Taking a Quilting Class

Whether you are a quilter, sewist, home cook or amateur gardener, do you like taking classes?  I certainly do!  I always learn something new, and I get to have a whole day of sewing with friends, and meeting new friends.  Even better when it is taught by friends!  This quilting class was actually a bit extraordinary as I came away with a good tip I want to share, and three tools I know I can no longer do without.  Links are provided if you cannot find these at your local quilt shop.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Here is the first tip, and somewhat of a ‘duh’ moment, LOL!  I have a Fons and Porter 1/4-inch Seam Marking ruler that I use for marking HSTs for sewing.  For the class, I used this Quilter’s Magic Wand, and I liked it a lot.  The thinner line in the middle was just a bit easier to see where it intersected the fabric square points.  I usually mark with the ruler vertical. No one told me to do this but this is the way I sew so it seemed natural.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Instructor Karen R. says, turn the ruler horizontally to make it easier to mark.  Well, yes it was!!  It was much easier to get the pencil around my hand and mark in the proper place oriented this way.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We made some half square triangles, using the chain piecing method with oversize squares that I have shown before.  The class used a new-to-me ruler called a Tucker Trimmer.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We used the same method and ruler to make these units too.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

There are classes once a month in a series called Tucker University going through the line of rulers.  If you are local, I highly recommend the classes at Beginnings taught by Karen R and Rachael D.  They made the class fun and it was well paced to learn the new techniques.  Check with your local quilt shop for this series.  A new method of cutting rectangles produced this unit without sewing any triangles.  This is part of the Tucker class method.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Four units in a jiffy!

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

So, to the three things I now know I have to have for my quilting.  You can see the difference between the Tucker Trimmer and the Olfa Square Up ruler that I have used for all of my tutorials up to now.  The Tucker Trimmer has fewer marks, so is easier to see.  It is also a 1/2-inch larger, so it is easier to use for bigger units.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

This is brilliant.  On the end with the whole number divisions, there is a full moon.  You can see that only half the lines intersect the edge with the ruler turned this way, so it is super easy and fast to line up your cuts.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On the other end, with the +1/2-inch divisions, there is a half moon.  So it is quick to find the end you want as you pick it up.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The rulers in the class had Invisi Grip on the back sides.  This is a static cling clear material to apply to the back side of your ruler.  It grabs the fabric and prevents the ruler from slipping.  I couldn’t believe how well this worked.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Cut the size 1/2-inch smaller than your ruler so you have 1/4-inch clearance all around.   This will prevent the InvisiGrip from peeling off as you use it.  It isn’t sticky, it just clings.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

It kept the ruler in place, preventing the slippage that results in less accurate cuts.  I bought a roll and when I got home, put it on the back of all my rulers.  If you look really closely, you can see a very thin line on the left side about 1/4-inch in that is the shadow of the InvisiGrip.  When you are using the ruler, you don’t see it at all.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Sewing the next day, I was able to put together several nicely accurate blocks just by adding center squares and backgrounds.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.comTucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com
Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.comTucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The last thing every quilter needs is a Wool Press Mat.  The wool keeps the sewn pieces from moving while pressing, reducing the need for starch, and keeping the pieces from distorting, again improving accuracy.  Madam Sew has an introductory special on their 13.5 x 17-inch Wool Press Mat, a wonderful bargain!!! – other sizes available at FQS.

Wool Press Mat

Did you notice that I used red, white and blue fabrics?  It is wonderful when I can do double duty with one sewing session.  I got to learn a new way of making units, and how to use my new tools. When I was done, I had the elements for star blocks in patriotic colors.  I have seven star blocks now, for our Quilt of Valor Sew Day.  See that link for information on the February 1 event.

Tucker Class at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Have you taken a fun class for your favorite hobby?  Share your tip!

27 thoughts on “Taking a Quilting Class

  1. You have some good tips there. It’s always amazes me how I can learn something new almost every time I take a class! I will need to get that ruler and that invisi grip. I have the first item already but didn’t think to turn it sideways for marking. I guess I will have to look into the wool pressing mat as well. Thanks for the tips.

  2. kathyinozarks

    The new ruler sounds really good-I had inherited my Mom’s quilting rulers-and I do find them hard to read-will look for this new one thanks

  3. I love that Invisigrip. It is on all my rulers too. The Tucker ruler looks interesting. I wish more ruler makers would make them in colors so they would be easier to find on the mats. That yellow is perfect….or pink, or blue or anything but clear!

  4. Loris Mills

    What a wonderful class! I have watched Deb’s techniques and tutorials with her rulers. They are quite useful. Your blocks are beautiful and will make a lovely QOV. I love my wool mat…as does my cat. HA!

