I didn’t want to do it any of the ways I knew about. I had tried rolling the cutting blade along a straight edge being held in place. The apparatus slips too much. Cutting around a shaped form usually resulted in the gradual wearing of corners or inconsistent distances of cutting tool from the edge of the form, and, thus, the incremental change in size of the pieces being cut. So last Sunday morning I presented my desires to my engineer-inventor husband. Within a couple of hours he presented me with something I hadn’t thought of made out of a scrap of something he’d been saving for years. I am now in possession of a custom made quilt block cutting guide.
It is a piece of plexiglass with grooves cut into it with his table saw, not unlike the grooves often used in fabric stores to aide the employees in cutting yardage. He showed me how helpful its transparency is by placing it on my cutting mat and lining it up with the measuring marks already there. Then he watched with quiet anticipation to see if it would work for me.
I proved its usefulness immediately. Within a short time I had cut out 94 sharp-edged blocks, the majority of them from a comfortable sitting position. My pattern weights were an important part of the process. (I was surprised to find that the ones I use are marketed as “vintage” now, are no longer being made, but can be bought on ebay for 4 times what I bought them for! That’s why the link is to a different kind. JoAnn’s had the best price in my search. I know that some people use rocks. I like the felt on the bottom of mine, which keeps them in place better.) I also found it helpful to lightly trace the grooves with my finger nail on the fabric before cutting. I learned that pushing too hard tended to make it harder to feel the groove and made it more likely that I left the path.
(I stood up for the picture so that things could be seen more clearly.)
This is going to be my first rag quilt, based on a simple design in the back of this book by Leisure Arts. The fabrics are left overs from all of the aprons I’ve been making with mid-weight decorator fabric from Home Fabrics, one of my favorite stores. It is only appropriate that I use “apron” fabric for a bedcover for my culinary arts major daughter, don’t you think?
I hope he has some plexiglass leftover for my next quilting project. I’m thinking of the possibilities of other shapes …..