A few weeks back, Simplicity was nice enough to give us each about a billion EZ Quilting Mini-Rulers just to see what we would do with them. I’d imagine it’s kind of like handing a small child something fancy like a spatula or an iPhone, and not really expecting to get anything back beyond drool. I might have tried to eat them first, but after little success I started using them for cutting… and hey, they work!
These little guys are adorable, perfect for designing small quilt blocks and projects. Designed by quilting maven Darlene Zimmerman, they come with non-slip backs and a little keychain so you can easily hang them up to store (or, alternatively, dangle them from your rear-view mirror while you peel out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot). They come in all the major angles and shapes as well as some funky ones for improv piecing.
Rhonda and I set out to perform an experiment: we would each make a block using the rulers, but we could not confer even one little bit on what we were making. My style tends to be more modern-traditionalist (I like geometric patterns and traditional blocks with modern twists), while Rhonda tends to be more improvisational. Here’s what we made with the rulers, and here’s why we’ll be using them again and again as part of our quilting toolbox.
With the holidays coming up, I decided to make a wintery star/snowflake-themed block. I chose some modern fabrics in whites and metallics, including Ellen Baker double gauze and some Cotton+Steel.
Then to the cutting. I gravitated right away to the Mini 45° Diamond, which I knew I could use to make an eight-pointed star, and I used the Mini Companion Angle to cut out the negative space for the corners. I wanted some other little bursts as well, so I actually cheated (sorry, Simplicity!) and extended the sides of the Mini 30° Triangle so that it would be a bit bigger and then cut out those four triangles for the extra points. The Mini 60° Triangle made up the rest of the negative space on either side of those points.
Piecing the block was easy, and I really appreciated having some of the little “dog ears” already cut off. If you look carefully (PLEASE DO NOT LOOK CAREFULLY) you’ll probably notice that I had some difficulty sewing on the bias with double gauze. I was afraid to rip seams out too much and risk tearing the fabric, so my points could definitely be better. Should have thought that one through, but the gold was so pretty! Then I hand-quilted some designs around the star with metallic floss, and bound it with more yummy Ellen Baker. Voila! A holiday mug rug. I can’t wait to keep experimenting with the diamonds and triangles to see what else I can create!
Improvisational patchwork and specialty rulers are not normally something you would talk about in the same conversation. Improv is usually a pretty basic-tools-only, work-intuitively, and get-it-done way to approach a quilt. I chose the Mini Crazy Quilt ruler because it gives you a starting point for a interesting block that can lend itself to a very modern, wonky aesthetic.
The Crazy Quilt Ruler is an irregular shape that starts as the base for the block. I attached strips of different widths (1-2.5 inches). Scraps work really well for this. A jelly roll would be appropriate, too.
I chose fabric in the Irome Summer colorway, which has a pretty yet scrappy look when you put it all together. Instead of randomly attaching pieces like a true crazy quilt, I sewed strips around the base piece in a clockwise log-cabin fashion. I used smaller strips on the first two rows and the widest on the outside. The improv feel comes when you just dig into your fabric and don’t worry much about what fabric goes where. Just roll with it. It was really nice to have a structured starting point and a more laid-back process. This could make a really cute mini-block as small as four inches. My finished block was 6.5 inches. That is just when I decided I was done.
And can I just say, it only took me a few minutes to make this sweet little block. I now plan to do a 6.5-inch block of each of the four seasons (since Irome comes in all four), making it a four-patch, 12-inch block. Good thing it goes quick; I am addicted!
Have you made any projects with the EZ Quilting line of tools? If so, share a link to your quilt below!