Block 7 Signature Block Border

This is such a fun border (yes I know I say that for every border), but it really is. And this block is so easy to make. It’s wonderful if you have the Corners Qube but there is a traditional way to make it using the Mix & Match Qube if you don’t have the Corners Qube yet. And the Corners Qube is an essential to me for every shape. I love the Chisel – remember the border we made with it? And the Bowties are pretty cool too. They give such a fun effect with that little corner even when they’re not used as a Bowtie block.

Here’s the Signature Block – very simple – but you need to make 12 of them for your border.

Signature Block

And Here is a picture of two of the many, many possibilities for a border with this block.  
 

Qube QAL Block 12: School Girl’s Puzzle

This week’s block is made of quarter blocks. It has some different subunits than we have made before so I hope it’s a fun challenge for you. I can’t wait to see the beautiful blocks you make and post on the Facebook Group. I love to see all the different color combinations.

I thought this was the last week, but it is not. Next week is Block 13 which is the last block.

Click on the block below to go to the Qube QAL Page OR click on the link in the Menu at the top of the page to get there. And have fun!

Block 12 School Girl’s Puzzle
 
 

Piecing the Blocks for the QAL

There have been several Facebook posts of quilters who have selected and cut the wrong shape, e.g., a Shape 3 instead of a Shape 5 and not only did the shapes not fit but had to be re-cut. Reading the instructions really helps as the Shape #s are written on the diagram. Even so, it’s easy sometimes to pick up the wrong die. We talked about labelling the dies, but there is another step that really helps me.

Piecing the Block: First dies are selected and the shapes are cut from fabric.  After the shapes are cut, I use a foam core board covered with a thin layer of cotton quilt batting to lay out the shapes so I can see that the block will go together as it should.

And then after making sure the correct shapes for the block are cut, I stack and arrange the shapes into the subunits that will be made. For example in this block, there are four flying geese, four Shape 2 Squares and one Shape 6 Square on Point finished with four Shape 5 HSTs. This allows me to chain piece the subunits in the block.

One quilter wrote on the FB group about cutting shapes from thin foam and labelling them with a marker and then laying them out so she could learn the different shapes. This is a great idea for beginner quilters and those who are new to the Qube system. It’s nice to have a chart so you can visualize the shapes and shape #s. AccuQuilt has a wonderful resource with a chart with all the shapes from the Qube sets with all 216 blocks. I highly recommend you download this and print the chart and always keep it handy.

There are times when designing a block or trying a new block and it’s nice to know how the shapes will go together before cutting into fabric. In that case, colored paper is a great way to see how the block will go together. A pack of colored construction paper is always near my library of Qubes so that shapes can be cut and arranged and rearranged. When it is important to cut directional dies, I use a marker and scribble all over one side of the paper so that I can tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side of the fabric. 
 

Cut & Flip vs Cut & Shift Methods

If these terms aren’t familiar, you will find them in AccuQuilt’s Fabric Reference Chart describing cutting techniques for the Angles Companion Qubes. In the Angles Qube there are shapes that require one or the other of these methods. One is the Triangle in a Square shape which uses the Cut & Flip™ method and the Kite and Trapezoid shapes that use the Cut & Shift™ method. There’s also a great blog post on the AccuQuilt website that demonstrates these cutting methods.

For the Connector block in the Jan-Feb 2022 Qube QAL we are using the trapezoid shape which uses the Cut & Shift™ method. This is an image I created for the placement on the fabric strip. The trapezoid is not a directional shape so you can cut either from the right or wrong side of the fabric. However, for the dies like the Trapezoid or Kite that have only one shape on them, you will waste a lot of fabric if you fanfold on the die. The best way to do it if you have a lot of trapezoids to cut is to layer precut fabric strips and cut 2-3 at a time. This is the diagram that I created so that you can see how you cut a trapezoid, shift the fabric and cut the next one. You will see that on the end I flipped the fabric to get one extra trapezoid.

Another tip is that if you have questions about cutting, always cut paper to see how the die works before cutting into fabric. If you can do it with paper, then go ahead and use fabric.

 
 

Tip for Cutting Layered Triangles

Someone suggested this tip for cutting triangles, and I am posting it here. It’s a lifesaver for me as my hands really get a workout when stitching lots of triangles. This tip works not only for cutting triangles but also other shapes that are the same shape and will be stitched. You can layer the fabric before fanfolding it onto your die and the shapes will be ready to stitch when they are fresh off the die. Here are a couple of photos to illustrate what I mean.

Fabric layered and then fanfolded onto die
Triangles that have been cut with layered fabric
Triangles that have been cut with layered fabric

School’s out – yay! Last night we had a big celebration with Kes’s 13th birthday and Ezri’s graduation from Middle School. It was the best meal I’ve cooked in years thanks to Stouffer’s five cheese lasagne and macaroni and cheese. We added broccoli and rolls and Mrs. Smith’s Dutch apple pies and all I had to do was set the table. I’m not much of a cook but I did season the broccoli as my six-year old grandson instructed and everything was a hit.

Our puppy spent the day with the grandchildren, and she was exhausted when she got home. She weighs 28 pounds now. We got her at 8 pounds five weeks ago so she is tracking quite well at 3-4 pounds a week. Just look at those big feet. It’s going to take a lot more growing to fit into them.

 
 

Block 2 of Qube Workout Sampler Posted

The block posted today is based on a block called Rolling Stone. That block was not very exciting so I jazzed it up a bit with a pinwheel in the middle and added a little more motion using the Corners and the Angles Companion Qubes and came up with what I call Rock n Roll. Instructions are posted here
 

Block 4 Broken Dishes Qube Workout

The new block is posted and ready to go. This block will finish the second border around the four center Broken Dishes blocks. It is the connector block for the stars that we made last week. Can’t wait to see what you do with this.

