Quilting Studio Archaeology

Mondays I am off work from my pay-the-bills-job and I thought this Monday would be a great day to do a little Quilt Studio clean up (or archaeological digging).

Quilting for over 16 years, I have acquired quite a bit of quilting paraphernalia to include templates, rules, quilting aids, tools, and well…quilting thinga-ma-bobs. I thought I was fairly organized and diligent on cleaning out the stuff I no longer use, but then today I remembered the cabinet in my sewing desk where I had shoved a bunch of rulers and templates.

The cabinet now empty but once filled with curious archaeological finds

Crafters, you know what I am talking about when I mention those rulers, templates, tools that you were (suckered?) required to buy for a class or a specific project. You have never used them again but you are not sure if you should part with them.

If it wasn’t for a class then it was from a demo you saw at a quilt shop, retreat or conference that you thought “why yes, I definitely need that”. Or maybe it was something given to you by a friend who finished their project, gave you the pattern that they were NEVER GOING TO DO AGAIN and the accompanying special ruler or template.

Keep all that in mind as I show you what was unearthed today during my “Quilt Studio Archaeological Dig” (and don’t judge – ha!):


Oh look I have never used Thangles in a nice variety of sizes!

Yes, they are actually called “Thangles” and they are used as a shortcut to making “half square triangles”(HSTs). I purchased them when I lived in Seattle, likely in the early 2000s when I saw them demo’d at a quilt shop.

I have made a zillion (okay I am exaggerating, perhaps only a million) HSTs over the years and never once (never) have I thought about the Thangles I was storing for posterity in my cabinet. Imagine if I had actually used this tool as it was intended! Perhaps it would have made a couple sets of HST’s quicker.

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates

Are these collectible?

A burning question plagues me (a question besides why the heck did I buy these?): Why do I have Set A, Set B and Set D, but no Set C? Was Set C too controversial to purchase? Or by the time Set C came out did I decide it was silly to buy anymore sets I have never used but had a moment of weakness when Set D came out and bought it anyway?!?!

Great and mysterious question to ponder…

Rulers Gone Wild!

Oh so many rulers only used once (or never).


I was going to lay them all out and take a photo of them, but right now I am in denial so I merely placed them all in a basket for now. I am simply going to keep them all in sight, out on my cutting table for now, and continue to pretend like I might use them someday.

Just for fun, here is a list of some of the likely useful and likely very obscure rulers in my collection:

  • Easy Diamond Template (never used)
  • Easy Heart Template (never used)
  • EZ Quilting Hexagon Shapes (never used)
  • 60 degree Diamond (never used)
  • Quilt Sense Rulers (never used, I guess they made so much sense they scared me)
  • Flying Geese Bloc Loc Rulers (I am really going to use these someday, maybe)
  • Fons & Porter Binding Tool (if my friend Lisa is reading this, enjoy the private joke now about my quilt binding skills)
  • Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Corner Trimmer (yikes all these years I have let my corners go un-perfectly trimmed!)
  • A whole slew of Kaye Wood rulers (I do not want to talk about my Kaye Wood obsession in my early days of quilting and just how many of her rulers I purchased…and never used)
  • A Girl’s Best Friend Diamond Cut Ruler (obviously not one of my best friends as I have never used it)
  • Easy Circle Cut (never used)
  • Japanese Jigsaw Ruler (well a friend of mine DID make a quilt with this ruler, does that count?)

That’s enough I cannot bear to list anymore. Honestly though, I cannot bear to part with any of these never used rulers. I still plan to use them all – SOMEDAY!  (Note I do have at least double the amount of rules I just listed which I have actually used or used at least once).

Have any of you discovered any dusty ancient gems in your crafting room lately during an archaeological dig?


One of my readers asked for some photos of food from the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) I mentioned in my previous post. I just started the FMD today but here are photos of breakfast and lunch:

Breakfast of steel cut oats and blueberries
Lunch of a turkey bacon wrap on a spelt tortilla (yup I was hungry while photographing and couldn’t resist a bite!)

No, no I am not going to post photos of every meal I have for the 28 days of the FMD. At a later date I will do a post about it and share more meal images for anyone who is curious.

Featured image photo credit – Russell Hugo, free

46 thoughts on “Quilting Studio Archaeology”

  1. I bought lots of things like this when I was briefly into traditional quilting, before I recalled that I actually am good at math and the various formulae for HSTs and QSTs and seam allowances didn’t stymie me. THEN, I decided I didn’t need rulers at all. So I donated all of them back to the donation fabric store where I volunteer, and watched happily as other people came up to the counter and snapped them up! As long as we can keep the stuff moving from user to user, I think we are okay!

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  2. I was lucky. Early in my quilting I had a class about Rulers I Have Come to love. Instructor recommended 6 1/2-inch square and 12 1/2-inch square, 6 1/2 x 24 1/2 and Tri Recs. Period. I did slip and buy a few more after seeing demos (A couple I have passed along, some I’ve used once and plan to use again (famous last words).

    Something still hanging around–maybe to become vitage?–is a set of basic shape metal templates for tracing around. Remember those days or did you start after even piecing was by hand and we cut with scissors?

