Saturday, March 2, 2013

Robert Kaufman Quilter's Little Helper App Review

Have you used the Quilter's Little Helper app from Robert Kaufman Fabrics?

I have tried a few of these apps that supposedly figure out measurements for you, but the ones I've tested so far have numerous glitches.  I would never really trust them, so what good are they?

However, I understand the urge for an app that you could pull out in a quilt shop when you find that perfect fabric and don't have a pattern or graph paper with you.  Or when you haven't had enough coffee to do math.  You know what I mean.

It looks like the people at Robert Kaufman Fabrics have finally done it right.   There are links to their social media channels, blog, and collections, plus a store finder for retailers near you.

My top three favorite features include:
  • The piece count.  This is fantastic if you are making something scrappy.  Let's go back to my example of the Circle of Love Quilt. I need 128 dark and 128 light 2 1/2" squares for my four patch units.  I have a collection of fat quarters I would like to cut them from.  Let's see how many 2 1/2" squares I can get from one fat quarter.  

  • Pieces to Yardage Area.  For the half square triangles, I want all of the white and lime green triangles to be the same.  I have to figure out how much yardage I need.  Remember, I need thirty-two 5 1/2" squares of each color. 

If I find the perfect fabric in my stash or in the shop, how much do I need?

  •  Set-in and Corner Triangles.  My third favorite thing is for a quilt that is set on point.  I hate doing the math for the setting triangles, and I always end up with a lot of waste because I cut the fabric too small and have to start over, or I cut it way too big and chop off the extra.  This part of the app lets you put in the block size and automatically calculates the size square to cut for the corners and for the sides.  Thank you!

The cons?  Well, for one thing, just like the Quiltivate website, this app defaults to fabric being 43 inches wide.  This makes me grind my teeth.  It also makes me want to go measure all of my Robert Kaufman fabric and see what it really measures.  I'll bet it's not 43 inches! [I did measure.  It's 43" unwashed and including the selvage.]

The only other thing that doesn't work as well as it could is the backing and batting calculator.  It just takes the path of least resistance, and figures out how to use two large pieces of fabric to make your back with no regard for waste.  The app or website that truly comes up with a way to calculate the most efficient way to piece a back will have my heart forever.

These cons aren't much of a down side, especially for a free app.  I look forward to using this one more.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

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