EQ Stitch

Just a quick note here about EQ Stitch, as the special price on it goes through the end of March. It is a great program and I highly recommend it for those who want to incorporate machine embroidery in their quilts and designing. While I plan to write a full review and a tutorial on digitizing for die cut applique shapes in EQStitch, there just isn’t time this week. But it is a great tool for quilters.

EQStitch is not a full featured digitizing program, but what it will do is allow those who do not want to learn or pay for a full featured digitizing program to create simple machine embroidery including great applique designs for your quilt blocks. The reason I started digitizing in the first place was that I couldn’t find the applique designs for the quilt blocks I wanted to make. With EQStitch, you will be able to do that. And if you are a digitizer, it is a great “linking” software between EQ quilt design and machine embroidery.

More later–after Easter!

Here’s one I quilted last week. Thought you’d like to see how nice it looks finished.

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Google Reader Replacements-Feedly vs bloglovin for quilters

When I heard that Google Reader was going to the scrap heap, it was a concern. I read several posts and articles on the web about Google Reader replacements, and it seemed that more people moved to Feedly than any other reader (at least on the day that I was looking). So, I signed up for Feedly. Then I saw that a lot of quilting blogs were using bloglovin, so after a few days I signed up for that too so that I could compare the two. And now, based on a very short period of research, I have an opinion.

Feedly is definitely the winner in three areas that mean a lot to me. The first is organization. I love the index on the left that lists by category and that I can go to a category and click and see a list of blogs on the right or scroll through all the blogs in that category in the center. Or I can click on Index and see lists by category of every blog I follow. I don’t have to scroll through anything, it’s right there on a single screen. bloglovin seems to have the same content and index, but I have to scroll to get through it all which is too much like reader–I have to scroll through a huge long list to find the blog I want to see.

The real down side of bloglovin is that it never opens a blog as it’s own URL. If you look at the URL of a blog after it opens in a new tab/window, you will see that it is an extension of the bloglovin URL. And then when I try to bookmark a post or selection from the blog in Evernote, it is grayed out and can’t be bookmarked. Evernote is my encyclopedia of quilting, so this is a critical feature for me. In Feedly when I click on a blog, it opens as that blog URL in it’s own tab/window. Another downside of bloglovin is that when I click on “older posts” and try to click on a header, it isn’t clickable. This seems to have to do with the way bloglovin treats blogs. It’s almost as if they belong to bloglovin and not the blogger.

I am pleased that there are new blog readers. Google Reader was such an ark that it was work for me to read the blogs I like. The new readers make it so much easier. I know this is very limited research, but hands down, Feedly is my reader of choice.

  
 

Winner and a Tutorial

The random drawing winner of the Anita Goodesign Special Edition Embroidery Set of their choice is Bev L.  Congratulations! Bev, I will be sending you an email today to follow up.

Here’s a quilt that I finished this weekend as a gift for my neighbor. It’s been in my unfinished bin for quite some time. His wife passed away last Spring, and he has been donating her stash to me, box by box. I took a beautiful piece of fleece that he brought me and used it for the backing. The quilting is a geometric pattern and there is no batting. It is a very soft and drapey quilt which I think will be just perfect for these chilly Spring days.

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And, of course, it’s impossible for me to make anything using a rotary cutter these days, so I wanted to give you a little tutorial on how to make this using the AccuQuilt Go or Studio cutter.

The strips are scraps and are random widths. The first blocks that were made were pieced using a 10 1/2″ paper foundation. You can also use a fabric foundation. When trimmed, the blocks look like this.

Block completed using a paper foundation.
Block completed using a paper foundation.

To make the block into half square triangles, a 10-1/2 inch solid piece of fabric is cut and layered together with the pieced block with right sides of fabric facing each other, then a line is marked from corner to corner and stitched 1/4″ on either side of the marked line. This makes two complete blocks. All blocks are trimmed to the same size, and the quilt assembled. While I did a straight layout, the blocks could be turned many different ways to create a number of different unique layouts.

As I was stitching the last few blocks so that this quilt could be completed, I started thinking about ways to make this using my AccuQuilt cutter. I find making the blocks on a foundation very cumbersome because after stitching, each strip has to be trimmed in length. And then there is a trimming process in the end.

The first thing I tried was to make a row of strips as shown below. This strip looks nice and even, but it was made from scraps and then trimmed to 6-1/2″ using a ruler. You could make the strip any width. After the strip was trimmed, it was cut into half square triangles.

