Centering Embroidery for a Quilt Block

When making machine embroidered quilt blocks, I always cut my background fabric an inch or two larger than the finished block. and then once the embroidery is finished, the block is trimmed to size. There is always the dilemma of having different versions of the same shape design whether it’s snowflakes or cars or hearts exactly in the center of the quilt block so that everything looks consistent when the quilt is finished.

My solution to this dilemma is to cut the basic shape using the die and taping it to the back of the ruler. I use the Creative Grids Centering Rulers and have every size of them, but if you don’t have that kind of ruler, this method is even better because you can use any ruler so long as you place your design exactly where you want it.  You can fold your paper shape to find the exact center and use that to center it on a regular ruler without having to do lots of calculations around all the sides.

This is a photo of a car shape taped to the back of the 8-1/2″ Creative Grids Centering Ruler. I used the paper from the back of a shape cut with fusible, but you can use any kind of paper to tape to the back of the ruler.

  
 

Sometimes there are No Shortcuts

Once the table runners were finished, I moved on to digitizing embroidery for an AccuQuilt applique die that will be coming out in the next few days. I am sworn to secrecy so can’t tell you what it is, but can say that it’s really cute. What I can tell you is that sometimes there are NO SHORTCUTS! Let me explain. And keep in mind—you’ll get a kick out of this—during my career in clinical research I once had an employee who told me that I was “too process driven.” I’ll admit she was a creative soul even though she didn’t last in clinical research very long.

When doing machine embroidery applique with die cut shapes or with Silhouette machine cut shapes, I sometimes will skip the fusible step, cut the fabric shape and use a glue stick on the background fabric just inside the placement stitches and will work the shape into place and stitch it. That works sometimes with some fabrics and some shapes and looks good. However, the shape I’m working with right now has some tiny little points and little nubs around the edge and while the glue stick works, the end result looks really “homemade”. After a couple of tries, I cut the Steam A Seam Lite and fused it to the back of the fabric and using my mini-iron to secure the shape into place, created some really pretty machine embroidery applique.  This  simply reinforces that saying, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it well.”

Another tip is that if you are using the tackdown and trim method instead of cutting the shape with a machine, using a fusible on the back of the applique fabric can make the shape easier to trim and will cut down on fraying around the edges. A lot depends on the fabric that is being used.

Since I have no pictures today, I’ll share this one with you. It’s a love note that one of the 4 year old twins left at my house last week. I’m not sure what it says, but usually when one of them writes a note like this, they tell us what it says.  I believe this was from Vance, and he found the magnet and posted this on my refrigerator just at 4-year old height.

 
 

Holiday Circles Applique: Tutorial for Table Runner Quilt

It won’t be long until Christmas, and I have been working on some Christmasy embroidery and table runner quilts that will be gifts for my daughters and others. This is such a quick and easy one to do. The embroidery is quick and the table quilt is even quicker. You will find instructions for doing the embroidery at the AccuQuilt blog today. And for the table runner quilt, the instructions are below and there’s a pdf printout that you can download too. I also included some closeups of the embroidery. You will find the design set over at the AccuQuilt website here.

3x3 Wall Hanging

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Supplies Needed:

Sewing machine and general sewing supplies for quilting.<\p>
Thread for quilting.
Fabric:
1.5 yards fabric for Plain Blocks, borders, and binding
3/4 yards fabric for Background of Embroidery Blocks
1 yard coordinated fabric for quilt backing
Coordinating fabric for applique shapes as needed
Coordinating thread for machine embroidery
36 x 36 inches cotton or cotton blend batting
Machine Embroidery Supplies:
Stabilizer – see Notes about stabilizer selection in Embroidery Instructions that come with the Machine Embroidery designs.
Coordinating Embroidery Thread

Cutting Instructions:

Quilt Fabric Squares Cut 4 each 6-1/2 inch squares (finished size 6” square)
Setting Triangles Cut 4 each 6-7/8 inch squares. Each of these squares will be cut in half diagonally from corner to corner.

Setting Triangles

Corner Triangles Cut 1 each 7-1/4 inch square. This square will be cut into quarters by cutting diagonally from corner to corner (see diagram).

Corner Triangles

Borders and Binding: Cut 7 each 2-1/2 inch strips across the width of fabric.

For borders, cut 2 each side strips 26 x 2-1/2 inches
For top and bottom borders, cut 2 each strips 29-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches.

