Why I Don’t Sell Acrylic Templates

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses

WHY I DON’T SELL ACRYLIC TEMPLATES
I still get requests for acrylic templates for POTC.  I don’t recommend them or sell them for any design.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS ARTICLE
It took me several days to write this because I needed to reconsider some strong language. In the end, I decided to vent. I have been holding this in for years.

The info in this article is useful whether you use Inklingo or not.

Some quilters will resist the message but it will set other quilters free—to dance along a more creative and satisfying path.

I know this article may upset some people but I needed to write it because anything less would not be true to my passion for making quilting more accessible

New subscriber? I don’t normally vent like this. I hope you will stick around to see what I post next time too.

Print on fabric

Of course, I think Inklingo is the best tool available to quilters today but even if you do not use Inklingo, you never, ever, ever need acrylic templates for any design.

I discussed how to use freezer paper with acrylic rulers in Live Video 08 but I don’t think I was blunt enough:
Knowing what I know, it would be disrespectful to sell acrylic templates.

My mission is making quilting more accessible for everyone and there is an inexpensive, more useful alternative that gives you the freedom to make ANY design. You don’t need acrylic or Inklingo!

How to make templates

You probably already have everything you need, above. (No affiliation.)

Since the introduction of rotary cutters in the early 1980s, designers have promoted acrylic templates for absolutely everything. At first glance, it looked like a big upgrade from using cereal box cardboard and it has proven to be an easy way for designers to make a little money. Unfortunately it does not benefit quilters.

Many of the businesses that sell acrylic templates have talented designers who create wonderful designs and write excellent instructions, so it baffles me that they continue to promote acrylic. They can do better.

In fact, acrylic templates have been promoted so heavily that some quilters automatically assume they need them for every quilt. However, acrylic templates are one of the worst tools available to quilters. A few illustrations make it obvious.

Add seam allowances when you cut

I recommend using freezer paper templates in the FINISHED size. Add the seam allowance when you cut the fabric with a rotary cutter OR scissors.

SO MANY ADVANTAGES!
Working in the FINISHED size makes every step easier, including designing. In fact, it allows you to make templates in any shape, any size. It also makes the cutting and sewing easier.

Anything you can draw (or print) on freezer, you can cut apart and put together again.

A drawing of the complete block is all you need. Be creative. Draw it. Trace it. Print it. Your choice. Add or remove lines to suit your own style.

Freezer paper templates are inexpensive, flexible, available on the spot. No need to pay postage and wait for a piece of plastic to be delivered.

You can have ANY shape, any time, anywhere, right now. All you need is freezer paper and one acrylic ruler.

How to use freezer paper templates

ROTARY CUT
Cut single layers OR cut several layers at a time, as demonstrated in Live Video 08.

When you press freezer paper with a hot, dry iron, it sticks temporarily to fabric—no sliding. (If you cannot use an iron for some reason, use temporary Glue Dots, which are also demonstrated in that Live Video.)

Each template can be used over and over and over and over again.

You can write on freezer paper templates, store them in envelopes, and have as many as you want. They can be enormous or tiny.

As if that were not enough, there is another huge advantage of working with the shape in the FINISHED size—it makes it easy to mark the sewing lines (if required), which is much easier and more precise than trying to sew “dot to dot.”

It is the sewing line that is important. 

Adding drilled holes to acrylic templates is what Monkey calls a “gratuitous invention” or a “negative improvement.” Acrylic templates created the problem. Drilling holes does not solve it.

Window template and no seam allowance template

Fussy Cutting is fabulous with freezer paper templates. No more peering through thick plastic that wants to slide.

Have as many templates as fussy flowers to be cut, not just one to move around. I have written detailed instructions for fussy cutting with freezer paper templates several times on the blog, so I won’t repeat it here.

FP template plus acrylic ruler

VARIABLE SEAM ALLOWANCES
With freezer paper templates, YOU decide on the amount of seam allowance you want. The width is entirely up to you, so when you are sewing tiny pieces, you can use less than 0.25 inch and in other cases, you might want something wider than 0.25 inch.

WANT TO USE SCISSORS?
Acrylic templates are intended to be used for rotary cutting, so if you want to cut with scissors, you are instructed to draw around the acrylic to mark the cutting line and use dots to mark the seam endings. Good grief!  This is the exact opposite of what you actually need.