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At first I used the 45 degree angle across the ruler to cut triangles. Then it occurred to me that the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die that cuts the triangles lengthwise would work. This made me very happy. You can see the fabric after being cut with the die shown below.

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IMG_3501Of course, the next thing that has to be cut is the half square triangle from solid fabric that is needed to complete the block. Because the outside of the pieced half square triangle is cut on the bias, it is ideal to have the solid fabric half square triangle cut with the straight grain on the two outer edges of the block. Thus, I didn’t want to cut the solid fabric half of the square using the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die. The nearest size half square triangle that would match the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle was the 6-1/2″ half square triangle.

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When the pieced half square triangle and the solid half square triangle are stitched together, you will see that the solid triangle is just slightly larger and will have to be trimmed to a square. Because of the fabric grain, it is worth it to me to do that little bit of trimming because of the squaring issues that a bias quilt presents during the quilting process.

But there are other options that could be used so that one only used the quarter square triangle die or only the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die. For example, if you cut all of the triangles – solid and strips, with the 8-1/2″ QST die, then you could put them together like this and have the straight edges on the outside.

scrappy strips HST

 

Or, you could make the strips like the original plan on a foundation and then cut both the pieced strip square and the solid square with the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die.

Hope this helps you begin to brainstorm ways to use up all those short ends of strips that you’ve cut from other projects. 
 

IHAN Blog Hop Day 4

Several people have asked for the link to the Baltimore Album quilt. Here’s a link to all the quilts on the Anita Goodesign site:

Anita Goodesign quilts

And Kelly over at IHAN explained that Anita Goodesign is not a “she”. Actually, the designer and owner is Steve Wilson and the name means “I need a good design”. Fun!

Today, you have to go over to read Rebecca’s post at Cheeky Cognoscenti. I absolutely love her idea for a window treatment. And she also has some great tips for controlling the layers used in these embroidery designs by using tearaway stabilizer and cutting away the muslin underlay. I am going to try her idea today.

  
 

IHAN Blog Hop Day 3 – Baltimore Album Revisited

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Today is my turn–and I had so much fun. Welcome to my day of the I Have A Notion blog hop sponsored by Anita Goodesign embroidery. After looking through the wide selection of designs that were available for this blog hop, I decided to select a design set that would allow me to create a quilt that I’ve always wanted to make but have been too intimidated by the time and detail needed to make it. I chose the Baltimore Album Revisited set that is as beautiful as a hand appliqued quilt.These designs were just perfect for me to make a quilt.

Here is a photo from the pattern.

Baltimore Album shown on pattern front
Baltimore Album shown on pattern front

Below, you will find photos of the quilt I made.

I googled Baltimore Album quilts and found some good information and chose a layout that pleased me.  Of course, my layout is not identical to any of the ones in the liinked photos, I wanted more open space with just a bit of sashing for separation of the blocks.

Baltimore Album Quilt
Baltimore Album Quilt

 

Closeup of Baltimore Album Quilt
Closeup of Baltimore Album Quilt

 

Block with Sashing
Block with Sashing

 

Block without sashing
Block without sashing

The Anita Goodesign embroidery sets have interchangeable quilt blocks and the blocks come in four sizes. The Baltimore Album set blocks had embroidery and sashing stitched in-the-hoop to complete the quilt block. Because of the overall quilt that I chose, I advanced my machine through those color stops so that I had blocks that included just the Baltimore Album design.

However, I did go through the process of creating complete quilt blocks according to the directions and found that I really love doing quilt blocks that way. See the example below. It certainly makes me want to make more of them.

Block stitched in the hoop
Block stitched in the hoop

The blocks I used in my quilt are a small representation of the entire set. This set includes 20 blocks in four sizes each and also includes matching quilting designs in four sizes each.

Giveaway sponsored by Anita Goodesign: 

Leave a comment on this post by midnight on March 24 and a winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on March 26.The prize is the winner’s choice of one Anita Goodesign Special Edition Collections.

And don’t forget to visit the rest of the blogs this week.

