Let It Snow Wall Frame

This blog post was published on the AccuQuilt blog yesterday and has the machine embroidery for the lowercase alphabet die that was recently released as well as my Holiday Elements machine embroidery design set.

As always, if I made this again, I would make snowflakes that showed up just a bit more—a darker thread for the stitches around them would give that little bit of additional contrast that is needed. But I absolutely love those cute snow people as well as the lettering.

This is stretched on a 20″ x 24″ canvas frame and has batting underneath, but does not have quilting stitches through the layers.

 
 

Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt

I just finished this Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt made with the AccuQuilt GO Crazy Quilt die. I love the Crazy Quilt dies (both Studio and GO!). They are just incredible. There are so many different layouts that one can create with it–and the blocks stitch up faster than almost any other block. I used Square in a Square (aka Economy Block) blocks alternating with Crazy Quilt blocks.  Read the full tutorial on the AccuQuilt blog.

Crazy Quilt Star
Crazy Quilt Star
 
 

Jelly Roll Race Quilts with Grandsons

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a full week with our grandsons in Ohio. They are twins (8 years old), middle child (5 years old), and youngest (2 years old)–such an incredible amount of energy and fun and imagination in one house is amazing. This is one of all four boys at the zoo. You can see the little one in green running ahead.

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The twins have wanted to sew for a long time. Mom’s sewing machine needed service and repair the last time we were there. It had not been used in such a long time that the presser foot would no longer go up and down. Thus, in the interim we found a Pfaff dealer and the machine was serviced and repaired.

My friends, Wanda and Sherry, have made jelly roll race quilts with their granddaughters/nieces and that gave me the idea of what to make with the boys. One full jelly roll (42 strips) will make two lap quilts with a three inch border all around.

This was much more difficult than I imagined. Somehow my daughters learned to sew when they were 8-10 years old, making things like t-tops and shorts and it seemed easy for them. However, they both had been sitting at a machine (first on my lap) from the time they were old enough to sit. And then they made fancy stitch samplers using variegated thread by just selecting the stitches and pressing the foot pedal.

The boys had a very hard time stitching a straight seam–the seams always seemed to veer into the middle of the strip or off the edge. One of the twins wanted to race with the pedal to the metal and the other twin wanted to stitch one stitch at a time–both methods had serious issues for the teacher. Fortunately the Pfaff has a “sew slow” button.

We did get the quilts finished. I brought the tops home with me to add borders, quilt, and bind. I didn’t gete any pics of the boys sewing, but here are pics of the quilts on the quilting frame.


And just for fun–this was a “quiet” moment: 
 

An “Orange” Hunter’s Star

There are six grandsons and three granddaughters in our family now. The boys love quilts. Recently the oldest boys (twins) made their own jelly roll race quilts in blue and green.Their brother (a middle child) has chosen orange as his signature color. Even though this is not my favorite color, last year I did crochet my way through a very large orange “blanket” for him.

And then, this week, as he’s lying on the couch with a 102 degree fever, he announces that he wants Momma B to make him an “orange star quilt”. Orange is not a dominant color in my stash, although there are some pretty orange-gold batiks and one bolt of orange cotton that is truly not a pretty color.

Needless to say, I have spent time over the past few days auditioning and making star blocks to find a color and design that he likes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how picky a five year old can be. First, let me show you the one he finally chose, and then the pictures after that are the ones that were rejected.

The one he likes best:

And all of these color combinations are the rejects. I agree the final color, even without as much contrast, looks better than the others:

 
 

Scrappy Flower Block or Cross Block with Bricks and Squares

Do you ever get tired of four patch blocks and want to do something different? Seems like cutting scraps into something usable often ends up in strips or squares–although sometimes I do tumblers too. The cross or flower quilt block is a classic quilt block but is usually made with all squares. Because I especially like brick quilts, I decided to adapt this block to my Qube and use the brick (Shape 8) as well as the square (Shape 2). By using the brick, one seam can be eliminated. And because I have a whole basket of 2-1/2″ strips already cut, it only makes sense to use up some of them as well as any new scraps that are cut, thus I chose the 8″ Qube Mix & Match Block set for this one. If I were starting with new fabric or scraps, I’d probably use the 6″ Qube Block set as I like smaller blocks more than larger blocks.

It’s also good to note that these blocks don’t finish at the size of the Qube because they are five “patches” across rather than four. Thus, the

  • 6″ Qube makes a 7-1/2″ finished block, the
  • 8″ Qube makes a 10″ finished block, the
  • 9″ Qube makes an 11-1/4″ finished block, and the
  • 12″ Qube makes a 15″ finished block.

If you’re making these for comfort or charity quilts like I am doing, you will need to adjust the layout so that the quilt is the right size. Just think how fun this would be for a baby quilt with four blocks and sashing using the 12″ Qube.

Here’s a picture of the individual block made with completely scrappy bricks and squares. As much as I like this block in a single color, the random scrappy look seems a little too scrappy and disorganized to me. Guess that’s my left brain kicking into gear.