Use remainder of 2-1/2 inch strips to make double fold binding.

Background Squares for Machine Embroidery Cut 9 each 8-10 inches square. These will be cut to 6-1/2 inch squares after the embroidery is finished.

Coordinating Fabric for Applique Shapes Select fabric that coordinates with the Quilt Fabric to be used for applique shapes. NOTE: Complete instructions for cutting die shapes is included with the dies, on the AccuQuilt website, and in the Machine Embroidery Instructions.

Quilt Assembly:

Assemble rows as shown in diagram. When rows are complete, stitch rows together to complete the center square.

Quilt Construction

When rows have been stitched into center square, add borders by stitching side borders first, then stitch top borders across.

Border Construction

Layer quilt top, batting and backing and complete the quilting of your table quilt. When quilting is complete, trim away excess batting and backing and finish your quilt by binding it with double fold binding.

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Winter Bliss Birthday Giveaway

Last weekend was a big birthday weekend for friends and family and to celebrate I am giving away two of my newest machine embroidery sets. Winter Bliss was finished a couple of weeks ago, and it is one of my favorites. In fact, every time I have to select pictures to post, I find that every block is a favorite and it is so hard to decide. The blocks designs are by AccuQuilt and the embroidery is digitized by yours truly.

Just leave a comment on this post between now and Friday, December 5 at midnight EST, and two commenters will be chosen at random to receive a downloadable machine embroidery set.

If you win, you can embroider one or two blocks a day and have a beautiful Christmas table runner or wall hanging or throw just in time for Christmas. The embroidery is simple so each block stitches up quickly. This set uses several of the AccuQuilt holiday dies as well as the numbers. Templates are included in the set so that you can trace any shapes for dies that you don’t have or you can cut those extra shapes with a digital craft cutter like a Silhouette or SNC or Cricut. There is an individual template file for each block which will help you organize your cutting and keep the shapes for each block separate.

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It’s All About the Kids Blog Hop

Do you love children’s quilts as much as I do? Maybe it’s the child in me, but I love the bright colors and the whimsical designs. They remind us of such simpler times. SewCalGal is sponsoring a great blog hop this week–which I will contribute to later in the week–and I think you’ll find some inspiration and fun things to do with children and for children.

Microsoft Word - Story Elements Posters.doc

 

Monday, October 27th

Tuesday, October 28th

Wednesday, October 29th

SewCalGal

Thursday, October 30th

Friday, October 31st

Jacquelynne Steves, The Art of Home

Wendy Sheppard/Ivory Spring

 

And as a tease for what I’ll be doing later this week–stay tuned for paper (I mean fabric) dolls.

Image of paper dolls 
 

AccuQuilt GO!™ BOB Blog Hop this week and next

AccuQuilt has categorized some existing dies and added more dies that they’re calling BOB or Block on Board. I love the idea of this because it means that you can purchase a single die and all the shapes are on one or two boards. It eliminates the need for figuring out what fits. It also assures that special shapes like the Hunter Star, Wedding Ring, Snowball and others can be easily cut into blocks to finish a quilt beginning to end. It really eliminates the tedious cutting process and gives more time for finding new and creative ways to design quilts with these blocks.

And this blog hop has started out with a bang with the post yesterday from a Blue Ribbon Girl’s blog showing how to combine the Flowering Snowball with the applique Round Flower. My day is next Monday with Rob Peter to Pay Paul. I’m working on a Christmas project–and a few others as always. Rob Peter to Pay Paul (also called Orange Peel) is the most fun curved block to piece–and so easy to cut. Can’t wait to show you what I’m making.

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August 18th – Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl – GO! Flowering Snowball

August 19th – Strip Quilter – GO! Ohio Star
August 20th – Freemotion by the River – GO! Log Cabin
August 21st – A Quilting Life – GO! Dresden Plates
August 22nd – Pleasant Home – GO! Blazing Star
August 23rd – Living Water Quilter – GO! Hunter Star
August 24th – Ray’s Sew Crafty – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 25th – Blue Feather Quilt Studio – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 26th – One Stitch at a Time – GO! Double Wedding Ring
August 27th – Beaquilter – GO! Log Cabin
August 28th – Sew Incredibly Crazy – GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul
August 29th – Sew Fresh Quilts – GO! Ohio Star 
 

Cute Owl Machine Embroidery Applique

The new owl die that is available from JoAnn’s for the AccuQuilt GO!™ die cutter is as cute as can be, and I couldn’t resist digitizing a simple machine embroidery applique design for it. AccuQuilt agreed to share it on their website as a free download, and I want to share that link with you. You are going to have so much fun stitching this owl.

