Today I am excited to share some thoughts with you on the new book by Alyce Blyth -Mini Masterpieces!
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time chatting to Alyce over breakfast, and I can tell you she is even more adorable and gracious in person than she is online. Alyce is one of those people who makes you feel immediately at ease, and she is the ultimate cheerleader for the creative community. She is a beautiful person, and her book is equally wonderful.
Mini Masterpieces is designed to help build your quilting skills through a series of blocks and mini quilt projects. The book covers everything from basic strip piecing through to more specialised techniques such as foundation paper piecing. Alyce’s signature style shines through the patterns in the book, and the editorial layout and photography by the amazing Lucky Spool team is stunning!
As part of my contribution to the book tour, I had the chance to explore the lesson on sewing curves. I’ve only ever dabbled in sewing curves, so it was fun to try something new.
I imagine that for many, the thought of sewing curves can seem a little daunting, and yet I can happily report that in reality they are quite simple. The trick is to make sure the curve is cut on the bias of the fabric to allow the curve to gently stretch as the block is stitched.
- Here is a little of what I learned after reading Alyce’s tips, and experimenting…
To stitch the pieces together, identify each centre by finger pressing the units in half and aligning the crease lines. Then place the concave unit on top of the convex curve and pin in place. Depending on the size of the block, you may only need as few as three pins – one in the centre and one at each end of the curve. You can add a few more if it makes you feel more comfortable, and Alyce encourages pins as you get started!
I reduced the stitch length slightly on my sewing machine and had the needle set to the down position to allow me to easily pivot the pieces as I stitched, and took Alyce’s advice and let the bias seams work for me.
Bt stitching slowly and easing the raw edges of the pieces together, the feed dogs will do most of the hard work for you. You will find that the curved pieces naturally fall into place with only the slightest guidance from you. Just pay attention to the stitch line to ensure you haven’t encountered any tiny puckers. If you see the needle approaching one as you stitch, just gently stretch the pieces to ease the fabric around the curve.
Once you are confident achieving some pucker-free curves, you can easily experiment with some curved piecing to create a whole new array of quilt patterns. Sewing curves definitely opens up a whole new world of design possibilities! And they really are quite simple!!
Sewing Curves Mini Quilt
In order to perfect the smoothness of my curves, I made a few blocks to help me improve my technique. But rather than let them go to waste, I made a little 12″ mini quilt.
This particular mini quilt is not a pattern from the book – I guess you can call it my practice mini quilt, leading up to the actual Blossom mini quilt pattern I plan on making from the book very soon.
One of my favourite things about the book is that it allows you to dip in anywhere you think you want to improve your skills, and have a little bit of fun experimenting with a new technique, while Alyce guides you through the process.
And because I’m a big believer in the motivational power of small projects, I think this book will really resonate with so many people like you and me who are time poor and yet crave that creative energy that comes from a few hours spent in the sewing room learning something new!
Aurifil threads are kindly giving away two spools of their 50 wt threads from Alyce’s designer collection.
On this stop of the book hop, I have Aurifil thread colours, 1114 Grass Green and 2000 Light Sand to giveaway.
You can enter by leaving a comment below, letting me know which skill you’d like to improve the most with your quilting in 2020.
You can also gain a second entry by commenting on my instagram post.
I’ll announce the winner on November 30.
Mini Masterpieces book hop participants
You can follow along with the Book Hop by visiting the quilters listed below.
And by checking out #minimasterpiecesbook on Instagram.
