Snail’s Trail Quilt Blocks using AccuQuilt GO! dies

In the AccuQuilt Qube Facebook group last week someone asked about the Snail’s Trail Quilt Block. The last post I wrote about Snail’s Trail was in 2016 just after the Qube dies were introduced. Since then there have been many new AccuQuilt GO! dies introduced that will make a Snail’s Trail in many different sizes and in different configurations. When searching the Internet for Snail’s Trail quilts, you will see the Snail’s Trail with the center four patch set on point and you will also see it with the center four patch set straight. And in mathematics, you will find that the Snail’s Trail quilt block is the simplest of baravelle spirals.

AccuQuilt has a Snail’s Trail BOB (block on board) that will make an 8″ finished Snail’s Trail. I love the BOB’s because they give you everything you need to quickly make a block.  There is also a BOB for the GO! Big cutter. The GO! Big Snail’s Trail BOB makes a 12″ finished block.

And if you don’t have one of the BOB’s, you can still make a Snail’s Trail using individual dies or one of the Qubes. There are two ways to make the Snail’s Trail with these as shown by the diagrams below. The Snail’s Trail with the center set on point can be made with any size Qube and uses only that Qube. However, the Snail’s Trail with the center set straight requires two coordinating Qubes. The 4″ and 8″ Qubes work together for a finished 8″ Snail’s Trail quilt block. And the 6″ and 12″ Qubes work together for a finished 12″ Snail’s Trail quilt block. And there may be more Qubes in AccuQuilt’s future that have a coordinate.

Snail’s Trail Quilt Block Using 4″ and 8″ Qubes
Snail’s Trail Quilt Block Using 6″ and 12″ Qubes

Check the list of free quilt patterns in the right hand column for downloadable instructions for these quilt blocks.

It’s a lot of fun to use these with other blocks to make a quilt. I love that I can make a 12″ Snail’s Trail and have a quilt finished in no time. Later this week, I will show you some pretty quilts you can make with this block mixed with other blocks. There are also some color changes you can make that will create entirely new blocks with these same shapes. 
 

Qube QAL: Block 3 Diamond Star

This week’s block is a simple star block based on the tried and true variable star. The dark corner squares and Square on Point (SOP) center make it unique. Those dark corner squares are there to help create that overall ‘on point’ illusion in the complete quilt.

I encourage you to read the blog posts this week as I am going to offer some helpful tips, especially for those just starting out on this quilting journey. These tips are inspired by quilters who discussed their challenges on the Facebook group.

The first tip is a result of reading about one quilter who was remaking their entire first block because they picked up the wrong size die so their first block was too large. Another quilter wrote about placing the wrong die in the pocket of the Qube set and cutting the wrong size shape. There are many ways to solve this and each quilter will find their own way. This is how I store my dies in an easy to reach and identifiable way.

My dies are placed on a shelf as if they are books. Each die is labeled with the Qube size as well as the Qube die #. (You have to memorize the shape for each # or put a chart on the wall.) The Qube size and die # label goes on all four sides of the die so that it is easy to put away on my “bookshelf” and it is easy to see which die I have in my hand as I work. A piece of Painter’s tape is on the foam on the die with the size for the precut as well as the # of shapes I will get from a width of fabric (WOF) precut. I used to write directly on the foam or on the back of the die, but that is so permanent that I find Painter’s tape is a better solution. A black Sharpie is used for all marking. Silver can be used, but it sometimes bleeds onto fabric even after it is dry.

Here are pictures of my die storage. I am getting to the point that I really need a full size bookshelf for these dies. It would be nice to have them on a bookshelf with dividers for each size Qube, but so far the boxes have lasted for as long as there have been Qubes.

 
 

QUBE QAL for January-February 2022

What a way to start our QAL on the first Monday of January 2022. Yesterday we had a big storm – first there was much thunder, lightning, and flooding rain with a 25 degree temperature drop and then big flakes of snow for four hours. In the late afternoon we had beautiful sunshine.  Our electricity went off around 5 am and it didn’t come back on until 6 pm so we had a long, cold, dark day. Very obviously, not much stitching was done nor did we have internet connectivity.

Our QAL will start today on a Tuesday. I have created a new page where I will post all of the information. Please check the menu at the top of the blog for a page with links to each step in the QAL. Weather permitting, each new block will be posted on Mondays. 
 

Designing a Sampler Quilt

Sampler Quilt for the new Puppy

The Facebook AccuQuilt Qube group has asked to do a block of the week Sampler quilt. Sampler quilts are a lot of fun because each block is different. They’re also nice as a teaching tool because there are many different shapes and practice in joining those shapes can be used. However, sometimes a Sampler quilt can begin to look like jumbled up blocks – or at least in my way of thinking. I like clean lines and clear colors in quilts. So that is what goes into my thinking in designing a Sampler Quilt.

One way of doing this is simply to use the background fabric for the sashing and to make the sashing wide enough to give the blocks a background so that each block stands out on its own. Another way of doing this is to use background fabric strips to frame the block – I call this a floating frame. The result of this is a larger block than the original block design. In this case, I use a light or medium fabric sashing between blocks and often make it narrower or the same width as the floating frame. The floating frame makes either a larger quilt or a quilt with fewer blocks. For the same number of blocks, this requires a lot more background fabric.

These are just my thoughts about it all. Below are EQ examples of a Floating Frame block as well as a layout with a color sashing and a layout with a background sashing.

Quilt Block with Floating Frame
Quilt Block with Floating Frame
Sampler Quilt with Background Fabric Sashing
Sampler Quilt with Background Fabric Sashing
Sampler Quilt with Color Fabric Sashing
Sampler Quilt with Color Fabric Sashing
Sampler Quilt with Floating Frame Blocks and Color Sashing
Sampler Quilt with Floating Frame Blocks and Color Sashing

Have a Happy Day!

  
 

Piecing Block 1 Broken Dishes Qube Workout

Today’s the day! It is time to cut and stitch Block 1 of the Qube Workout. Instructions can be found in the menu at the top of the blog.  There are cutting instructions for each Qube size and some cutting notes at the bottom. Piecing instructions are also included for the blocks. MAKE 4 BLOCKS.

Here are the blocks I made with the 12″ Qube. I am using a very rich burgundy color that looks darker in the photos. And the background fabric is actually a pink batik. This is a single block and it finishes at 12 inches (12-1/2″ before being stitched into the quilt).

And this is all four blocks laid out together. I still have to stitch them. Using the 12″ Qube makes a very large (24 inches) center block for the quilt. And you can see the beautiful star shape that the Broken Dishes block makes when the blocks are combined.

I must admit that I have always been a little afraid of triangles and matching those corners, but these blocks have helped me conquer that fear. I hope you will feel the same way after you finish these blocks. 
 

Qube Workout Part 1

I am doing a Quilt Along on the Qube Facebook group and will post helpful hints here on the blog. The files will be posted until the quilt is finished and then the files will be compiled as a pattern for sale in my quilt shop. Here are pictures of the quilt from EQ8. One is a “scrappy” version and the other is a coordinated colorway. 01 Broken Dishes QubeWorkout Yardage

 

  
 

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.

 
 

Log Cabins and Signature Block Ribbons

This is a blog post that I wrote for AccuQuilt in July. The quilt uses the log cabin die as well as the signature block from the Qube Companion set and machine embroidery from the Holiday Medley embroidery designs. This looks like a difficult quilt, but it’s actually easy to make. The instructions include diagrams for quick and easy piecing of the log cabin blocks. 
 

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.

 
 

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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