Saturday, May 9, 2015

Itty Bitty Eights Rulers put to the test!

By now you surely know that I love making minis, right?
 
So when Lisa Bongean collaborated with Creative Grids to come up with these rulers specifically for making mini quilts I was thrilled!
Left to right, Itty-Bitty Eights 3"x7" and Itty-Bitty Eights 6" (Click for link to order)
Honestly, after finally completing the flimsy for my mini version of Lisa's APQ SAL Burgoyne Surrounded quilt, I was about ready to throw my OmniGrid rulers out the window. I had become so frustrated, trying to cut very precise little pieces with thick lines that were solid in too many places. To top it off, no matter what I apply to the back of my rulers, they slide at the most inconvenient times. And if you put anything on the back that adds any height you are shooting yourself in the foot as far as accurate cutting is concerned.

I had already decided that I was going to be replacing my OmniGrid rulers with Creative Grids when I read Lisa's post here. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the rulers and planned to order them after the next payday. But Lisa beat me to the punch and had a set sent to me so that I could try them and share my experience and opinions. Let me say up front, I am delighted!

Look at the markings--everything is marked clearly, down to every eighth of an inch.
 The lines are narrow and dashed all the way along. So easy to line up on the edge of the fabric or a seam line to get a precise cut.
I finally got play time and have experimented with some of Lisa's own patterns for small quilts.
 Making 1 1/2 inch HSTs and pinwheels, I made a very small version of the Primitive Gatherings pattern "Pinwheel Garden". Excuse the fact that I made my pinwheels rather hurriedly (no pinning), so the centers don't match well, but the photos show how clearly you can see to line up your cuts. Lisa recommends foundation piecing for this quilt, but I used the "make large, cut smaller" technique to give the rulers a good test.
They passed the test so well that I have actually cut HSTs to make the whole quilt in scrappy CW blues and browns.

I decided to give the "Broken Dishes" pattern a try, but this time I thought I'd take it up a notch (or would it be down?) by making the units half the size the pattern indicates. Instead of finishing at 2", those little Broken Dishes blocks finish at 1".
 I got everything cut and then began sewing together the broken dishes blocks.
The ruler markings made squaring up these little blocks so easy. I did not "cut large" on these blocks, but had no trouble coming out with perfect little blocks. You can see I was practically just trimming off fuzz when I squared them.

 
 After completing enough broken dishes for three rows, I decided to stitch those rows together and move on to another test of the rulers.

 Here are the finished three rows up against one of the Itty-Bitty Eight Rulers. I think it is fun to see how much mini quilts shrink when sewn together.

Next I wanted to test how well things would come together when using one of the less common measurements. I pulled out some thrift store shirt scraps and decided to pretend that the scraps were only 7/8", so I would need to make my cuts accordingly.
 I got lazy about taking photos during this process. Above you see the cut squares compared to my rotary cutter. Below you see the basket in my hand. It will finish at 1 3/4". The 7/8" markings were not hard to work with at all.

I did try one other project, but took no photos of the process. When I made  my mini Burgoyne Surrounded, the most maddening thing in the whole process was the little 9-patch blocks that finish at 3/4". I was having such a hard time getting good results with the OmniGrid rulers, so I had to try a few tiny 9-patch blocks with these rulers. You can see the little double 9-patch block at the bottom of this photo. It isn't laying flat so it looks wonky, but I was really pleased with how well the 9-patches turned out. That block will finish at 2 1/4".
This photo shows all of my "test projects" together, with the rulers. I haven't had much sewing time lately, so this has taken longer than I care to admit. But I can't wait to finish up the broken dishes, and tackle my CW blue & brown version of the pinwheel quilt.

I can highly recommend the Itty-Bitty Eights to anyone who makes minis, or even those of you who make larger quilts that have many smaller parts in the construction. The 6" square is probably the one I used the most, but when I was making the 9-patch blocks by sewing strips, the 3"x7" was very handy. My only wish was that the 3"x7" would have had more markings across the width of the ruler, as the square does. Other than that, no complaints. The textured dots and edges held onto the fabric well. It wasn't until I was writing this post that I realized I hadn't had any slipping problems with any of these projects. Many thanks to Lisa and Creative Grids for a job well done!

Next week is the 4th anniversary of my blog. I'll have to celebrate somehow. : )
Until then,
Janet O.

42 comments:

  1. Your blocks are amazing! I can only dream of sewing things like that! And happy early blogiversary! :0)

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  2. Unbelievable, girl!!! 9 patch that is 3/4"......I would be ga-ga just trying to stitch it much less square up. Great review of these little rulers, so glad you had fun with them too. Your minis are just so amazing to see all hung on rulers.

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  3. I sew enjoyed this post. The tiny units are amazing! I may have to try these rulers.

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  4. What is the seam size on these Minis ? The rulers do look handy and maybe I will try them. First though I am going to spring quilt market in Minnesota next week. If I see Lisa I will tell her that I read your blog. Thanks for giving an unbiased opinion.

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  5. Once again ... you amaze me! I ordered the rulers and received them yesterday but haven't had a chance to try them out. Making minis? maybe. Better precision is really what I'm after right now. Not a fan of Omnigrid either but it's that yellow that drives me batty. One thing I tried with pretty good success is Press and Seal plastic wrap to make a non-slip surface on the back of the rulers. Can't wait to see what else you create with your new toys.

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  6. My first thought was "What a brave girl you are". How do you press these little blocks? They must be all seams on the back.

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  7. This would feel like torture to me, Janet, but your results are spectacular! I LOVE that widdle biddy basket bwock!

