Quilting with Minkee

Yesterday I loaded and finished quilting a lap quilt made by my granddaughter, Kes. This is a favorite pattern of ours using a 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangle die and the 2″ strip cutter. The blocks are made of a Laurel Burch horse print. I love the fabric designs and this was fabric left over from a larger quilt that I made for Kes.


When Minkee fabric was on sale a few months ago, I bought yardage for quilt backing. I have used it already on the back of one of Ezri’s quilts,  and Kes wanted it for the back of hers.  When I bought the Minkee, the issues related to fuzz simply escaped my mind. For a soft backing, working with flannel or fleece  is a better choice. However, when I started to cut, fuzz was front and center. It’s not the fuzz I mind, it’s the cleanup. Now that this is quilted, the plan is to use the serger to finish the edges to prevent so much fuzz everywhere while binding.

This is a picture of the backing just loaded on the quilt frame. I had cut the lower edge of the backing to even it up before pinning it to the leaders.  I used a lint roller to pick up all of that fuzz.

And as soon as this is finished, I am going to sew the rows together on Ezri’s rail fence quilt that she’s making for Vivi. Vivi wants a quilt with a “soft” back, so it will get quilted with Minkee on the back too. These are real challenges the week before Christmas, but fun ones because of the precious children who are the recipients. The biggest concern I have is that Vance, (Vivi’s twin) will want a quilt with a soft back. My hope is that I have a panel somewhere in the stash that can be quickly bordered and quilted for him.  Will keep you posted. 
 

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.

 
 

Let It Snow Wall Frame

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.

 
 

Baby Quilt with Spring Medley Applique Machine Embroidery Tutorial

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.

 
 

Bear’s Paw Table Runner Tutorial

AccuQuilt has another new die–they just keep releasing more and more–it’s hard to keep up with trying out each new one. This one is a Bear’s Paw die that is a Block on Board (BOB) which means one run through the cutter and you have a complete block ready to stitch. The quarter block of the Bear’s Paw looks like a maple leaf so I used that idea to make this table runner. You can go over to the AccuQuilt blog to see the full tutorial.

 
 

Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt

I just finished this Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt made with the AccuQuilt GO Crazy Quilt die. I love the Crazy Quilt dies (both Studio and GO!). They are just incredible. There are so many different layouts that one can create with it–and the blocks stitch up faster than almost any other block. I used Square in a Square (aka Economy Block) blocks alternating with Crazy Quilt blocks.  Read the full tutorial on the AccuQuilt blog.

Crazy Quilt Star
Crazy Quilt Star
 
 

Fall Update

Where did summer go? We’re well into the new school year and as busy as ever. The dahlias are blooming with their last hurrah for the warm weather. The hurricane season has brought incredible humidity here in North Carolina but we’ve been fortunate in this part of the state not to have had a lot of rain and wind. This photo of a bouquet that my husband brought in last week was taken a few days later, so the blooms are beginning to lose their initial glory, but they’re still beautiful.

And what about quilting you may ask–as that’s the primary subject of this blog. Well, there have been weeks when quilting has been happening and other weeks when it hasn’t. For the past year or more, I was writing a monthly blog for AccuQuilt. I needed a vacation from writing, but now I am on target to start again in the near future.

Another passion of mine and the “Slap Happy Quilters” group with whom I stitch on a regular basis is making comfort quilts. Hopefully our quilts bring comfort to all the cancer patients at the Alamance Regional Cancer Center. So here are a couple of recent completions. They’re still flimsies as I haven’t had time to quilt recently–I’ll tell you why after these pics.

This is a quilt pattern that we call “Shirley’s Quilt” because it is in memory of one of our quilters who is no longer with us. It always brings back special memories to me when I make this pattern. It is made of bricks cut 3-1/2 x 6-1/2″ and squares cut 3-1/2″. I used Shapes 8 and 5 from the AccuQuilt GO! 12″ Mix and Match Blocks Qube to cut these pieces and the 3-1/2″ strip die to cut the horizontal sashing and border and the 2-1/2″ strip die to cut the vertical border.

And here is another quilt I made using leftover bricks from Shirley’s quilt, but cutting them down to 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ bricks. It’s also one of my favorite patterns. I used Shape 8 from the AccuQuilt GO! Mix & Match Blocks 8″ Qube for this one. This one still needs a border and to be quilted.

This is the block for this quilt. What I love most is that it can be made with any size brick and looks wonderful as a scrappy quilt. Every other block in this quilt turns 90 degrees, so the only seams to match are the corners of the blocks. That makes stitching blocks together into a top so easy.

And this is the reason I never get anything done–but they’re so, so cute!

 

  
 

Fun Flower Quilted in the Hoop

AccuQuilt has published a blog post today with instructions for my machine embroidery Fun Flower design that is quilted in the hoop. I hope you will head over there and read it. I had a lot of fun making this quilt and can see more quilting in the hoop in my future.

 
 

Candy Hearts Machine Embroidery Valentine Tutorial

I am cross posting this Valentine tutorial from the AccuQuilt blog. You can find the full post by clicking the image. I had so much fun working on these cute machine embroidery ITH Quick Kids Bears from Dolls and Daydreams and adding my Candy Hearts Machine Embroidery to make them Valentine bears. Can’t wait until the grandchildren can come visit and make some too.

  
 

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.