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.

Many Trips Around The World

There are so many fun quilt blocks to make and never enough time. Here’s another block from Bonnie’s Quiltville Free Quilt Patterns that is so much easier using the AccuQuilt 2 1/2 inch Strip Die. Complete instructions are found on Bonnie’s website in the Scrappy Trips link of the Free Patterns tab. I used this block as a demonstration at a recent presentation and finished it in the wee hours last week just so there wouldn’t be another UFO around here.

Strips can be cut from scraps or a Jelly Roll can be used. I used some half yards and a little yardage that I had on hand. The colors are dark and not my usual preference–but sometimes we use what we have. The overall look is nice though as there are some lights in the batiks that give it a little sparkle.

Blocks were made with five strips stitched into a tube, then the tubes were carefully layered on the 2 1/2 inch strip die and subcut into 2 1/2 inch “tubes”. Once the long tubes were cut into 2 1/2 inch tubes, they were separated at alternating colors to create a block as shown.

2015-08-31 TATW block


Blocks were separated with sashing and the cornerstones were placed to continue the colors that were in the blocks. Click on the images for a larger view and more detail. 2015-08-31 TATW QuiltThis was a fun experiment. I like the use of sashing to provide a symmetrical design. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a scrappy one without sashing?


Strip Twist Shortcuts with AccuQuilt Dies

I love Bonnie Hunter’s Strip Twist Quilt which is a free pattern on Quiltville.com. And while getting ready for a presentation to the Foothills Quilter’s Guild, I found an even easier way to make these blocks using my AccuQuilt GO! 8 inch Half Square Triangle die.

I have made this quilt so many times that I can almost do it in my sleep. It looks complicated, but is so very easy. And when the blocks are placed on point, it is a very dramatic quilt. Here are a couple of photos of finished quilts that I have made with this pattern.


2014-12-27 Strip Twist

Following Bonnie’s instructions for sewing strips together, you will see that she uses four 2 1/2″ strips that are 18-20 inches long and are sewn together for each strip set. These strip sets are then placed right sides together and cut into squares and then cut into half square triangles.

With the 8 inch finished half square triangle die, I was able to cut the half square triangles in one pass on the AccuQuilt Go! cutter so that it saved me a lot of rotary cutting for each square. Not only was it much faster, but the blocks stitched to a consistent size which I had never been able to achieve with rotary cutting.

Here are photos of the process:

1. Layer strip sets on the 8 inch half square triangle die with right sides together and with colors in opposite positions (strip 1 on on bottom layer facing strip 4 on the top layer).  Center strip sets with seams interlocking and strip matching exactly and leaving a small margin on either side of the strip set that will not be cut by the die.

2015-08-23 1200(1)

2. Cut the strip set. You can see in this photo that the triangles have been cut and there is excess fabric cut off only on the end.

2015-08-23 1200(0)

3. Remove triangle sets in pairs as they were cut. You can see from this photo how the block will look when it is sewn.

2015-08-23 1200(2)


And this is a photo of the blocks laid out into a quilt top.This looks different from the others because the first and fourth strip of the strip set are both dark. Usually the strip sets are dark light dark light. This and the black and yellow quilt picture above demonstrate the different looks you can get with this pattern just by changing color placement.

2015-08-23 07.51.02 

Flying Geese–Love it or Not

This quilt is one of those that you either love or you don’t. The colors are very bright and the green and orange and gold make me think of a particular kind of tractor. I’m still not sure whether I like the colors or not. After getting it made I decided it could go to one of the six grandsons. However, yesterday while I was sewing the label on this quilt, the grandson saw a commercial on TV with a dinosaur quilt and his face lit up. He said, “That’s what I want–a dinosaur quilt on my bed.” And no. . . I’m not starting over. . .

This quilt was made because the die that came with my GO! Big is the Flying Geese die. It makes a 3 x 6″ finished block. There were plenty of novelty fabric scraps, so I tried it out. And the geese multiplied. Now there’s enough for a multitude of quilts.

IMG_3527 IMG_3522

These pics are of the quilt top, but the quilt is now quilted, bound, and labelled. More to come about the Flying Geese die and the process I used for cutting and stitching. 

