Today is the first of July and it’s a good time to update the free flag pattern on this blog and retire the old one. This new quilt block pattern uses the Qube system and uses Qubes in coordinating sizes. The inner block uses the Angles Companion Qube. And the block can be made as an 8″ finished block, a 10″ finished block, or a 12″ finished block.
Someone asked yesterday for the block layout on the Snail’s Trail virtual quilts that I posted yesterday. It’s especially hard to add the block layout on the Storm at Sea quilts because the sashing and cornerstones are actually the Storm at Sea shapes and EQ doesn’t give me the option for dark outlines. However, if you look closely, I think you will see them. You can also click on the pictures to see a larger image.
I know many want a “pattern” but this takes so much time in writing and testing that it’s not something I can do for free. The individual block patterns can be done fairly quickly, and I am happy to offer the information for constructing a block as a printout (see the Free Patterns and How-to list on the right). And I will work on creating patterns using AccuQuilt dies and the Qubes for a couple of these at a later time as many seem to want a pattern.
Last week I uploaded some instructions for creating the Snail’s Trail blocks using the AccuQuilt GO! BOB Snail’s Trail as well as instructions for making the Snail’s Trail in any size using the AccuQuilt GO! QUBE system. There are so many fun quilts that can be made using the Snail’s Trail as a “connector” or “chain” block. And when you look at these quilts I created in Electric Quilt 8, you will see that it’s all about color. Choose your colors, cut your shapes, lay them out on a felt block board and stitch.
The Storm at Sea Snail’s Trail uses the SAS shapes as sashing. The Snail’s Trail Stars use alternating Snail’s Trail and Star blocks. Here are some ideas.
We are starting a new QAL on the AccuQuilt Qube Facebook Page. The information for fabric yardage and quilt specifications is given today. Please READ CAREFULLY and choose your fabric carefully. Be sure you purchase enough fabric based on the Qube size you plan to use. And purchase extra if you’re not sure how you want to make this. It is a mystery with one part given each week.
For this QAL we’re doing a Row Quilt and working on using our Qubes to create not only blocks but also quilt borders. There will be four rows that are “borders”. There are three rows of blocks. Please click the image below or the menu above to go to the QAL Page.
Yesterday there were multiple questions about the directional nature of the parallelogram. And yes, it is directional as is the chisel. When you have a shape that is directional, the solution is to layer fabric with either right or wrong side facing up for cutting. NO FANFOLDING on directional dies unless the block has shapes that are mirror images.
My method for cutting the shapes so they match the pattern is to hold the die in my hand and compare it to the pattern. If the shape matches the pattern, cut with the right side of the fabric facing up and if the shape is a mirror image of the pattern, cut with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. With the parallelogram, be careful and remember that the long side of the parallelogram is where the half square triangles attach.
This quilt is from a blog I wrote in 2018 and has a chisel border with the blue and green chisels as mirror images.
The same thing applies for applique dies. Almost always the applique dies are not symmetrical and must be cut in the direction that is on the pattern. And direction can be related to a lot of things. I know after I finished the Camper quilt, there were many comments that the door was on the wrong side of the camper. In our international quilting community I learned that in the US the door has to be on the outside for safety reasons. We would never want to open the door into traffic. Likewise in the UK and other countries the door has to be on the opposite side (like my quilt) for the same reason. Here’s a picture of my ‘European’ oriented campers. I did go back and update the embroidery designs so that there are campers oriented in both directions. You will also see that in the Northwoods embroidery on this quilt that the bears and moose are directional and are stitched in opposite directions.
And a quick note to the many who have written asking where the QAL patterns are. Please see the menu at the top of this blog page. There is a menu item that says “QUBE QAL”. Click on the words QUBE QAL and it will take you to the page with all the patterns and instructions for yardage. If you bookmark that page, you can always go directly to the QAL patterns. If you stop at the blog first, you will find helpful tips. The QAL patterns will be removed after the QAL, so go ahead and download and save them on your computer now.
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.
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.
It’s been a challenge for many of us to finish block 2. For me, the hardest part was matching the center Shape 4 Quarter Square Triangle points in the middle of the block. I had to take the seam out three times before I got it right. A few more advanced quilters just converted it to half square triangles (HSTs) for the whole block to avoid using the parallelograms. And some don’t have a Qube and are trying to make the blocks without a Qube. Here are some options if you only have half square triangle and quarter square triangle dies. It is always best to use as few units as possible, but there may be reasons to use alternate piecing layouts.
In one option the parallelogram is split so that the center row of the block is made with two light-medium Flying Geese units and two dark-medium Flying Geese units. That splits the parallelogram into HSTs.
In the second option, the corners are made with dark-mediumHSTs and there are four light-medium Flying Geese units in the block.
A third option would be to make the entire block with HSTs, but that would be a lot of matching points, and I’m not even going to show a diagram.
And here’s one from the group from Sheila N. who made her block using all HSTs. Remember there’s more than one way to cook an egg.
For those who want to make more than one block per week, I am going to go ahead and post the instructions for the Connector Blocks. The connector block instructions will be on the QAL page. There are two sets of instructions, one for those with the Mix & Match Qube and one for those with the Angles Companion Qube. You can make one connector block every time you make a pieced block and at the end you should have enough connector blocks for your quilt.
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.
Wow – 12 weeks and this is the last block. We started in May and ending in August. This block is called Summer Posies as there is a strong center with some petals in the corners. Each center is different and uses dies from a different Qube (Mix & Match, Angles, or Corners). Enjoy this last block and get ready to put those blocks together into a quilt top or if you only have a few – how about a wall hanging or a table topper or table runner. Click on the blocks below or follow the link in the top menu to get to the instructions.