Here’s the link to the QAL Page: It’s Part 6 Block 4.

This is what the 8″ Scrappy version looks like after the border is added. It is very bright, but I like bright. Will work on the 12″ one this week and see if I can get it ready.

And I’m going to do some screen shots of the ones that are done on the Qube Facebook group and post them in a separate blog post.

 
 

Another way to Make Diamonds with Triangle in a Square Die

You saw the Mariner’s Compass and the diamond sashing that I made with the Triangle in a Square (TIS) die. This die is included in the Qube Companion sets so I have every size of that die. Recently I needed the smaller size and ordered the individual 2″ finished Triangle in a Square die. This is what the die looks like. On the larger Qubes, the triangle and side triangles are separate dies.

The way I have always made the diamonds is to complete the two TIS’s with seams pressed open and then pinning together matching the seams very carefully. Yesterday, just for the fun of it, I decided to sew the center triangles together first and then add the side triangles. WOW! that is so much easier. There is no pinning and the diamonds are just perfect. You can be sure there will be lots of diamond sashing in my future.

Perhaps the rest of the world already does it this way, and I’m the last person to the dance. No matter, it is truly an AHA moment for me.

This is the traditional way where two of these units are joined to make a diamond. The seams on the outer edges are pinned to match the points exactly.

This is the way it is done when the two center triangles are joined first.  The fabric is dark, but you can see the seam is pressed open.

And then side triangles are added on opposite corners. The order doesn’t matter, but this worked best for chain stitching and pressing.

And then the last two side triangles are added to complete the diamond.  And you can see the seams pressed open again.

And best of all – NO PINS!

 

  
 

Twist and Stack Bricks Comfort Quilt

One of the favorite quilts we make around here is made with a 3″ x 6″ finished brick with 1-1/2″ strips on either side for a finished 6″ block. And it is entirely possible this has been the subject of a previous blog post. If so, it’s worth showing it again as many may be making Christmas quilts or comfort quilts for the needy over the holidays.

This is also the quilt I have used for teaching my grandchildren to quilt. It can be sized any direction, works great for novelty prints for children’s and theme quilts.

The rotary cutting instructions for the blocks are as follows. This can also be cut with the AccuQuilt 2″ strip cutter, the 6-1/2″ strip die, and/or the 3″ x 6″ finished rectangle die.

This is the diagram for the quilt layout as well as the cutting instructions for a 42″ x 60″ quilt without borders.

This is a picture of the quilt using a dark strip. This also makes a beautiful quilt. The quilts pictured in this blog post were made by Sherry Gray.

  
 

Tip for Making Strip Sets from Jelly Rolls and Fat Quarters

 

One of my most favorite fabric collections has been the Tuscany batiks by Robert Kaufman. I had quite a bit of it, some yardage but mostly jelly rolls, layer cakes and fat quarters. And it has been used it many ways. One was a blog post that I did for AccuQuilt in 2017 using the Elevate Angles block. Aren’t the colors rich and beautiful.  I actually made two of these quilts and gave one to my brother-in-law during the time my sister was in the hospital. 

Another is this gorgeous Hunter’ss Star quilt that I recently finished:

Being down to the last bits of this, the decision was made to cut it into a scrappy Double Irish Chain quilt. Thus, I want to share with you the way I sometimes make strip sets. This is not the best way for every situation, but works well for the scrappy Double Irish Chain quilt. This is a similar process as the recent post about a way to make quick work of 4-patch units.

This is the double Irish chain block. As you can see there will be three separate strip sets.

When making strip sets with jelly rolls, one of the things that happens is that the ends never match. In addition, while one should stitch from one end and then the other to keep the strip set from “bowing”, that just exacerbates the problem of ends matching and there is a fair amount of waste on either end in my experience. In addition, pressing a long strip set presents its own set of issues, and pressing is my middle name.

My solution to this is to precut the strips to a width that will fit the strip die that will be used for cutting the final subunits of the block.  For a 2-1/2″ strip die, that width is 8-1/2″. The 8-1/2″ square die works perfectly for this. You can see that my die has been used a lot and for many different purposes based on the marks and tape.

This may seem like extra work, but actually it is six of one and a half dozen of the other, as the strip sets have to be cut to 8-1/2″ sooner or later if they are to be cut into subunits using the 2-1/2″ strip die.

This works to cut both width of fabric (WOF) strips like Jelly Roll strips and for strips cut from Fat Quarters (FQs).  Here WOF strips are layered to be cut. The extra fabric from the WOF strips is saved to be cut into 2-1/2″ squares for making scrappy 4-patch subunits.

Here strips cut from fat quarters are layered. The fat quarter strips were cut with the 2-1/2″ strip die on the 18″ width of the fat quarter. As 8-1/2 x 2 = 17, the fat quarter strips folded in half just fit the 8-1/2″ square die.

And then these precut strips can be stitched into strip sets that work beautifully, especially for a scrappy layout, and fit perfectly on the 2-1/2″ strip die for cutting the block subunit rows. And it is much, much easier to press a shorter strip set than a longer one.

Finally, the strip set is cut into subunits with the 2-1/2″ strip die.

And just think – if you can cut strip sets using the 8-1/2″ die, you can cut jelly roll strips into rectangles that are exactly the size you want using the 6-1/2″ square die from the 12″ Qube and the 4-1/2″ die from the 8″ Qube.

Happy Quilting!