I started cutting my fabric for the snowball challenge last night. Honestly, over the last week it feels like I have been chained to the cutting mat! I was determined to make one red snowball last night. It's mainly strip piecing and half square triangles. I thought I'd show you a couple of tools that I use in my quilting.
Here's a slotted mat from June Tailor that I use for cutting strips. You fold the fabric selvage to selvage, then twice more after that, so that you are cutting through eight layers of fabric. Your cutter needs to be sharp for this! There's a line to lay against the fold at the bottom, and a zero mark to slice off the end and make a clean beginning. The slots are marked off in quarter-inch segments, so it's useful for most sizes of strips. After you cut the strips, you can turn them sideways and cut squares or rectangles, as well. If you are careful about the original folding, you can cut nice strips with no Ms or Ws at the folds.
These are Thangles; they are paper guides used for making half-square triangles. Layer the right sides of fabric together, pin carefully; sew along the dotted lines and cut along the solid lines. Press open, peel off the paper, trim to size. The drawback to these is that it is terribly tedious to pick the paper off, but to be fair, the paper used for these is one of the easier quilting papers to remove. At least, in my experience. Thangles (and other brands that use the same approach) stabilize the HSTs when pressing open along the bias, and produce dead accurate measurements.
Here is my first snowball. It's fairly small, 6" inches. This quilt is definitely going to be the most traditional-looking piece I've made since I've rejoined the quilting world. I think it's going to be a great winter quilt. I've already bought a wool batt for it (directions say it can be machine washed, laid flat to dry), and I plan to use a nice flannel for the back. It's not going to win any prizes for modern design, but it's going to feel like the quilt equivalent to mac and cheese! Mmmm.... comfort food quilting!
For all you Snowball Challengers in my swap group, watch your mailbox. I finally sent these off, with a little surprise inside!