It is better to use a template in the finished size, so you can mark the sewing lines, when required. That is what is important. You can eye-ball the seam allowance when you cut with scissors. I think you will be amazed how quickly you train your eye.

TIP  If you don’t trust yourself to cut an accurate 0.25 inch seam allowance (yet) with scissors, you can train your eye with a simple crutch. Cut a strip of masking tape 0.25 inches wide (or other width, as illustrated in Live Video 08) and place it on the fabric around the freezer paper template when you cut, moving it from one side to the next as you go.

When you have the sewing line marked, it doesn’t really matter if the seam allowances are precise. It is the sewing line that is important. 

You might be amazed by how quickly you learn to judge where to cut to get 0.25 inch, even on curves.

Free shapes to print on fabric

Of course, Inklingo has more advantages than even wonderful freezer paper templates—precision corners, matching marks, layouts that use the fabric efficiently with perfect straight grain, detailed instructions, yardage requirements for any number of shapes, downloadable, etc.

Inklingo is fabulous but when you can’t use Inklingo, use freezer paper templates! (No affiliation.)

recycle acrylic

FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR GRANDCHILDREN
If you are making heirloom quilts for grandchildren, it makes sense to think about not polluting the world they will inherit.

Now that you can see why acrylic templates are more expensive and less useful than the alternatives, you might want to get them out of your sewing room.

Please don’t just throw acrylic in the garbage because it could end up floating in the oceans for the next 1000 years. (Recycle Acrylic)

Introduction to Inklingo

Inklingo is all about making quilting more accessible but you do NOT need to use Inklingo to benefit from this information.

I always recommend starting with the Diamond Triangle Square shape collection ($20 value) because it includes the first chapter of The Inklingo Handbook (pages H5 – H48) and some great shapes to print on fabric.

Wash tub and board

You can still buy wash boards on Amazon. That doesn’t mean that is a good way to do laundry in 2018.

I have been teaching quilting with freezer paper templates since my Quilted Diamonds books (2002, 2004). It is not new but it is a fabulous method that makes quilting more accessible no matter what design you want to make.

Why does anyone still sell acrylic templates?

Acrylic rulers. Yes. 
Acrylic templates. No.

I hope you can get some freezer paper (no affiliation) and get your creative juices flowing!

NOTE
You may think I am too harsh in my assessment of those who promote acrylic for everything. They can do better.

Monkey says, So tell me how you really feel.

I say, I feel better for venting. If you want more info, please see Live Video 08. There is also a  summary of the other LIVE videos on the website. (Click on the Video tab.)

Thank you for visiting.

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 12 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Encore Presentation of the Sixth LIVE Inklingo Video


I have edited the video to eliminate the first 15 minutes and uploaded it to Facebook—for a fresh start..W

There was an audio problem for the first 15 minutes in the LIVE video on Friday. This edited version skips that part.
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Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)
The video is about Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses.

The demonstrations include:

  • Diana Boston’s book, The Patchworks of Lucy Boston (limited quantities available in the Shop)
  • a tour of Lucy Boston’s POTC quilt, close up
  • demo showing how to get a fast start by chain piecing hexagons from crosshair to crosshair by machine
  • demo of hand piecing, including sewing kit and how to move from one seam to the next continuously
    .
    Patchwork of the Crosses variation
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  • demo preparing the fabric sheets for printing
  • demo printing custom size
  • demo rotary cutting several layers at a time
  • demo English Paper Piecing Rescue, if you started with EPP but want to finish faster
  • demo using scraps of freezer paper and scraps of fabric
  • POTC quilts by Mary in Wisconsin, Kathy in Mexico, Fern in Singapore and Carol in Panama
  • my simplified variation of Patchwork of the Crosses
  • mini tour of the shape collection
  • mini tour of the website including the Main Lucy Boston Page (Shop)
  • mini tour of the blog, including the FREE EQ project files

<whew> We covered a lot!
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.Mary Quilt Show Poster

I showed Mary’s POTC quilt and gave info about the Quilt Show in Whitewater Wisconsin. but that was lost when I cut the no-audio section.

If you can get to Whitewater by February 25, you can see about 20 of Mary’s amazing quilts, and if you are lucky, you will meet Mary too.

Many of the quilts on display were made with Inklingo. Mary has been using Inklingo since 2006.
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The Dreaded Blue Screen
The Dreaded Blue Screen gives me the shivers!

