Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Blue Tape

I want my scrappy quilts to look spontaneous, but they are very much planned. I do not just grab one piece and sew it to another, so I need a big work area to lay out the pieces and look at them.I don't have a big design wall on which to plan my quilts, and I think working on the wall would be a bit rough - I'm only five feet tall, and pinning something to a wall means getting up and down off a step stool, and that's just a lot of work. Besides, I want to be able to look at it from a distance.So I design my scrappy quilts on the floor. Since I hate measuring (and if I measure, I usually forget the measurement in about five minutes) I just make an outline of the top of the desired bed size on the floor using blue low-tack painter's tape. My apartment is in an old building, and it has a "vintage, mid-century" linoleum floor. It's nice and smooth, and it's rather tough. So the tape goes on, and comes off, easily. This outline (top picture above) is for a twin bed, with the extra bit at the bottom the dimension for a "long twin."
As you can see, it's rather useful.

Here my sister and I did the same thing when we assembled the quilt for Cassie.
And I don't just use it on the floor. Here it is stuck to my design table marked off to help me make 20" blocks.To make the outline on the floor, I have a 48" long metal ruler, and a large 45-45-90 triangle I use to make the shape a proper rectangle with 90-degree corners,and low tack painter's tape. I just happen to have it 2" wide, but you can use any size you have.I've left it down as long as two months, but I pull the tape up after each quilt.

The only disadvantage is that my cat loves to play "Slip and Slide."

9 comments:

T said...

Brilliant. Ab So Lute Ly Brilliant.

Why didn't I think of that? Duh.

Brilliant. {smacks forehead}

woolywoman said...

great idea- I'm going to use this one. Thanks for showing it to us.

Joyce said...

Good idea. I use a design wall but marking the size ahead of time would have saved me grief on my current quilt. How do you factor in the shrinkage from the seams?

Millie said...

Joyce, I don't. For a twin bed I make the outline 40" instead of 39". Since my usual scrappy blocks are 6" square, it works out.

I use the outline as a guide, anyway. It's hard enough getting it the right size with flexible tape and rulers that aren't really long enough, so I just don't get worked up about it.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I love blue tape - and I forget measurements in even less time than you! This idea is a keeper!

Clare said...

What a brilliant idea! How do your knees and back cope?

susan said...

thanks! i wondered what it was!!

Victoria said...

great idea with the tape. I'm always laying things out on the floor but the dogs find it as an invitation to sit on it...

Millie said...

Clare, my knees and back aren't a problem. It's my hips that give me trouble. That and vertigo if I get up too quickly. At any rate, I move slowly and deliberately, and am very grateful I mostly make small quilts.