I'm feeling quite pleased with myself this week. I made a thing.
Actually, I made two things.
When I started Jen Kingwell's Glitter, I traced out the template shapes in the book (Quilt Lovely. Terrific book!), added seam allowances, and cut templates from gridded quilter's template plastic.
They're useful, but flimsy. I can't use them directly for rotary cutting - I have to either trace around them, then cut using a ruler, or line up the ruler on top of them and try to cut without anything slithering around.
I had wished many times for cutting templates, but thought I'd have to either do without or pay through the nose for someone to custom make me some.
After all, those templates are all laser-cut, right? And I don't have a laser.
I was reading a blog post somewhere (and I foolishly didn't bookmark it and now can't remember where) where the quilter referred to cutting her own templates out of a clear plastic sheet using a utility knife.
Lightbulbs went on in my head. There were trumpets and bells and the smell of fresh-baked cookies.
Cut my own templates??? Seriously???
I started shopping around for plastic, but could only find large sheets - much larger than I could ever use, whether or not this even worked.
Then a smaller lightbulb went on. "Picture frames," I muttered to myself. "Cheap picture frames."
And I found this one
for a grand total of about a buck and a half.
I cut off a hunk with my handy utility knife, traced around my flimsy templates, and used my quilting ruler to cut straight lines.
Score, snap, and woohoo! I made templates! My very own custom templates!
I drilled holes with the point of the knife blade so I can mark the seam allowance intersections.
Then I labelled them, and colored along the edges of each template, so they wouldn't become invisible when I set them down on my cutting table. (Ask me how I know that's a good idea...)
You probably guessed that I had to test them right out.
I've discovered that the background pieces of the block can be cut almost perfectly out of rectangles measuring 3.5"x4.25". By cutting those rectangles in pairs, either wrong sides facing or right sides facing, I can cut the reversed pieces at the same time as the regular ones.
The easiest way I've found is to first place the template in the corner, matching those right angles, then line up a ruler along this edge:
Cut along the line
and then stack the pieces, matching that angled edge. There's a tiny bit of extra along the bottom, because the 3.5" measurement is just a wee bit more than necessary.
Drop the template on top of the stack, and slice away all the extra bits.
And you get this!
And since those pieces were so nicely laid out, I had to do this.
And before I knew it, I had this.
I've found that all the pieces for these blocks can be cut from 3.5" strips and charm squares. The background corners I just showed are 3.5x4.25 rectangles, and the four squares are just a 3.5" square cut in quarters.
The main fabric in each block fits beautifully into a charm square.
And now I've got a perfect use for those charm squares I end up with. (I don't know how it happens. Stacks of them just turn up out of nowhere. I'm starting to suspect the monkeys...)
Since my Glitter is a scrappy quilt, I'm linking to Scraptastic Tuesday. Come see all the scrappy fun!