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?
* 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.