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 
 

Snail’s Trail Take Two

Just wanted to show a couple more layouts for the Snail’s Trail block. I am sure there are many more, so as not to let a single image limit our possibilities. I can remember when I first taught my children to sew. When they looked at a pattern in the pattern book, the only thing they saw was the actual picture. It took a lot of discussion for me to convince them that they would be using fabric that they chose and making the garment in their own style.

The first image shows the block as an “economy” or “Square in a Square” block layout. The blocks are done in a positive/negative alternating arrangement. This doesn’t look like a Snail’s Trail at all, but the cut pieces are the same.

Snail's Trail

And this is a fun layout and requires two different blocks that are mirror images of each other as well as particular attention to color layout. Snail's Trail2

Do you have a favorite layout for the Snail’s Trail block? 
 

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. . .

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

Winner and a Tutorial

The random drawing winner of the Anita Goodesign Special Edition Embroidery Set of their choice is Bev L.  Congratulations! Bev, I will be sending you an email today to follow up.

Here’s a quilt that I finished this weekend as a gift for my neighbor. It’s been in my unfinished bin for quite some time. His wife passed away last Spring, and he has been donating her stash to me, box by box. I took a beautiful piece of fleece that he brought me and used it for the backing. The quilting is a geometric pattern and there is no batting. It is a very soft and drapey quilt which I think will be just perfect for these chilly Spring days.

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And, of course, it’s impossible for me to make anything using a rotary cutter these days, so I wanted to give you a little tutorial on how to make this using the AccuQuilt Go or Studio cutter.

The strips are scraps and are random widths. The first blocks that were made were pieced using a 10 1/2″ paper foundation. You can also use a fabric foundation. When trimmed, the blocks look like this.

Block completed using a paper foundation.
Block completed using a paper foundation.

To make the block into half square triangles, a 10-1/2 inch solid piece of fabric is cut and layered together with the pieced block with right sides of fabric facing each other, then a line is marked from corner to corner and stitched 1/4″ on either side of the marked line. This makes two complete blocks. All blocks are trimmed to the same size, and the quilt assembled. While I did a straight layout, the blocks could be turned many different ways to create a number of different unique layouts.

As I was stitching the last few blocks so that this quilt could be completed, I started thinking about ways to make this using my AccuQuilt cutter. I find making the blocks on a foundation very cumbersome because after stitching, each strip has to be trimmed in length. And then there is a trimming process in the end.

The first thing I tried was to make a row of strips as shown below. This strip looks nice and even, but it was made from scraps and then trimmed to 6-1/2″ using a ruler. You could make the strip any width. After the strip was trimmed, it was cut into half square triangles.

IMG_3496

 

At first I used the 45 degree angle across the ruler to cut triangles. Then it occurred to me that the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die that cuts the triangles lengthwise would work. This made me very happy. You can see the fabric after being cut with the die shown below.

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IMG_3501Of course, the next thing that has to be cut is the half square triangle from solid fabric that is needed to complete the block. Because the outside of the pieced half square triangle is cut on the bias, it is ideal to have the solid fabric half square triangle cut with the straight grain on the two outer edges of the block. Thus, I didn’t want to cut the solid fabric half of the square using the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die. The nearest size half square triangle that would match the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle was the 6-1/2″ half square triangle.

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When the pieced half square triangle and the solid half square triangle are stitched together, you will see that the solid triangle is just slightly larger and will have to be trimmed to a square. Because of the fabric grain, it is worth it to me to do that little bit of trimming because of the squaring issues that a bias quilt presents during the quilting process.

But there are other options that could be used so that one only used the quarter square triangle die or only the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die. For example, if you cut all of the triangles – solid and strips, with the 8-1/2″ QST die, then you could put them together like this and have the straight edges on the outside.

scrappy strips HST

 

Or, you could make the strips like the original plan on a foundation and then cut both the pieced strip square and the solid square with the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die.

Hope this helps you begin to brainstorm ways to use up all those short ends of strips that you’ve cut from other projects. 
 

Connector Block Tutorial for Halloween / Turtle Quilt

It’s raining cats and dogs here today – and more rain is on the way. It’s the sort of day that would be nice to curl up  and just knit or read a book all day. But I promised a tutorial for this quilt so here are the instructions for the connector block. This is an image of the connector block with fabric.

 This is the block showing the piecing:

These are the cutting instructions using the EDeN™ System.

Fabric Unit # # Needed per Block EDeN™ Number # Needed for Quilt
Light A 2 REC-1½ x 8 26
Light B 2 REC-1½x5 26
Light D 1 SQ-2 13
Dark B 2 REC-1½x5 26
Dark C 2 REC-1½x2 26

EDeN Numbers give the shape and size for cutting. All numbers given are finished sizes. Cut sizes should be 1/2” larger than the number given, i.e., 1½x8 should be cut as 2 x 8½. The abbreviations used here are: REC = rectangle; SQ = square

You can find more information about the EDeN system on the website.

This is the way that I would cut this block. I am going to tell you as a narrative without illlustrations, so I hope it is understandable. If not, please ask questions.

Light Fabric:

For the A unit, I would cut an 8 ½ ” strip across the width of fabric. This is an 8 ½ x 40” strip. Then I would fanfold that strip across the 2” strip die. This would yield 18-20 A units. I would repeat this step to make the remaining A units. Note that you do not need to fanfold the entire strip this time as you only need 6-8 more units.

But this leaves a strip that is now 8½ x approximately 24 inches. I would cut this to 5 ½  x 24” and fanfold it across the 2” strip die to cut 11 B units. Then I would cut a 5 ½” strip across the width of fabric and fanfold that across the 2” strip die. This will make 18-20 B units and with the ones that you cut previously, you will now have all the B units.