Squaring Blocks with AccuQuilt Dies – Part 2

In the previous post, the blocks that were squared had two sides that were already “square”. Today, I’ll show you how I squared blocks with a diagonal / half square triangle seam. My go to block for comfort quilts or a quick quilt anytime is the Strip Twist block from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com. I use jelly roll strips for it or cut strips from fat quarters. The blocks stitch up quickly and the seams always match perfectly. And while it’s a great scrappy quilt, it takes on a whole different look with coordinated colors or set on point. Here’s a single strip twist block.

01 Strip Twist Block

After the success of squaring up square blocks, I decided to see if I could do a block with a half square triangle seam. And it worked great. After stitching these blocks, for whatever reason, are just slightly wonky and no two are exactly the same size. So, I always square them up to the same size.

I used the 10″ square die for the GO! Big for these photos. But I have also squared this up with the 8-1/2″ square die and the GO! cutter.

I used my Square up ruler to measure the block when it was folded on the diagonal seam line and then I transferred those markings to my die using Painter’s tape. With the ruler on the die, I inserted pins in the foam at the end of the diagonal lines on the ruler and then stretched the Painter’s tape from pin to pin.  (Can you see my reflection on the ruler?)

Square up Ruler on Aligned on Die showing placement of Painter's tape.

Square up Ruler Aligned on Die showing placement of Painter’s tape.

Then I carefully laid two blocks folded in half in each corner = 4 layers, Do not press blocks open until after cutting. The diagonal seam is laid exactly on the line of the tape and the corners are centered beyond the blades.  This is what you have after it is cut. This is the easy peasy way to square these blocks.

Squared up Strip Twist blocks.

Squared up Strip Twist blocks.

And while I used the 10″ square die, this works well with the 8-1/2″ die too. It will all depend on your block size. 

Brick Tee Lap / Comfort Quilt Tutorial

I want to share one of our favorite brick quilts. Sherry wrote these instructions, and I formatted them into a nice one page handout. One of the things I like best about this pattern is the fabric placement of the bricks. The quilt looks great as a scrappy quilt with careful placement of the solid, neutral, and print fabrics. We used 3-1/2 x 6-1/2″ bricks.

Here’s an EQ version of the quilt in three fabrics:

Brick Tee Quilt in EQ

Brick Tee Quilt in EQ

Instructions (link to pdf)

Overall Size: 42” x 60”
Finished Block Size 6 x 9”

Solid:  36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”

Solid Neutral: 36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”

Print: 36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”

Sashing: 210 inches of 3-1/2” strips sewn together

Binding: 210 inches of 2-1/2” strips sewn together.

Cutting: The bricks for this quilt are easily cut with the AccuQuilt GO! 6-1/2″ strip die (55086) and 3-1/2″ strip die (55032).

Sew two 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 bricks together along the long side. Use one print and one solid (or reads as solid).

Sew another solid/neutral to one side vertical to the seam to make a “T”.

Make 36 patchwork blocks. Note that if you want to keep the print bricks in alternating rows, you will place the “T” brick on the opposite end as you stitch as shown:

BrickTBlock2BrickTBlock1Arrange as shown in picture above, alternating the orientation of patches in every other row. Four patches across make one row. Make 9 rows.Add sashing and binding.

Alternate Option using a Jelly Roll: This can also be made with 2-1/2 x 4-1/2″ bricks using one each 42 piece Jelly Roll of coordinated fabrics and fanfolding those jelly roll strips across the 4-1/2″ AccuQuilt GO! strip die (55054). This would require seven blocks across and ten blocks down for a total of 70 blocks and 210 each 2-1/2 x 4-1/2″ bricks.

Quilt as desired.



Saving a Special Quilt from Fire Damage

On March 28, 2015, my brother’s house was destroyed by fire. And I do mean destroyed–there was almost nothing left. Many things were literally vaporized, never to be seen again. Fortunately, all of the humans and four-legged fur creatures were safe and sound, although my sister-in-law and nephew made it out without even their shoes. Miraculously, some of the many quilts that were made by my grandmother, mother, and myself were salvaged. They were in cedar chests which were scorched on the outside, but the quilts inside survived with minor damage. Those cedar chests were on the top story of this house, which is gone. This is a back view of the house just after the fire.