During my rehearsals with the new equipment, I got the blue screen MANY times. Through trial and error, I learned that I had to attach the cameras and open each piece of software in a particular sequence to avoid crashing the computer.

Unwittingly, I did my sound test as soon as the mike was plugged in but I added more equipment afterwards and that seems to have muted the audio. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
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Live Inklingo Video 06

I can avoid that mistake next time . . . but Monkey says, I’m sure to think of a new boo-boo.

SUBSCRIBERS ARE NOT GETTING EMAILS
Please tell your friends about the video because they probably did not get an email.

When I posted on Friday to announce the LIVE video, the email notification was only sent to about 10% of the quilters who subscribe to the blog. The website programmer has been working on the problem this weekend. It looks as if there is an expensive solution. <sigh>

 

Inklingo Live Video 06

I learned a lot doing this latest LIVE video. The new equipment is definitely better and the software is easier for a non-geek to manage. I am looking forward to doing more of these LIVE videos. If you want to know when, it is a good idea to check the Inklingo Facebook Page frequently.

Please remember that you cannot count on Facebook to show you anything from Inklingo anymore, even when you have liked the page. They made big changes in January to try to make me to pay to add my posts to your feed. Since these are FREE videos, I would rather not have to pay.
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Introduction to Inklingo

I hope you will share info about Inklingo with your friends. If you do, this short video is a good intro.

I still have to add Live 06 to the  summary of the other LIVE videos on the website. (Click on the Video tab.)

Thank you to everyone who has been watching live while I learn how to do all of this. See you later?

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 11 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Inklingo Live Video # 6 on Facebook Tonight

I am going to try to do a LIVE video tonight with the new “studio.”

Better cameras, better software, and lots of good things to show you!

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)
I will be printing and sewing Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses.

Do you know someone who has made POTC blocks but has not joined them together yet? This is for them too.

Even if you aren’t sewing a POTC, the tips and hints will help with any other design. Please tell your friends.

WHEN
The SIXTH live video will be FRIDAY FEBRUARY 16 at 7 pm Eastern Time on the Inklingo Facebook Page.

You can find out what time that is in your time zone at World Time Buddy.

TURN ON THE SOUND
When you find the video on the Inklingo Facebook Page there is no sound until you hover over it and click on the speaker (lower right corner).

REFRESH!
The video should to play immediately. If it doesn’t,  please try refreshing the page. That should get it going.

TONIGHT . . . OR TOMORROW?
The reason I say I will “try” to do a live video tonight is that there will be plumbers in the house this afternoon doing some work, including replacing our water softener. We already know we are the last job of the day. If they are here late, I will do the live video some time Saturday instead. Maybe afternoon. .

I have everything ready and I am excited to be using the new equipment, so I really want to do it tonight. If I can’t, I will let you know on Facebook, so you know when to tune in, okay?

If you miss it LIVE event, you will be able to watch the replay here within a few days.
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Introduction to Inklingo

This short video is a good intro to Inklingo, so you might want to watch or re-watch it before LIVE # 6.

Just in case you missed them, there is a summary of the other LIVE videos on the website. Click on the Video tab.

If you leave a LIVE comment, it is fun to know where you are while you watch.. .

In some of the other LIVE videos, groups of friend have watched “together” and left comments back and forth for each other. Everything is more fun with friends, so I hope you will bring a friend too.

See you later!

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 11 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Encore Presentation of the Fifth LIVE Inklingo Video


ENCORE PRESENTATION
Thank you to everyone who watched LIVE on Saturday night. You can watch the replay here and I am sharing the links I promised.

As usual, you can click in the bottom right corner of the video to view larger or full screen. That is great for the close-up sewing sequences. (You can view full screen on Facebook too.)
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Encore Live Inklingo Video 05

WRONG CAMERA
I did it again. I clicked on the wrong button when I changed screens, so you saw this when you should have seen me sewing.

The good news is . . ..

Live Inklingo Video 05

. . . . that you can skip ahead and not miss anything.

When you play the video (the first image above), you can click on the play line (blue line above) to drag it forward to about -22 minutes (red arrow) to skip ahead.  I repeated myself, so you won’t miss anything if you skip ahead.

I’m sorry for making this mistake and sorry it took me a few minutes to see it. Thank you to everyone who tried to alert me on Facebook.

I appreciate your patience while I am learning this complicated software and equipment.  Monkey says, we’re making progress because I did get it right several other times.

