New Directions: Pattern tester makes!

From my work as a scientist, I know that papers improve a lot when you receive feedback on the text and figures from colleagues or peer reviewers. After reading a text again and again and again you simply no longer spot missing words or typos. When you are completely submerged in the subject, concepts that are super clear to you may not be as clear to others that know less about the topic and may require additional clarification.

So, knowing how valuable feedback can be, I had the New Directions pincushion pattern tested before it was released to make sure that there are no errors in the FPP templates or instructions. Two of my quilting/blogging friends offered to test the pattern for me for which I am very grateful! They were able to provide me with useful comments and suggestions that I incorporated in the instructions.

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Sanne tested both the flat and boxy pincushion options and I think she used some fun fabric combinations. The top of each pincushion has a slightly different look because of how she positioned the fabrics. Also, look at those nice fussy cut flowers in the center squares!

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Tierney tested the flat pincushion option, I think she used shot cottons and they give her pincushion a luscious look. I must admit I was surprised at first that Tierney wanted to test the pattern at all because she has not kept her thoughts about FPP a secret in the past!

New directions pincushion made by Tierney from tierneycreates.

As I went through the process of writing a pattern and having Sanne and Tierney test it, I started to think whether it would be good to have a peer review system for sewing patterns to improve the quality of what’s available. I quickly realised that it would probably not work because in science the peer review process is part of getting your work published in good journals. While there are several quilting magazines to which you can submit pattern ideas, most patterns do not end up in journals but are self published. It got me wondering though, which sewing magazine would you consider to be the Nature and Science of quilting?

New Directions Pincushion pattern release!

For quite a long time now I’ve had a dream to create sewing patterns. This past year I’ve taken some big steps to make this dream come true!

The most important step was spending a lot of time playing with Adobe Illustrator, to learn how to use more of this software’s many functions and how to use those functions more efficiently. As it turns out I really enjoy doing this and as a result my first pattern is now completed! I’ve created detailed instructions on how to make the pincushion that I made for the dutch MQG swap that I participated in last spring.

The top of the pincushion is made from a foundation paper pieced 3” finished block. The sewing pattern contains instructions to turn this block into a flat or boxy pincushion. It is of course also possible to use the block in a quilt if you don’t want or need another pincushion!

I chose the name “New Directions” because the shapes in the block remind me a bit of a compass. This pattern also marks a new direction in my sewing and quilting hobby because it’s the first pattern that I’ve created for other people to use. This feels both exciting and a tiny bit scary.  

The New Directions Pincushion pattern has already been released to the subscribers of my monthly newsletter. If you’d like to get the pattern as well, that is still possible. When you sign up for my newsletter you can now download the pattern for free.

Now that New Directions is out in the world I am going to focus on the next patterns that are already in the pipeline!

I’ve also worked on developing a logo and house style. You may already have noticed that my blog looks a bit different from the last time you visited. I’ve tried to incorporate some of the house style features on my blog. The wordpress.com theme I am currently using is a bit limiting in what I can change, however, so eventually I am going to move my blog to infectiousstitches.com.

Free pattern: Foundation paper pieced star

Yesterday I entertained myself by designing and sewing a foundation paper pieced star. I suppose I could have used an existing pattern since there are probably at least a dozen patterns available similar to what I made but designing the block is half the fun. The 12×12” (30×30 cm) star is created by sewing together four 6×6’’ (15×15 cm) blocks, 44 pieces in total, so it’s not overly complicated to construct. I should probably practise a bit more though as not all of my points and matches are as sharp as they’re supposed to be…

140215_StarI_1The real problems were caused by my printer however. I created the block in Illustrator and you would think that a 6×6’’ square drawn with the “draw a square” function, or whatever it is called, would be exactly square when printed. It wasn’t. It was slightly off and resembles a trapezoid. I’m pretty sure it was caused by the printer because I held my quilting ruler up to my computer screen and the square looked pretty square in the PDF on the screen. I tried some different printing settings and then decided to just start sewing and fudge if necessary as it wasn’t off by that much (1/16’’ at most). It drove me nuts though and I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get things to print right. (Edit: I did print the pattern on a different printer and it was exactly square, so I suspect my own printer is inaccurate.)

StarI blockSince I already had the pattern in digital format I thought I might as well share it. I am convinced the pattern should be square when printed on a printer that isn’t mine but if someone would like to check this for me that would be great and relieve me of that tiny piece of doubt nagging at the back of my mind. On the left you can see what the pattern looks like and if you want to download the PDF you can click here. The pattern is for personal use only and does not contain any paper piecing instructions because I am assuming you already know how to paper piece if you want to use the pattern. Below I’ve put the cutting scheme I used for my fabric pieces to save you time calculating this yourself.

StarI block_cutting schemeNow all that’s left to do is decide what to do with this block now that it is pieced together. Make several more and turn it into a quilt or add a border and make another pillow?