View from the back-600


One of the favorite quilts that I had given them was displayed on a chair in the front entry. It was damaged, but not completely destroyed. And it’s a salvage project that I will work on this summer. There is still fabric in my stash from the original quilt. The quilt aged significantly from the fire and subsequent cleaning, so the fabrics will not match exactly. This is what it looks like now.

Full view of quilt damaged by fire.

Full view of quilt damaged by fire.

There are six blocks on the bottom half of the quilt that survived intact. The goal is to make a wall hanging from those blocks. Because of the damage to the binding, the edges will be trimmed a bit, but the wall hanging may exist with even some of the damage intact.

Here’s a closeup of damage to the binding–and in the full picture, you can see along the sides and bottom edges how the binding is frayed.

binding detail-600

And this is a picture showing the quilting I had done on this quilt. It was all done free-hand on my old Nolting Hobby Quilter.

quilting detail-600


And I would like to express my appreciation to the community of support for my brother and his family which has been incredible. I have never seen anything like the level of support they have received from friends, neighbors, and even members of the community they didn’t know very well before. 

Patience Corners-Squaring the Blocks

Patience Corners has been around a very long time and there are many ways to make this block. Using the border method shown here, the blocks are cut into four and squared and then stitched together again. I am compulsive about squaring my quilt blocks and making sure that each block is exactly the same size before stitching into a quilt top. That top needs to be flat and square before it goes on my longarm.

Squaring blocks with a rotary cutter is tedious at best so I’ve been looking for a better way. And voila!– I found it with my AccuQuilt GO! square die. Because two sides of the block are perfectly squared already from the first cut, only two sides have to be straightened.

First I used a ruler and marked the 8 inch square die with Painter’s Tape. With the ruler laid exactly in place on the die, I placed the Painter’s tape straight along the edge of the ruler as shown. You can see that I have marked the die multiple times for other purposes too; but more recently have found that Painter’s tape is an excellent marker, does not affect the cutting, and removes quickly and easily.

01-8in square die-sm

After marking the die, the quilt block was split into four. You can see that the inner corners are perfectly squared already.


I took two corners of the block and stacked them matching the straight edges perfectly and laid them on the die. The straight edges are aligned with the Painter’s tape.


And notice that I’m using a very old mat but aligning it just with the outer edge of the fabric so I can get good use out of the good areas that are left on this mat.

04-PC-mat on die 600

And here it is after cutting with the AccuQuilt GO!


And I stack them and keep squaring until they’re all finished and ready to stitch.06-PC-stacked ready to stitch 600

Before beginning stitching, I take a different number of blocks from the top on three of the stacks and move them to the bottom so that each block has four different fabrics.

This really made quick work of squaring those blocks and made me sooooo happy.

Have a great day and do some happy stitching! 

Patience Corners with the AccuQuilt GO! 8″ Square Die

I have been doing some experiments with the 8 inch square Accuquilt GO! die. It cuts a square that is 8-1/2 inches and finishes at 8 inches. This die is very useful for squaring blocks to 8-1/2 inches and for cutting longer jelly roll strips to 8-1/2 inches long for the Strip Twist pattern. But what else can it do?

One of my favorite patterns is Patience Corners. It looks wonderful with any combination of fabrics and is a great way to use up charm squares or 6-1/2 inch squares. I decided to try using the 8 inch die to make Patience Corners. The combination of the 8 inch finished square and the 2-1/2 inch strip die was a perfect combination.

I usually make the Patience Corners block as a colored square with two strips on either side. This time I added strips all the way around the block and then cut it into squares. The strips were cut with the 2-1/2 inch strip die.