Printing on fabric is more my speed. I was not cut out to be a technical whiz—but I try.
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LeMoyne Stars on Chair

Did you notice my desk chair?

For the videos, I sit in a dining room chair, so I can use my usual chair as a bulletin board.

Just like Inklingo, the simplest option is often the best.

AS PROMISED—LINKS MENTIONED IN THE LIVE VIDEO .
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One Page Guide for 8-pointed stars

The demo in the video is summarized in an article from 2014, where everything is illustrated and you can download the one-page guide for 8-pointed stars.
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Inklingo On-Point Quilt with LeMoyne Stars

I had a great quilt layout for stars to show you but I ran out of time. The free pattern uses the FREE Diamond Triangle Square shape collection and has been on the blog since 2011.
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How to press LeMoyne Stars

I also wanted to finish talking about the advantages of the pressing technique in the video. For now, I’ll just mention that when you press the seam allowances clockwise around the center in all of the stars, the seam allowances will nest perfectly when you join the star blocks together. 

We press the same way when we hand piece, so I will talk more about the advantages of this pressing technique in another LIVE video.
..

Cathi's itty bitty LeMoyne Stars

I shared this LeMoyne Star quilt (3 inch blocks!) from Cathi’s Quilt Obsession Blog. If you visit there and search for LeMoyne, you will find many more star designs. I recommend subscribing to Cathi’s blog too.
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LeMoyne Star by Kathy Timmons

I also had this photo teed up to show you. Kathy’s fussy cutting is fabulous and . . .
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LeMoyne Star by Kathy in Mexico

. . . you can see the fussy cutting in dozens of stars, close up on Flicker.
Aren’t you glad you visited today! There are many other Inklingo projects in Kathy’s amazing Flickr albums.
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Midnight Fireworks Quilt

Midnight Fireworks from Millefiori Quilts (first book) is another Inklingo shape collection that uses 8-pointed stars. You can use the technique in the video for those stars too.
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Patchwork of the Crosses by machine

I sewed several hexagons by machine in the video but I ran out of time to show you how I use them for Patchwork of the Crosses. My hybrid POTC has some seams by machine and some seams by hand.
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Patchwork of the Crosses by machine

You saw me join the white hexagons by machine, sewing crosshair to crosshair. That leaves me with some relaxing, portable “continuous stitching” for 16 short seams. Hybrid piecing gives me the best of both worlds. 

I also mentioned a few more links.

Live Video 05 with Linda Franz

LIVE —NEW MISTAKES NEXT TIME 
By now, you know that I am technically challenged. Printing on fabric is one of the easiest things you can do with a computer. Managing live video must be one of the hardest but I’m not giving up yet.
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Introduction to Inklingo

Here’s another video that is NOT live, so there are no built-in mistakes. 8 minutes to get you started printing free shapes on fabric.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FACEBOOK
It is up to YOU to make sure Facebook shows you what you want to see.

On January 11th, Facebook made some big changes. They only show the videos and images I show on the Inklingo Facebook page to fewer than 1% of the 44,780 quilters who have liked the page UNLESS I PAY THEM.

“Pay to play” is how Facebook makes billions. This means that your Facebook feed is going to give priority to businesses that pay for ads.

I am keeping the videos free, so I cannot afford to pay hundreds of dollars to notify you when the next one is coming.

There are a few things you can do that don’t cost anything:

  • Visit the Inklingo Facebook Page regularly. The more you like and comment and SHARE, the more likely Facebook is to decide to show you my photos and videos next time.
  • Choose “follow” on the Inklingo Facebook Page. No guarantee—but you are more likely to see my photos.
  • Subscribe to the blog, so you get an email when I post here. The link is at the top of the right side-bar (or below the content on mobile).
    .

Millefiori Quilts 3 Lucky Stars

COMING SOON
Exciting news in the video—a new shape collection for LeMoyne Star 8 inch is coming in the next few days. It also includes bonus shapes, so you can make Lucky Stars, one of the beautiful designs in Millefiori Quilts 3.

I hope you will tell your friends about the LIVE videos and come back again next time.

It is odd to talk to a camera without being able to see you, so your comments on Facebook and here are a lifeline. Thank you!

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 11 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Inklingo Live Video # 5 on Facebook Tonight

Inklingo Live Video for LeMoyne Stars

On Thursday and Friday, I sewed MANY LeMoyne Stars in various sizes by machine with the video camera running, to prepare for tonight.

