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
November 19 – Strip Piecing
November 20 – Snowball Blocks
November 21 – HSTs
Caitlin – @caitlinpolden
November 22 – Flying Geese
November 23 – HRTs
November 24 – Simple Curves
November 25 – Complex Curves
Samantha from Aqua Paisley Studio – @aqua_paisley (you are here :).
November 26 – Improv Curves
November 27 – Applique
November 28 – EPP
November 29 – FPP
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!