It's funny how there are certain things that just can't be committed to memory and for me, this is the case with figures. I have trouble remembering all kinds of figures; telephone numbers, important dates, address, ages, even my own age! Whenever someone asks how old I am, I have to do the math and sometimes with questionable results!!!
So it just figures, no pun intended, that when quilting, which is by the way my favorite activity, there is a constant barrage of questions to which the answers are unfortunately, figures:
- I need a 10'' cut of fabric. How much yardage is that?
- I want this to be a full size quilt. How big should it be?
- I have three strips at 2 5/8'' wide and 7 at 3 1/4''. What will the width be when these are sewn together with 1/4'' seams?
When quilting, the need make mathematical calculations is seemingly endless and to complicate matters, here in the U.S. we use the English system. No user friendly base ten decimal system for us, give us the impossible to remember, completely incompatible and calculator unfriendly system of fractions! Fractions, combined with having no head for figures, and you have a quilter who is nearly out of business, or who was, until now. Allow me to introduce to you, the Quilters Reference Cards!
These four little cards provide instant answers to the usual questions that are encountered while quilting. In addition, they bridge the gap between fractions and the calculator. Print yourself a set of free reference cards, and no longer will you need pencils, scratch paper and that old high school math book. Let's take a closer look each card.
With the Fractions to Decimals card, you can easily make conversions from fractions to decimals, then use your standard calculator to do the math. Let's practice by adding three, 2 5/8'' strips together. Start by converting the 5/8'' to a decimal. Look on the handy reference card and you'll find that the answer is .625. Now, let's do the math on a calculator:
2.625 x 3 = 7.875
Check back with the chart and find that .875 equals 7/8'' so the answer to our question is 7 7/8''. How easy is that?
Another fun characteristic of the English system is that fabrics are sold in fractional increments of yards. And what is fun about yards? Yards are based on feet (thirds of yards) and better yet, on inches (thirty-sixths of yards). Fun indeed! Now you can use the handy Yards to Inches card to simplify these complicated conversions. Example: you need 23'' of fabric, look on the chart and find that 23'' just 1/2'' more than 5/8 of a yard so move along on the chart and find that you need to buy 2/3 of a yard to have enough fabric. Simple!
Well, there is a good bit of controversy here but I did my best to calculate some averages for quilt sizes as well as for prepackaged batting. No math for you to do here, this is just a simple reference card that identifies what I have found to be typical. Certainly, if you are making a quilt that is block based or based on some other finite increment, by all means, consider this a guide and adjust accordingly.
U.S. mattress and pillow sizes are thankfully, a little but more regular than quilt and batting sizes. This quick reference is self explanatory and will be sure to come in handy from time to time.
To download a complementary .pdf of my Quilter's Reference Cards, simply follow this link to my Dropbox site. All four cards print on one page. You can leave them together or cut them apart.