Monday, March 18th:
Tuesday, March 19th:
Cindy – Sew Cindy
Trish – AllThingsCrafty.com
Wednesday, March 20th:
Thursday, March 21st:
Rebecca Grace – Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd

  
 

Machine Embroidery Blog Hop this Week

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Kelly at I Have A Notion is sponsoring a blog hop this week featuring Anita Goodesign machine embroidery designs. I couldn’t resist trying out some new embroidery designs and will share a project with you on Wednesday. And until Wednesday, you can visit the following sites where the blogger participants will share tips, tutorials, inspiration and oodles of giveaways (Anita Goodesign embroidery sets are included).
Monday, March 18th:
Tuesday, March 19th:
Cindy – Sew Cindy
Trish – AllThingsCrafty.com
Wednesday, March 20th:
Thursday, March 21st:
Rebecca Grace – Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd

 
 

What’s Old is New Again

While I’m spending time with my grandsons this week, I thought I’d show you a quilt that was made by my great, great aunt and great grandmother. This quilt is made from fabrics from my Mother’s seventh grade school dresses (mid 1930’s). The fabrics and quilt design look so much like quilts of today. I thought you would enjoy seeing it. The entire quilt was hand pieced and quilted. IMG_2948-001IMG_2950-001
 
 

The Ikea Effect??

Recently I heard a great interview on NPR and have thought a lot about it in relation to quilting–or at least in relation to my own quilting. It’s funny sometimes how I’m not sure whether two fabrics go together or whether a quilt layout really works, but by the time I’m finished I really like it.

Which brings me to the discussion of one of my weekend projects. I started out with some crumb blocks that Sherry had made and made more blocks to go with them using Elizabeth Hartmann’s improvisational piecing method. That requires a lot of rotary cutting and is too much like work. So, I started thinking about how I could do the same thing using my AccuQuilt GO cutter. That led me to think about how Sharon Schamber does piecelique, and I was on my way. I already had a block drawn in EQ7 that would work–an angled log cabin made in the same manner as the improv piecing. So, I cut strips with my AccuQuilt strip die and made some shortcuts to Sharon’s method and had a lot of fun making the blocks. I love gluing the strips together and then stitching them after the whole block has been assembled.

The plan was to use my Patience Corners quilt layout which puts sashing on two sides and turns the blocks in alternating directions. My daughter has asked for a new tablecloth quilt for her kitchen table (where the children eat a lot of their meals) because she doesn’t want to wear out the one she is using now. The current one is made from bright batiks in the Bento Box pattern. So, rather than using white sashing, I decided on a silver batik that would not show stains.

With all that said, here’s a picture of four blocks pinned to the design board. Not sure whether I like this or not. Since I’m spending time with grandchildren this week, I won’t look at this again until next weekend, so that will give me time to decide whether I like it or not.

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Weekend Quilting

Spent the last week and a half finishing some UFO’s. Now there are five quilts to be bound which is a couple days work for me. It is so good to have these quilted. Sometimes I don’t quilt a top because I’m just not sure how I want to quilt it. Either I can’t decide about the block background or the sashing or there is some indecision somewhere.

My quilting machine is a Nolting Hobby Quilter which was one of the first (if not the first) machines made for the home hobbyist. It’s a workhorse and has served me well. And the reality is that I’m never going to spend as much as it costs to get a top of the line computerized quilting machine. It’s just not on my wish list.

Years ago I bought the stylus and some of the Quilt EZ motif template boards. I never bought the pantograph boards because I prefer to work from the front of the machine, and really enjoy doing freehand work. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some pantograph designs that I like. In fact, I have designed quite a few myself. The problem with paper pantographs is that I have trouble following the lines (could never color inside the lines in a coloring book either). The nice thing about these boards is that the stylus fits inside a small groove and it’s a lot easier to follow the lines.

After using the heart for the Candy Hearts quilt and enjoying using the templates again for the large hearts, I decided to buy some pantograph boards. Two of my favorites are the interlocking squares and the Baptist fan. And it has been so much fun for me to finish some quilts that I couldn’t decide how to quilt. The red and blue and yellow and green quilt had such wide sashing that every time I looked at it, I folded it back up and put it in the “later” stack. I love, love, love the interlocking squares on it.

And yes, I’m thrilled to have the Candy Hearts finished — that was a lot of work. But I’m just as happy to have these others quilted too.

Candy Hearts
Candy Hearts

 

Candy Hearts Closeup
Candy Hearts Closeup
Pinwheels with Interlocking Squares
Pinwheels with Interlocking Squares

 

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Patience Corners with Baptist fan quilting
Patience Corners with Baptist fan quilting