November 18 – Simple Squares
Sarah from Sarah Ashford Studio – @sarahashfordstudio
Janice from Better Off Thread – @betteroffthread
November 19 – Strip Piecing
Molli from Molli Sparkles – @mollisparkles
Sarah from SariDitty – @sariditty
November 20 – Snowball Blocks
Ali from Arabesque Scissors – @arabesquescissors
Kitty from Night Quilter – @nightquilter
November 21 – HSTs
Andrea from 3rd Story Workshop – @3rdstoryworkshop
Caitlin – @caitlinpolden
November 22 – Flying Geese
Kirsty from Bonjour Quilts – @bonjour_quilts
Karen from Karen Lewis Textiles – @karenlewistextiles
November 23 – HRTs
Jemima from Tied With A Ribbon – @tiedwitharibbon
Rebecca from Bryan House Quilts – @bryanhousequilts
November 24 – Simple Curves
Nicole from Modern Handcraft – @modernhandcraft
November 25 – Complex Curves
Elisabeth from Elisabew Quilts – @elisabew
Samantha from Aqua Paisley Studio – @aqua_paisley (you are here :).
Christopher from The Tattooed Quilter – @the_tattooed_quilter
November 26 – Improv Curves
Nicholas from Quilts From The Attic – @quiltsfromtheattic
November 27 – Applique
Lauren from Molly And Mama – @mollyandmama
Sedef from Down Grapevine Lane – @downgrapevinelane
November 28 – EPP
Sharon from Lilabelle Lane – @lilabellelane
Jodi from Tales of Cloth – @talesofcloth
November 29 – FPP
Kristy from Quiet Play – @quietplay
A big thanks to Alyce and Lucky Spool for inviting me to join in the excitement of the promotional tour! It is always fun to celebrate the creative talent of designers, and it is especially fun to see the work of a fellow Aussie and friend come to life and make an impact in our community.
Throughout 2020, Alyce plans to host a sew along, where you can make the projects from the book alongside others in our community, and build your skills as you go. It is going to be an awesome event, so follow Alyce on IG @blossomheartquilts or check out her blog for more information.
And don’t forget to grab your copy of the book as soon as you can, so you can get prepared!
Curved piecing has always been a challenge for me too. Thanks for your tips!
Your mini is just gorgeous! I do love making curves (drunkard path blocks), but it never occurred to me to do a double DP like this one! That I will try! I’ve been trying to master/improve my FMQ skills. Something I’m still working on and probably will forever!!
Dana Flanders says
Lori Morton says
I most want to get better at FMQ quilting. Thank you for sewing curves info…very helpful! 🙂 & thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way too. Happy Thanksgiving Blessings!
Linda Douglas says
HI,such a cute Mini!!! I could use a little refresher on stitching curves>your blog post will help! Thank You !
2020 is the year of free motion quilting, plenty of piecing experience, time to turn those tops in to quilts!
Kathie L says
I’d like to try some quilted clothing items.
I want to try curved piecing. I love your mini quilt!
Fiona ritchie says
Alyce’s book release is so timely as it just so happens that I want to improve machine pieced curves. I have a couple of quilt projects planned that I need this skill for! I adore the fabrics you’ve used in your block
I would like to improve my FMQing skills so I can finish more of my own quilts. Love your mini quilt.
Nancy Sumner says
I took a class with David Taylor earlier this year so I would like to work on my hand appliqué!
Very nice Mini Quilt. I need to work on my FMQ. It’s terrible and my satin stitching is pathetic.
I tried curved piecing a few years ago at a class but haven’t done much since, I remember that it was easier than I had thought it to be. The area I would most like to improve is my actual quilting, I tend to stick to straight lines as I loathe doing it but should branch out more. x
I really would like to become more comfortable with free motion quilting in 2020. Thanks!
I really like your comment about mastery using small projects. Thank you. I was on the fence about purchasing Alyce’s book. Now, I will indeed buy it.
Cathy C says
I need to work on curves, but I really want to learn improv piecing
Jayne P says
Thanks for the tips. This should help improve my curved piecing
I want to get better at improv piecing.
I need lots more practice with FMQ, but mostly I want to improve my “it’s completely finished” skills. Time to move some of those unfinished tops to the done group. Thank you for the chance to win.
Karen A says
I would also like to get better at piecing curves. I have been successful in the past, just not comfortable with the technique.
I want to be comfortable with curves!
I want to improve my Applique skills (and resolve my Procrastination issues LOL)