Sunday, April 15, 2012

Use It Up ...

Use it up, wear it out; make it do or do without.  This is a Yankee refrain, so grossly overused that it has become a family joke.  But I do follow that mantra; I knew about recycling and composting before I started grade school and I married an almost-professional scavenger (it took me ten years to "train" him to come back from the dump with less than he left with!).  If I think there's a potential future use for a thing I rarely get rid of it (see, there's a difference between hoarding and frugality!).
What do you do with your old quilting rulers?  They do get nicked after awhile and the markings do fade.  I have been putting mine in the bed frame to protect the box spring from kitty claws; today I pulled one and put it to a new use.

I've got my Orange You Glad Bee blocks put together; I finally decided to use hourglass blocks as a border.  Well, they need to finish at 4.5 inches and I was having trouble aligning things to get those points centered correctly.  I had a couple of options:  I could go out to the hardware store and buy plastic and make my own template, I could go out to a quilt shop and get a standard 4.5 ruler, or I could scavenge.  Guess which I chose?

I did not take process pics but here are the basic steps - you can figger it out I'm sure.
1.  SO, you take your beat up old ruler in hand and find the 45 degree marks you need; mark your new borders if needed.
2.  Go out to hubby's workshop and find a good utility knife with a fresh blade.
3.  Using a metal ruler (I used a T-square), score the ruler until your wrist hurts.  I used a C clamp with a small piece of scrap lumber atop the ruler to hold it in place.
4.  Re-clamp the piece so the waste end hangs over the edge of your work table; snap it off (cleanly, if you scored well).
5.  Repeat for the other edges.
6.  Find a piece of sandpaper; wrap it around one of your waste pieces or something else that's nice and straight, and sand down your edges until you feel they're good enough for smooth cutting.

See? A nearly-perfect 4.5 inch square template with the 45-degree marks clearly delineated.
It works!
Whether your motivation is repurposing, saving money or a compulsion to use what's onhand so you can get back to sewing as quickly as possible, keep those old tools in mind - they may be useful in new ways!


  1. you rock. I broke my nice 12.5 inch square rules. well, i stepped on it. I would totally do something like this if I had a husband that had tools. for now, it sits under my sewing desk until I get the guts to chuck it.

  2. Loved catching up on your blog. You are on fire! Love how all your projects have turned out.

  3. Clever Girl!!
    And now I am kicking myself because I tossed a 6.5 inch square ruler last week because after about 8 years I had worn most of the numbers and lines off around the edges! Now I will think twice about tossing something like that!

  4. Great idea! I can't bring myself to toss mine so they're in the rack waiting. For what I don't know but your idea might be a possibility!