Thursday, July 28, 2016

Acrylic Rulers - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter


Acrylic Rulers Throwback Thursday

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today!  Today's post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

This week we're continuing our Quilter's Tool Chest series with a tool that goes hand-in-hand with the rotary cutter: acrylic rulers.

These rulers are made of a sturdy acrylic plastic, usually about 3mm thick. In the U.S., they're typically marked in one-inch squares, with smaller hashmarks subdividing each square (1/16" and 1/8" are common markings). Different brands of rulers use hashmarks at different intervals, which can be important if you're trying to cut your fabric with precision.

acrylic ruler for quilting

The markings are on the back of the ruler, and often have a thin friction-based coating (similar to a teeny-tiny strip of sandpaper) that helps grip the fabric and hold the ruler in place when cutting with a rotary cutter. Some rulers also have markings to indicate 30, 45 and 60 degrees to facilitate cutting angles.

acrylic ruler for quilting

For the beginning quilter, I'd start with two rulers: 6x24 and 6x12. I find the 24" ruler super helpful to use when cutting long strips of fabric off my cut yardage. The ruler stretches all the way across the width of the fabric (when folded just like it was originally on the bolt) so it's easy to make the  cut in one smooth motion. The 12" ruler is easier to use when cutting your strip down into smaller pieces, or for measuring blocks I've sewn them to ensure my piecing is accurate.


Omnigrid is my favorite brand for acrylic rulers. You can find them at any quilting or crafting store, as well as online at Amazon. Below are links to the two sizes I recommend for starting your ruler collection, 6x12 and 6x24.



All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

This content was originally published on Prairie Sewn Studios on January 26, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rotary Cutter - Quilter's Tool Chest for Throwback Thursday

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter




We're gearing up for some super exciting things this fall, so we thought we'd kick it into gear with Throwback Thursday. Every Thursday we'll feature a post from the blog archives that we think is still useful today! 



We're kicking off a new series called Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

First up, a rotary cutter.

Rotary cutter
45mm Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters are a relatively new invention to the quilting and sewing world, first introduced by Olfa in 1979. They revolutionized the way that quilters, seamstresses, tailor and crafters could cut fabric quickly, smoothly, and accurately.

We recommend a rotary cutter for a couple of different reasons.

1. It is SO much faster than scissors, especially for cutting long strips of fabric. Paired with a acrylic ruler (post coming soon!) you can quickly cut across the entire width on a bolt of fabric. Curves are no problem, either.

2. It improves your accuracy, both with long pieces of fabric and with smaller pieces. You can make cuts smoothly, leaving a cleaner edge than the jagged edge scissors tend to leave.

3. You can cut through multiple layers of time at a time, each layer with a clean smooth edge.

Rotary cutters come in lots of sizes, typically measured by its diameter in millimeters. Different sizes are better for different thing. If you're just starting out the 45mm size is a great place to start. It cuts through about four layers of fabric with ease, but is still small enough to easily go around gentle curves. The blades are replaceable, so you can just pop a new one in whenever you notice that the blade is getting a little dull or sticking to the fabric.

rotary cutter
60mm, 45mm, 28mm Rotary Cutters

One word of caution is that they are SHARP. Each brand, size and style has its own safety features that allow the blade to be safely stored while not in use. I always keep my rotary cutter with the blade stored in the locked position when I'm not actively using it. It's far to easy for an open rotary cutter to be bumped off a table by a pile of fabric (or a helper cat) and the last thing you want is that sharp blade landing on your foot! 

Here are a couple that we recommend. Both Olfa and Fiskars are solid brands within the wold of quilting notions. I own both of these rotary cutters in this 45mm size and they're both great to work with. 


Next week we'll talk about an important tool that goes hand in hand with a rotary cutter, an acrylic ruler!

All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 


This content was originally published on Prairie Sewn Studios on January 19, 2015, and is being reproduced here for Throwback Thursday. #TBT

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aurifil Designer of the Month Update: April, May and June

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

I continue to work on the Aurifil Designer of the Month 2016 quilt blocks. The blocks have been enjoyable to sew and I've met new designers through their blogs. The color scheme continues to be blues and aquas.

April's block, High Tide, was designed by Kate Spain (katespain.com).

High Tide

May's block, Cups and Saucers, was designed by Amy Friend (www.duringquiettime.com). 

Cups and Saucers

June's block had two options: Modern Delft and Modern Delft II. Both were designed by Jacquelynne Steves (JacquelynneSteves.com). Modern Delft has an embroidered center wreath and 4 embroidered corners with flowers.

Modern Delft


Modern Delft II has a center pinwheel.

Modern Delft II


Yes, I did make both since I really liked each one.

Modern Delft I and II




Have you worked on any new patterns this summer?