How I Avoid Templates

I have patience in spades to do many things, but cutting out fabric using templates is not one of them. Traditionally, Endless Chain patterns are made with templates - which means that every piece of fabric in the quilt is cut out individually. The way I avoided templates while making Catena was to paper piece. Now I'm not saying that paper piecing is any less of a pain-in-the-neck than using templates. It's just a different kind pain that I can tolerate, while template cutting is not.

Drafting a pattern was the hardest part of the process. First I used a hexagon ruler and traced it on a piece of paper. Next, I had to be reminded of my high school geometry to figure out the angles and how to divide the hexagon into 12 wedges. Luckily I have smart friends who remember those things and helped me out.

I cut the hexagon in half and added a 1/4 inch seam allowance around each piece. Now is a good time to make a few photocopies of the pattern. I had to remake the 1/4 inch pattern more than once because I kept using up the last one. Which is why this example looks like it was copied onto scrap paper. Because it was!Then I paper pieced the two halves, using the two fabrics. I alternated the fabrics around the wheel. I won't explain how to paper piece because I am sure there are a million tutorials/books/articles that explain how to do it much better than I can.

I sewed the two halves together and ripped the paper off of the back, and felt a big sense of accomplishment.

Finally, I a circle was appliqued onto the center. And I had a block. The beauty of the circle is that if your points do not come come quite together in the center, it doesn't matter. The circle covers that.

One down, many more to go to make the chain endless.