The reason this is a Part One is that I gave up on it for now. The Double Nine Patch block has many teensy squares, and like a twerp of the first order, I went ahead and marked it with the freezer paper/measure seam allowance/chalk up method before I’d finished block one and discovered the flaws inherent in the method. Here is a photo so you can see what went wrong:

Those chalk lines are about to send my sewing line out into orbit!

Okay: you want context. They look kind of okay, right? But no. These squares are very, very small: about 2.5 cm from side to side. Assuming (and if you’re me, it’s a big assume) that you can trace and cut the freezer paper template accurately, then with perfect grace (we’re beginning to see that this is bound to fail, right?) mark the external seam allowance in pen, then make a clean cut around the inside of the pen line so you don’t have pen in your quilt but you do have a straight cut…..

OK, assuming that all goes to plan, you then have to mark your cutting line. This means marking chalk around the freezer paper and trying to keep your sewing line just inside the chalk, where the line of the freezer paper would have been.

I got six patches in and thought… this is going to end in tears. I’m going to get a few millimetres out on each square, and by the time I match up a 15cm block with six small and one large square across each line, this will be a total mess.

I’ve gone back to my books, and I’m going with the middle method of marking: including seam allowances on my templates and then marking backwards with a VERY thin chalk. I just ordered two different chalks, the Chaco Liner (which apparently makes the world’s thinnest chalk line) and a standard Clover Triangle Tailor’s Chalk. Both are coming from Punch with Judy in NSW so shouldn’t take long. Meanwhile I’ll work on blocks with larger bits and mark lightly with grey lead pencil.

Why don’t I use a quilter’s pen? Have you ever seen a masterpiece of a quilt with “invisible” pen lines stuck in there, grinning back at the maker like Cheshire cats who just knocked over Grandma’s vase? I have. I’ve also heard horror stories about lines which went away, only to return years later. I may be a beginner at this, but I am NOT risking those kinds of shenanigans.

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