Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lessons in Sliver-Trimming!

I hated sliver trimming. I really did!

In my busy life I don’t have time to stand around and trim one side after one side after one side after one side just to get one unit the way I want it to be so I can sew it into the block.

Multiply this by 500 or more units in a quilt and the task seems daunting!

But there are times when the only way to get the unit to be the way that I want it to be involves a bit of sliver trimming.

I try really hard to cut right, sew right, press right –so that pieces fall where they should fall, but we all know that sometimes when working with wibbly-wobbly fabric, as in home-spun type weaves that the fabric can take on a mind of its own.

Such was the case with the Misery Missouri Star block I was working on yesterday afternoon.

No – I did NOT put my working on this block live on webcam ((Did you see my last night's post?! We did live webcam last night and it was fun! And Notice there is a new LIVE QuiltCam tab at the top of the blog!)) as there was much huffing and puffing and even some whispered dirty words under my breath as even pinned seams seemed to stretch and misbehave. The “wing triangles” on each geese unit is made of two stretchy misbehaving plaids. And this was not a usual Easy Angle measurement either…so I had to cut them from Squares with an X. Euurrghg.

This is where my new friend, Monique Dillard came to the rescue! And she didn’t even know she did!

I worked with Monique for the first time in Williamsburg, VA for the Quiltmaker Magazine Block Party. What a sweet lady! I wish she lived next door because I know the two of us could cause a lot of trouble together.

On our last night, we had a great walking-talking moment as we made our way back to the hotel from the restaurant and she invited a couple of us up to her room to show us how she works with Quiltpro instead of EQ ((Fascinating –I think I want to explore more into that too)) and she demo’d her rulers to us: Fit to be Square, Fit to be Quarter, Fit to be Quarter 6.5 and Companion ((OOOH! This one does the cut off snowball corner thing with less waste and better accuracy than just sewing snowballs with squares on the corners!)) and Fit to be Geese.

jubilee 049

I love my Easy Angle Ruler and Companion Angle Ruler, but sometimes that fabric will bow and shift and give me a wonky unit, and I used the Fit to be Geese to square these up! I used the Fit to be Square to square up my center unit!

Thanks, Monique, you saved my wonky block!

I’ll still try to cut well, sew well and be done with it --- but this definitely gives me a way to salvage my less-than-behaving units into submission.

My new ruler-friends are going to be kept in close proximity with my other favorites!

If you’d like to give these rulers a try –visit Monique’s website, Open Gate Quilting!

Tell her Bonnie sent you!


  1. Yep, I agree. I have her Fit to Be Quarter Ruler. I better buy the others so it won't be lonely in my ruler stand.....of COURSE it has the company of the Easy Angle Ruler and Companion Ruler.

  2. Anonymous10:47 AM EDT

    I DO NOT need another ruler, mutter mutter, grumble. Oh OK , I'll bite - must go and see how they work. Just add them to the other 29 I have in my collection. Thanks Bonnie, and glad you had such a good time.

  3. I think some squares just have the ability to grow an extra 3 or 4 threads in the corner. I spent yesterday trimming or checking 100 HSTs. I thought they were perfect until I started with the ruler. I used a square in square since they were 4.5 in blocks and I needed the diagonals to be straight. I feel your pain with your blocks.

  4. I would have loved to see this on the "Live Cam" last night! My husband said, "Do you think we'll hear her swearing like you do when something goes wrong?" LOL! Glad you finally wrestled the block into submission. I'm going to do the same with some borders today, then my Kaleidoscope is on the way to the long-armer!

  5. I have so many rulers now, I keep thinking that surely one of them will do the same thing? Maybe, maybe not, I guess. So I added the Fit-to-Be-Square, Fit-to-be-Quarter9 and Companion) and Fit-to-be-something-else-I-don't-remember-right-now to my Amazon Wish List!

  6. Thanks for the tips. This block is next on my list.

  7. I'm going to be good, and just try one of these rulers. Of course, a book and patten did jump in my cart....

  8. Anonymous11:48 AM EDT

    WONKIES are blocks from 'down below' lol. Bonnie even gets them, that helps me alot.lol Thought perhaps I am the world's worse piecer or something.

    Going to order those rulers today! Thanks Bonnie

  9. Oh, darn, I missed the debut live web cam. I was wangling fabric that needed pre-washing and folding so I could find the one I really want to work with.... Hopefully I'll be in the right place at the right time soon. Have fun!

  10. MISERY star blocks? VBG. It came out great! And I've used Monique's ruler to square up flying geese blocks forever. It's a great find!! And there are 2 sizes, I think!

  11. As much as sliver trimming slows you down, and it does, sometimes you just gotta buckle down and do it. I seldom have to trim anything that finishes larger than 2", but I found out on Orca Bay that those 1 1/2" HSTs and QSTs needed to be checked and trimmed to assure that everything went together well. And I mean EVERY ONE. I hated it when I was doing it but I thanked myself later when the blocks went together so well. I'll have to look up these rulers - anything that makes the job easier would be appreciated.

    And, I've just about given up on homespun because it's so stretchy. I made a plaid extravaganza for my nephew and it almost drove me crazy. Instead of homesput, I love the plaid fabrics from shirts because it's more stable, and not so heavy.

  12. Anonymous8:59 PM EDT

    A good spraying of Mary Ellen's Best press keeps those unruly fabrics calm and comfortable. I have an "Anita's Arrowheads" cut that have all been pretreated. So far, it is great!
    Bev (kwiltpharm(aol.com)

  13. I wish I had seen the webcam thing but kids were running around my house all day and I was too tired to sew -- which must be a first! I used to hate sliver-trimming too but no one sews perfectly all the time and trimming does help the blocks go together. How comforting to know Bonnie has secrets for us and new tools. Thanks, woman!

  14. Rulers are on my wish list. Have you tried starch for the homespuns? That can tame many unruly fabrics.


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