Have you ever wanted to sew a design that you had in your head but, couldn’t find the right tools to make it happen? Did you consider making your own tools? Today’s 60″x70″ quilt Herringbone by Elizabeth Ancell was created after Elizabeth was forced to make her own acrylic template in order to see her vision come to life.
Tell us about your general use of tools in quilting.
My general use of quilting tools is a balance between having a passion for quilting but also being minimalistic and not wanting to own too many things. I use the standard quilting tools: sewing machine; rotary cutter; self healing mat; acrylic ruler; chalk pencil; pins; etc. I just don’t want to own more than what I realistically need to make a high quality quilt.
What tools did you use to make this quilt and how did they make sewing the quilt easier?
The first thing I did to make the quilt was design it in Photoshop which was invaluable for the creative process and for figuring out measurements.
I realized early on to make the quilt the way I envisioned it, I would need to make my own acrylic ruler for it. I purchased 1/8” Plexiglass and a cutter from a home improvement store. After cutting the shape I needed, I simply used a fine tip permanent marker, and another acrylic ruler as a guide, and drew the measuring lines onto the ruler. The homemade ruler made the job easier, because with it I was able to make strip sets and easily cut them to the correct size which saved time. I also used sandpaper dots that helped hold the ruler in place when I would cut the fabric.
To quilt the lines I used an acrylic ruler and a chalk pencil to draw sewing lines on the quilt. I then used a walking foot on my machine to follow the lines. I’ve found when I do this type of quilting it turns out better if I sew every fourth line first, the middle line between those second, and then go back and sew the remaining lines. I sew the lines in the direction that is easier for the quilt to fit in my machine.
I rounded my corners after the quilting was done. I took a large serving bowl, covered the edge with plastic wrap to protect it, and used a permanent marker to trace the edge of the bowl onto the fabric and then cut inside the line.
Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.
I’ve been sewing since I was nine years old and made my first quilt when I was 17. (I’m turning 35 this year.) But it wasn’t until about four years ago that I really got into quilting and decided to have every single blanket in my home be one that I made myself.
I love to quilt but I don’t do it simply because I enjoy it. I am practical about the projects I choose. I only make a quilt when there is a need for a quilt. The need often dictates the style and colors I’ll choose. I originally envisioned this quilt with white, grey, and light turquoise, which would have been perfect colors for me. Because the quilt was made for my daughter, who loves the color pink, I changed the colors to white, pink, and orange.
Many “tools” were used to put this graphic quilt together with the most important being a template that Elizabeth created herself using these items mostly found at your local hardware store:
1/8″ Plexiglass or Acrylic Sheets
Standard Plastic Cutting Tools:
Sharpie or other permanent marker:
What tools have you created or dreamed of creating so that you can make that perfect quilt?