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!

 

  
 

GO!™ Camper and Northwoods Quilt and Border Tutorial

I have been working on a quilt using the GO!™ Camper and Northwoods dies and the embroidery that I digitized for these dies. With the embroidery, I made quilt blocks that fit a 7″ x 8″ embroidery hoop. The applique dies are often perfect for a full quilt block and that is what I like to make.  This is the quilt as I am quilting it on the longarm. You can see the Electric Quilt software version just below that.

 

I created the embroidery blocks so that there are blocks with birds flying one way and the same block with birds flying in the opposite direction. I also moved the squirrels and bunnies to different places on the blocks so it would look more natural. And of course, any of the birds, or other creatures can be omitted as there are color stops for each one.

The following information is a tutorial for making the border—specifically the triangle border. This is an image showing the measurements for each border.

The body of the quilt is made of embroidered blocks that have been cut to 8-1/2″ square (unfinished) and stitched together to make a top that is 40-1/2″ x 40-1/2″.

The first border is cut and stitched as follows:
  • Cut 5 each 2-1/2″ x width of fabric (WOF) strips. Seam together three of the strips in the same manner that you would seam binding (45 degree angle).
  • Cut  2 strips 2-1/2″ x 40-1/2″  for the inner side border and stitch to the quilt sides. Ease as needed to fit.
  • Cut 2 strips 2-1/2″ x 44-1/2″ from the three strips that were seamed together. Stitch these two strips to the quilt top and bottom that include the side strips already stitched on. Ease as needed to fit.
The second border is cut and stitched as follows (make four borders):
  • Colored Border Fabric:
    • Cut 44 each Triangle in a Square (4″ finished) Die 55753 (Shape #13) from the 8″ Qube Companion Set Angles.
    • Cut 4 Squares(4″ finished) Die 55708 (Shape 1) from the 8″ Qube Set,
  • Background Fabric:
    • Cut 40 each Triangle in a Square (4″ finished) Die 55753 (Shape #13) from the 8″ Companion Set Angles. 
    • Cut 8 each Triangle in a Square Sides (4″ finished) Die 55754 (Shape #14) from the 8″ Companion Set Angles. 

Assemble the border as follows:

Lay out one color and one background  Triangle in a Square shapes and stitch together as shown.

Lay out the next Triangle in a Square Shape and stitch. Continue stitching shapes together in a row until there are 11 color shapes and 10 background shapes.

       

When there are 11 color Triangles and 10 background triangles stitched together, add the end side triangles (Shape 14).  Complete this process four times to make four borders.

On the end of two of the borders, stitch a 4-1/2″ square (4″ finished). Stitch the borders that do not have the squares to the quilt first. Then stitch the borders with the end squares to the quilt next. I used the points of the triangles to match to the seam allowances of the quilt blocks and eased the border as needed to fit the inner border. It seemed that it might not fit or it would pucker, but once it was pinned and stitched, it fit perfectly.  Triangles are often like that because there is so much bias involved. But if you work gently and patiently, you will find they can be manipulated into place beautifully. And the great plus is that with AccuQuilt all the shapes are perfectly cut to get the perfect fit.

The third border is cut and stitched as follows:
  • Cut 6 each 2-1/2″ x WOF strips from color border fabric. Seam together three of the strips in the same manner that you would seam binding (45 degree angle). Make 2 sets of three strips seamed together.
  • Cut 2 strips 2-1/2″ x 52-1/2″ for the outer side borders. Stitch to the sides of the quilt.
  • Cut 2 strips 2-1/2″ x  56-1/2″ for the outer top and bottom borders. Stitch to the top and bottom of the quilt.

Your quilt top is finished. Just quilt as desired. With this much embroidery, a meander is a great way to quilt. I am using a water meander on mine. And of course, the borders can be quilted geometrically with rulers or with an overall fill.

 

 

  
 

Embroidered Bow Tie Christmas Quilt

Finished this Christmas Quilt last week and wrote a tutorial for the AccuQuilt blog. This was a really fun quilt to make. I love working on the Holiday Elements machine embroidery. Head on over to the AccuQuilt blog and read all about it.

 
 

Fun Flower Quilted in the Hoop

AccuQuilt has published a blog post today with instructions for my machine embroidery Fun Flower design that is quilted in the hoop. I hope you will head over there and read it. I had a lot of fun making this quilt and can see more quilting in the hoop in my future.

 
 

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.

 
 

Using Triangle Dies with Strip Sets–Part 1

This is a quick post showing how a strip set can be used with the 8-1/2″ Quarter Square Triangle die. The strips are sewn together–either two strips or four strips into a tube. Then lay them on the die and center as carefully as possible side to side. The strips will not reach the outer blades along the long edge, but the strip set needs to be centered between them as evenly as possible. These blocks all turn out the same size–remarkably. However, the final size may not be an even number. Here are the photos that tell the story.

This is an example of a block that might be squared up using a technique shown here. And the reason is that you may want your blocks to be an exact even size.

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Strip set placed on 8-1/2″ Quarter Square Triangle Die

 

Strip set after it has been cut using the AccuQuilt GO
Strip set after it has been cut using the AccuQuilt GO

 

Triangles from the Strip Set laid out as they will be stitched together.
Triangles from the Strip Set laid out as they will be stitched together.
 
 

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.

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Holiday Wall Hanging and QUBE Tips

Yesterday my October AccuQuilt Machine Embroidery Project was posted on the AccuQuilt blog. This was a very fun project and one that I’m going to use in a lot of ways. For the complete tutorial, you will find instructions on the AccuQuilt website.

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And here’s a tip that for using the QUBE Mix & Match Block Sets. In working with the Qubes I have tried writing the instructions for the size strip to cut for each die on a piece of paper and because I kept misplacing the piece of paper as I worked, other methods seemed to be better  In the beginning, I just wrote the information on a piece of blue Painter’s Tape and placed it on the front of the die.

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Later, as I began using a label maker to label my dies, I decided to put that information on a sticker on the back side of the die. That way the information is always at my fingertips.

 

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Winter Bliss Stitch Along

Today Darlene at QuiltShopGal has done the first part of a tutorial on how to use this machine embroidery design set to create a fabric book. Her method uses felt to make the book. It is a much simpler and better method than the way that I have made other fabric books. This is going to be my new go-to method. With nine grandchildren around here, we have quite a few fabric books, and it always amazes me that the older children (the oldest is age 8) love them as much as the little ones. And I love them because they are indestructible and washable.

Here’s a picture of all the blocks in a wall hanging. Hope you can join the stitch along–these are really fun designs and can be used not only as the wall hanging, but as a table runner, placemat, fabric book, and more.

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