So, I decided to try each block with a color theme, i.e., red, green, purple. That appealed to me much more, so this is what I got and I like this much better for a scrappy quilt and using up all those extra pieces that have been cut. There’s a lot more contrast between the background bricks and the flowers and each block has a color theme.

This is the basic unit that is a little more fun than a four patch and is nice for variety. So, it’s pretty easy to make these if you have the two patch units already stitched (which I usually do have as leaders and enders).

And then, it’s just a matter of making this block adding the colored bricks and center square. You can see that the individual unit is turned to get all the color squares around the center. I made this in three rows and then stitched the rows together. 

QUBE Tip: The nice thing about using the 8″ Qube was that when I wanted to use up pre-cut 2-1/2″ jelly roll strips, all I had to do was fanfold the strip across the Shape 1 die to make bricks and fanfold the 2-1/2″ jelly roll strip across the Shape 8 die to make squares. Just line the strip up with the blade on the long side of the strip, place the mat, and cut. Likewise, if you are using the 12″ Qube and have pre-cut 3-1/2″ strips, you can do the same thing–or the 6″ Qube and have pre-cut 2″ strips.

Here’s a picture of what the quilt would look like with sashing. I like the idea of a light flower/cross in the sashing to reflect the larger flower/cross pattern.

 
 

Sister’s Choice with Log Cabin Border

Finished the quilt for my sister for Christmas and thought I would share the layout and block construction with you. It looks complicated, but really isn’t. I was inspired by the Circle of Nine Quilt Book by Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright. It’s possible to use their layouts and create beautiful quilts, but I came up with my own connector blocks and added some additional negative space for quilting.

This is the finished quilt:

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This is a closeup of the quilting:

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You can find the layout and diagrams of each block here
 

Squaring up Blocks from Stitch and Slash Quilt Blocks

Stitch and Slash Blocks are fun, but it seems they rarely end up the exact size they should be and in order to have a “square” quilt, all the blocks should start out the same size. There must be a very compulsive streak in me because I just can’t sew blocks together that haven’t been “squared”. All these years of stitching has caught up with me and arthritis in my hands has slowed me down a bit.

Sherry has been helping me finish up some UFO’s and I pulled this set of blocks out for a Patience Corners quilt. They needed to be slashed and squared. They were made for comfort quilts for children using novelty fabrics. Here’s one of the blocks that has been slashed. It is an 8-1/2″ square of fabric cut with the AccuQuilt GO! 8-1/2″ square and 2-1/2″ strips sewn on the outside. After slashing and squaring, these blocks will be a cut size of 6″ square and will finish as 5-1/2″ square. 2016-10-18_img_6151-300-ppi

To square up these blocks I am using the 10″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Big Cutter, but you can also use the 8-1/2″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Cutter.

The first step is to mark the die. I use Painter’s Tape for this because it removes easily. Once upon a time, I marked my dies with Sharpie permanent markers, but soon my dies had many, many marks on them. To mark for this cut, I placed a ruler on the die and carefully placed a strip beside each edge. In the photo, you will see that there is a slight shadow on the edge of the ruler from the lamp lighting, but in reality, the tape placement is very accurate.

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The next step is to place the fabric on the die. After getting this process going, it was easy to place two or three squares on each corner as the inner seam allowances fell on the foam and not on the die blades and the outer seam allowances could be alternated so there was no more than four thicknesses going through the cutter. Here’s the first square placement.

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And here’s the second square placement. (Don’t you love the two tone foam so you can see exactly where this will cut?) As I worked, I found that it was easy just to line up the edges of the blocks with the tape on the side and not necessary to flip back the center corner to place the second square.

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And this is what it looks like after going through the cutter. You can see the edges that have been trimmed and the perfectly squared blocks. In this example, I cut two blocks at a time.

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Can’t wait to show you the finished quilt.

And here’s one to show you that Sherry pieced, I quilted, and she is binding. It’s a comfort quilt for the Cancer Center.

2016-10-18-big-block-pieced-by-sg 
 

Big News and Other Things

Sherry won the Golden Needle award at the NC State Fair this week. She makes the most beautiful quilts and this was one of her very best. Sherry is an incredibly accurate piecer and her borders are always perfect. On top of that, she has a real gift with colors. Whenever I have a question about what will work together, she is my go-to adviser.

The winning quilt is a Blooming Nine Patch, and the colors are just exquisite. Not sure the computer will show them for the beauty they are. She let me quilt it–or my computer quilted it–but found a wonderful design and just love the way it turned out. Here are some of the photos.

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I love my Qubes. They are so compact and so easy to use for cutting quilts. And I get the most accurate size blocks ever. Quilts with triangles have never been high on my list, but now I’m stitching blocks and blocks with triangles–almost an addiction. Thought you’d like to see how I store my Qubes for easy access for cutting. They’re sitting on the shelf above my cutting table like books in a library. It’s so easy to reach up and select a die and cut and then slip it back onto the shelf.

QUBE storage