Next, Please

After many years of making quilts I find myself in a strange position. Right now I have only two unquilted tops, and one of those I may change, so that leaves just one. As for UFOs, none come to mind though maybe one or two small ones lurk hidden in the bottom of a drawer.

So I have no excuse not to get cracking on new designs. The time has come to work up all those drawings and inspirational photos I’ve saved. I’m starting with a photo of a puzzle by Rex Ray that I saved many years ago. A recent BluPrint class on bias tape applique by Latifah Saafir jogged my memory of that photo, and I decided to develop a mash up of that puzzle and bias tape.

Rex Ray Rallenta puzzle

First, I pulled together a pile of fabric possibilities because, for me, fabric almost always comes first. I wanted to use black and white prints for the curved shapes, with black bias tape edges, and backgrounds in bold solids.

Then, I developed a rough sketch from the Rex Ray puzzle and some rough dimensions for the blocks.

Next came practicing the bias tape technique. I had already signed up for a discounted trial of BluPrint so I could watch Latifah Saafir’s class on bias tape applique. Her technique seemed sensible so I tried it out on a sample block.

Let me note here that I dislike BluPrint as I’m constantly bombarded with ads that encourage me to purchase stuff from them, there’s no interaction possible with the instructors (you could chat with the instructors and fellow students on Craftsy, see this link about this), and the bias tape applique class isn’t listed as one of the “own forever” classes. I have an email in to BluPrint about that.

Latifaah has you begin stitching the bias tape on the inside edge using a zipper foot and moving your needle position. The cupping of the outer edge is supposed to happen. That gets fixed with lots of steam and ironing.
I’ve added an inner shape and more bias tape. I don’t like the shapes or the line you can see on the bias tape where the edges don’t quite meet. And let’s not talk about the fabrics. But that’s why you do a practice piece.

It seems I’m capable of using this technique and I think it has possibilities for my design, so all I need is yards of black bias tape and some shapes. Then, the fun of matching up my fabrics will begin.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, In Process, Inspiration, Project Ideas

16 responses to “Next, Please

  1. Great project and I’m glad to be in on the beginning of it. I’ve done bias tape applique before, with machine stitching the line down, turning it to hide that first stitching, and then machine-finishing the second edge. It gives the advantage of not having to manipulate the fabric so the raw edges are underneath. I haven’t tried as tight of a turn as you’re using, so I don’t know if that would create problems. Cool!

    • With Latifah’s method you top stitch both sides of the tape and apply lots of steam throughout the process to force the tape into submission. I’ll have to see how the tight turns do. Since I’ll be sewing each block individually I have some leeway if I mess up. I’m looking forward to this project as it seems much more straightforward than some of my explorations.

  2. What an inspirational photo! Thanks for sharing the bias tape technique in photos and the comments about Bluprint. Since Craftsy is gone I didn’t really get friendly with Bluprint, it is not the same. Not always new things are better!

    • I like the bias tape technique as an alternative to needle turned or raw edge finishes. Of course, the definite line the technique creates has to look good with your design. Indeed, newer is not always better. I realize the monthly subscription service has become the norm, but it doesn’t seem to work as well for classes.

  3. Ann Scott

    I’m impressed that you have completed your UFOs. This looks like a fun project and I look forward to see where you go with it.

    • So far the project has been fun, though I haven’t yet begun the “there’ll be tears” part. I did a look through my bureau drawers for any forgotten UFOs but found only a set of what I planned to make up as placemats.

  4. This IS an unusual situation for a quilter, and I aspire to get there, too!

  5. Barbara

    omg, I probably have 30 unquilted/unfinished pieces, many large ones that will be a pain to do on my small machine, and gobs of projects I want to start.

    I do have to thank you for the inspiration to enter an art show. The local art museum has a prestigious annual Spring Show, and my piece got in and got a very nice placement. They accept entries from a 250-mile radius and get 600-700 entries and accept ~125. I wouldn’t have thought to enter, if not for you talking about entering regular art shows! So thanks. I love your blog.

    • I hear you about those large projects. Seriously, after quilting my most recent large (40 by 49 inches) piece I vowed to do quilting as I go. I’m so glad your piece got into the art museum show. Jurors of such shows seem more inclined to choose based on design rather than how square your corners are.

  6. Oh, the fun of a new project and a new technique to practice!
    I have not done a thing on Bluprint. I think I own about 8 classes from when they were Craftsy, and I haven’t even watched all of those. But I know what you mean about the constant ads and emails.

    • If you want to access your Craftsy classes you’ll need to go to and log in. They should all be there. Today I’m cutting out solid shapes and trying various color arrangements for this project. The less fun part will begin with sewing on the bias tape.

      • Rebecca in SoCal

        I was wondering about my Craftsy classes recently. I was able to use the (previously installed) Craftsy app on my phone to access them. However, I haven’t tried finding them on my laptop. It doesn’t sound like a very good experience.

      • From what I can tell, your old Craftsy classes still are there under Post-Craftsy classes are streamed and don’t seem to have any interactive features. You own them only if you purchase them as a DVD or use a bluprint coupon to “own them forever.” So, if you cancel your bluprint subscription, any classes you’ve watched that aren’t in your “forever library” are no longer accessible.

  7. I can’t believe you’re almost all caught up with your projects! And how fun it’ll be, watching this one through the whole process.

    • It helps that I did a cleanup and tossed some never gonna happen items a year ago. Also, I’ve been making larger and slower projects this year so that cuts down the volume of possible UFOs.

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