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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mystery Methods!

As the saying goes, there is more than one way to “skin a cat”! Now, I’ve never personally considered the different ways you can skin a cat, or why you would want to do so….but in this case, those late night foot cramps gave me time to think things through.

For some --- the easiest way to trim those string blocks in Part 4 would be to simply square the blocks to 5-1/8”, slice them on the diagonal and be done with it.

Why use the Companion Angle Ruler at all? I guess it is like my favorite cooking spoon. I have this one slotted spoon that I like to cook with, and if I can’t find that one, I go looking. I just prefer it.



So here is what I thought last night…

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Here before you is a 5-1/2” foundation square covered with red scraps. It was easier for me to cut 5-1/2” foundation squares from a flyer that was already 5-1/2” X 8-1/2” than it would be to cut everything at 5-1/8” to begin with. And I knew I wanted a bit extra because it makes for a cleaner trimming down…I don’t fall short on my strip lengths as badly!

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We generally don’t like all that excess hanging off the edge of the block, and so I was pre-trimming before sizing down. I don’t know why it has to take leg cramps and an anvil hitting me on my head to see THIS in my mind --- The paper is our guide! Instead of squaring everything up first, just slice from corner to corner on the back side of the messy block!

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Then use the companion angle ruler to trim it to size, through paper, rough edges and all. Then remove the paper. Of course, if you want to, you could slice it in half and remove your paper and THEN trim to size.

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What matters is that you end up with TWO of these from every block that you do for a total of 128 trimmed triangles.

Don’t you love my Maryland crabs next to my lucky cow fabric? There are cherries with gold glitz in there too..FUN!

So as far as skinning cats goes ----use whatever method gives you the results that you want, with the method that makes the most sense to you and makes you the happiest, knowing that not everyone will choose to do it the same way as you, and that is okay too.

Happy Stringing!

30 comments:

  1. If you really do have the bad leg cramps at night, have you tried putting a bar of soap at the end of your bed between the top and bottom sheet? (any bar soap but Ivory works) I was told to try this and it helps a LOT. Oooo, nice
    quilts, too. :-)

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  2. Ok...but can I whine about it first? Lol...JUST KIDDING!!

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  3. I am delighted to have this update! I was wondering why the block needed to be squared up at 5.5", then cut in half and trimmed to 5 1/8". Can't wait to get at those red strips!

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  4. Just a question - since in the original step 4 you mentioned to remove paper before doing the final companion angle trim up step.....the first one I forgot to remove paper and trimmed it up - but then removed the paper...I kinda felt that maybe due to all the bias etc...that removing paper last - might cause some strecthing and distortion....???? And so I'm kinda thinking I might remove first then do my final trim up with hopes that I'll do less distort to them that way? I don't know - maybe not - ??? thoughts???

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  5. There have been a few times when I considered ways to skin my cat! ;>) just kidding, please don't call the ASPCA!
    Bonnie, you go way beyond what most folks would do to keep everyone happy. Thanks a bunch for all you do!!

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  6. Bonnie, about your leg/foot cramps- my doctor recommended 2 oz of TONIC WATER in the am and 2 oz in the evening. It has Quinine in it and helps STOP muscle cramps. I SWEAR IT WORKED FOR ME!
    If I wasn't busy with 3 other quilts that have deadlines I would be doing this mystery. I am printing the directions for a later date. Beautiful so far.

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  7. so you use the 3.5" mark on the companion angle, right? just to clarify here...

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  8. I get leg and foot cramps standing at the cutting table. SO...with my big thick flip flops (New Balance $54!)and a pair of socks my legs feel just fine.
    Great idea for alternate trimming on the strings.
    XOXOXO Subee

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  9. Thanks for this new tip. I like it a lot. One trimming sounds good to me! Thank you again,Bonnie. You are the bestest!!!
    Sandi in TN

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  10. Bless you Bonnie... you have the patience of Job :o)

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  11. Holy heck you have the patience of I don't know what!I have a square ruler that is 5.5" so it is perfect for the job....but now you have given another way, I'll try that. I feel bad for using the skinning the cat saying, as I love cats!

