Tips and Corrections

Keeping It Together: After cutting stacks of oversized patches for foundation piecing, stab a safety pin through the stack and quick template (acting as a label) so that the pin opens from the bottom of the stack. Then you can open the pin, remove just the patch you need and leave the others pinned together.

Working with Batiks: You can’t cut batiks out “wrong” since they are reversible. This is an advantage. But you also can’t tell the “right side” from the “wrong side,” This is a disadvantage. To help you keep track, make a mark on the wrong side of each patch while it is still in the cutting stack (See pinning tip above) using soap, chalk or a marking pencil.

Why the General Instructions? There are many techniques covered in the book, most of them are applicable to several designs. To save space and repetition, those techniques are described in detail in the “General Instructions,” which you should read before beginning. I don’t like having them separated from the projects any better than you do.

Seam Allowance on Foundations: Unlike some other teachers, I do not include seam allowances in the diagrams for the foundations. This is because I don’t use them and think putting them on just results in another piece of paper to remove. If you are used to having them there, by all means add them to your foundations when you make copies. However, so some of the quilts, the cut (stitching line) edge of the foundation is used to mark curves and the exposed seam allowance holds positioning marks. In these cases, a paper seam allowance would be an obstacle.

How Do You Make and Use “Quick Templates?” It’s clear from some comments on the web that people are un-clear about how to make and use “quick templates.” When using large foundations, things go most smoothly when the cut patches resemble the finished shape. Since such patches are generously over-sized, the “quick templates” used to cut them don’t have to be exactly accurate. The idea is to get “in the ballpark”—and the sooner (and easier) the better!

That’s why you can just quickly trace the patch shapes on the pullouts onto freezer paper. Label for quantity and color and cut quickly apart and sort. Iron the “quick templates” to the wrong side of your fabric leaving about 1 inch between the paper shapes.

Tip: Some people have trouble estimating the gap, so cut a strip of paper about an inch wide and use it to check the gap before you iron the “quick templates” down.

Lay out the patches so they fill a strip or rectangle that is easy to cut. Do the math and figure out how many layers of cloth you’ll need to cut all the patches at once. You can even measure your un-cut fabric to be sure you have adequate yardage beforehand.

Stack a layer of fabric (all wrong side up with the templates on top) and cut between the “quick templates” and you’ll be ready to start sewing. The accuracy is all in the foundation lines, so you can use this quick method to “pre-shape” over-sized patches.>

Corrections Most of the errors in the book become obvious when you compare the patterns at the back of the book with some of the instructions. You can save time figuring it out if you’ll note the following changes.

  • Page 30: Four Quarters Sampler, right column, Diamond-in-the-Square Cutting directions, Step 2 for both Block I and Block II; "Cut 18 dark blue squares 3-5/16" x 3-5/16" (not 5-3/16")" and "Cut 18 dark turquoise squares 3-5/16" x 3-5/16" (not 5-3/16")".
  • Page 36: Left column, Step 1, last sentence should read "On freezer paper draw a 7-1/4" circle template."
  • Page 37: Right column, Cutting for Foundation Piecing, step 3 should read "Cut 65 squares, 2-1/8" x 2-1/8".
  • Page 40: The width measurements of the bands are correct, but the lengths are wrong. These corrections should be noted in your book:
    • Band A cutting size is correct
    • Band B cutting size should be 3-5/16" x 26"
    • Band C should be 3-5/16" x 28-13/16"
    • Band D cutting size is correct
    • Band E cutting size should be 3-5/16" x 40-1/4"
    • Band F cutting size should be 3-1/2" x 17-5/8"
    • Band G cutting size should be 3-1/2" x 20-5/8"
  • Page 49: In the Carneval Quilt section, the diagram on page 49 is incorrect. Look at Pullout A to see the correct foundation for the top (a) unit.
  • There’s a very squirrel-ly discrepancy between the compass in the text of the Cosmati Rings I quilt and the one on the pullouts of the first edition of the book. It’s difficult to explain, but one compass features 8ths, and the other 6ths. Either one will work, but I’ve inadvertently given you a choice! This website and the C&T website ( have a pattern you can print out to replace the pattern in the Pullout if you wish your quilt will match the example exactly.
  • The diagram in the Pullouts for the St. Peter’s Circle compass is flawed.. The circle is fine, but the background corner is not square. You should make the template about 1/2” bigger on the outside edge. Then, once you have the compass assembled, trim the unit so that is measures 23-1/8” x 23-1/8’ so that it will finish 22-5/8” x 22-5/8” as called for in the directions. If you want the compass to touch the edge of the square, you should enlarge the pattern at a copy shop.

Circles Many of the quilts feature circles and circles on circles in the centers of compasses. To some degree, the size doesn’t matter, so long as the “doughnut hole” is covered. You can add or delete circles, tailor them to fit a pattern in your fabric, or vary the size of the circle band widths.

Cutting out mirror image patches: If you experiment with the design diagrams on the back of Pullout C, you may come up with a design requiring reversed shapes (mirror images). You can quickly cut these out by stacking layers of fabric in layers alternating right side up and right side down before you cut apart the patches. You¹ll have a "left" and "right" for each shape. Psst: This works for all templates that are 1 and 1r, 2 and 2r and so on.

How to while away the time it takes to make hundreds of patches: I love to get unabridged books to "read" while I sew. I used to have a TV in my sewing room, but a "boom box" for tapes/CDs is much better because I can "read" what I want to when I want to and I don¹t waste time looking up at a screen to see what¹s happening. The actors who record books are very talented and stories are more vivid when heard aloud. Most libraries have books on tape and on CD too. Through my library I can even download books on my MP3 player for free.

Correction to Foundations: The first edition of foundations has an error that can easily be corrected. Click here for instructions. I am very sorry about the inconvenience. New editions of the foundations have been corrected.

What¹s in the C&T Foundation packet? Why do I have to trace templates? The packet contains all the oversized foundations required for the quilts. C&T has managed to keep the cost lower than what most copy shops would charge for large copies for just one of the quilts. Foundations for borders or small patchwork are not included in the packet because they can be easily produced on any copier and don¹t require oversized paper. Some buyers have complained that the foundation packet says "no tracing, no copying" while still requiring some templates be traced from patterns in the book. The templates must be cut from freezer paper to use machine appliqué techniques and to mark and stabilize the curved bands before they are sewn. These pieces are not printed on the foundation paper (which is not freezer paper.)

Cosmati Rings Center: While the book shows a 16-point design for the center compass, the pullout pattern has a 12-point version. You need only 6 sections for the center, broken into quarters so the pullout pattern works fine. Here¹s a diagram of how they look before the quarters are joined. (Click on the image for a larger pdf to print).

Cosmati Clarification

Alternately, if you want a 16-point design, make 8 sections with this foundation. (Click on the image for a larger pdf to print).

16 point

©2006 Norah McMeeking