Monday, 10 September 2012

Haberdashery


Those squares I'd shown all neatly cut a few posts ago? When I finally began arranging them I decided they were awful: too big and clumsy to go with the hand-pieced medallion of tiny shapes at the centre of the quilt. So I reduced every single one of them to be a 1½" square. The fabric wastage of doing so was hideous, but it felt like more of a waste to ruin a quilt with my badly thought out design. The above photo shows some of the new miniature squares sewn in place and I'm really happy with the scale of them - they feel jewel-like where my bigger squares felt clumsy. They're a random mix of whole squares, half-square triangles, plain Oakshott fabrics and Liberty Tana lawn prints, but given some order by being arranged by colour and divided by plain white squares. All of the squares are set on point.



I took the photo above this morning and it shows all my things set up ready for a day of sewing. When I posted the photo on Instagram, Deb asked what the little plastic templates are that seem to feature in a lot of my photos. I'd never thought to write about them as I've had them for several years and they're just a part of my everyday sewing paraphernalia, but actually they really do deserve a mention as I use them all the time and they're really very wonderful.


They're made by Clover, whose products I find to be consistently innovative, well-made and inexpensive. You can use these templates just like you would with a perspex template, although you perhaps need to show them a little more care as if you're rotary cutting in the manner of wild beast, as one is occasionally prone to do, you can cut off slithers of the plastic. However, I like that the border is exactly 1/4" and not transparent, so you can see exactly what the piece you've centred beneath it will look like with the seam allowance obscured from view - they're great for fussy cutting. I use a 1/4" foot on my machine when I sew, so I never need to mark on seam allowances, but these templates are fantastic for those who do.


Each pack features several shapes - this one contains squares, diamonds, triangles and an octagon, but you can also get more hexagon-centric sets. I bought mine locally, but I was fairly sure that The Eclectic Maker might sell them too (as they offer a good selection of Clover products) and they did.

In an impressive display of multi-tasking, as I've written this post I've also bought the hexagon set and while I was there I replaced my favourite ever seam ripper (also by Clover) which I broke last year. It's got a wonderfully ergonomic-feeling handle and feels sturdy and good quality (it only broke because I moved my chair onto it and then sat on it...it was a Goldilocks moment, but without the blond hair...or the stealing...I may have internally wept in a fashion akin to Baby Bear when I witnessed the broken quick-unpick though). I also popped a 28mm Clover rotary cutter into my basket as I'm finding that I'm working with increasingly small pieces and running a 45mm cutter over the fabric can feel like I'm ploughing through the fabric with a combine harvester when a lawn-mower would have sufficed*. I usually use an Omnigrid cutter, so I'm excited to see what the Clover version is like: I'll report back. Lawks, what an unexpected haberdashery spree.

And now a question for you, quilters. When you're marking out a quilt design of intricate twists and turns and a Hera marker won't do the job, what do you use for marking your quilt? This quilt will have a lot of white areas, so I'm looking for something that won't permanently mark the fabric, but will keep the lines I've traced reliably in place until I'm ready for them to go. Any suggestions?

Florence x

* I may be mixing agricultural terms horribly there, but I never claimed to be a farm girl, so I'm fine with that. Can one plough with a combine harvester? I'm thinking possibly not.

16 comments:

  1. I recently broke the seam ripper I'd had since I was 18. I
    I really upset - like losing an old friend!

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  2. I use Frixion pens to mark where I'm going to sew, and they just iron off aftwares (if you stick it in the freezer it will come back, so try not to freeze your quilts ;o) )

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  3. I like the Clover blue or pink marking pens. They have a "magic eraser" on the opposite end to the marking pen and also disappear easily with a spritz of water. The Sewline propelling chalk pencil is also good and you can purchase different coloured refill leads, including pink, of course!
    Hen x

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  4. Oh, I really like the quilt with the small squares! And I agree, Clover has some great stuff that I use all the time too. I've never seen these little templates though. Probably because I'm not as crazy as you with my quilting!!!

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  5. Being a farm girl, I am in a position to help you out with your agricultural confusion! One cannot plough with a combine harvester, but nor is a combine harvester just a big lawn mower (these are, in fact, just called mowers). The combine cuts the arable crops and at the same time threshes the grain out, leaving the straw on the ground ready for baling.

    Your recent posts about quilting have fired up my imagination once again, leaving me hankering to do some! Perhaps this autumn I'll finally get around to it.

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  6. I always use The Fine Line air soluble pen. You can only mark out what you'll be sewing right then -- they disappear within two hours or so -- but I have never, ever had it fail to disappear. If you are in a huge hurry for it to disappear, it will also remove with water. Here it is under the Dritz name, but I have also purchased it not as a Dritz product (perhaps the company was recently bought?).

    http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-Fine-Erasable-Marking-Pen-Purple/dp/B000YZ8QZ2

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  7. That's my favourite seam ripper too - the handle is just so nice to hold compared to the stingy little ones most of them have. I'd definitely cry if I broke it!

    I use the water-soluble markers on my quilts and really like them. I've used a few different brands, but unfortunately my favourite so far doesn't have a brand on it so I can't tell you what it is (nor will I be able to find it again!). Clover's are fine, but can be a bit hard to get out on the first go. I find spraying with a fine mist of water afterwards, and then leaving the item to air dry (rather than ironing it) works best. The marks stay in for ages and you can iron over them, although as they say, just test that first on your fabric!

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  8. Hello Florence.

    Where do you recommend buying the Liberty fabric such as the soft pastels above? Is there an online source? I am writing from the U.S.

    Thank you

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  9. Wow, this looks so beautiful! I think it's wise to make sure that you'll love the finished quilt, even if it's not the most efficient use of fabric.

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  10. I have use a Roxanne pencil in white, nit sure if they come in other colours, worked well and washed out. I have heard that frixion pens are not compatable with all fabics and can remove dye. I have also used chalk markers, they rub off but also make you need to clean your machine more.

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  11. I bought a Clover seam ripper recently (not the same one as yours) and it's SO SHARP! The old one was my most-cursed tool, poor thing, because it was so blunt.

    Make the cut-off strips into a string quilt! I've seen some done with ridiculously small scraps.

    Thanks to Leila for clearing up the agricultural machinery question - I had a feeling a combine wasn't just a giant lawn-mower.

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  12. I'm more of a slapdash quilter so rarely use a pen to mark my pieces, but I've occasionally used Pilot Frixion pens, they make a lovely fine mark and disappear completely when ironed!

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  13. I'm admiring both your squares and your patience. As a novice quilter the thought of lining up all those corners makes me feel slightly odd!

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  14. Love this quilt so much Florence! I haven't seen the templates before, they look very handy. Off to investigate...

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  15. Like hen I use fabric marking pens which have an eraser that you can use to erase the pattern you made, the ink is also washable that's why it is perfect.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x