They're cheap and you can find them in numerous stores. Every quilter needs one and it works like a charm on the bulkiest seams... I recommend placing a piece of garbage fabric over top of what you are going to whack because it can actually leave black metal staining...
Okay, I didn't actually use my hammer today though, believe me, I was sorely tempted. And I have been known to pull it out when making pillow cases. (I'm not kidding about using a piece of garbage fabric over what you are hitting.)
I started joining my Shady Lane blocks today. I put a lot of thought into how to place my four patches to avoid bulky seams, and all that brain effort worked out beautifully. But it didn't occur to me to think about the seams in the sashing strips. I should have ironed towards the neutral on half the sashing strips. There's six layers of fabric at the corners where the two brown angles meet. I'm hoping that ironing the joins flat will help. Now I know I have to make this pattern again, if only to put everything I've learned about this one into effect.
I finished joining the blocks to make six rows. I even took the extra time to pin all the seam joinings before sewing. Normally I just sew and tug as I go, but the extra time in pinning was definitely worth it. It ensured that everything butted up nicely. I decided to put off joining the rows until tomorrow. I can feel my energy sagging right now and that suggests the potential for making mistakes is growing. I want to make sure I don't sew two same fabrics together as I join the rows. And I want to take the time to pin all the seams as I go.
I've enjoyed the everything goes scrappy approach to making the 4-patches and 16-patches for this project. There is something very liberating about not caring what colours or fabrics line up with each other. The 2" strip bin is still full to overflowing though. Deanna of Wedding Dress Blue Blog (a sister Stashbuster) has a tutorial for a 100-patch quilt block that I'm considering as a future everything goes scrappy project.
Speaking of scraps... I put in about 20 minutes of scrap trimming today. The pile of ironed scraps doesn't look any smaller yet.