Sunday, August 26, 2012

Proverbial Quiltalong (4) - Freezer Paper Method

Here we are with the fourth post for the Proverbial Quiltalong. We're finally going to cut some fabric!  There are a few quilters well on their way, already piecing their letters and words. For those of you still choosing fabric (and your words, for that matter!) don't worry and don't feel rushed. I just figured since some people are itchin' to get stitchin', I'd provide the tutorial for the freezer paper method that I used to cut out and piece my letters.  I first learned this method of piecing from friends who took a Ruth McDowell workshop at my traditional guild about 7 years ago.

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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
4. Lay out the templates and choose your fabrics

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
5. With a hot, dry iron, press the freezer paper onto the right side of the chosen fabric.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
7. Lay out your fabric pieces as shown in the pattern. 

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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.

Proverbial Quilt Along - Freezer Paper templates
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!


Vanesa said...

Great suggestions to use freezer paper and add a quarter ruler! Thanks.

dutchcomfort said...

I hope my pattern arrives this week, so I can start working on the words!

Love your babyquilt idea!

Anne said...

Thanks for this tutorial, your instructions and photos make the process super clear! I'm hoping to start on a few letters in the next couple of days.

adnohr said...

If you have an inkjet copier/printer, you can copy the pattern right onto those pre-cut FP sheets. (I also do this for doll clothes patterns.) It works great!

Dianne said...

I love your tutorials Krista - clear instructions, easy to follow. You rock!

Dianne said...

Okay - I have my proverb, have sorted out how much I have to reduce the letters in order to fit in a wall hanging size and copied them. Now I just have to decide on fabrics....oy!

Leanne said...

You make this method so simple and easy, thank you. I have to pick some words and then get started.

Heather D. said...

Ahhh, so you peel the freezer paper off before sewing the pieces together. I left mine on, and it worked as you don't sew through the paper, but it did seem a little odd to me to have a finished letter, the front of which was covered with paper! All's well that ends well though!

Live a Colorful Life said...

THIS makes sense! Thank you so much!

OneLittleThread said...

Excellent - this will be much easier than the method I tried. I took my pattern off to the copy shop and had them do copies of both sides which will make it easier to trace with a lightbox.