Here’s a quickie for you!

This simple little quilt is a pieced hot pad with instructions for 8″, 10″ and a super 12″ by varying the borders. The basic design is a simply beautiful maple leaf–“simple” being an operative word here. “Autumn Maple” is made of just squares and a few half-square triangles, but when made up in rich fall colors, it’s lovely.

“Autumn Maple” cc2021 by LJ Christensen

Click here to see more and/or buy the pattern, which is on sale for $2 until the end of the month. A great companion pattern is “When Autumn Leaves Start to FallClick here. Similar, but different, they can live together in harmony, and my original samples of both are currently for sale in the Market Shoppes, downtown Wetumpka, Alabama, where I have a vendor’s space now.

Also available as a pattern is this fabulous matching runner, “Running to Fall.” Like the hot pads, you can make it in different sizes. I loved using a bunch of my stash pieces. The piecing goes together very fast.

“Running to Fall” cc2021 by LJ Christensen

Click here for the runner pattern.

As I was sewing the Autumn Maple, I was marking the half-square triangles and thinking about all the ways we have to mark. Do you remember tracing paper? I recall using it primarily for clothing, especially when marking darts. It’s still available; in fact, I think I’ve seen it in wash-away, nicer than the 60’s version.

We’re all very spoiled with the wash-away blue markers now….and then along came the purple markers, which disappear with the humidity of the air as well as with water. Don’t iron the marks, though, because it can set in. My biggest problem with the purple is that sometimes I can’t get to everything I’ve marked in one sitting and end up having to re-mark. Both blue and purple tend to be rather thick, but they’ve come out with smaller-point pens now.

Actually, the truth is that some marking I do with a pin instead of a pen. For instance, if it’s hard to see the difference in front and back of a fabric, that’s a good reminder. Ditto if you’re trying to keep track of the grain or of the lay of velveteen. In that case, I often put a pin in the TOP of each pattern piece or quilt piece. If you’re quilting and have lots of blocks or lines of piecing, I found that you can WRITE on the flat flower pins. I’ve used a thin permanent marker to number my pins and stick them into piles of different sizes or mark my rows in numerical order. They do make some numbered ones now, but they’re pricy and you can easily make your own.

I don’t do much hand-quilting, so I’m not too familiar with pouncing, but it seems to be a way to use powder sifting through little holes of a pattern template, faster than trying to draw on a design and more even.

My real contribution to the discussion, though, is something called tailor’s chalk. It looks like white chalk and is great for woolens (like tailoring men’s suits!) and cottons, but get this! It’s not chalk at all, but kind of a wax-based compressed white substance that MELTS AWAY when pressed. Don’t ask me how or why because I’m baffled! But the cool thing is that you can use it for those blacks and navies and dark colors like burgundy or pine green. I’d be very careful with polyester or silk and be sure to test it because it’s possible the oiliness could react badly. I’ve not had any issue with cotton, though. The problem is where to find it. I never see it in sewing stores, but I ordered a whole box of it from a notions supply company, so I’m sure it can be tracked down.

One more special marker has thrilled the quilting world. If you haven’t yet gotten a “Frixion” pen, you must do so! It’s an erasable pen readily available in office supply stores. The name is based on the fact that the friction of the eraser erases the ink easily. Get this, though! Friction produces heat, and what makes it disappear is heat. Yep, like an iron! You can make a thin line that looks like a ballpoint pin, and simply erase it by pressing later! It comes in about 5-6 colors, but certainly the plain black is good for 90% of our colors. Then find some tailor’s chalk for the other 10%. That’s my advice this week!

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