The webcam goes out of focus but when I film in advance, I can use a better camera.
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LeMoyne Star with Inklingo

EVERY star turned out perfectly but I can’t say as much for the videos.

# 1
Unfortunately, when I am sitting down, the camera has a better view than I do. The camera blocked the view of the needle-down and reverse buttons, so there was too much fumbling around. Let’s do that again.

# 2
Standing up. Perfection!—except that I forgot to press the Record button.
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LeMoyne Star with Inklingo

# 3
Sewing a close-up of an 8-inch star. It turned out perfectly but when I watched the replay, I thought the details would show better with smaller pieces.

# 4, # 5, # 6
It became obvious that I was too tired to remember everything.

Thursday night I decided I would do better after a good night’s sleep and I could go live on Saturday instead.

Spare bobbins, spare pieces, spare battery, spare everything, and more stars printed and ready to sew.

It took ALL day.
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LeMoyne Star with Inklingo

#15
All going well until the battery died. No problem! Pop in a new battery. Unfortunately, I forgot to press the Record button when I re-started.

I blame it on my achy back, which does not like standing hunched over a camera to sew.
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LeMoyne Star with Inklingo

# ???
Almost finished! but the memory card filled up.

Note to self: That beeping means it is not recording anymore.
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LeMoyne Star by Machine

# whatever
Last Star. I’ll take it.  <sigh>

WHEN
The FIFTH  live video will be SATURDAY JANUARY 27 at 7 pm Eastern Time on the Inklingo Facebook Page.

What time is the live video where you are? You can find out at World Time Buddy.

TURN ON THE SOUND
All you have to do is visit the Inklingo Facebook Page. There is no sound until you hover over the video and click on the speaker in the lower right corner.

REFRESH!
If you don’t see the video start to play immediately, please try refreshing the page. That should get it started.
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Hybrid POTC - Patchwork of the Crosses

By the way, if you happen to tune in and see me sewing hexagons for POTC, it’s a BONUS.

If you leave a LIVE comment, please let me know where you are.
. .

Introduction to Inklingo

Your homework for tonight is simpler than mine. If you haven’t seen it lately, you might want to review this short video about printing on fabric. It’s a great intro to Inklingo.

I hope you will be watching tonight and leave a comment.

If you miss the LIVE event, you will be able to watch the replay on the blog.

Please bring a friend. Thank you for watching!

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 11 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Encore Presentation of the Fourth LIVE Inklingo Video


ENCORE PRESENTATION
Thank you to everyone who watched Friday Night LIVE. I could not do it without you—or if I did, it wouldn’t be any fun.
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Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses

I postponed my original plan for the video because another reprint of Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC for short) was delivered this week. It is very exciting and gratifying for me that Lucy Boston’s legacy is getting stronger and stronger as the years go by!

I also needed a simple plan this time because the week was so hectic— including the delivery of 100 pizza boxes and unexpectedly living without running water for 24 hours.

I will save my original plan for another live video.

Another printing of Patchwork of the Crosses

I carried the boxes of POTC books into the house in stages. It will take a while to get the rest of them into the basement. So far, these have only made it as far as the landing.

I only carry one box at a time because they are 24 pounds each. I must be doing something wrong because I managed to break almost all of my fingernails. I’ll wear my garden gloves in the future.

I wanted to keep this live video SIMPLE because I am still working on getting a better camera setup too.

SIMPLICITY
The theme is simplicity. I talked about some of the things that inspire me and compared the simple tools of Lucy Boston with the simple tools we use today.
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The Patchworks of Lucy Boston by Diana Boston

I first learned about Lucy Boston from Diana Boston’s gorgeous book. It is one of my all-time favorite quilt books even though it does not include patterns.

As soon as I saw it, I knew that Inklingo could make Lucy Boston’s innovative, complex works of art accessible to more quilters—and Inklingo IS all about making quilting more accessible.

When I contacted Diana Boston about doing my book, she was wonderful. Her book was out of print by that time but she brought it back with a new cover when I published mine.

None of this would be possible without Diana Boston.

The Manor at Hemingford Grey

Diana Boston’s book about Lucy Boston includes wonderful stories about the inspiration for her patchworks, her fabric purchases in wartime England, references to the patchworks in her letters, historical background, and her life story.

