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Simplify with plastic?

Simplify with plastic?

Written by: 
cnelson

Templates.  They can make cutting faster, easier and more accurate.  That leads to better, more accurate piecing... which usually makes for better results.

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Do you use templates?  Since I learned to quilt when folks were still using templates cut from cardboard and I was enchanted with this amazing new tool called a rotary cutter... I wasn't a big fan.

Then came Marti Michell's Perfect Patchwork Templates.  I used them and really liked them but for a number of reasons, I didn't use them very often.  (But I still have a huge stash of them... just in case.  Be prepared, right?)

But there's no question, templates make so many things easier to cut and piece.  There are also blocks that are significantly more difficult to make without using templates.

And they're fun.

So here are a couple of the templates and patterns that have found their way into the cupboard in my office since Market.  (And okay, a few might have magically appeared on my cutting table at home... just saying.)

First up is the Double-Wide Dresden Ruler from Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson - the sisters of Me & My Sister Designs.

ct-double-wide-templateThe sisters have designed four patterns so far with more on the way.  The first four are Boxy Rectangle, Beachball, Dragonfly, and Double-Wide Dresden.ct-mms-double-wide

Pretty cute, don't you think?

These Impressions Orange Peel Templates from It's Sew Emma haven't arrived in the warehouse yet but I'm anxiously - impatiently - waiting for them.  I love Orange Peel quilts and playing with testing these new templates will be a perfect opportunity to make something.

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There are four wonderful not-your-Grandmother's-Orange-Peel designs - Round Robin, Grapevine, Goldie ~ picture fishies - and Jewel.  The quilts are all shown in our Bella Solids so they're wonderfully colorful and very contemporary.

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I'll let you know when they arrive.

This template is here now - Olio.  That means "a dish made with many ingredients", making it a good name for a really scrappy quilt made with a stack of charm squares.  A big stack of them... almost 500.

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This quilt was made with Pumpkin Pie by Laundry Basket Quilts, Collections for a Cause ~ Preservation by Howard Marcus, Courtyard by 3 Sisters, Gratitude by Jo Morton, Madame Rouge and Ville Fleurie by French General, Fern Hill by Jan Patek and Little Gatherings II by Primitive Gatherings.

Olio comes with the template included - or you can get just the template.  The piecing is surprisingly easy - it will take longer to pull and cut the fabrics that sew the quilt together!

One of my goals for 2017 is to take A Wild Ride with Jen Kingwell.

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(Oops about that glare on the left side.)

After receiving many requests for acrylic templates to accompany her patterns, Jen has begun producing laser-cut acrylic templates to accompany her wonderful patterns.  Many of the quilts on my "bucket list" are included - Halo, Glitter, Clambake - a pillow - and Steam Punk - this one has been on my list for a long time.

Of course, Jen had to add a couple of new quilts to my list.  Delilah - a Block of the Month that will start in 2017.  These are a few of the blocks.

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I know what you're thinking, "...that's hand-piecing.  Do you think she's noticed that?"

I have.  This one is hand-pieced too - Florence.

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Florence was designed and made by Lucy Carson Kingwell, Jen's lovely, talented daughter.

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I'll let you know if the blocks can be machine-pieced.

A couple of things to mention about using templates - just in case you've not taken the plunge.  While many templates now include a 1/4" seam allowance, not all do.  Always check before you start cutting.

Cutting.  For bigger templates that have just straight edges, I use my regular 45mm rotary cutter.  (My favorite is the Olfa Quick-Change Cutter.)  But for smaller pieces and/or curves, I prefer the 28mm size - the Olfa 28mm Cutter or the Fiskars 28mm Stick.  A few friends like the 18mm but I find it's a bit too small, especially if I'm cutting multiple layers.  But that's just me.

A spinning rotary mat is also very, very handy and it comes in two sizes - 12" and 17" - and there are several manufacturers - Olfa, Fiskars and Matilda.  I use the 12" Olfa Spinning mat.

And finally, putting something on the back of the template to reduce slipping will save your fabric, your fingers and maybe your good humor.  There are several different products available including sandpaper dots and Invisi Grip.  There are other options but I've found that using something makes a difference for me.

So what do you think?  Do you use templates?

Happy Thursday!

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