Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cutting a Perfect Background Candle Mat Scallop

I have to say, I have the best customers!  I really REALLY appreciate all the thoughtful and kind emails I get from them. 
I welcome any and all questions and always invite customers to please ask for any help they might need along their stitching way. 
I even get questions about how to stitch other designers patterns and I help when I can. 
Recently, it was brought to my attention that perhaps the instructions for creating/tracing the background scallop needs to be more specific.  I’ve done literally hundreds of these scallops in so many different shapes and sizes that it’s a simple, non-thinking process for me but I do have to keep in mind that those of you who are new to this might not find it so easy. 
So, I’m here, right now, to make this step-by-step and easy!
CIMG0609 To get started, you’ll need one of my candle mat patterns, a pencil, and a sheet of Freezer Paper.  
Tear off a sheet of freezer paper that will be large enough to fit the entire background shape …usually about 15” square or so. 
For my patterns, I try my best to have the background shape printed on a legal size sheet of paper( 8.5” x 14”) so that the shape only needs traced twice for the background.
CIMG0622 For those ladies who have downloaded my epatterns or for a few of my patterns where the shape is too large to fit on a legal size sheet of paper, the background shape will need to be traced 4 times to create the background.  Sorry, there’s no avoiding that issue.
CIMG0610 Lay the sheet of freezer paper over the pattern background.  You should be able to easily see the black lines of the pattern through the freezer paper.  If not, then try taping the pattern to a sunny window.
Trace the shape onto your freezer paper.
CIMG0611 Here, you see, I have half the pattern drawn.  At this point you might be tempted to line the straight edge up on the fold of your wool and cut through double thickness of the wool.  DO NOT DO IT!
The wool is too thick to be able to cut it accurately that way.  The pattern needs to be laid out on a single thickness of wool.
Take the little bit of extra time and do this right!
So, flip your sheet of freezer paper to the opposite side …
CIMG0614 Line up the straight edges and draw it once again to create the complete scallop.
If the pattern needs traced four times, just line up all four corners in the center to create the entire scallop.
CIMG0615 Once the pattern is traced, simply rough cut around the drawn shape …
CIMG0616 Take it to your ironing board .  Turn the iron on to the wool setting with NO STEAM.  You need a dry iron for this. 
CIMG0617 With the plastic/shiny side down, and the paper side UP, iron the freezer paper onto your wool.  The center doesn't need much but be sure to iron the edges well so the paper holds well when it’s time to cut. The heat of the iron will warm that plastic coating just enough to stick to the wool.
CIMG0618 Once it’s cool, simply cut the shape along the traced lines.
CIMG0619 See!? We’ve created the perfect scallop shape. 
CIMG0620 The freezer paper peels off easily but be sure to slide your fingers around the edges to loosen first before peeling so that the wool doesn’t stretch. 
This is why I always so highly recommend using freezer paper instead of just pinning the pattern onto the wool. 
Wool stretches so easily, pinning the pattern and cutting just doesn’t give the accuracy that freezer paper gives.  The freezer paper holds that wool tight so there’s no stretching. It’s especially good to use when a lot of detailed shape cutting is required … like my “Jingle Bell Candy Cane” pattern or the “Christmas Sugar Cookie” pattern. Those backgrounds have a lot of twists and turns so a tight holding freezer paper will give you accuracy when cutting.
The traced freezer paper shape can be used over several times too so one tracing can get you sometimes (depending on the wool) 4-5 uses before needed fresh freezer paper.

Ok, I really hope that helps to clarify the instructions for the backgrounds.  As always, I welcome any suggestions that will help me to make your stitching easier. 
Happy Day everyone!



Maureen said...

Clear as a bell! Wonderful pictures and instructions. Thank you :)

Gert said...

Awesome! Thanks for the tutorial!

Bari Jo said...

This was great! Can't wait for my patterns to come in!!! Woo hoo! Thanks also for the heads up on the tutorial on the snowman pattern I bought! :O) Have a great week! Bari Jo

Denise * KKL Primitives said...

I've had problems with my freezer paper sticking to the wool. :(