The D unit is the last unit of the light fabric and it can be cut entirely on the 2 ½” strip die. Cut 2 strips that are width of fabric on the 2 ½” strip cutter and then fanfold those 2 ½” strips across the strip die to make squares.

Dark Fabric:

Cut the B units as described above leaving the 5 ½ x 24” leftover from the second strip to be cut down and used for the C units.

The C units are cut 1 ½ x width of fabric (1 ½ x 40”) and then fanfold across the 2” strip die. 
 

Halloween Quilt / Wall Hanging

I seem to be collecting a lot of machine embroidery blocks. The more designs I digitize, the more I stitch, and then there’s no time to put them all into a quilt. But I can dream – and dream I do. That’s the beautiful thing about EQ7. It allows me to quilt with a computer.

The two most recent sets I digitized are the Halloween set and the Turtle Treks set. This is what I came up with for a quilt layout. I think both of these would be nice as a lap quilt, but even cuter as a wall hanging. Here are the two quilt layouts from EQ7–very simple – and the quilting will be the ‘piece de resistance’ for these quilts. The third image shows the block outline. Tomorrow, I’ll give directions for constructing the black and white connector blocks. And then maybe some lucky person would like to be the recipient of a kit giveaway to make one of these – blocks already embroidered!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
 

ITH Mug Rug Tutorial

Mug rugs have become a fun and expressive outlet for quilters’ creativity. For me, they’re also a great way to practice free motion quilting, and they make wonderful gifts. So when I saw some mug rugs for embroidery machines that were done “in-the-hoop”, it piqued my interest. However, after seeing that the finished edge was a satin stitch, I was less interested because it would mean using a water soluble stabilizer or having a trace of tear-away stabilizer showing on the edge of my satin stitch. Either way, it would look fine after washing a couple of times, but my preference is a finished seam edge on mug rugs and on placemats. And then I had a flash of inspiration and realized that it could be done. And now I want to share it with you.

After working for awhile on a square mug rug, I decided that I needed more space for the designs. Taking into consideration the balancing act in design between the most popular hoop sizes of 5″ x 7″ or 6″ x 8″ and spacing for the embroidery design, I ended up using a hoop size of 6″ x 8″ or 150 x 200 mm.

And for those without embroidery machines or without a larger hoop for their machines, one can simply embroider or piece or hand stitch a design and then use the instructions in this tutorial to stitch the mug rug seam on their sewing machine. Either way, it makes a great mug rug and is the perfect way to show off your free motion quilting designs.

Click HERE for the tutorial. I made it into an adobe pdf file rather than putting all the text and photos into this post.

See what cute mug rugs these are. And they’re made with the Accuquilt circle die and some cutouts:

Come back tomorrow  for an embroidery design giveaway–one design as a mug rug and the same design without the mug rug! 
 

Safari Quilt: Part 2

Once I realized that the original design wouldn’t work, I tried a new design. This design used two blocks, a log cabin block with the focus print as a 5 inch patch in the middle and a connector block using a 4 inch patch of the print in the middle. When these went together, it seemed the yellow background fabric overwhelmed the print too. Here’s a picture after trying several different backgrounds and realizing that it was the design/layout, not the fabric that was a problem.

 

So, back to the drawing board. It seemed the connector blocks were not “connecting”, so that was the first plan of attack. One way to add an extra connector is to add sashing the same color as the background and use a cornerstone that connects the connector block. That is what I did in EQ7, and it works! Can’t tell you how happy I am now.

This is a very traditional style quilt, but with the machine embroidery in the blocks, it’s going to be very nice when finished.

 
 

Safari Quilt for Wesley

Here’s a project that has been on the back burner for a long time, but for some reason the inspiration just wasn’t there. This is for my niece’s 5-year old son. He wants a wild animal quilt. First, the fabric we wanted disappeared almost as quickly as it was printed, and we didn’t get it. Then, for a year all the safari prints were in very soft colors. We wanted bright colors. Finally this print appeared and I bought it right away.

I also wanted to use machine embroidery on it and was pleased when Accuquilt came out with their zoo animals. But, there hasn’t been time to digitize those. Then I ran across this set of zoo animals from Embroidery Library. They look as if they were designed for this fabric. Sometimes it seems the stars must align for a quilt to be born.

The next step was to open EQ7 and see what could be created. I came up with a couple of designs and decided to start stitching. After two rows on the design wall, it was obvious that it was all wrong. The beautiful pinwheels and four patch blocks that I was using overwhelmed the print. The focus was to be the print and the embroidery, not the pieced blocks. Every time I looked at the blocks on the wall, my eye darted everywhere–there was no place for the eye to rest. Here’s what I had:

The rest of the story tomorrow. . . 
 

Secondary Design for a Star

A big Thank You to Sue Edberg for her beautiful quilts. I left her post up for a few extra days because her quilts are just so beautiful.

How is everybody doing with their QOV projects? I’d love to hear progress and even see some pictures. I’ll show pictures of my progress tomorrow.

And I’ve been thinking about what to do next for star blocks that are simple, but different. I played around a bit in EQ7 and came up with this variation on the Ohio Star. It is inspired by the 54-40 Fight Block which has four patches on all four corners.

To make a 12 inch block, each finished four patch unit would measure 4 inches. The star points are four inch finished quarter square triangle units, and the center square is a 4 inch square. It really is pretty simple when you put it together with simple sashing and cornerstones. And the four patch blocks create a very pretty secondary pattern within this quilt.