About Marjorie Busby

My blog is about helping other quilters learn to use great tools in their quilting through what I can teach and through finding other bloggers who have good information. In addition, I am a mother and grandmother. Other hobbies include any other stitchery which makes me happy at the moment. My profession is as a registered dietitian, and I have worked in clinical research for most of my career. I am now retired and enjoying every minute.

Mr. Potato Head and more

Today’s post is about using the Brother Scan N Cut and novelty fabric motifs. The entire post can be found at a new blog area that I created that is specifically for projects and tutorials using/creating precut shapes and machine embroidery applique. I have added a link on the menu bar to that new blog area for those of you who are interested in machine embroidery, digitizing applique, and have either a die cutting system or one of the electronic cutters like the Silhouette Cameo or Brother Scan n Cut.

Recently I gave a talk at Electric City Quilters Guild in Anderson, SC. One of the members there showed me a beautiful quilt she made for her granddaughter using a Princess novelty fabric. She cut the motifs out and appliqued them onto the blocks. I think this could very loosely be called broderie perse. While the motifs are not fussy cut like real broderie perse, it is a patterned motif appliqued to a background.

On my way home I stopped at Mary Jo’s and happened to see an adorable Mr. Potato Head fabric on the sale table. This was the perfect opportunity to try to fussy cut the motifs with the Brother Scan N Cut.

More . . .


Antique Quilt Treasure

Yesterday was a most challenging and successful adventure in quilting an antique quilt. When I got the top I knew it had issues like fragile fabric and seams that had pulled apart. I also knew that it was set on point and that all the setting triangles had bias edges that curved outard. But I didn’t realize that it was more than five inches longer along the edges than it was in the middle. The original plan was to add borders to straighten up those setting triangles and repair all the seams that had piled apart. This is a hand pieced top.

Well–the best laid plans of mice and men. . . I called the quilt owner and told her it was much more work and would be much more expensive to finish than my original quote. She gave me the go-ahead and I proceeded. I loaded the back and backing and gently laid the top on the frame. With lots of pins and gathering the edges with hand basting I got the whole quilt flat against the back and machine basted. Here are pics of the before and after. These are not pics of the same areas because I only took pics near the end of the basting and I haven’t gotten there with the quilting.

I am using a quilting design of my own called ‘Kes’ as I knew it would give good stabilization and even coverage with a neutral design that would be fitting for any era.

Do you think this looks like a “modern” quilt with the stars set inside chevrons?

Before basting

Before basting


After basting and quilting

After basting and quilting


Log cabin quilts

Recently on the AccuQuilt Facebook group there has been a discussion about log cabin quilts. And particularly about curved log cabins. It’s one of my favorite quilt blocks. I thought I would revisit the curved log cabin with cutting diagrams for 8 inch and 10 inch finished blocks that can be cut with the 1-1/2″ and the 2″ strip cutter dies.

This is a curved log cabin that I made 15 or more years ago–I still love it.

Curved Log Cabin Quilt

Curved Log Cabin Quilt

To create these cutting charts I used EQ software and printed out the rotary cutting instructions. Then I used the text tool to write the cutting instructions on the quilt block set into a one block quilt layout. Click on the image to download the pdf file for the 8″ and the 10″ blocks.

LC-curved-8in finished

8 inch finished curved log cabin block

LC-curved-10in finished

10 inch finished curved log cabin block

A curved log cabin can’t be cut with the log cabin die, so you would need to follow the method shown in this Youtube video.

Strip Twist on Point

I received a comment from MaryAnn yesterday asking for the pattern for the Strip Twist on Point. My friend Sherry found a picture of this and wanted to make it as a wedding gift for her son. When we googled it, the only pattern that could be found has been out of print for many years. It’s a design I had played with in EQ7 (who says great minds don’t think alike), so we gave it a try and found that it is Bonnie Hunter’s exact Strip Twist pattern but is set on point. Setting it on point is the only change. To get the beautiful color layout, the strips have to be placed exactly with one strip set going from dark to light and the second strip set going from light to dark. When the strip sets are joined into blocks, the layout becomes apparent.