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    1. I started in either 1999 or 2000 and rotary cutting and rulers were the rage. There was a quilt shop outside of Seattle I favored that was into templates and had a block of the month using those Marti Michell templates- I still have the block patterns and for kicks should make them!

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  3. Love your blog Tierney, it is always a wonderful way to start my day! I too have “Thangles”…never quite sure why I felt I needed them!

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    1. Twila – you know we have to try and use our Thangles for something now. Then we can create a special Thangles language like- “Hey Tierney I was thangling today or that was thanglicious”! Thanks for reading and hopefully I have not now scared you off lol…


  4. I guess I should count myself lucky that all the funky gadgets are oh so far away and admiring them from afar hoping to acquire them someday is the closest I’ve come in my obsession. I do have the habit of purchasing Craftsy classes and patterns that I’m still hoping to get to someday though. I had my moment of fashion design obsession and there are various rulers and pattern making stuffs in my collection. Maybe I can reuse some of them in my quilting project whenever that time comes 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your comments and for sharing your obsessions 🙂 I agree Craftsy classes are very tempting. I have at least two I have not completed yet (and they are those long series classes) . Oooh fashion design – hope we get to see some of that on your blog too!

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  5. Great post! I probably rival you with rulers and gizmos. The only difference is that I’ve made 2 quilt tops with thangles back in the early 2000s and I actually use my corner trimmer (when lining up triangles on a straight edge) and I use my binding tool (ha ha) to have an invisible join. Keep these great posts coming. You are inspiring me to declutter.

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  6. Ha! I just cleaned out my years worth of card making/stamping stuff a decided I’d get rid of all of it! Haven’t used any of it since the birth announcements 6 and 1/2 years ago. I thought I’d ship it to my niece who has picked up the hobby, but by the end I’d filled a copy paper ream box and it would probably cost me $100 to ship… So. Now I’m with you. Can’t bear to throw it out. Sigh.

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  7. Fun and funny comments on this one! I never have used Thangles. I learned to quilt without gadgets, mostly because I was dense or sheltered or otherwise protected from a quilter’s worst shopping instincts. I do, however, have a Twister ruler (or set of rulers? — I don’t know, have never opened it.) All my other rulers (about 8 of them) get used. I clean stuff out fairly regularly, and generally if I really don’t think I’ll use it, I donate it when my guild has our auction every couple of years. Things get passed on that way, whether or not anyone else every uses them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! You do not need gadgets to make lovely quilts, glad you did not get sucked into collecting them. I now have to start a project to either use a gadget or give it away! Appreciate your comments and reading my posts 🙂

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  8. Great post, as always! I must’ve missed the post about the FMD. I will have to backtrack!
    The food looks good!

    As for unearthing things in the craft room…I haven’t done any of that lately. However, I AM decluttering. I’ve resumed my work on “papers” in the KonMari system. Along the ways, I’ve found all sorts of strange things and crafting stuff that belongs in my craft room upstairs…I’ve sent almost all of that up there to at least get it it in the correct room, but now I’m terrified to go in there! LOL. After “papers” will come “komono” which will include the craft room so I guess you will just have to be in suspense as to my odd finds. LOL

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      1. Yes. Don’t know if you remember or not, but I was interrupted in the KonMari process (for a variety of reasons) and had to temporarily stop. The holidays didn’t help either. Anyway, it’s amazing what happens when you have to locate tax papers! So I’ve been jump started. I will be finishing up my “home office area” in “papers” this weekend. I am really excited about this since it is probably the #1 or #2 problem area for papers. Everything I have done with papers has stayed done! I do still have some papers that I need to scan, but most of those have left my home and now sitting on the floor beside my work desk. I am slowly scanning a few here and there when I have time, on breaks, etc. I’ve shredded ALOT of papers as well. Shredding is quicker so gets done more often!

        I found the FMD post. I’m sorry I’ve been behind.

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      2. Hey I figure slow progress is better than no progress right 🙂 I am always behind in my blog reading and some posts I just wait a couple days (like sometimes yours) when I can truly relax and read through them. 🙂

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  9. You are a brave woman! I use the old rule: Out of sight, out of mind. I pity the day I have to downsize to a smaller house and have to pull out all my hidden treasures to move them. 🙂 I love reading your posts. Everyone either makes me laugh or I learn something new. All I can say about your ruler obsession is: Oh My. But I think I have as many sewing machines as you have rulers. I have decided that I am the chosen one to save vintage sewing machines from landfills.

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  10. OK, Thangles. They are very useful if a group has a HST swap, as one of mine did, because otherwise you KNOW those HSTs will be many different sizes! The rulers…umm, can’t think of a use for most of those. 😐

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  11. LOL…Actually I have used Marti Michel template sets. I don’t have them in their sets anymore but thrown in with all the other templates I have. I use them mostly to square up with.

    Thank you for liking my blog.

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  12. Lots of laughs and self recognition (denial?), thank you! – I really am going to use all those die cut paper pieces to make millefiori quilts in two different sizes simultaneously; oh yes, I surely am…

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