Diana Boston’s descriptions of the patchworks are insightful and poetic, and Julia Hedgecoe’s photographs are inspirational.

By the way, I should have said “fabric department” instead of “quilt shop” when I was talking about the limited fabric options available to Lucy Boston after World War II. Quilt shops came later.

AS PROMISED—LINKS MENTIONED IN THE LIVE VIDEO

 

POTC Wall Hanging

Lucy Boston's flat baskets

  • SmartLap Portable Desk (on Amazon) instead of the flat, round baskets that Lucy Boston used, or search Amazon for “kids portable desk”
    .

Maggie Smith sewing Patchwork of the Crosses

 

Inklingo Live Video 04

LIVE —NEW MISTAKES NEXT TIME 
As a “non-techie” person, managing all of the new software and equipment for the live videos has been a challenge.

My main “focus” now is getting a better camera setup, so I can use my good digital cameras as webcams. When that is sorted out, I will be able to sew LIVE by hand and by machine and show it to you close up!
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Patchwork of the Crosses wall hanging

GLOSSOPHOBIA
A fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias. I think everyone has it at least a little bit.

Doing these live videos takes public speaking to a whole new level because of the technical side (not my forte), because I cannot see you, and because it is saved online for anyone to see. It is hard for me to watch when it is over.

When I was traveling to speak at quilt guilds, I knew the audience was friendly and I could get a live response. With these videos, I have no idea who might be watching, so your LIVE comments make a huge difference. Thank you!

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Introduction to Inklingo

Here’s another video that is NOT live and I am not on camera at all. It only takes 8 minutes and tells you how to start printing great shapes on fabric FREE.

I hope you will come back for the next LIVE videos and bring your friends.

If you watch the replay (at the top), please watch with a kind eye and let me know what you would like to see next time, okay? You can leave a comment below or email me at linda@lindafranz.com.

Thank you for watching!

Linda & Monkey

[]

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 11 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Celestial Star Part 2 – Hybrid Piecing

Sharon Burgess' Quilting on the Go

Quilting on the Go by Sharon Burgess is full of gorgeous projects for English Paper Piecing.

The new Inklingo shape collections for Celestial Star (the cover quilt) are the result of requests from quilters.

 

Print on fabric Celestial Star

They wanted to be able to print the shapes on fabric so they could sew by hand or by machine, so I contacted Sharon.

Sharon and I both saw it as a perfect opportunity to make her beautiful designs accessible to quilters who don’t use English Paper Piecing.

Let’s include everyone! The projects are too pretty to limit them to a sub-set of hand piecers.

 

Celestial Star in 3 new Inklingo shape collections

The 3 new Inklingo Celestial Star shape collections are perfect for quilters who who sew by machine or by hand with a running stitch. There are also 8 good ways to use Inklingo for EPP, if that is the method you prefer.

Inklingo is all about making quilting more accessible, so we love including more quilters—everyone!

 

Celestial Star by machine and by hand

COMBINING HAND AND MACHINE PIECING

I took photos while I was sewing my first Celestial Star “Color Burst” unit, so I can show one way to construct this complex block by combining hand and machine piecing. I call it “hybrid” piecing.

Like most quilters, I won’t live long enough to make all the quilt designs that intrigue me.

I love a portable project and I want to spend my time carefully, so I often combine hand and machine piecing in a hybrid.

I examine the block carefully to decide which seams to sew by hand and which seams to sew by machine.

Often it depends on how much “continuous stitching” I can find—and Celestial Star is a gold mine!

CONTINUOUS STITCHING

Continuous stitching is one of my favorite things about hand piecing. At the end of every seam, before I cut the thread, I look to see if I could continue just by turning a corner.

I have written about continuous stitching many times before, including in Quilted Diamonds (2002), Quilted Diamonds 2 (book and DVD, 2004) and in videos on YouTube, etc.

 

Celestial Star inset seam

“Inset seams” are the ones that are perfect for continuous stitching—the same ones quilters historically avoid by machine, so the seams divide into two separate categories.

(By the way, there is no need to avoid insets when you machine piece with Inklingo.)

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Continuous stitching is so relaxing and enjoyable that I often plan my route in advance on a diagram of the block.

Hand piecing this way is a “zen” experience. It is totally relaxing with a sense of well-being AND it is an efficient way to work, so I can finish in a reasonable amount of time.

