Melon Dramatic – A Curved Piecing Challenge with Island Batik

Challenge Accepted

#CurvalicioiusQuilts
June Challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors

One thing I have enjoyed about being an Island Batik Ambassador this year is the creative monthly challenges! This month’s theme was Curvacious  Quilts. Originally I had planned on pulling out the Go!Cutter and using my Drunkard’s Path die, but realized that really wasn’t a challenge since I’ve made several quilts using both the 7″ finished die and the 3.5″ finished die.

Something Old is New Again

Closing a template for curved piecing
Melon Block Templates by Elisa’s Backporch have been in the ruler drawer for over 10 years! Kinda hard to peel off the aged paper (gasp)

I am a self-proclaimed ruler queen, believing that there is a ruler for everything and you can never have too many rulers. For this project, I dug deep in my ruler drawer and found a set of templates just waiting to see the light of day.

I chose to use the 10″ Pressed Petal squares that came in my Island Batik Ambassador box earlier this year. I loved the fabric so much that I was able to purchase the 2.5″ strip set – you can never have too many precuts and if you like a fabric you should buy it when you see it!

Tropical Spring and Summer Colors of Island Batik 's Pressed Petal collection
Island Batik Pressed Petal precuts will be fabulous in this project
Melon Block Templates fit the 10" square
10″ squares are very versatile for many projects

I was pleased to see that all three of the templates would fit on a 10″ square but I opted for a design change – after all, I did have 2.5″ strips!

Olfa Cutters are my favorite, testing the new Endurance blade
Design Change! And I’m testing out a new Endurance Blade by Olfa – dated it to see how long it lasts!

Curved Piecing

Sewing the melon to the background
Piecing following instructions in The Melon Block book by Elisa Wilson

The cutting went very quickly as I had decided on a table runner and only needed 12 blocks. The piecing was going pretty quickly too as I followed the book’s instructions, but I wasn’t liking the end result when I pressed the melon away from the first L shape. I knew I could do it better so switched to placing the melon on the bottom instead of the top and the result was much better.  See my previous blog about piecing traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks without so many pins. The method worked like a charm for the melon shape and I soon had my 12 blocks pieced.

Curved piecing made simple
I find it best to put the L shape on top of the melon shape
quick sewing of curved pieced melon blocks
The blocks are coming together nicely, just a little trimming to square up

Design Change

Trimming the Melon Block to make the corners pop
“Off with their heads!” using the ruler to cut off the tip to make the corners pop

I loved the way the quilt was turning out, as these are certainly “My Colors” but it needed a little something else…..back to the faithful (and full) ruler drawer and there was my answer! Deb Tucker’s Corner Pop ruler – just what this little quilt needed. Then I dug in my Island Batik stash and found this beautiful raspberry print to top it off!

You can never have too many rulers
The right ruler for the right job – you can never have too many rulers!
Melon Block table runner
Laying out on the kitchen counter to “visualize” how it’s going to look. Matches my FiestaWare!!

Time to Quilt

Curved Pieced Quilt on the Longarm
After hour quilting is always fun when it’s your own personal project

It’s not a quilt until it’s quilted! Trying to find time on the longarm is always a challenge with so many customer quilts in waiting…I love it when the machine is free “after hours”.  This little baby took about 4 hours to custom quilt, not counting loading and design time.  Yep, just call me The Midnight Quilt Rambler!

 

Custom quilting Melon Block
A little curved ruler work over the melon shape and of course feathers in the background! Superior Threads Fantastico #5011
Hand guided signature butterfly lets everyone know this quilt was quilted by Karen Overton The Quilt Rambler
Added my Signature Butterfly in all three “center squares”
Custom Quilted Curved Pieced Quilt
“Hot off the frame” I just love how the lighting shows the texture of the custom quilting. I used double batting, 80/20 on the back and wool on top.

Faux Piping Binding

Sewing Scraps together for binding
Scraps make great bindings, especially as a faux piping double binding!

Last summer I did a schoolhouse presentation at my guild on faux piping binding – I thought this little project would be perfect with a scrappy faux piping binding…. you can download a one page PDF tutorial here.

 

 

Double binding adds color
Adding a pop of color with the scraps as part of the faux piping double binding

Melon Dramatic

I am pleased with the way this little quilt turned out. What was originally designed to be a counter top/table runner became a focus quilt in my entryway on the backside of my kitchen cabinets. I love how the colors reflect the theme of my home – tropical and bright!

Curved Piecing with the Melon Block
Melon Dramatic by Karen Overton. I just love how these colors reflect the decorating tropical theme in my home.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, loving the Island Batik Ambassador Challenges and especially loving the Island Batik Fabrics!

Are you following me on Instagram? Facebook? or Twitter?  There are more process photos posted on social media of this project.

Visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see how their projects have progressed.

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler (this is me!)
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

 

Linked up with Needle And Thread

 

How to Sew a Drunkard’s Path Without All Those Pins

Curved Piecing Without a bunch of pins

 Watch Out Curves Ahead

Curved piecing and matching thread
Time to piece, beautiful Island Batik fabrics and matching Aurifl Threads

Generally when sewing curves for a Drunkard’s Path block assembly there are multiple pins involved as you carefully pin all the fullness of the bias curve of the “pie” shape to fit the “L” shape of the units. I’m going to show you an easier way without all those pins!