Follow Bonnie’s instructions to the point that the blocks are made. Then create your layout on-point and you will have the beautiful gradations in color.

Here is a diagram of the block layout to help you see how this works.

Strip Twist Block Layout

Strip Twist Block Layout

And this is Sherry’s finished quilt (from her Facebook post) so you can see how she used different widths of strips to get the effect she wanted.

Sherry's Strip Twist

Sherry’s Strip Twist on Point

This photo is from the experiments Sherry and I did in January. You can see that it would have been better to have blocks all the way to the corner (half blocks) rather than plain setting triangles. But it was just an experiment. . .


I hope this inspires you to go out and make a gorgeous quilt. If you do, please send a picture. 

Great Video for Making a Stencil

This is a great video showing how to make a quilting stencil using the Silhouette Cameo. A stencil like this could be used for hand quilting. It would also be a great way to make a stencil for marking for free motion or freehand longarm quilting.

This video is by Margaret Wilburn at her blog “Crazy4Cutters


T-shirt quilt layout

Today is a continuation of the t-shirt quilt that I started last week. Over the weekend, the shirts were cut to size. Normally, they are cut into 14 inch squares. As I started cutting these, I realized that because the shirts were almost all small or extra small size that the blocks would need to be smaller. Thus, for the first time on a t-shirt quilt I cut all the blocks to 12-1/2 inches. There are some t-shirt quiltmakers that always use a 12 inch square, but in the past it seemed that a great deal of the logo could be cut off. However, since styles have changed and these shirts are more recent, the 12-1/2 inch square works on this one.

For layout, I lay the shirts out on a bed or on the floor and begin arranging until I am satisfied. With the number of shirts for this one — 16, it’s a pretty easy layout of 4 x 4 blocks. I played with 3 x 5 and combining some blocks but in the end I think the 4 x 4 will work best. That gives a final size of 58 x 58 inches with 2 inch sashing between the blocks.

I use my phone camera to record possible layouts so that when I get to the machine, it’s easy to double check the arrangement of shirts. Here are some possible layouts. Remember, this is just to get an idea of how the eye will travel with the shirt colors–it will look very different with the sashing added between the shirts.

Which layout do you like best?

2014-04-28 alt t-shirt layout (Small)

2014-04-28 t-shirt4x4 (Small)


Stabilizing the t-shirts

Yesterday most of the t-shirts were stabilized. Just a few tips about fusing. I have used parchment paper over the years for fusing because the teflon sheets seemed to add puckers. It’s probably just the way I did it, but that’s what happened. Then I saw an article about the Goddess pressing sheet and bought a very large one. And wow, that is a great pressing sheet and works better than anything else I have ever had. The parchment paper seems to leave a residue on the press, and the Goddess pressing sheet does not.

Sometimes the print on the t-shirt gets a little soft when it gets hot. This is especially true of those that have large areas of color and are a little stiff. The way I handle those is to press them and then let them cool completely before removing the pressing sheet. If I remove the pressing sheet when they’re hot, some of the color may stick to the sheet. If it’s cool, no problem.

I noticed yesterday that I needed a much hotter press for the sweatshirts than for the t-shirts. I usually keep my press at about 325 degrees for the t-shirts, but it needed to be 375 for the sweatshirts.

Here’s a quick t-shirt quilt show:

This t-shirt quilt was made for a friend who had run the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta for 30 years. Three months after this quilt was finished, he passed away while on an evening run. He loved this quilt so very much in that short time that it has always made me very glad that I had made it.

2010-10-Steve Luck t-shirt quilt_002-600


This quilt was made for my son-in-law with t-shirts he painted at summer camp along with a few other t-shirts.

2010-03-03 t-shirt quilt JG_001-600


This t-shirt quilt hangs in the Institute of Government at UNC as a memorial to a much-loved professor there.

2010-04-23-t-shirt quilt_022-600

This t-shirt quilt is my daughter’s and has t-shirts from her years as a ballerina.

