Saturday Stitches – An 8″ Connector Block

A favorite block size is 8 inches. However, the chain connector block seems to work better as a 9 patch block and that is not easily divisible as an 8 inch block. I was watching a Lori Holt video (I love her quilts even though I’ve never made one of them) and she was making an 8″ chain connector block. And of course, I set out to make that block with my AccuQuilt dies. These are the measurements for that block.

8 inch finished chain connector block

As always, I have a stack of star blocks that will work perfectly with some chain connector blocks. These are floating stars – all scrappy – made with a custom die that I had made by Custom Shape Pros through the AccuQuilt website.

This is how I made the connectors.

For each block:

Die# to CutSize to cut
2″ strip cutter2 each2″ x 8-1/2″ dark strips
2″ x 8-1/2″ light strips
2-1/2″ strip cutter42-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ light rectangles
2-1/2″ strip cutter12-1/2″ dark square

Sew the light and dark strips together, press to the dark strip, and then subcut with the 2″ strip cutter into pairs to make the corner four patch units.

Sew the light and dark strips together, press to the dark strip, and then subcut with the 2″ strip cutter into pairs to make the corner four patch units. Layer as many as will fit onto 2″ strip die
These are the 8-1/2″ strips that have been cut into subunits for 4-patch corner units
Arrange light/dark subunits to be stitched into 4-patch units
Arrange the four patch units, light rectangles, and dark center square to make a 9 patch block.

And this is the mockup from EQ8 of the connector blocks and the floating stars.

Nesting Geese Border Tutorial

Last week I showed you a Migrating Geese Border Tutorial inspired by a Youtube video by Deb Tucker. This week I want to show you how to make a “Nesting Geese” border for your quilt. This is a quilt that I designed last Spring and today is the first time it has appeared on my website. The center is made by my favorite method for making a a throw quilt to accent a room. I call this method Four Blocks and a Border.

Cutting Instructions: You can use any size Qube and the block will be the finished size of the Qube that you use.

  • Background Fabric:
    • Cut 4 Shape 3 Half Square Triangles (HST)
    • Cut 4 Shape 4 Quarter Square Triangles (QST)
  • Color Fabric (may be assorted colors or a single color:
    • Cut 4 Shape 4 Quarter Square Triangles

Step 1: Sew a light and a dark Shape 4 QST sewing the long sides of the QST together as shown. Make two QST subunits

Step 2: Sew a dark Shape 4 QST to the left side of one of the Shape 4 QST subunits and a light Shape 4 QST to the right side of the Shape 4 QST subunit. This is for one half of the quilt block. You will be stitching a short side of the Shape 4 QSTs together.It works best for me to lay these out on a felt board before stitching to be sure that the correct sides are stitched together.

Step 3: Sew a dark Shape 4 QST to the left side of the other Shape 4 QST subunit and a light Shape 4 QST to the right side of the Shape 4 QST subunit. This is for the other half of the quilt block.

Step 4: Sew a Shape 3 HST to the top and a Shape 3 HST to the bottom of the Shape 4 QST unit. This completes one half of the block.

Step 5: Sew a Shape 3 HST to the top and a Shape 3 HST to the bottom of the Shape 4 QST unit. This completes the second half of the block.

Step 6: Sew the two halves of the block together to complete the quilt block. Note that the V of the geese is at the bottom of the quilt block.

Note: Another option is to reverse the two halves of the block to make a block with the V of the geese at the top of the quilt block.
And a third option is to use a half block to complete a border row as needed to make the length required for your border. The entire border can be made with half block units to fit your quilt top. You can see in the quilt below how a half block was used to finish each border on the quilt.

Nesting Geese Quilt

Migrating Geese Border Tutorial

Every day I try to learn something new and today I found a wonderful technique. Deb Tucker is one of my favorite Youtube quilting heroes because she gives so many wonderful techniques that make piecing quilts so much more perfect. I highly recommend that you follow her on Youtube. Today I happened upon her Migrating Geese tutorial.

Deb uses rotary cutting, but of course I immediately converted that to AccuQuilt GO! dies. Here’s what I did.

Step 1: Select the Shape 3 Half Square Triangle, Shape 4 Quarter Square Triangle, and Shape 5 Half Square Triangle dies from any size Qube. Select fabric of your choice.

Step 2: Cut an equal number of Shape 3 half square triangles (background fabric) and Shape 4 quarter square triangles (QSTs) for Flying Geese. Cut one Shape 5 half square triangle (HST) from the background fabric.

Step 3: Stitch a Shape 4 QST to a Shape 3 HST. You will be stitching an equal number of QSTs to HSTs right and left as shown below. Make an equal number of HST/QST units.

Step 4: Press your Shape 4 QST and Shape 3 HST units open. You can press seams open or to one side. Lay out the units as shown below. Start with a right side HST/QST unit and a separate QST that you cut and alternate right and left QST/HST units until you get to the end. At the end add a Shape 3 HST and the Shape 5 HST to even out the end.

Step 4: The diagram below shows the first few units sewn together. Be careful as you stitch to accurately stitch the QSTs so that there is a 1/4″ seam allowance and the points are sharp. Also remember that there are many bias edges here and it helps to pin the units together before sewing and carefully ease the edges together so that they fit.

Step 5: Finish sewing all the units together finishing with the Shape 3 and the Shape 5 HSTs on the end. Trim the long tail from the beginning Shape 3 HST and you now have a beautiful border for your quilt.

These wonderful Migrating Geese are thanks to Deb Tucker for the technique and to myself for the conversion to AccuQuilt GO! It is very helpful to watch Deb’s Youtube video and she also has a technique sheet that can be purchased.

For the demonstration, I used the 8″ Qube so Geese will be 2″ x 4″ which means that when determining the measurements for the border, use the height of the finished geese to determine the number of geese that you need. I used the 8″ Mix & Match Qube and my geese measured exactly 2″ from baseline to tip.

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.