Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Making use of a test piece

Well, I discovered a lot of things on this test piece.

1. It has to be all arranged before beginning to sew it together.

2. once it is arranged, the layout has to be organized by rows and secured (probably with pins) to keep the pieces all in order.

3. Sewing the little sections is easy if one doesn't mind getting the thread tangled in the pins or losing pins into the carpet... train floor ... carrying bag ... other.

4. Ironing those pieced can be a challenge. I don't know how machine piecers manage to get all the seams going the same way. As it is, because of the combination of long and short segments. the seams all ended up going this way and that.

5. Because of the seam directions not being consistant, quilting in the ditch was not going to work. I used some quarter inch tape inside the seams to quilt along.

I think a point to note in the future is to sew on the binding before doing the final quilting at the edges. The partial  + pieces would have been better quilted a quarter inch in from the edge.

I have a  small box of these cut pieces so I will try it again. Putting odd scraps together is a bit challenging so  this might be better with more solid fabrics to alternate. I do not plan to make anything large ... can you imagine the number of pins it would take for a bed cover?!! Maybe a table runner or a small bag is more reasonable. I'm sure glad I started small.

Seven and a half by eleven and a half is just right for the top of my trash bin.

I fill my coffee cup to about an inch from the top. Then I set it on top of the bin, open the fridge door with my right hand, take the milk carton from the upper door, pour milk to the top of the cup, put the carton back ... all without moving a step ... and sip the coffee just a bit so I can carry it three or four paces to the living room without spilling any.

When I left for the states last summer, there was a beautiful natural wood tray on this spot. It was made of Keyake (Zelkova) wood, just the right size with low edges.

When I returned a few weeks later, it was gone and has never showed up. All I can surmise is that it went into the trash bin one collection day. My husband didn't even realize it was gone ... or there in the first place, and Nikko wasn't talking. I also made a blue and white mug rug for this spot so now I have a replacement when one goes to the wash. Altogether, I would say the design test was helpful and useful too.

Do you test designs before beginning a project? I'm glad I did this time!


  1. I like making mini pieces, fun way to experiment and practice things.
    Looks wonderful there and perfect for a mug rug too.


  2. Good plan to test first - just in case. It does make a lovely mat though.

  3. looks good there x I do tend to test if I think it is going to be tricky x

  4. It certainly doesn't look like it would be that difficult, does it! Oh well it makes a lovely small topper piece for your trash bin. I tend to plunge right into the full size quilts without testing and then have to flounder my way through the whole thing because I can never say die.

  5. Usually we press each row a different way for patterns like this so the seams nest neatly ready to sew together. It's a great size for that spot!

  6. Wow, I was so impressed with all the thought and planning you gave to this quilt. I did find a tutorial of a similar type of pattern which might be more train worthy and use up even more scraps. You could certainly substitute the white for scraps and just have different values/color between the pattern scraps and the background scraps to make them stand out from each other. Once again you have inspired me with your commitment to quilting. I think I will use that tutorial to make a small table scarf! http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/08/cartwheels-quilt.html

  7. I don't normally test designs Julie but I can see where you would want to with this one! It made a perfect piece for your shelf there. :) And I can so relate to your husband not realizing there was a tray there. This week my husband used my vegetables-only scrub brush to scrub the hummingbird feeder. After all, he said, it only holds sugar water and sugar is nearly a vegetable. Oh my. blessings, marlene

  8. I should, I'm sure! I guess the only real testing I do is when I start a new machine quilting pattern. So much easier to evaluate rather than TAKE OUT ALL THE STITCHES after I've decided I don't want to do the pattern after all!