I'm telling you, freezer paper is the unsung hero of sewing notions! I have always bought it at major grocery stores on a roll in the food wrap section, but now it's available in pre-cut sheets for feeding through your printer. Very handy for foundation piecing, but for our Proverbial quilts, we'll stick with tracing.
1. First things first. Write out your quote/lyrics/poem/saying(s) and do a tally of each letter of the alphabet you'll need. That way, you save time by only tracing the templates for letters you need. I'm making a baby girl quilt with a lyric from Sarah Mclachlan's song Ice Cream, a lullaby I sung to my children. All of my words will be pink, except for "chocolate" which will be brown, that's why you see little letters p & b beside each tally.
2. Using a window or light table is really confusing because the pattern comes double-sided. I find the pattern is dark enough to see through the freezer paper just on a table. Cut your freezer paper into a manageable size. Lay it over the letter. Trace each element of the letter, leaving about a 1/2" between elements (this is so you can cut with a rotary cutter and not worry about 'overcutting' into the adjacent template piece). Label each template piece as shown on the pattern, but add a code that will remind you which pieces are for background fabric.
3. Cut out each element of the letter pattern. I use a mini-rotary cutter and a 1" x 6" ruler. If you've got some arthritis, or just find it tricky, you may want to use a larger ruler for more control.
4. Lay out the templates and choose your fabrics
5. With a hot, dry iron, press the freezer paper onto the right side of the chosen fabric.
6. Now, using the Add a Quarter ruler, align the 1/4" ledge with the edge of the paper template and cut your fabric. The reason we don't just add a 1/4" to the paper template from the beginning is because you run the risk of shaving off a little bit of template every time you cut right on the edge of the paper.
7. Lay out your fabric pieces as shown in the pattern.
8.Remove the paper and piece using a scant 1/4" seam allowance, following the number order given on each template. Sew piece 1 to piece 2, then add piece 3...etc. Press after each addition. Refer to your Proverbial Quilt pattern for instructions on sewing angled pieces - there is a great diagram there.
9. You have a letter!! Best news ever: your freezer paper templates are reusable about 10 more times. Keep them all in an envelope because you never know when you'll want to make another Proverbial quilt.
Everyone works in their own way. Some are methodical and will plan ahead which fabric they'll use for every letter and every word. I often work in a very methodical, controlled way, so when I made Blackbird I wanted to try a very free approach. I kept the left side of my brain happy by working my way through the alphabet and making every letter A, then every letter B, then every letter C required by my tally. However, the right side got a workout by pulling fabric and piecing each letter in a completely random way without any regard for what might end up next to it in the final layout. In this way, I kept the project truly scrappy and unplanned while satisfying my goals for enjoying the process. Once all the letters were made, I used a design wall to layout the words. More on layout in the next post...
Now that B and I are sleeping under Blackbird Fly, I can honestly say that the contentment and lack of pressure I felt while making it has absolutely translated into how truly happy I am with the finished quilt. That's why I wanted this quiltalong to remain unstructured and casual, so that all of you can enjoy the process of creating your Proverbial quilts, too! Please keep posting your progress in the flickr group as this is where I'll be getting names for entry into sporadic prize drawings. Everyone who is quilting along has an equal chance of winning!