Don’t forget today is the last day of our Blog Hop. Go over to SewCalGal’s blog and see the special giveaway.
For several days I have been working on instructions for the method I use to make nine patch and four patch blocks using the Accuquilt GO. I find it is a very efficient technique for making these blocks, and it is much more efficient than sewing long strips together and then re-cutting them. The technique involves cutting strips across the width of fabric that will fit across the accuquilt GO die, stitching those strips together and then re-cutting them with the accuquilt GO. It means I only use the rotary cutter once and that is to get the width of fabric cut.
And – if you’re interested in knowing exactly how much fabric to cut without coming up short or having too many extra blocks, there are instructions for calculating how many strips you need. Instructions as an adobe file are on the Instructions and Videos page.
I love my Electric Quilt software and would never start a quilt without making sure that the quilt is not only drafted in EQ, but that I hold a printed copy of the quilt in my hand before I start cutting. The traditional way to determine what to cut has been to print the rotary cutting or templates from the block worktable to determine the patch size. Then go to the quilt worktable and print the quilt image, count the patches of each size, and write the number of patches needed on the printed copy of the quilt so that becomes the cutting guide.
The Accuquilt GO has revolutionized my system for cutting and has made me re-think everything that I’ve done in the past. One major change for me is that now I cut all (or almost all) strips on the lengthwise grain of fabric. In re-thinking the way I cut, I looked at the Accuquilt Fabric Reference Chart and the Electric Quilt software to see whether I could marry the two. Both of them are helpful, but I haven’t come up with a way to use them together yet.
By using the fabric yardage function in EQ’s Quilt Worktable, I discovered a way for Electric Quilt to tell me how many patches I need without having to count each patch individually. Step 1 is to save the quilt in the colors you will use to make the quilt. The example I’m using is a single Irish chain quilt.
Then re-color the quilt so that each separate sized piece is a different color. For example, all the sash strips are 2 ½ x 6 ½ inches, so they are all colored pink. All of the 6 ½ inch squares are colored green. All of the sashing cornerstones are 2 ½ inches square, and they are colored red.
When each different size patch is colored a different color, you can then print the fabric yardage chart and it will tell you how many patches of each size that you will need to make the entire quilt. For this tutorial, I went an extra step and used my graphics software to write the patch size on each color. The quick way to do this is to print the quilt and the fabric yardage chart and write the patch size on the chart by hand.
We’re having a blog hop this week featuring the Accuquilt GO die cutting system and Electric Quilt design software. Please follow our posts and the instructions you will find on the SewCalGal post today for a chance to win an Accuquilt GO cutter and/or some dies. You will also see the winning quilt from the Accuquilt/EQ7 contest. Visit these blogs each day and have fun!
Blog visiting is addictive isn’t it? I was visiting SewCalGal the other day, and she talked about guest blogging on Stash Manicure. I decided to drop in on SewCalGal via Madame Samm over at Stash Manicure. While I was there I found another post that was really fun by Annie: Stash Manicure: Meet Annie, a postcard ARTiste( she says she’s not..U B the judge lol). She makes these awesome fabric postcards. I love these postcards. They have bound edges and wonderful designs. I’ve seen a lot of fabric postcards, but haven’t been inspired to make them until I saw these. Now, I have this great link and am going to get back to this one day soon.
Not much quilting going on here this week. I went to a Slap Happy Quilters’ retreat last weekend and am a little burned out on quilting. But I will get back to it today. The retreat was wonderful–I used my Accuquilt to cut a lot of kits for other quilters to make comfort quilts for the Alamance Regional Cancer Center patients. It also gave me an opportunity to re-examine my priorities in charity quilting. Sometimes I try to do everything – make the patterns, cut, make and quilt the quilts and then I’m really spread too thin. I made the decision to focus on making the patterns and my friend, Sherry who is a fantastic quiltmaker, will help by testing the patterns and adding her touch to the instructions. In this way, perhaps even more quilts will be made and my efforts will actually be more efficient. Thank you Sherry for helping me think this through 🙂
This is the end of January, and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Although this table runner was shown back in December, it is gorgeous and is worth a peek. I even think I could use my Accuquilt Dies to make something similar. And if you don’t have time for applique, what about doing the scrollwork with stencils and Shiva Paintstiks. I hope this inspires– Enjoy!
I have been hesitant to write about this quilt’s story because I have such deep feelings, but will share it. I don’t know if you remember that last fall I made a t-shirt quilt for a friend from his Peachtree Road Race t-shirts. He had 30 shirts (had run the race 35 times), and I could only use 20 of them. He and his wife loved the quilt, and I told him he would have to run 10 more races so I could make him a matching quilt. Unfortunately, the only matching quilt I will be making is from the last 10 shirts, and it will be for his wife. He went out running 11 days ago and died of an apparent heart attack. We attended the memorial service yesterday. The quilt, his running shoes, orange knit hat, and photos of him were on the altar. I’ve never been so glad or so sad about a quilt in my life.
He was a sub on my husband’s softball team and for the last several years we have sat together in the bleachers Spring and Fall seasons every Tuesday and Thursday night visiting and cheering the team. Softball games will never be the same.
This sure took awhile, but I think it’s worth it. This makes bias binding using the GO cutter. One still has to sew the strips together as we do with straight binding, but this is bias. I haven’t tried it with strip cutters other than the 2 1/2 inch, but am sure it will work on any of them.
This works best for an 18 inch x width of fabric piece of fabric. It would seem that if you used a narrower width of fabric strip that you would cover less of the die, but in fact, the part folded over the die becomes wider and there is more waste. Thus 16-20 inches is the size that works best. If you use a width of fabric strip that is wider than 18-20 inches, you will have more than 6 layers somewhere on the die.
If you really do need less bias binding, you could try a fabric square (25 inches or less) pressed in the middle with the bias fold lined up with the blade and then folded to fit the die.
Bottom line, I’m not happy with any of those ways, so spent some time yesterday cutting bias binding and trying to find a simple, easy way to fold and cut bias on the GO. I am sorry to report I don’t have the absolute answer yet, but happy to report that I made progress. The yards and yards of bias that I made with my experiments yesterday will go on scrappy comfort/charity quilts, and I’m sure that I will make more bias today.
Why bias, you ask? Well, with bias binding you can do rounded corners very easily and it saves a lot of time and looks great. When I use straight binding, I always do mitered corners. I want that miter stitched in very perfectly and it takes a lot of time to do that. Thus the decision that there must be another way for binding comfort and everyday quilts. I got this idea at Christmas when I saw one of the first Christmas quilts I made for one of my daughter’s and it had rounded corners.
I realized as I was writing a reference post for the Accuquilt Sew and Tell Discussion Forum that I could make it easier to find links to the Accuquilt GO Reference Charts. I do keep talking about these charts–they are sooooooooooo helpful. All I can say is, use them, you’ll like them! So, I’m going to create a separate category on my blog for them, but I will also put the links here for you.