Monday, February 18, 2019

OLFA 40th Anniversary Quilt Along!

Hey Quilters!  This week I'll be sharing a post from OLFA Rotary Cutters.  Can you believe it's been 40 years of having these awesome tools called Rotary Cutters around for those of us who quilt?  This great cutting tool has been around since I started quilting in 1989.  I can't imagine how cutting for a quilt went previous to the rotary cutter except for using templates and sewing on the line.    We are so blessed to have all the tools we have today at our fingertips to make quilts so much easier than the stitchers of the past.

The OLFA 40th Anniversary Quilt has been made of blocks from multiple designers and this week is my block debut.  I chose a very simple pattern...The Grandmother's Flower block to highlight my favorite way of basting for English Paper Piecing (EPP).  I struggled with traditional basting and one day I was preparing some applique using the starch method.  This triggered that after trying so many ways to baste EPP and having no success, I might like using starch to baste the EPP shapes.  Wow!  It was life changing for me!  I loved using the starch to baste the shapes.  You can see my block and instructions by clicking HERE and HERE.   Keep reading to learn how I use the OLFA Rotary Cutters to make my blocks!

Back to my journey of figuring out basting EPP shapes with starch...A problem became very obvious after a shapes were not turning out the same size and the shapes would distort very quickly using all the freezer papers I could find on the market.  I never realized that freezer paper will shrink when the iron is used!  Some papers would shrink up to 1/8" if I used them only a few times.  That is a huge amount to have to ease in on each shape!  The result was a wavy quilt that did not lay flat.  To solve this problem I had to make a fresh paper for each piece in the quilt...lots of work, but I loved the results I got from using starch.

Eventually we have had Premium Freezer Paper made so that it does not shrink and distort with the use of heat and starch.  It holds up so well, it will last about 20 uses!  That really gets you on to making the quilt, rather than making the paper shapes.  The result is quick and precise.  I have also created several other notions to help this process work easier.  The Fingertip Stiletto is flat like your fingertip so it is very easy to hold onto the hot paper shapes when using the iron.  The Starch Brush is a notion that spoils us quilters.  The starch is held in the handle and there is no clean up!  You can see videos on my website showing how I use these tools by clicking HERE.  The first video is in the top right corner of the home page.  They will also be near each product I've designed for this technique.

When preparing many blocks, I love using the OLFA Rotary Cutters and Rulers.  First, I cut a strip as wide as needed for each hexie.  It depends on the size you make, but add at least a half inch to the size of the shape.  Then lay the template onto that strip and cut a square a half inch larger in that direction.  Then, take the rotary ruler and lay it along the paper edge and cut off the points on each end.  The OLFA blades are so sharp it allows me to cut 8 layers at a time to get these hexies cut quickly and accurately!  Give it a'll love them!!

For this small project, make your templates according to the pattern and use your OLFA Cutter to cut the shapes accurately.  Then iron each piece onto the wrong side of the fabric.  Use your OLFA Ruler and Rotary Cutter to trim 1/4" around each shape.  It is a great way to get them cut quickly!

If you are new to my blog, please subscribe using email in the slot to the right.  Thanks for stopping by!  Take a look around my blog as well as my website!  I hope you enjoy making my block for the OLFA Quiltalong!
Take care,