I recently taught a workshop on the Hunters Star pattern. We were making a 16 block wall hanging and everyone had the blocks near completion by the end of class. At the end of class we laid out one 4 block star from each student and created a very colorful pattern:
I love the variety of the fabrics students bring to class and, even though I wouldn’t put these blocks all in a single quilt, it was fun to lay them out together.
I have found many uses for masking/painters tape in my 30 plus years of quilting, and I thought I knew it all (LOL), but this latest tip is my new favorite. While trimming up some of the Hunters Star units in class Alice shared something she saw on the internet and you’re gonna want to try it! It was in a YouTube video from “Fons and Porter: Quilt With the Stars”. Deb Tucker was their guest and Deb is a star in my book because her techniques and rulers for Hunters Star, LeMoyne Star and Flying Geese are among my favorites.
Her website is: https://deb-tuckers-studio-180-design.myshopify.com/
and you can watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bjE1cMquW0. (the tape trick is at the 13 minute mark on the video)
The idea I’m excited about is so simple and yet sooo helpful. Typically when I want to mark a line on my ruler to act as a guide when trimming up a unit or block I place the tape on the top of the ruler and struggle to get all the edges to line up perfectly underneath. The trick? – just watch!
While making this unit using Deb Tucker’s technique, I pieced and trimmed straight on one side. When it was time to trim the opposite side, because of the bias edges on the diamonds, it didn’t automatically lay straight.
When the ruler is set on the unit, it will take a bit of fiddling to get it right:
And since we’re speaking of fiddling 🙂 ,
I recently saw for myself that Sydney, Nova Scotia has the largest fiddle in the world (couldn’t resist that one):
Back to the masking tape trick – put the tape on the back side of your ruler! I wanted the strip to be trimmed at 1 ¾”, so I placed a long piece of tape (masking or painters) along the 1 ¾” marks on the back of the ruler. Then I layered 5 more pieces of tape to make a ridge.
Next I flipped the ruler over, placed it on the unit and slid it so the tape pushed the unit into place.
This leaves just what needs trimming hanging out from under the ruler:
Voila – quick and easy!
This taping technique can be used for any repetitive type of squaring up. In fact, in a class I taught this last week we were cutting triangles from strip pieced units and the tape was quite helpful. I determined the size the triangles would need to be by placing a large ruler on the stripped unit:
Then I taped the underside of the ruler at that measurement.
To cut the triangles I slid the ruler until the tape bumped up against the bottom strip, cut on both sides of the ruler, flipped the ruler so the tape bumps up to the top strip on the unit for the next cut:
And so it goes 🙂 !
I can think of so many other times this will be helpful. Thanks to Deb Tucker. I highly recommend her rulers, books and techniques! And thanks to Alice too for passing this great tip on to me.
Please try “under-side taping” the next time your squaring things up and let me know what you think!