Although a little blood on an SPN quilt might not be inappropriate, given that the plaids are supposed to echo Sam's shirts. And maybe I should line the hem with salt or something. :)
Last time, I explained all of the little tiny squares I was going to have to cut. This post is about how I'm doing it. Long ago, when quilts were made out of scraps of clothing fabric (rather than new fabric that was bought for the purpose of being cut into pieces), women would cut templates out of cardboard or whatever else was handy, trace around them on the fabric, and cut them out. This is time-consuming (192 squares of the same size, remember?), but if you're working with scraps and trying to get them the same size, that's what you have to do.
Quilting had largely been replaced by mass-produced bedspreads and coverings by the 1960s (as with many other crafts). But as the Bicentennial approached in 1976, quilting gained a lot of interest as a truly American folk art. (Which is not to say there aren't quilters all over the world, with their own styles and methods, but it is mostly an American craft/art.) But women were also starting to work in greater numbers, and tracing and cutting out templates took too long.
So most quilters today use rotary cutting. There's a self-healing mat that goes on the table (or floor, in my case), which is made of a rubbery material that doesn't split when you cut into it and has a grid of inches over it (plus some 45-degree angle lines to help with cutting triangles). There's a rotary cutter, which is a circular blade on a stick with a guard that goes up and down to keep you from slicing off your fingers (and it is a very sharp blade). And there's a clear plastic ruler with lines going the long way down to eighths of an inch.
The ruler is 3 1/2" wide, so if you're cutting pieces smaller than that, you don't need the grid on the mat. You line up your fabric nice and straight--folding it means you can cut more at once, but it risks curvy lines if the folds aren't absolutely perfect--and match the line on the ruler that corresponds with the width of the piece you want to cut with the edge of the fabric. Like so:
Here, the dotted line is the 2 3/8" line. The cross-lines on the ruler make it easier to line up the fabric, as you can see across the bottom of the piece of fabric.
Then you lean your weight on the ruler and the fabric beneath it to hold it in place while you run the blade up the edge of the ruler and cut a strip of fabric the width you want. You turn the strip the other direction and repeat to get squares.
And that's it! I like to cut fabric while watching TV (though only during commercials if it's SPN), so the mat is on the rug in front of my TV. Leftover bits get saved in a scrap bag, to someday be used in other projects.