February 6, 2017

Rotary Cutting Tools for Jen Kingwell's Long Time Gone Sew along

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you already know we've partnered with Gnome Angel on a new sew-along to make Jen Kingwell's scrappy Long Time Gone quilt -- all the pieces can be cut with From Marti Michell tools! If you're just finding out about the Sew Along, for 16 weeks, starting March 15, we'll be posting about cutting and sewing the blocks or sections, then we'll put it all together in June and July. Sew Along details can be found by clicking here.

I love finding new ways you can use your From Marti Michell tools so you can get more bang for your buck! (And not coincidentally, that's the name of my newest book!)  Our tools can be used for millions of quilt designs, not just Farmer's Wife blocks or Jen Kingwell's quilt. Ok, not millions of projects, hundreds would be more accurate! Many hundreds! If you were in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along with us, you probably have most of the tools you'll need for this quilt.

And like the Farmer's Wife quilt along, you must have your own copy of Jen Kingwell's book to make the quilt. The tutorials will guide you as we follow Jen Kingwell's book from block to block. For quilters in North America, the Long Time Gone book can be ordered on our website for $28 plus $5.95 S/H (our S/H charge is a flat rate for any size order) and may be available from local quilt stores. If you live in Australia, Jen's shop is Amitie Textiles in Melbourne.

Tools Used in the First 6 Weeks

The most frequently used templates are the same templates you used the most if you followed our conversion charts for the Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt. We'll be using these in the first six weeks (not shown to scale):

Set A #8251
Set B #8252
Set D #8254 (We only use piece D-28 and D-29 in Jacob's Ladder.)
Set N #8956

The tool you will be most grateful for is the Pineapple Ruler Set #8262 Pineapple Ruler, especially if you are not fond of paper piecing. This set is for 4-, 5- and 6-inch Pineapples made with lots of 1/2-inch finished width strips -- it's perfect for the 16 5-inch Pineapple blocks in this quilt. We'll begin making them early so you won't have to fuss with finding and cutting loads of strips later on. You can see a larger image with more details about the template set by clicking on the image below.

Set Q is only used to cut the Bow Tie blocks but it is a great basic set to have on hand. Anything you can make with Sets A or B you can make with Set Q, it will just be smaller.

#8972 My Favorite 3 x 18 inch Ruler - If not this ruler, make sure that you have a “standard” ruler that is shorter than 24 inches and longer than 6-1/2 inches, as a ruler in that size range is much more convenient and accurate when working with smaller pieces of fabric.

A Small Cutting Mat, 6 x 9-ish, or small rotating mat - In addition to a big mat, a small one makes nipping off the dog ears with the engineered corners on our templates easier and more accurate. (Eliminating the dog ears at this stage reduces bulk, makes sewing more accurate – triangles and squares automatically fit together – and units press better.)

Good rotary cutter - Which size is your personal choice. Some people like to shift to the small 28 mm size to cut smaller pieces. 

Go-to Tools for the Second 6 Weeks

#8037 Log Cabin Ruler for cutting 3/4″ and 1-1/2" finished strips for the Chevron Log Cabins.

#8227 Log Cabin Ruler
for cutting 1- and 1/2-inch finished strips for the Courthouse Steps blocks (we'll be cutting 1/2" finished strips to exact length). 

Special Offer!

If you love Log Cabins and don’t have any of our Log Cabin rulers yet, consider our Log Cabin Special #8098-1 to save $11. Each ruler cuts 2 strips widths with a 1:2 ratio so you can make Curved Log Cabin blocks with them, too. Click here for the special offer in our store.

#8289 Multi-Size Peaky and Spike Triangle Set. If you own Set C or Set D or the Sashing Star Ruler you can use them to cut the triangles called “60° triangles.” We call them Peaky and Spike triangles; they are actually 53½°. I’ll blog about how to adapt Set C or D to these blocks when we get closer to them.

Other Favorite Tools I'm Also Using

#8297 Fussy Cutter.  Great for fussy cutting small pieces and for squaring up 6-inch blocks.

#8973 My Favorite 6-1/2 inch Squaring Up Ruler - There are many other times you will use this ruler to square up sections as you go. It’s perfect for cutting 6-1/2 inch and smaller squares, too.

#8064 Corner Trimmer - A corner trimmer isn’t necessary if you are cutting with the templates, as they all have engineered corners. But if you want to try ruler-cutting the squares and half-square triangles, the corner trimmer allows you to trim away dog ears and match the engineered corners for sewing.

#8217 Deluxe Corner Trimmer - Especially nice if you are planning on doing any hand-piecing, as this tool makes it easy to mark dots for “dot-to-dot” sewing and draw a 1/4 inch stitching line on rotary cut pieces.

Our Product Line is Like a Family

And family parties are always more interesting when the aunts and uncles and cousins add to the fun! We've teamed up templates and companion books to help make Perfect Patchwork Templates your go-to tools for all the quilts you make! 

More Bang for the Buck book #8352 - Once you use From Marti Michell templates you will want to use them on more projects and get more bang for the bucks you’ve spent!  This book is full of info to help determine which templates are perfect for other quilt designs. And when you want to know how many pieces of a particular template size you can get from one strip of fabric, this book can tell you -- for any of our template sets that include a square or right triangle. We included a section on how to figure yardage for a quilt, too.

Encyclopedia of Patchwork Blocks
, Volumes 1 and 2 -
When you have completed your Long Time Gone quilt, these books are a great source of inspiration for new quilts using the same templates you used in Long Time Gone.

Volume 1 #8342 Set A or B
Volume 2 #8343 Sets A and C or B and D

Why Most of the Template Sets Have Letter Names

If you are new to From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates, you may not realize that our template sets multi-task. Each set includes 7 to 11 size-specific acrylic shapes that fit together many different ways to make square (or hexagonal) blocks. Because they were planned around the concept of popular finished block sizes, designs and a grid system, the template sets are very versatile. The same acrylic template might be used as the smallest piece in one block and the largest in another.

So, if we named template sets with block names like 12-inch Evening Star, 12-inch Clay’s Choice, 12-inch Rambler, etc. we would have made dozens of sets and they would all have many of the same pieces! Hence, they are named in alphabetical order in the order in which they were introduced, starting in 1995 with Sets A, B, C, D, and E. We quickly realized that we would run out of letters, so we started naming new templates sets for specific designs they are used to cut, such as Drunkard’s Path, Winding Ways and Dresden Plate. The most recent alphabet template set we named was Set T in 2011 – 16 years after Set A! So far, so good!

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