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  12. This is the value of having 100-200 pattern testers so any patterns you produce will have been thoroughly checked by quilters of all skill and experience levels! I so appreciate the alternative trimming option. I just cut 20 blocks in no time flat -- altho I suspect I'll have to do a little final trimming when paper comes off and some "fullness" emerges on a few blocks. Worth it for the time saved! I swear I trimmed 20 in the same (or less) time it took to do 10......I love the stability of the paper... Thanks, J

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  13. Yeah, I can get started now! Yes, I mean from the beginning. I went out today and bought myself the 2 triangle rulers that you mentioned in the intro. I even got them for 50 percent off at Hancocks. I had to wait till I finished my current quilt gift to allow myself to start another project, oh I have been itching to start the mystery quilt. I have never done anything like this, I love to challenge myself in ways like this.

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  14. I tried the "new" method. Much less cutting involved! It worked perfectly.
    Way to go Bonnie girl!

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  15. I tried both the original and revised methods, and YES!! this method is more efficient. Thank you for the tip. No trouble with stretching when taking the paper off eithrt.

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  17. Anonymous6:49 PM EST

    leg pain? I don't absorb enough calcium so started on liquid calcium, leg pain is gone... Thanks so much for the fun patterns Bonnie!

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  18. does it matter if the strips are horiz or vert? i don't think so but had to ask...

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  19. Now this is more like it! ;-) (Please don't think in my prior comments (yesterday) that I am disparaging people who collect rulers. It's just that I am on a fixed income and can't afford to do so. If I knew what I was missing, perhaps I'd reconsider that particular ruler, but as it is, I'll go with what I have.) And I was amazed at how quickly my 'junk mail' offered up 64 squares in just the right size. WOW! I'm home from Edmonton tomorrow and can't wait to get to those strips!

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  20. Bonnie, you are absolutely THE BEST! You help take such good care of us! <3
    And (as a NeuroMuscular Therapist) I concur with the tonic water (also especially good for restless leg syndrome) & the calcium, but you also need magnesium & potassium in the mix, as that's how the body utilizes calcium. I had those cramps *horribly* earlier this year; after adding calcium/ magnesium/ potassium before bedtime = zero cramps!

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  21. Wow... this is FANTASTIC! Love the new tip. Thank you so much. I "short trimmed" a couple of strings on the blocks and your tip will let me save them. Thank you, thank you... we're talking 15 blocks here that I won't have to re-do!
    You are amazing!

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  22. Anonymous8:04 AM EST

    Oh, I think I'll stick to doing the diagonal slice from the front. Otherwise, I'd probably slice WITH the strips instead of across them.

    Not to be difficult, I just KNOW that I'd do that accidentally.

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  23. Anonymous8:37 AM EST

    PERFECT! I had done 10 the first way and then last night did 15 this new way. NICE, thanks Bonnie.
    Maryella

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  24. Cutting out the step of trimming to 5.5".... I like that idea ;) I've had my Companion ruler for a long time and this is the first time I've used it. Great tool!
    btw I've been removing the paper after piecing the strips. I find it makes spray starching and pressing a little easier. 12 triangles made - 58x2 more to do ;)

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  25. As for "skinning a cat"...my dad ALWAYS used that phrase. Unfortunately, when I was in college and took anatomy (to become an RN), we did have to skin a cat so we could study anatomy "up close and personal". :( So now every time some uses the phrase, that's what I think of. :(

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  26. Try vitamin K . If you are low on it, it can cause leg cramps.
    As for your instructions, they are crystal clear, Bonnie. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us!

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  27. Thanks for the trimming tip. I finished piecing my blocks this afternoon and none are trimmed yet! Now I have a simple method to use. You are a star :)

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  28. I took your 'out of the box' thinking one step further. I've made long, 3.5" wide strips of strings, and cut them into triangles, rather than making squares. My details are here http://kristaquilts.blogspot.com/2011/12/purple-strings.html I can't see why this won't work, but if I'm sewing myself into a corner, please let me know!

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  29. Krista -- I also tried it this way...and it works, but yes, you can't tell where a seam is going to end up in the corner of a unit -- and it can add bulk to the next thing we sew it to. Also, I wrote the pattern the other way to make it more consistent between those who had the companion angle rulers, and those who did not. :c)

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  30. I did this step completely without paper - and user the companion-angle til square them up. More in my blogpost of des 13.

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