August 14th, 2009

I have this little habit, whenever my life is in chaos, and I have a “to-do” list a mile long, instead of working on my list, I will organize a cupboard or closet.

Somehow by putting one little section of my life in order, I begin to feel calm.

The rest of the world can go crazy, but I can gaze at my minute organized space and feel at peace with the world.

The space in question.


Any fabric that is larger than a half yard belongs in this place. It is an old grocery store counter, and has big cast iron feet, it weighs a ton, and looks almost like a piece of furniture from the front. The paint is peeling and the entire thing could use a good scrubbing. But not today.

I cover it with a quilt and place my large ironing board on top. It makes a great work space.


Take another look.


And even more mess.


Oh my, it is no wonder I can’t find anything in there.

But I saw this blog on organizing and decided to give it a try.

And so I began.


I was all set to start but I didn’t have the right size ruler. Since I live out in the boonies I couldn’t just jump in the car and run to the store, so I made my own with thick cardboard. It wasn’t long enough so I had to tape two sections together and overlap them. I also taped the sides and edges so that it would slide smoothly out of my fabric roll.


I would place the fabric down and start the process of wrapping it around my 6 1/2″ wide cardboard. I thought that I would have to iron some pieces of fabric, but they all smoothed out easily enough.


See how nice that looks.

And look, I’m making some progress.


January 30th, 2009

You may have your own way of squaring up but this is how I like to do it.

This quilt has no borders.

You will need;
1. A table or other flat surface with a large cutting mat placed on it. You will move the cutting mat to be directly under the place you will be cutting.
I used my pool table. I check to see that my mat is protecting the area that I will be cutting because I don’t need any more slices on the pool table.

2. A big square ruler. Mine measures 16″ square.

3. A large sharp rotary cutter.

The blocks on this quilt measure 6 1/2″ unfinished size. Because one seam is sewn it should measure 6 1/4″.
You can place tape on the lines at 6 1/4″ on your ruler to help you remember where to line it up.

Arrange one corner of the quilt so that you have access to both sides as shown. Make sure that the quilt is not pulling or hanging in such a way so that it distorts the edges of the quilt.

Line up my big square ruler. Lift the edges of the quilt to make sure that the cutting mat is in the correct position to protect your table.
I use my left arm to hold the ruler in place and I lean on it to hold it in place. Make any adjustments to get the blocks lined up with the marks on the ruler.


Cut one side of the square (now you can see the cutting mat)

and then cut the other side. You now have a corner cut.

Repeat for all four corners.

Next we cut the sides. I could use my longer ruler to cut the sides but because the ruler does not measure at least 6 1/4″ I do NOT want to do this. The idea is not to just cut next to the edge of the quilt but to make sure my edge is consistent with my last block.
I do this to help keep it square in case any stretching or waving occurred during the quilting process.

Do not use this ruler to cut.

Use the same large ruler and keep the 6 1/4″ consistent.

You can see in this photo that a tiny part of the green block sticks past. I will go ahead and cut this part off because I have lined up the other side of the block at 6 1/4″. Over all this will make the quilt be square. If I tried to cut off at the edge of the quilt where the batting starts I could end up with a wavy binding.


If I am trimming a quilt that has borders I would line up my ruler with the edge of the border. In this case I have a small border and a large border. I can choose to use either one to line up my ruler.

September 16th, 2008

July 21st, 2008

I frequently get asked about the brown paper on the backside of the templates. Why is it there? Should I leave it on? Should I peel it off? If so, how do I get it off?

A template starts out as a large sheet of acrylic which has brown paper on both sides of it. The acrylic sheet has to go through a machine which cuts out the shape of each template. The brown paper is needed as part of the manufacturing process.

After the shapes are cut, one side of the paper is peeled off (by hand) and then the logo or other markings can be applied.

The paper is left on the other side of the template because

1. It is cheaper to not have both sides peeled off.

2. I like having the paper on one side of my templates because it keeps them from sliding too much on my fabric.

You can decide to leave the paper on your templates or remove it. Removing it has its advantages in that it allows you to see through the template to the fabric if you want to fussy cut or you just like being able to see through it.

Removing the paper is as simple as just peeling it off. Don’t try using any liquids to remove the paper. The paper peels off, usually in one easy piece and does not leave a residue.

If you want to remove the paper, here is how.


Backside of template showing the paper.


Use your fingernail to pick at a corner of the template to get an edge started. Your fingernails don’t have to be very long to do this.


See the tiny edge that I got started. This took just seconds to get that little lip up.


Once that little edge is started I can begin to pull it back.


Keep pulling the paper back. You can see that once you get started it pulls very easily. This is not like those sticky tags that you find to things that leaves a residue.


Keep peeling back, don’t go too quickly.


Here is my template with the paper peeled completely off. See that was easy.

July 1st, 2008

Here are a few still shows of the sewing process. The first is how your pieces should look when you start sewing. Your needle is in the down position and positioned to sew at 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric.


When I say “lift” this is the position of the top fabric. Not too low or too high. Be sure you are lifting and not stretching.


You will be lifting as you sew all the way around the block. Your right hand is used to guide the bottom fabric. Be careful not to stretch it or it will turn out longer than the top fabric. When you get to the end of the block the tweezers are used as shown to help you guide the last bit of the top piece as you sew to the end. The tweezers help so that you don’t sew over your fingers.