Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Welcome to another Tools Tuesday!

First up, a few housekeeping items relating to prior Tools Tuesday posts.

Regarding Darlene Zimmerman's Petal Shapes ruler; several folks left messages on that post, I was happy to read that some folks were as dumbfounded by that ruler as I was.  What was I doing wrong?  More than one person suggested I contact Darlene for a clarification on the proper use of that ruler, so I did.  Several folks also mentioned that Darlene is a wonderful instructor and a very nice person, based on the note that she sent in response to my inquiry, I would agree.  If I ever get the chance to take one of her classes I will.  

So the long and the short of it, the Petal Shapes ruler can make a great large flower but doesn't have enough of a curve to make smaller flowers, no matter how you use that curve.  I've updated that post with all the details if you're interested.   (click here to read original post with update)

Next up, Flying Geese Units - I was really kidding about the whole who makes Flying Geese units the old fashioned way.  Chocolate Chip Addict left a comment saying she was taught the traditional way in her beginning class, her teacher wanted everyone to learn the traditional way before they ventured off trying new ways.  I think that's a good idea.  If I had a better base of knowledge my first attempt with Hubble/Hubbel would not have been so horrible!  And as that project proved, not all geese are the exact size the special rulers produce, then what!  I have also heard that Jo Morton insists that quilters use the traditional method in her classes, so be warned!  

Some folks mentioned they have Monique's Fit to be Geese rulers but don't understand how to use them, here are 3 tutorials that I hope will be of help to you:
My tutorial - click here
Carrie's tutorial - click here
Monique's Video tutorial - click here

Now, for today's Tool!

My Northern Lights blocks use Marti Michell templates for cutting the pieces.  These templates make for such easy piecing, once you get everything cut out, the blocks practically assemble themselves!

Here are a few tips that I think may be of help to you if you ever use any of these templates.

So here's what a template looks like, they come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, but all have one thing in common, those edges on each corner.  I like to put a little two sided tape on my templates to keep them from scooting around the fabric.

Once they start scooting again I take the old tape off and add new.  I do remove the tape when I'm done with each template so I don't have a sticky mess in my storage bags.  The tape peels off very easily.

To make cutting each piece a little easier, I first cut strips that match the width of the template.

In this case, this template is 2 1/2" wide, so that's the width I cut my strip.

A perfect fit!

Then I just need to cut the diagonal sides and I'm good.

The most important part of the templates is accurately cutting those edges, don't waste your time cutting these pieces then skimp or cheat on the edges, cut them, perfectly!  I use a small rotary cutter with a sharp blade for my corners.  

I think it's worth the extra few seconds it takes to put down the bigger rotary cutter and pick up the smaller one.

This is not the first project that I've made that uses these templates, the blocks in Lifetime Quilts 29 & 30 used Marti's templates.  So far I've only used the templates in patterns designed by others, but if I took the time I could create something of my own, the templates are very versatile. 

I've often thought these templates would be a great thing for a guild to buy then share.  You don't need them for every project but when you do need them, it would be nice to "check them out" then return them when you were done with them. I've also thought the same thing about those Go Cutters.  Do you belong to a guild that does that sort of thing?

One of my favorite things about Tools Tuesday are the comments folks leave with their experiences and impressions on the tools I review, thanks so much for adding some great thoughts to these posts!


  1. I had never used "templates" like these until I started my Farmer's Wife quilt. I found that I loved using the Marti Michell templates. They do line up insanely well. I leave the little white paper on them and I find they don't move around at all. I've been buying them a few at a time but I think I have the main ones (A,B,C,D). I'm curious to know how you can figure out that you have a template to match the pieces in a specific block? Do you keep track of the pieces each one makes? Great followup on the previous posts.

  2. I have been using the Martie Michell templates to make my Farmers Wife quilt and really love them. I have put little sandpaper dots in each corner to keep them from slipping. Seems to work for me. Great Post.

  3. I love Marti Michell's templates too. Another tip that I learned when cutting templates is to use a rotary cutting board. That way you can turn the cutting board and not your fabric. It has made using templates way less annoying :)

  4. There are times when I LOVE those templates! I never thought to use double-sided tape with them, though. Thanks so much for sharing that simple solution. :D

  5. I have always wondered about those templates and now I know. I would consider buying them going forward if they had a slip resistant back like a lot of rulers on the market today. Re the Petal Shaper - I think Darlene should have made it clearer on the ruler re it's limited use for cutting small petals. I'm sorry, she may be a great person, but I think the way the ruler is currently packaged is misguilding and I'm skeptical of buying any more of her products without having feedback beforehand.

  6. I have never used those templates, so it was great to hear more about them. A great idea to have a guild buy them and loan them out!

  7. I have some of the Marti Michell templates, and thank you so much for the double sided Scotch tape idea! I also like your idea about a "lending library" for templates, but I have a feeling some quilt guild members might not responsibly borrow tools and return them in good condition, or they would get lost. We already have a problem with books that get check out and don't get returned or get lost. It might work better to loan out tools like templates and such within a Mini Group or Bee.

  8. Great tutorial! I have never use one of those templates, but you make it look like my life would be easier with it:-D I love the idea of double-sided tape--that a trick I will use for sure. (I love Tool Tuesday!) XOXO

  9. What a great tip, thank you! I recently bought a tumbler template but haven't used it yet. I didn't think to cut strips first, I love that tip. You have convinced me of the importance of buying a little rotary cutter. I might just do that today :)

  10. My hint for using acrylic templates is to cut a small piece of clear medical tape to apply that will prevent movement. The tape has a texture that I find really useful and often use it on any rulers to prevent them from moving while making a cut.

  11. Pre-trimming the corners is very possible with the ez-angle/companion-angle ruler combination - after cutting with the companion angle, I then use the ez-angle just for trimming the 45 degree corners.

  12. Your comment about tool sharing within a Guild struck an
    ah-ha idea that I will share at our next meeting. Our budget is tight but we're always interested in new ideas.

  13. I love your Official Tool Day. I've actually printed out several of these and put your posts in a bag with the actual ruler - your instructions are usually better than what came with the ruler! Thanks for this


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