There are times when I’m quilting that “roughly spherical” is good enough when I don’t mind my quilt looking a little “handmade” shall we say. Other times, though, I want each circle to be lovely and exactly the same as the ones next to it. That’s when I reach for the templates. I have written about templates for quilting with a domestic machine before, and I love that I can choose to be precise when I want to be. I am always on the lookout for a good template or quilting tool, especially when it comes to circles.
I was very fortunate to get my hands on the ProPebbles set by Lisa H. Calle. OK, if by “fortunate to get my hands on” I mean “went out and bought them as soon as she announced them” then that’s closer. I love all her rulers. These templates are really clever! Each ProPebble has two pieces that slots together like a puzzle, and Lisa has a variety of sizes available, ranging in size from 1/2″ up to 2 1/2″.
Each template has two sizes of circles an inch apart. The ProPebble with 1/2″ on it will also have 1 1/2″ on the other side (you can see all available sizes here). So how do you use these?
Th actual piece of the template you stitch around are the two circles that join together and “lock” in the middle. In the image below, they’re the circles in the middle with the 1/4″ guidelines and cross-hairs. To make the smaller circle, you use the circle that has the “V” opening, and to make the large circle, you use the knob-like circle. The circles on the outer edges, which are closed, are the exact sizes the stitched circles will be, and you can use these to audition the size of circle you want, or even to mark directly on your quilt. This is really where the ProPebbles are great! Sometimes, the exact size of the circle is often something you have to eyeball, and having the closed circles on the template makes placement (and decision making!) ridiculously easy.
The sample piece below was quilted by Bethanne Nemesh of White Arbor Quilting, an award-winning longarmer and teacher, and she has really put these templates through their paces.
With the guidelines extending far beyond the edges of the circles, they are also very easy to line up on the guidelines you’re using (either what you’e drawn or using seams). As you can see in Bethanne’s piece, these templates can be used for more than circles, making lovely repeated designs such as clamshell and orange peel. To see a video of Lisa using the rulers, check out her video tutorials, where she explains in detail how to use these. Happy quilting!