It’s Friday and we haven’t been out of the house and yard for many days. We wave at the neighbors or talk at a distance from across the fence. Or we text. And they are so kind to offer to buy groceries for us, but in fact we have a couple of freezers (one in the fridge and one free-standing) so we are good with food. And if needed, I’ll bake bread.
It’s such a bright spot to talk to the children. What’s really fun is hearing how the ten grandchildren are doing – five in each household. One household has chickens and rabbits, so they’re busy taking care of themselves and their creatures. The other household has four boys and a girl. Yesterday I got a hilarious phone call from the Mom (former school teacher) saying she was going crazy. At 11am on Thursday, the 11 year olds were finished with all of their school assignments for the next three weeks, their household chores were all done, and they were just cruising for trouble. The 8 year old is being very hard to teach as it is difficult to keep him on task, the 5 year old complaining that he’s not getting enough attention and the 2 year old pulling out all the toys. And watching TV for four hours a day is just not acceptable so what is she going to do. My husband suggested Lego challenges like the Lego TV show. I am sure they will be fine so long as they can get outside and run and run and run.
Here’s a memory picture—just to think about what has been and might be:
I quilted the background for the Northwoods Medley and Camper quilt on Sunday and Monday and although I work out on the elliptical and bicycle for 3 miles on each every day, my ribs were really sore. Quilting does use muscles which haven’t been exercised in awhile. So, I decided to work on some embroidery at the computer and embroidery machine. This is the progress on the Nautical Medley. They turned out pretty well. The wheel was really hard as the embroidery software wanted to put starts and stops all over the place with so many moving parts for the spokes and making everything stitch in a logical order was not easy. There may be more changes, and the sailboat is yet to come.
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.
Grandchildren are such a joy. A cute little story about one of the second graders is about his reading. He comes to our house after school on Tuesday and Thursday to play. One of his school assignments is to read 30 minutes every day. For the last two weeks he has found one excuse or another at home to avoid his reading. Yesterday he missed his visit to us because his mother restricted him to no more grandparent visits until his reading was done. We got a message late yesterday afternoon that he sat and read for a solid hour. We had a good chuckle over his motivation and the fact that we can never understand why it’s more fun at grandparents’ house than his own. Nevertheless, he has won a visit to our house today on a rare Wednesday but is required to read with us for 30 minutes of that visit.
This is one of the projects I’m working on right now. It was started about five years ago. The background fabric I chose was pink and as the grandchildren kept coming, they were all boys. At one point I stopped with the last three letters, x, y, and z unfinished. Finally two years ago the last grandchild was born and it was a girl. She’s two now and thinks she’s the queen of a house full of brothers and her dad. So a couple of weeks ago, I finished the last three letters and am in the process of putting this quilt together.
The embroidery designs are an alphabet from Designs by JuJu. I love her embroidery and this makes such a cute quilt with the bright colors. I added a princess crown, carriage, queen bee and castle from another Designs by JuJu embroidery set to make the rows come out even.
I’m still working on a decision as to the border fabric, but I think it’s going to be the batik even though the print looks really good with this.
This is the rug in her room and the turquoise hopefully will coordinate with that as well as the hints of blue in the sashing fabric.
And this is that wild child with her sweet brother.
Have you seen the new dies that AccuQuilt introduced today? The new applique die is a Scottie Dog and it is so cute. This is the “big secret” that I’ve been working on and here’s a picture of some of the designs I created. There are seven designs in all. The little dog is about 4-1/2″ x 4-1/4″ in size. And he’s a cutie pie. This little dog would make cute 6″ finished blocks or 8″ finished blocks.
There are two more new dies for pieced quilts. I think the 6″ finished crazy quilt block would be wonderful. I can see piecing the crazy quilt blocks on the machine and then adding some machine embroidery decorative stitches on top of the seams. This could be done either with decorative stitches from the domestic machine or using some of the fancy crazy quilt stitches from my embroidery software.
Are you getting ready for Christmas? Believe it or not the weather has helped us get ready for Christmas. It rained cats and dogs here last week. We actually got our Christmas tree up (and before Christmas Eve) and I have gifts wrapped and some packages ready to be shipped. They will go out today, well before the package deadline from UPS. We don’t do a lot of big Christmas decorations and our tree is an artificial tree, easy to assemble, and kind of skinny, but it has beautiful colored lights which we enjoy. Ezri was here after school when we were putting up the tree. She insisted it was not really a Christmas tree because it was artificial. She has gotten to be a big tease about things like that.
PS: Our draperies are actually taupe but the lights give them a purplish hue.
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.
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.
Little did I realize how much had been forgotten about process when offering the Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner as a freebie. At the same time I was so happy to be reminded how wonderful and welcoming the stitching community is. It is such a warm feeling to get the lovely comments from everyone.
If you haven’t downloaded the Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner and would still like to have it, click here.
My methods for getting the files to you were not good and the blog framework didn’t work well for getting your comments to me in a format that made an easy email reply. This morning I got up with new determination to renew my previous experience with the file download site so that I didn’t have to be the slow middleman in the process. Yesterday I was not able to answer your emails and enjoy chatting with each of you. Now that there are systems in place for dealing with file downloads, I look forward to responding to each and every comment and catching up with those of you I know and getting acquainted with new correspondents.
Now let’s talk about quilting in the hoop. A big contributor to success or failure of a block quilted in the hoop is stabilizer – I like to use a fabric type water soluble stabilizer. Water soluble stabilizer is nice because it’s not at all stiff and it lets the quilt block look really “quilty” with good stitch definition. The first time the quilt is laundered, the water soluble stabilizer completely disappears.
What about the embroidery? The soft fabric type water soluble stabilizer does not provide the structure needed to hold those beautiful satin stitches of the embroidery applique. There is a solution. Add a soft tearaway / washaway stabilizer on the back side of the hoop while stitching the embroidery to provide the structure needed for the satin and decorative embellishment stitches. Then when the embroidery is complete it is easy to tear away the stabilizer on the back from around the embroidery without disturbing the water soluble stabilizer. Once that is done, the quilt batting and backing can be added to the back of the hoop and the quilting is completed.
The tearaway / washaway stabilizer needs to be soft to the hand. I use a 1.5 oz weight stabilizer. And if I buy a different brand, I always test it to be sure that it will tear away easily and it falls apart easily in water.
I hope this helps as you are working with your quilt in the hoop projects.
This blog post was published on the AccuQuilt blog yesterday and has the machine embroidery for the lowercase alphabet die that was recently released as well as my Holiday Elements machine embroidery design set.
As always, if I made this again, I would make snowflakes that showed up just a bit more—a darker thread for the stitches around them would give that little bit of additional contrast that is needed. But I absolutely love those cute snow people as well as the lettering.
This is stretched on a 20″ x 24″ canvas frame and has batting underneath, but does not have quilting stitches through the layers.
This is a quilt tutorial that I wrote for AccuQuilt for their blog. It was a lot of fun, but is very simple to do. The Spring Medley applique is cute, but this can also be made with a lot of the other different applique dies. I used the 10″ Qube, but it will also work with the 9″ and the 12″ blocks too.
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.