I would love to see what fun projects you make with this owl. Click on the owl and it will take you to the AccuQuilt website. (I know it says “Backordered”, but don’t let that stop you–you can download the embroidery anyway).

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Mr. Potato Head and more

Today’s post is about using the Brother Scan N Cut and novelty fabric motifs. The entire post can be found at a new blog area that I created that is specifically for projects and tutorials using/creating precut shapes and machine embroidery applique. I have added a link on the menu bar to that new blog area for those of you who are interested in machine embroidery, digitizing applique, and have either a die cutting system or one of the electronic cutters like the Silhouette Cameo or Brother Scan n Cut.

Recently I gave a talk at Electric City Quilters Guild in Anderson, SC. One of the members there showed me a beautiful quilt she made for her granddaughter using a Princess novelty fabric. She cut the motifs out and appliqued them onto the blocks. I think this could very loosely be called broderie perse. While the motifs are not fussy cut like real broderie perse, it is a patterned motif appliqued to a background.

On my way home I stopped at Mary Jo’s and happened to see an adorable Mr. Potato Head fabric on the sale table. This was the perfect opportunity to try to fussy cut the motifs with the Brother Scan N Cut.

More . . .

 
 

New Project, New Energy

This week has been busy with a new project. Every time I write a Craftsy blog post, it seems it ends up with a new project. This time I am making it into an embroidery project that I can offer for sale. It’s very simple, but has lots of potential. Teaser pics are below. 

Somehow I totally lost my mojo after the holidays. We did some traveling, I stopped consuming as much caffeine, and came down with a terrible cold all at once. It seems this all conspired to bring my energy to a complete halt for almost two weeks. Thank goodness I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a new person and ready to conquer the world again.

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I am also working on quilting a donation quilt for Meals on Wheels. Hopefully will get that done today and can show you pics of that tomorrow. 
 

Grandmother’s Flower Garden Options

Grandmother’s Flower Garden is a very fun machine embroidery project because it goes so fast. Because of the size of the hexagons, I was able to use jelly roll strips for cutting the hexagons. I just fanfolded the strip across the hexagon die and cut six hexies at a time. (However, the new multi-hexie die came yesterday, so now I can cut more at a time. I hope it works as well with the jelly roll.

I’ll do a full tutorial as soon as I take some pics of the process, but will just explain it here. These are the steps.

1. Hoop fabric and stabilizer. (I used the Sulky Soft n Sheer cut away stabilizer – it is wonderful for light weight stitches for soft quilts). The fabric was hooped on point.

2. Stitch the placement line for the hexies onto the background fabric.

3. Use a glue stick or pen just inside the placement line of each hexie.

4. Place the center hexie first, then add the flower petal hexies. They fit together like a puzzle and go right up to the stitches and each other. You can use a cuticle stick or Purple Thang if needed to manipulate them. The glue softens the fabric and makes it easy to manipulate.

5. Put it back onto your machine and stitch away. The design will stop to use a different color for the center, but I decided I liked having a lighter/contrast center fabric and having the design stitch in the same color as the petals.

As for the design, I tried multiple layouts. My goal was to make the flowers sit together in the same layout as a traditional GFG. The only way I knew to do that was to set the blocks fairly close together on a solid background. After stitching nine flowers, I stopped. I had drawn a grid on the fabric and was aligning each grid on the hoop for each flower. The weight of the fabric was too much. I realized I could get the same effect with blocks set on point, so that’s when I changed to the current layout. Here’s what I have so far.

These blocks will finish at 7″ x 7″. They will be closer together by 1/2″ when the seams are finished. I think I like this. If they’re still too far apart, I may cut them down to finish at 6-1/2 x 6-1/2″. This is one time I don’t mind having an odd sized block if it makes the project work.

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I tried multiple layouts in EQ7 to see what would work. You can see the options below. It was very difficult to get an alternate block with squares an even size when the finished block would be 7″.

gfg 9 patch gfg alt block gfg on point gfg sashed