with some of the strip-pieced fabrics. But, I pulled and tortured the hearts into shape, singing to myself that song by the Dixie Chicks “…bless their tortured tangled hearts.”
- The Mini Wonderful Curves book is full of cute seasonal projects.
- The QCR Mini Ruler is a piece of genius.
- Curves are not that hard!
- Art Gallery fabrics have an intrinsic sweetness that makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day
- The strip piecing made this project a little trickier – so practice one or two curves first!
Give it a go!
Our Love is in the Air sale runs through February 5th! Save 20% on this awesome ruler, the book and all our Art Gallery Fabrics! (We even have a special fat quarter bundle which includes all the fabrics I used for this project.)