  5. Hi Carole! You won’t believe this, but about your 1/4″ ruler tip. I bought that ruler for paper piecing – to easily trim the fabric and leave the seam allowance. Never in a million, billion, gazillion years would I have ever thought to use it for marking HST lines. OMG. Talk about changing my life. My chair has arms or I surely would have fainted. My friend, Kathleen McMusing, is having a tip sharing linky party on the 22nd. Is it alright if I share this tip? They are all great (and I’ve been doing the other two things and thought it was common knowledge) but the 1/4″ ruler. I can hardly wait to make some HSTs. ~smile~ Roseanne P.S. It just goes to show that you don’t know what you don’t know.

  6. Kathleen Kingsbury

    I have a similar ruler to the magic wand, but you taught me something about placing it horizontal rather than vertical, and thank you for that! The Tucker Trimmer is something I need to look into. Love the clean look, yet it still has all the necessary markings. The invisi grip sounds a lot better than the grip dots I have used on my rulers. The dots get in the way of the markings, and they are thick (at least the ones I have) and if you don’t use place them just right, I find the rulers tend to rock when trying to hold them flat for rotary cutting.

  7. M.

    I have found that you must pay particular attention to how hot your iron is when using the woolen ironing pad. If too hot, it will melt the adhesive used to hold the wool together and you can get hard spots on the surface of the mat. You might want to check this out with your expert quilters.

  8. Joan Sheppard

    Really love the Wool Press Mat. Feels like I chase my blocks around. And the InvisiGrip looks great – will try to find it locally (link doesn’t work for me says discontinued?) I have this ruler and it is stunningly easier than others. Really made your QOV march in perfect formation. Is this new one? Yes love classes always learn something new even if it’s not sewing – someone will just be passing the time of day and VOILA I learn a life lesson, a recipe, a painting tip. Quilters are sharing people.
    Thanks, j

  9. janice young

    Love all the Studio 180 rulers. The wing clipper is the only ruler and method I have found (for me) that i get all side accurate flying geese. Have (am working on- ran out of material and waiting for more to come in mail) or am piecing Filigree and the blocks are right size the points are spot on that quilt uses the corner beam ruler . Glad you found these rulers they are awesome.

  10. Diane

    Love the fabric you used for this class. What would be the most useful size ruler to get? I will be getting Invisi Grip. I like that it is clear. Thanks for all the wonderful information. Diane

  11. farmquilter

    I love taking classes. I have the wool mat, magic wand and Invisi Grip (I can attest that it lasts for years, even on the ruler I use to measure the depth of the snow). Rulers I have an abundance of but I don’t think I have any Tucker rulers. They do get spendy. I wonder what it would cost to buy the entire line of Tucker rulers? In you opinion, what makes the Tucker Trimmer so much more valuable to have then the other rulers?

  12. Tami Von Zalez

    My problem is I need a portable machine like a Featherweight. The Babylok Jazz II is too heavy to get in and out of the car.

  13. Bonnie Coleman

    Living in a small town, there are no quilt shops or guilds here. Thank goodness for online groups! I am currently working on the Bonnie Hunter Frolic Mystery quilt. She just gives tons of great tips that help get HST and QST to turn your correctly! I’ve been amazed!

  14. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, Come On Carole….Why in the heck did you not share this post like on Friday!! But oh no, you just had to wait until Monday after I have marked each and every one of my 128 HST White fabrics. Which was difficult, as you know, because I also use my nice down the middle marking stick VERTICALLY not Horizontally which you know tell me is so much easier! Well, just for that, I am reporting that I am even all pinned and ready to begin sewing down those vertical lines today! LOL.
    I can not resist giving you a bad time. Each and every one of these tips are fantastic! I will be checking out the ruler and the invisagrip. It is time to replace one of my most used rulers and this would work. I will hold out on the wool pressing mat. I am still waiting to buy a rotating cutting mat, which will also be happening soon.
    Your blocks look beautiful and will be a marvelous QOV quilt! Thank you for posting these great tips! I look forward to trying the marking method differently later on today. I have to try it, besides I fell in love with making HST due to your excellent Mystery Quilts. Have a spectacular day, Carole!

  15. Sue H

    I love the Magic Wand too and have used it for years. However, I will now try using it sideways. Makes sense but I never thought to do this either. My LQS just started Tucker University last Thursday. I hope to learn new tips & tricks too. After all, that is what class is all about, right?

  16. Linda B

    Great tips, Carole! Thank you! Yes, classes are just the best. I think I enjoy the learning more than the finished project! Am getting the invisigrip cause I have trouble with the rulers…as someone else said, I put some dots on the back, but then the rulers rock or something. And I think some of my lack of precision is in the cutting. My newest trick is in washing fat quarters…doing it in the large salad spinner with just hot water and no soap. So much easier than what I was doing!

  17. thedarlingdogwood

    I use my Magic Wand vertically too, I will try horizontally! I just bought a wool pressing mat (Christmas gift certificate!) but have not used it yet–I’ve heard great things about them. Love your blocks!

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