Here at Fons & Porter, we certainly do like our templates.
Every pattern we publish is written to ensure you don’t need to buy an acrylic template. Tracing, whether onto cardboard or template plastic, is a tried-and-true method, and you can get great results.
Once you make a quilt using a template—if you’re anything like us—you’ll start imagining all the OTHER quilts you could make with it.
While we dream up even more uses for these templates in future issues, we decided to share a few really creative designs that have impressed us—and maybe provide more options for using a template you already have!
Charmed, I’m Sure
Charm quilts are so perennially perfect, if you make one, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to make another. Which is why we made sure our charm template set included all the basic charm shapes—hexagon, half-hexagon, diamond, kite, triangle, clamshell, and apple core.
Historically, charm quilts feature just one shape repeated over and over with all different fabrics (a delight for die-hard scrap quilters). Quilt lore says that charm quilts should use 1,000 different fabrics—that’s far more of an exception than the rule, but a fun reason to buy more fabric!
We challenged veteran designer Nancy Mahoney to come up with a quilt using as many of the charms as possible, and the result was Rainbow Mosaic. She couldn’t quite get them ALL to work in the design, but you can see she worked in the diamonds, kits, triangles, and half-hexagons. Clever! We featured the quilt on the 2900 series of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting”, and Nancy talked about the approach she used, and offers a few tips on working with the unusual shapes.
It was so much fun being able to combine templates in one quilt, that we made sure to develop our Twisted Triangle template to work in conjunction with the Twisted Pinwheel template. They work great independently, but together create a different swirl! Brighten Up, Buttercup! was just a blast to make, because the two templates fit together all nice and snug. The quilt itself went to a certain young lady who helped us pick the fabrics. Her brother got a quilt, too—Flying to the Stars, which just uses the Twisted Pinwheel template. But first we featured both quilts on an episode of the 3000 series of Love of Quilting! Colleen Tauke shows how the seams come together, and tricks for working with the gentle curve (hint: a stiletto helps!).
My personal favorite template-based design is probably Barbara Eikmeier’s adaptation of the 5” melon template set. The Orange Peel shape is one of my favorites in general, with its sweet pieced curve. Amy Ellis’ Pixie Wings is a perfect example of the lovely shape.
Barb Eikmeier’s quilt design, which we called Orange Peel Two-Step, took the classic shape one step further. As you can watch on the 3100 series of “Love of Quilting”, Barb modified the template with some Glo-line tape and a permanent marker, so that she could create two-toned/two-fabric variation of each. The results are fascinating! By dropping in a cornerstone and sashing between the shapes, you can completely change up the design, while keeping that lovely curve.
If you haven’t given mirror-imaging a shot yet, it’s a technique worth trying; the results are breathtaking. You use a mirror to study the repeats in your fabric (a fabric with a good, somewhat large-scale design is critical; big florals are nice!), and then use your 60-degree diamond template to cut through 6 identical layers.
A diamond shape is probably the best for this kind of technique, because of how the prints come together at the junction. “Luminous” is an apt name for this quilt, we’d say.