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  8. Oh My Word - Janet, that beyond tiny basket block is too sweet for description!! You are definitely at the top of the patience chart. Can't wait to visit Lisa's shop in July with our small stitching group. I think everyone has those rulers on their list....seems like they will be invaluable for piecing accuracy no matter the size of the block.

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  9. You have convinced me to buy. I was on the fence about more rulers but your work looks fabulous. great review for us.

    Thanks,
    mary

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  10. Interesting. I did not know about the new rulers and they seem made for your style of quilt making.

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  11. I love every one of your test projects! I have the Pinwheel Garden on my "someday" list--I think I better add Broken dishes too! The rulers get an A+!

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  12. It looks like I could get confused with too many lines! lol I may have to try the 6" square. Thanks for the review.

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  13. So fun Mom!
    I know already that the little blue and brown CW pinwheel will be a favorite of mine :)

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  14. Thanks for all the insight on sewing mini's with these rulers. Your work delights my eye but does not tempt me to try such weensy sewing projects. I just marvel at them, thanks! Congratulations on the start of your fifth year blogging!

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  15. Your samples look so great. I want to see the broken dishes when you finish it. Glad you have found a ruler to help you instead of hinder.

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  16. I think your work gets smaller and smaller. Nice to hear how well the rulers help to get an accurate cut. Your little basket is unbelievable.

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  17. All hail to the Queen...of the tiniest quilts!! I love your bitty wonders!

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  18. WooHoo! So glad to hear how well these new rulers work! I kinda meant to look for the 6" square one when I was at HMQS yesterday, but I forgot to, darn! I hope the LQS get them soon.

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  19. Oh my Janet. Those miniatures are just precious. You have to be so accurate with those tiny blocks. I know as quilters we have a lot of gadgets, but those rulers you show will surely make those minis easier.

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  20. Wow Janet, that's awesome!
    Just the thought of those tiny pieces of fabric scares me....I just don't like half square tri's at any size.
    I'm sure those rulers will get the best workout from you.

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  21. That's great you found rulers that work. Your pieces are so perfect -- who knew you were having trouble cutting! That tiny basket in your hand is positively adorable!

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  22. For those who always have minis on their minds, what a great tool! I think the 6" ruler easily fits into just about anyone's tool usage. Love your micro mini Broken Dishes blocks--those broken pieces must have come from a Dolly's tea set :)

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  23. I'm always AMAZED at your tiny tiny piecing and it always is so perfect.
    How do you do it? Looks like those rulers are a great tool for mini makers.
    Love the broken dishes and the little basket block.
    Happy Mother's day

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  24. You sold me! I love minis but get so frustrated...you made it look easy and being able to see these rulers up close in your photos is great! Thank you!

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  25. Thanks for sharing about the rulers. Making so many different sizes and types of blocks was a great way to test the rulers. Love the tiny basket block! Now I'm thinking I need the 6" square one.

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  26. That tiny block is exquisite. Think I shall be buying those rulers.

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  27. Thanks, Janet. Mine are on order from my LQS.

    Love your minis...but you already knew that, right? *wink*

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  28. Oh, Janet, those rulers sound perfect for you and your love of all quilts great and small!! :-))

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  29. I'm looking forward to trying these rulers - hope to buy them at Market later this week. Love all of your tiny projects!

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  30. I think you wre the perfect person to test the rulers for Lisa - I had seen her blogpost but wondered if the rulers were as wonderful as she said - glad to see they are!! Guess I'll be hunting these out in the near future! All your litttle blocks are so cute - and so accurate too - great sewing Janet!

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  31. Omnigrid was my brand of choice until I started making smaller quilts and have difficulty lining up the edges on the solid lines. Thank you for the demo of Creative Grid Itty Bitty Eights rulers. I'm sold on those dashed lines...added them to my shopping list. Your blocks are perfect!





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  32. Wow oh wow. I am totally amazed by your precision. While I am sure that the proper tools help (I can't wait to give mine a try), I'm still in awe of your precise piecing ... and the gorgeous little quilts you create from those tiny pieces. You ARE the Miniature Master.

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  33. I purchased both '"mini" rulers and am loving the 6" square but am having trouble reading/using the 3 by 7. I may need a tutorial from PG next time I'm in the shop.

    Terry

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  34. Such cute little blocks. Will have to check out the rulers.

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  35. I do believe Ms Janet, that your blocks are getting even smaller. The one that you are holding in your hand is really a little bitty one. I thoroughly enjoy looking and reading about your mini's. It is nice that you found some good rulers to help you cut all those small pieces. Sandi uses BlocLoc rulers and says that she loves them for all her scrappy projects. Count time time soon for our travels. Are you ready. lol

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  36. What a great ruler review AND photos for reference. Thanks!! I've been thinking about these rulers and now have more information to ponder!!!

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  37. The rulers do sound wonderful! And the tiny blocks are too cute. Especially love the tiny basket block. I'm not sure I will ever make any that small, although while working on the DJ quilt they are all 4 1/2" inches - which I think are tiny, but they seem huge compared to your 2 1/4" block! It's all a matter of perspective!

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  38. I bought the 3 by 7 inch ruler yesterday at PG in CA. I used it today making more blocks for my log cabin quilt. It was wonderful - sure made a difference.

    Charlotte

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  39. I cannot wait to get my hands on these rulers... I love minis and this is just want we need!

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  40. Very good review, Janet. These just made my "have to have" list. It's a good thing the LQS is getting these. I'm inspired to go smaller.

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  41. excellent blog post and gorgeous blocks all around...i agree, i think i would use the square most and will invest in one at some point....you are a master mini piecer!

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  42. Just when I thought I didn't need anymore rulers, you go and prove me wrong! I switched out to Creative Grids several years ago and love them. I can see I'll have to add these little miracle workers to the stable :*) Great review and fun eye candy!!!

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