(not) cutting corners

Hope no one’s bored with the scraps heap yet. I find it endlessly fascinating. As I sort through tiny pieces, anything larger than about an inch and a half becomes a square or half-square triangle. Unusually for me, these will not be pieced over paper. I made a couple of templates with a leftover scrap of template plastic (from Creative Grids):

I don’t normally like triangles much – too many sharp points. I find them a bit aggressive-looking, a bit angry. But so many scraps were already triangular, corners cut from other adventures. It seemed a shame not to use them. And if you can disguise them in a square I find they look a little less pointy.

You can see that I like to punch a tiny hole in the corners of my templates to represent markings for the seam allowance. This way I can cut and mark in one action.

You can see the white chalk dots on the black square, making it easy to line up the next square so that the dots (seam allowances) match up. This is not my idea. I think I may have read it originally in Jinny Beyer’s Quiltmaking by Hand.  Serena has excellent posts on making and using templates here and here and here.

I have one of those clear square rod things for marking quarter-inch seams but I find it slips about a lot and you can’t always see through it clearly enough.

When I have a few shapes cut, I begin piecing them together. I call this ‘patchwork by stealth’.

It’s very easy to collect quite a few pieced blocks this way without really trying and without really thinking about it. I’m guessing these might become borders one day, though these shapes are versatile enough to be arranged in virtually any combination.

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13 Responses to (not) cutting corners

  1. claire says:

    Your scraps are never boring… thanks for sharing this process.

  2. Anneliese says:

    Never do I get bored when talk is of fabrics, I am following with much interest!

  3. Yvonne says:

    I feel exactly the same way about triangles, too sharp and aggressive, so interesting to see you say this. I think you are right about ‘disgiusing’ them in a square though. The scraps aren’t boring at all – very interesting to see the process.

  4. Rachel says:

    Yes, triangles can seem a bit toothy, can’t they – good to find they can be disguised as well!

  5. serenapotter says:

    I’ve actually never read or seen her book so I can’t state whether the dots are there or not. I do notice handpiecers doing this, the from marti templates have dots in the corners of harder pieces, and the method where you print onto your fabric has little dots or marks in the corners too I think.

    It’s all about making it work for you. Like cooking, we all start with a good basic recipe but improve upon it to our taste.

    If you think the rod slips I know the ruler version of it does less so. I am still amazed at the number of names 1/4 seam marker has…I found two other versions out this weekend, sadly my camera was dead.

    • Karen Turner says:

      It’s a good book, I read it from cover to cover.
      I tried a bit of narrow masking tape on the base of the seam marker and it slips less. I also sometimes use the edge of a quilter’s cutting ruler to mark quarter inch seams.
      Like cooking, yes – I like the analogy.

  6. helensalo says:

    Never boring! I find it very inspirational and motivating on dealing with this heap (s) I have. 🙂 You are always inspiring to me.

  7. It occurred to me it’s a bit like respecting an animal you’ve reared for eating by using up every part – using up every scrap of cloth that has memories, associations or someone has painstakingly and lovingly dyed. Respecting the cloth.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I really like that idea, Alex. Yes, I think that’s what I do. I hadn’t thought about it like that in so many words. Thank you!

  8. Janice says:

    Just catching up on your ‘scraps’, Karen. Thanks for sharing that chalk / holes idea. I think you must be feeling very virtuous after all this sorting, categorising and using up. That’s how it always affects me, anyway. Your 8 inch blocks are looking great. Is this for a large bed quilt or something smaller?

  9. karen says:

    patchwork by stealth…I like it…sounds like a more humane form of water boarding!!

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