It Only Takes Three

No Pin Method for Drunkard's Path
Look ma, no more pins! Two wonder clips and a stiletto are all that’s needed

In my experience, it only takes three locations to secure the units together before sewing – the top, the middle, and the bottom.

What makes this assembly different is placing the L-shaped unit on top of the pie shape. Most instructions have you do the opposite.

The key is to mark the centers of each shape and use a pin or wonder clip to hold into place.  Then line up the bottom edge where the two units meet, making sure that the straight sides stay straight.

Watch Out Curves Ahead
Gently stretch the bias to make the edges line up – go slow as you sew

Begin stitching at the top using a stiletto to keep the fullness dispersed and matching the edges as you gently and slowly sew a quarter inch seam.

Most importantly make sure that the bottom edges meet, preferably making a straight edge connection.

Curved Piecing Without a bunch of pins
Slowly work from the center to the bottom of the curve being mindful of matching the ends
Drunkards path pieced
All the curves came together without any puckering

Press with the direction of the pie shape laying naturally towards the L shape.

Pressing Curved Piecing
Press with the seam allowance going towards the L shape

Small Improvement Makes a Big Difference

I found that sometimes the bottom edges didn’t quite lay perfectly at the straight edge and that resulted in being off just a tad after being pressed open, causing the curved seams from one block to another not to match, and we all know it’s about matching our seams (grin). 

comparing curves
Example to the left didn’t match perfectly along the straight edge, the one the right used a special technique that almost guarantees a straight edge
Careful matching seams in your drunkards path
If the piecing is off a bit it will show when connecting the units into a block – one solution is to trim the blocks or “make them fit” by adding a few tucks and puckers….

My solution was to sew a little from the bottom first to assure they lined up and then go back and sew from the top. This gave me much better results and was worth the extra time spent – still much less time than all those pins!

One Simple Trick to Curved Piecing
This simple extra step of taking a few stitches at the bottom before sewing from the top will assure a perfect alignment of your curved piecing

Design Change

Since this was just a practice piece I decided to make a design change instead of trimming or ripping out and starting over with the newly discovered technique.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the block – it’s kinda a Christmas color and it also reminds me of an owl. I originally thought of summer watermelons…so many possibilities….I’m sure it will pop up in a sampler quilt some day!

Drunkard's Path piecing
Curved Piecing is no longer intimidating with these easy steps

 

I hope you have found this simple technique useful and will enjoy a little curve piecing.

Stay tuned for my Island Batik Ambassador June Challenge with Curved Piecing!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, with a simple trick to simplify your curved piecing of the traditional drunkard’s path block.

Have you tried curved piecing? Do you have a favorite traditional Drunkard’s Path layout? Leave me a comment!

 

 

How To Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover

Quilted covers express creativity in the various designs used to cover a humble composition notebook
Take ordinary composition notebooks and cover with colorful quilted fabric for a fun fashion statement in organization or journaling
Make one, or two, or a few! Quilted Composition Notebook Covers are addictive

As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program I was challenged in March to make a mini quilt using paper piecing or foundation piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my paper pieced block into a quilted cover for a composition notebook and haven’t looked back since! They are multiplying like rabbits over here in The Quilt Rambler studio so I decided to share the fun by offering a tutorial/workshop on how you can make your own!

Tutorial shows how to cover a composition notebook with quilted fabric
Turn a simple composition notebook into a fun usable fashion statement

 

Step One: View the YouTube Video

The project requires basic sewing knowledge including knowledge of quilting tools such as a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat and the use of a sewing machine. A confident beginner/intermediate sewer should find the instructions in the workshop clear to follow.

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Making quilted composition notebook covers is addicting - we bet you can't make just one!
View the complete tutorial on The Quilt Rambler YouTube channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Two: Download the PDF Instructions

Quilted covers include a vinyl zippered pocket for pens and a button closure
There is a zippered pen/pencil pocket inside the back flap of the notebook cover

Because I believe that “paper never forgets” I’ve created a guide to go along with the YouTube. To  better assist you a time stamp is referenced for each section. This is in the event you want to fast forward to review certain areas of instructions.

Supplies are reviewed in the YouTube as well as listed on the PDF.

How to Cover A Composition Notebook v4.4

Step Three: Enjoy and Share

Simple or complex, each quilted cover is uniquely yours
Quilted Covers on the Composition Notebooks are as unique as the imagination of the maker

It’s my hope that you will enjoy the video and printed instructions to make several of these covers – I think they make great gifts! For yourself or others! Personally I have three that I am actively using. One has my “to do list” and calendar, one has a graph paper composition notebook that I use to draw out quilt designs before I head over to EQ7, and one is being filled with tutorial ideas!

Please do share this blog post, PDF pattern, and YouTube reference with your friends. It’s all free – just remember to give credit where credit is due.

scrap pieced notebook cover in bright tropical Island Batik fabrics
Notebook made from fabric scraps

All the quilted samples were designed and pieced by myself, Karen Overton, using Island Batik fabrics, Superior Threads and Aurifl Threads, with zippers By Annie. The Island Batik fabrics were purchased or gleaned from my personal stash with the exception of one precut package of Sweet Nectar from my Island Batik Ambassador project kit.