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.
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.
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.
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.
We used the same method and ruler to make these units too.
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.
Four units in a jiffy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sewing the next day, I was able to put together several nicely accurate blocks just by adding center squares and backgrounds.
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.
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.
Have you taken a fun class for your favorite hobby? Share your tip!