Elettaria's quilts (elettariaquilts) wrote,
Elettaria's quilts

Succumbing to stencils

Having chosen a top fabric at last, I have started to think about designing the Welsh quilting for the owl wholecloth quilt. I've done a little Welsh quilting so far, and I know that I love it and plan to keep on with it, especially for traditional or geometric quilts. A typical Welsh quilt will involve various different patterns which you have to draft yourself. Now, my grip is poor and my hands aren't all that steady, and I am crap at drawing. Something to guide me is really useful. So I'm planning to place an order with the Stencil Company. It won't be cheap, and the shipping alone will be a good tenner, but I think I know enough about my quilting habits by now to know what will be useful.

Looking at a variety of Welsh quilts and also my books on the subject, the following shapes recur again and again: circles, squares (oten on point), double or triple lines, spirals, leaves, hearts, paisleys, flowers (including tulips and roses), fans, cables, zigzags, lines radiating out from the centre of a circle. Now let's look at what I have already to help me draft patterns, and work out what I should buy. Sometimes you can use a template, ruler or stencil in a different way to create other designs quite easily, and sometimes it means a hell of a lot of drafting and checking that your right angles are square and generally takes forever.

Rulers and other measuring tools
14" x 4" and 24" x 6" standard acrylic quilting rulers, with lines at 1/4", marks at 1/8", and guidelines for 30°, 45° and 60°

Circle ruler - very very handy, but while it's more or less OK for drawing on paper, things tend to get a bit distorted when drawing straight onto fabric, especially if it's a quilt that has already been basted.

6.5" right-angled triangle ruler

A standard semicircle protractor and a fairly crappy circle protractor - I really need a better protractor

Couple of those bendy rulery things which are designed for drawing smooth curves, one of which has measurements on it

Templates and stencils

June Tailor templates - they come in sets of six of the same shape from small to about 4" or so. I have them in the circle, leaf, twisted leaf and feather shapes. The feather ones work beautifully for paisley shapes.

Helix circle stencil with lots of little circles from about 3mm up to 33mm diameter - useful for small circles, mainly when I'm doing scaled-down drawings.

Home-made large circle stencil - this covers circles from 1" through to 12" diameter, and it's dead useful but it's flimsy and there's a broken bit, which doesn't make it the easiest to use.

Stencils I'm eyeing up (all from the Stencil Company in America unless stated)

Vintage Spiral stencil on eBay - why they're calling it a "circle template" is beyond me, though I've e-mailed the seller just to double check that it's the one in the picture. The lines seem to be 3/4" apart with this one, which is a nice spacing, especially for larger spirals. Spirals turn up all the time in Welsh quilting, I will be doing them in all sorts of configurations.

10" spiral - you can get a 14" one, but I really can't see that I'll be sewing a spiral that large, especially as the lines seem to be 3/8" apart which is more useful for smaller spirals.

14" circles - think these are spaced 1/2" apart (though the same image is used for the 10" circles and probably the 6.5" ones too), which will cover me for quite a lot. I'll end up having to draw lines 1/4" away from them as Welsh quilting loves putting in 1/4" spaced double lines, but I can cope. After using this for a while for the sets of concentric circles on catnip_junkie's quilt, I gave up and made my own stencil.

6.5" small circles - if the picture is correct, these are spaced at 1/4" which is fairly likely to be useful.

12.5" squares - again, I'm sure it'll be useful for a number of things. You can get a square spiral, but I couldn't really see how I'd use it, and this is going to be expensive enough without buying things I don't have a real need for.

12" square grid on point, 1" spacing - you can get a 1/2" version of this too. Not sure about this one, will all the little bits that hold the stencil together get in the way, or will it be the world's easiest thing for drawing zigzags and the like? Am I better off with 1" or 1/2" spacing? I've never been keen on cross-hatching so I doubt it would be used for that.

Three hearts at 7" - I'm not that keen on hearts but occasionally they are just the right shape for the space, and that looks like a handy size.

Cable borders - there are so many of these, and in so many sizes, that I honestly don't know where to start.

The single cable, aka the single chain, will no doubt be useful for something or other, with units 2" x 1.25" long. Welsh quilting likes to put cables in practically everywhere, including around large circles, although of course those then have to be a subtly different shape. I'm not wildly grabbed by the double and triple versions, and there are nicer versions in the UK here, so I'll skip those.

The cable square border, aka the double Welsh Trail, will also be useful, but should I get 1.5", 2.5" or 3.5"? I'm thinking 2.5" right now, though the 1.5" looks as if it has lines 1/4" apart which is handy. The pattern repeat on this one doesn't seem to be nicely divisble by anything in particular. There is also the slim dart version aka the Simple Welsh Trail, and again this will be terribly useful and I have no idea which size to get.

4" pumpkin seed border - this looks generally useful, from the popular (if small) pumpkin seed motif to the zig-zag. It's a traditional Welsh border.

Should I possibly pick something from the pinwheel range? This wedding ring design might be quite useful, as those curved diamond shapes turn up absolutely loads in Welsh quilting. Again, do I go for 8" or 6"? I'm thinking 8". Alternatively, if I mark the four corners with dots and have a good circle stencil, it should be easy enough to draft that, so I think that one is going to the bin.

Orange peel background - it's not so much that I fancy this as a filler, but it gives me a 2" orange peel border plus a 4" pumpkin seed design. Put it on the diagonal and it gives me a 1.25" cable as well.

This is all looking fearfully expensive. I've just put about 2/3 of them into the shopping cart, and by the time you add international shipping we're talking about $50 which right now is - hmm, just over £30, not as bad as I feared. That's for the spiral, circles, squares, hearts, orange peel, cable square border, pumpkin seed border. And oh blast, I've just realised that the mini grid really will be useful, a 1/2" grid is commonly used in border designs even if I don't like it as a filler, so that adds another $6.

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Tags: design, stencils, welsh quilting
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