This week on QUILTsocial, I’m making a collection of new cushions for my back deck furniture. I love my back deck and right now, as I type, I’m sitting there with my laptop and a cold drink. During the summer months I can’t stand being inside the house and as long as I can find some shade, I do most of my computer work outside. My dad calls it my office and I have to say, I feel pretty lucky to be able to work this way.
I have a great assortment of products to use to make my cushions. Although the cushions won’t be made from outdoor fabric, they’ll look great, and I’ll just bring them inside each night.
How to stop your rulers from slipping
We all know one of the secrets to accurate rotary cutting is to hold your ruler securely, so it doesn’t slip, but sometimes this is easier said than done! New and seasoned quilters all struggle with this problem. So, I decided to try out a couple products that are supposed to help keep your ruler from slipping.
Product 1 – Clear Grip
The first product is Clear Grip from UNIQUE. Clear Grip comes packaged in a roll that is large enough to use on many rulers, and you can cut it to whatever size or shape you need.
I can’t believe it, but I bought my 6″ x 24″ Omnigrid Ruler over 20 years ago and it’s been my go-to ruler ever since! I also have a 12½” x 12½” square and a 15″ x 15″ square, but the one I use the most is the long skinny one. When you’re purchasing notions for quilting, always get the best quality you can afford, because a good quality tool will last forever.
The Clear Grip from UNIQUE comes in a 12½” x 1 yd roll, so you trim it to the size you need. Using my rotary cutter and Omnigrid ruler, I cut a piece shorter and narrower than my ruler (so I cut it 5¾” x 23¾”).
Peel the paper backing off the cut piece and adhere it to the back of the ruler. The product itself isn’t sticky, so it won’t leave a residue on your fingers or the ruler.
I decided to peel only one end of the Clear Grip from the paper and to stick it the ruler before peeling off any more, just to make sure it was lined up on the ruler correctly. This worked quite well. Basically, I peeled gradually and kept sticking the Clear Grip down as I peeled. As you stick it down, make sure it is centered on the ruler. There should be about space all the way around the Clear Grip. The great thing is that it’s an electrostatic sheet, so you can easily peel it up and reposition, if necessary, without leaving any residue.
Once the sheet is in position, remove any air bubbles that might have formed under it by rubbing it gently. You can barely see the sheet from the front of the ruler, and it doesn’t affect the ability to see the fabric behind it.
With Clear Grip applied to the back of my ruler, rotary cutting is so much easier! I don’t have to press down so hard with my left hand while cutting. I hadn’t realized how much the ruler slides around on the top of the fabric in between cuts, until it wouldn’t slide anymore! It’ll take some getting used to, but I think I’ll really like having Clear Grip on my ruler! I think this would be a great product for someone who is new to quilting or someone who doesn’t have a lot of strength in their hands.
If you’d like to make your own set of pillows here’s what you’ll need:
- 1⅔ yards [1.5m] grey fabric
- Fat quarter of four different floral fabrics
- ¾ yard [0.6m] fabric for back of each pillow
- Three Fairfield Crafter’s Choice Pillow Forms – 51 x 51cm [20″ x 20″]
- thread to match your fabrics
The design on the first pillow will be a star made up of half-square triangle units (HSTs for short). There are many different ways to make HSTs, but today I’ll try out the Omnigrid Triangle Ruler for Half Square Triangles. This ruler can be used to make any sized HST up to 8″ square, and is specially designed to be used by both right and left handed quilters!
To make my first pillow, I cut one 3½” strip x WOF (width of fabric) strip from both the floral fabric and grey fabric from Fabric Creations Fabric Palette ½ yard Pre-Cut Fabric.
Product 2 – Unique Quilting Ruler / Template Grips
Before trying out this new Omnigrid Half-Square Triangle Ruler, I’ set it up with some UNIQUE quilting Quilting Ruler/Template Grips to help prevent it from slipping during use. These clear adhesive re-positionable grips can be used on rulers, quilting templates, cutting mats – anything you don’t want to slip around. The circular grips are pressure sensitive and will grip tight when pressure is applied. The thin profile keeps the ruler close to the fabric and doesn’t interfere with the accuracy of the cut. Back in my early quilting days I purchased something like this, but they were quite thick. I put them on the back of some templates and hated them because if I didn’t hold my rotary cutter perfectly straight up and down, the blade would get under the edge of the template and my cuts were never accurate.
There are 15 grips in the package, so I removed four of them and placed them on the back of the Omnigrid Half-Square Triangle Ruler. I put one on each corner and one mid-way down the long side of the triangle. The grips appeared cloudy when removed from the package but once they were applied with some pressure, they became clear and easy to see through.
To use the Omnigrid Half-Square Triangle Ruler, cut a strip of fabric ½” wider than the desired finished size of your HST. I wanted to have 3″ HST units, so I cut my strips of fabric 3½” wide. Trim off the selvage end of the strip and place the ruler on the strip so the dotted line at the top of the ruler is along the top edge of the strip, and the line with the desired size of your HST is along the bottom edge of the strip.
To make the triangle shape, rotary cut along the long side of the ruler. Rotate the ruler, line up the long side of the ruler with the cut you just made, and rotary cut the 90° angle.
For my HST star, I needed to cut a total of 12 triangles from the floral print and 12 triangles from the grey tone-on-tone fabric. I also needed four 3½” squares of the grey fabric. Since my fabric strip is already 3½” wide, I can cut these from the remainder of the strip after I’ve cut my required triangles. This would be handy if I was making a more complex block comprised of many HST units and squares.
Tomorrow we’ll start sewing these triangles together and finish assembling the front of the cushion cover.
If you’re new to quilting, or have had problems with rotary cutting because of your ruler slipping, I’d highly recommend both Clear Grip from UNIQUE and UNIQUE quilting Ruler/Template Grips. Clear Grip is great for large rulers like the 6″ x 24″ Omnigrid Ruler, and large squares that you may be cutting with only a section of the ruler on top of your fabric. The Quilting Ruler/Template Grips are perfect for smaller specialty rulers and I’m definitely going to put them on the back of some of my longarm quilting rulers – they’re always slipping around on me!
See you tomorrow!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series
Go to part 2: Making an easy star block with HSTs