To cut the strips, I cut an 8-1/2 inch width of fabric strip and fan folded it across the 2-1/2 inch strip die. I also cut a 12-1/2 inch width of fabric and fan folded that across the 2-1/2 inch strip die. These 2-1/2 inch strips fit the 8-1/2 inch square perfectly. This is the block I made:

8 in square AccuQuilt GO! die

Patience Corners with 8 inch square AccuQuilt GO! die

And then I cut it into four squares. That was pretty easy to do because I measured exactly 4 inches from the the seam of the strips and the block. I drew lines where I cut the block as you can see below:

8in square PC cut

And then I rearranged and stitched the resulting four blocks into the Patience Corners block:

8in square to finished block

And the result was this quilt which I made using novelty prints that were in my stash. It’s a great ispy quilt for a little one:

8in Patience Corners 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Last night was our “Yard Sale” for our Quilt Guild. At the end of the evening, there was a Show and Tell of the 24 Comfort Quilts that members have made over the last month for patients at the Cancer Center. It is super inspiring to see the beautiful quilts that are made as donation quilts. One of those quilts really caught my eye, and I just had to draw it in EQ to see how hard it would be to make. It gives the illusion of a plaid, but I also thought it could be made up as a scrappy quilt too. Here are some pictures. I think you will see how she made it.

This would work up in a flash with my AccuQuilt GO! 2-1/2″ strip cutter and the 4-1/2″ strip cutter.

Barbara's Four Patch


Here’s an EQ graphic of it in green–Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

And this is a diagram of how it’s put together. It is a row of 4″ light square and 4-patch alternating beginning and ending with the light 4″ (finished) square. And a second row of 4″ dark square and 4-patch alternating beginning and ending with the four patch.

Four Patch Rows


Just for good measure – here’s a scrappy one in bright Spring colors.

Scrappy Four Patch

Have a Happy Day! 

Holiday Recipes Blog Blitz — Sand Tarts

Welcome to the Holiday Recipes Blog Blitz hosted by SewCalGal. The recipe I am sharing today has the most fun name because it’s so cold outside and the name reminds me of sunny summer beach days. This is the perfect recipe for the holidays because we bake one pan of these cookies and still have more left to bake on another day. The dough is made into rolls that go in the refrigerator and when it’s time for cookies and milk, we just slice them, add the cinnamon and nut topping and bake them.

Just a little recipe history: I received this recipe from a neighbor over 30 years ago. The recipe was double the one below and written in pounds (my neighbor had previously been stationed in Papua New Guinea). I converted it to cups and halved the recipe. In addition, I added the almond flavoring because we like that flavor in our family, and it allows me to bake them as sugar cookies with no topping or with sprinkles when I’m in a hurry.

SPECIAL NOTE: When you use sprinkles, remember that you can get natural food color sprinkles at food stores like Whole Foods. None of us should be consuming the artificial colors allowed in this country by the USDA. And we should ask for natural food color sprinkles and natural food color at our regular grocery stores too. 

Click the recipe card for a downloadable pdf file that you can save to your computer. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one!

Sand Tarts recipe



This year, I have been trying to organize all my recipes as well as reduce that messy shelf that contains not only cookbooks but lots of loose paper (that didn’t get into the loose recipe binder), and all those little recipe books that come with appliances and have great information about how to use them. My solution has been a pdf scanner that scans quickly and creates searchable text so that I can find things easily. Thus my recipe shelf is slowly, but surely becoming a Dropbox recipe folder.

I love this because I have collected several wonderful community cookbooks over the years. Many of them were created before we had computers (my childhood :)) and the recipes were indexed but still very hard to find. By taking these cookbooks apart and scanning them into an OCR text pdf, I now have a way to search for the blueberry cobbler recipe or I can even search by the name of the contributor–like Aunt Abby’s sugar cookies.

And if you’re looking for recipe software, there are a couple of great ones out there. I use Living Cookbook because the most recent version has a way to share recipes in the cloud. This makes for a great way for families and friends to share recipes. What I love most about Living Cookbook is that I can copy and paste into the Capture menu and it converts the recipe into a written recipe in the software. Master Chef also gets great reviews.

Now go visit the other blogs on the tour–and have fun!

Stitch This (Martingale)
Leah Day – The Free Motion Quilting  Project
Wendy Sheppard  (Ivory Spring)
Marjorie Busby (Blue Feather Quilt Studio)
Jeannette Jones (Inchworm Fabrics)
Barb Gaddy (Bejeweled Quilts)
The Electric Quilt Company (Behind The Mouse – The Electric Quilt Blog)
Hoffman California Fabrics’ Creative Canvas blog

Merry Christmas