 

Color Burst unit

In the Color Burst unit for Celestial Star, there are seams that don’t work well for continuous stitching (red lines, above).

 

Some seams are easy by machine

CHAIN PIECE FOR A FAST START

The good news is that in this case, the seams that don’t work well for continuous stitching DO work well for chain piecing by machine, so that was my starting point.

 

Machine piece Celestial Star

Wow. Is this fast! I pinned at the END of the seam, so I could stop in the crosshair.

There is a video showing how to sew crosshair to crosshair by machine on the Main Hexagon Page on the website. (The example is Grandmother’s Flower Garden, but it works the same way for any design.)

 

Machine piece Celestial Star

Sometimes I sew edge to edge. In this case, I sewed from edge to crosshair. Sometimes I sew from crosshair to edge. It works either way, so it’s up to you. Why not try it both ways, to see what you prefer?

 

Hybrid Piecing with Inklingo

Zip. Zip. Zip. I chain pieced the seams on 8 pairs of Wings, 8 pairs of turquoise “4-point star” shapes, and 8 pairs of gold  “4-point star” shapes.

I could have continued with more machine piecing but that was enough to give me a fast start.

 

Hybrid piecing by hand and by machine

A few minutes of chain piecing set me up for a couple of hours of continuous stitching by hand in a comfy chair watching TV.

 

Hand piece Celestial Star

RELAX WITH RHYTHMIC HAND PIECING

Several different sequences are possible. I started by sewing these 8 three-piece units.

I like to plan my route to maximize the continuous stitching, so I never sew fewer than two seams before breaking the thread.

 

Hand piece Celestial Star

Then I added all these units to the Octagon with 8 starts and stops.

 

Hand piece Celestial Star

In theory, I could add this entire ring of pentagons without stopping, if the thread was long enough. (Thread should only be 12 -15 inches long.)

This is just one example. You might prefer different routes.

If you are just learning how to hand piece, every detail is covered in the two-hour hand piecing lesson on the Quilted Diamonds 2 DVD. It is a great book, even if you don’t expect to make the diamond patterns. I have also put free hand piecing videos on YouTube.

 

Hand piece Celestial Star

I continue working my way out from the center, row by row.

 

Hand piece Celestial Star

You could go all the way around with one super-long thread! (Not recommended. LOL)

 

Celestial Star with Inklingo

By printing with Inklingo, fussy cutting with freezer paper templates, and combining hand and machine piecing, I was able to sew this Color Burst block in a few hours.

 

Celestial Star by machine

I don’t think you can tell which seams were sewn by hand and which were sewn by machine.

Every intersection is perfect and it presses beautifully with the seam allowances twirled around most of the intersections.

I could have spent this much time just basting or gluing but there are too many more of Sharon’s designs I want to make to spend my time that way!

HYBRID PIECING – SUMMARY

Hybrid piecing works for other designs in Sharon’s book, Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses, and the designs in the Millefiori books by Willyne Hammerstein too.

1. Look for opportunities for “continuous stitching” by hand.

2. Identify the other seams that you can chain piece by machine.

3. Chain piece by machine, sometimes edge to edge, sometimes crosshair to crosshair, sometimes crosshair to edge, sometimes edge to crosshair.

4. Sew by hand to finish, sewing continuously whenever possible.

I absolutely love Sharon Burgess’ designs and I’m ready for my next Color Burst.

 

Introduction to Inklingo

If you are new to Inklingo, this VIDEO on the Welcome to Inklingo page on the website explains how to print on fabric with your Inkjet printer.

I hope that Sharon’s beautiful book will sell even more copies because Celestial Star is inklingo-able! I would love to see what YOU make!

ARE YOU SUBSCRIBED? 

I have more to say about Sharon’s beautiful book, so please subscribe (top of right side-bar), so you won’t miss anything.

SPECIAL INTRO PRICE

As usual, the new Clamshell Edges and Celestial Star shape collections and book are on sale at a super-low price. The introductory price on Celestial Star ends tonight at midnight Eastern time.

 

Please donate to the Red Cross

PLEASE DONATE

Have you made a donation to help the hurricane survivors?

I have extended the offer until the 17th. If you donate at least $15 to the American Red Cross between September 3 and September 17 and email me (linda @ lindafranz.com), I will give you the new Clamshell Edges 3.5 inch shape collection, FREE.

Have you chosen fabric for Celestial Star yet?

Linda & Monkey

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New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

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