2010-05-17 KAB Ballet t-shirt quilt_000-600 

T-Shirt Quilts–cutting and stabilizer

Someone asked on Twitter last night about how to make a t-shirt quilt–try getting that into 140 characters–so I thought I’d share the process I use for making a t-shirt quilt. About 3 months ago my daughter shipped a box to me of t-shirts that she had in storage and wanted to reduce to have made into a quilt. The box sat in the middle of my office for awhile and then I sat down one night while watching TV and cut them up.

The way I cut up t-shirts is that I cut up each side and across the shoulders so that I have a whole front and back. Then I cut off the sleeves and cut out the neck. If the neckline is something like a polo or Henley shirt, I leave that in place until after the shirt has been stabilized. Later I will replace the bulky placket with some plain fabric from the tail of the shirt. Or, if there is an extra logo somewhere on the shirt, I’ll replace it with that. The shirt has to be stabilized first before doing any stitching on it.

The most important thing is to keep the fabric you’re working with larger than your finished block size of 14″. Remember that you can cut things off AFTER it’s stabilized. But it’s very hard to stabilize if it’s cut to size first. 

If the front and back both have logos, I keep both of them. If one side is completely plain, I throw it away or put it in the rag bag for those who work on cars around here. Even if the back has a small logo, it can be used in case an extra block is needed. Small shirts can have borders added. Sock tops and small logos can be combined into a single block. If there is a small logo/date on the back or front of a shirt, or a date on a sleeve, that small piece can be stabilized and stitched onto the shirt front.

My goal is to have 14″ blocks to stitch into my quilt. Here’s a picture of some of the shirts my daughter sent. One has crystals in it–that’s going to be difficult to quilt around, and she sent a pair of socks. Some of these shirts are very small so will be combined into a single block or have some border rows to bring them up to size.


Tomorrow I’ll talk about stabilizing the shirts. I use something called French Fuse which is a nylon tricot interfacing. This is also called Easy Knit interfacing. I found it on Joann’s website, but they’re out of stock. I did find it on Amazon.com–of all places–they must have everything :) When looking for this, key “knit interfacing” into the search box and you will get results.



Counting Monkeys

Do you ever make quilt blocks from book panels? I love to make children’s quilts–my grandchildren have far too many quilts–if that’s possible. There is one grandson who absolutely loves monkeys, so when I saw this panel in the AQS fabric shop I had to have it for him. The rest of the fabrics are from my stash, but I made a trade with someone who pieced the top for me. And now that the Mother’s Day quilts have been quilted for customers, I’m quilting this for that little one who is growing up much too fast and will be wanting superhero quilts instead of monkeys very soon.

The sashing strips were cut with my AccuQuilt GO. The interesting part of it was that the panel blocks were about 3/8″ shorter than they were long. That made cutting those sashing strips a bit tricky. Cutting sashing strips on the lengthwise grain is always the best way to go though, as there is much less stretch than cutting on the crossgrain. And it makes it easy to fanfold those pieces across a strip die and cut a lot of sashing strips in one pass. Having strip cutters has really changed the way I put quilts together–for the better I think.

I am quilting it with a pantograph called Monkey Jungle from Urban Elementz. I reduced the size of the design to 8 inches so the monkeys are fairly small and I have to go slow to quilt it, but it’s looking great so far.



IMG_5422-600 IMG_5419-600


Beautiful Quilt–just a peek

Today’s post is a teaser for Sherry. Finished her quilt this weekend, and it turned out beautifully. This one was a challenge in choosing a quilting design so I finally chose lines that were similar to the patterns in the batiks. The piecing is the piece de resistance on this quilt, so the quilting really needed to be less obvious. And I think that was achieved in the area of the piecing, but am not as happy that I did it edge to edge, as it might have looked nicer with a more neutral treatment in the borders–or at least a thread that matched the border fabric. However, we can second guess ourselves forever — so I have decided to be happy with it the way it is. The quilting design is called “Greener Grass” and it is one I designed several years ago based on my own freehand quilting.