Blog Hop Day 1: GO! Ahead and Show Some Love

It is one day before Valentine’s Day. I know you won’t get this quilt done before Valentine’s Day, but I hope you’ll make it to use all year long. It’s a classic and has wonderful open areas for free motion quilting. It was so much fun designing this in EQ7. I don’t know what I’d do without that software. The image and requirements are below. (you will also find blog hop giveaway info at the end of this post)

And hop on over to see Ariane’s great Half Circle Pinwheel. She made a needle case, but I can see that block on placemats or in a quilt.

I (heart) baskets quilt

For this quilt you will need:

4 each red and white basket blocks (finished 10, unfinished 10.5)

Cutting Requirements

Block Construction

Piecing Tips

Heart Motif for Basket Blocks

1 each hearts embroidery block (finished 10?, unfinished 10.5?)

4 each cut 10.5? x 10.5? white blocks

Border 1 (red): 2 each rectangles cut 2.5 x 30.5?,

and 2 each rectangles cut 2.5 x 34.5?

Border 2 (white): 4 each rectangles cut 1.5? x 34.5? and

4 squares (red) cut 1.5? x 1.5?

Border 3 (red): 4 each rectangles cut 2.5 x 36.5?

4 each cut 2.5? x 2.5? squares

Border 4: 36 each 6? finished half square triangles (red and white)

4 each (white) cut 4.5?  x 4.5? squares

Border 5 (red): 2 each rectangles cut 2.5 x 48.5? and

2 each rectangles cut 2.5 x 52.5?

Binding: 220? continuous 2.5? strip for binding

And now, if you’re participating in the blog hop, I’m sure you want to know what you’ll find here as a giveaway. This has been a great debate for me, so the winner will have two options:  The first option is 18 Candy Heart blocks and background fabric for the open blocks. The second option is machine embroidery files for the Candy Hearts. How do you qualify? Leave a comment on this blog between Monday and Friday and visit at least one of the other participating blogs each day this week. I am leaving this open for US and international entries. The winner will be selected by random drawing. 
 

Information Overload — OR NOT–Tools that Help

It seems the quilting world has boomed with information and keeping it all sorted out is quite a challenge. Things that are hardest for me are wading through email and my blog reader. Thus far, I have used many different tools for doing this including sorting by search and sorting by mailbox and blog readers, but am still overwhelmed by all the information. However, there are three tools that have become very helpful to me and I’d like to share them with you: Google documents, Evernote, and Pinterest.

Gmail and Google documents work together quite well now. What I have found is that at the top of the gmail window in the icon bar, there’s a “More” button. In the dropdown box there’s a command “Create a document” and that allows me to create a Google document from the email. I have been using this to save important information including travel itineraries, software receipts, and serial numbers. I can create my own set of directories and labels and can rename the email/document so that the name tells me immediately the content of the document. Once it’s in Google documents, the original email can be deleted. And the information is accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Evernote is the nicest tool for storing ideas, but even greater is it’s ability to keep track of tips and tutorials and all sorts of reference information. I have been using it for a couple of years now and recently upgraded to the Premium membership. It works on the concept of tags and allows the creation of new tags as part of the clipping process. It is not social media per se, but a personal notebook system. There are multiple screen views , but the one I use has tags as an index on the left column, a list of clips in the next column, and a preview of the selected clip on the right. Thus, one can visually search by tag or just by going through clips and looking for a photo. The clipper tool allows one to clip a URL, a selection, a complete page, or the article on the page. One of the nice things about this is the ability clip only the relevant information without extraneous and unnecessary information such as ads. The information one stores in Evernote can be accessed from any computer, tablet,  or smart phone. The only hard part was that I use multiple browsers and have multiple computers, so had to setup the clipper on each.

And now we have Pinterest. I have only had it for a week or two, but am finding that it’s a great place to store ideas. Back in the days when most information was in magazines, I used to clip photos and ideas from magazines and newspapers and taped them into an idea journal. This is a wonderful way to create an idea journal via browser–and the bonus is that your friends share their journals with you. 
 

Sweethearts Quilt Tutorial

Candy Hearts make such adorable projects. Here’s the Sweethearts Quilt that I’ve been making. While I used the candy hearts embroidery set, you can also make this using a novelty fabric or you can cut the hearts on your Accuquilt GO! and fuse them and use an applique stitch on your regular machine to stitch them. You can also use a stencil or fabric markers to write the candy heart sentiments.

Here’s the quilt:

Sweethearts Quilt

And here’s the finished block:

Candy Hearts Block

You will also need to cut an equal number of plain squares that are 7.5″ which is the finished size of the heart blocks.

Here’s the block showing the size of each piece in the block. The finished block size is 7.5″

 

And here’s the Fat Quarter cutting chart. I am making my quilt using fat quarters. Each fat quarter makes 4-5 hearts and there’s a small 4-5″ scrap left on the end of the fat quarter. Those scraps can be used to add some pieced blocks to the border or cut into strips for other scrappy blocks.

 
 

Candy Hearts for Valentine’s Day

The weather is freezing here – I can’t seem to get my fingers and toes and nose warm today even with layers of clothes. Maybe it’s the dampness outside. I’m finishing up the candy hearts digitizing and they’re on the website and for sale already. All that’s left is to stitch enough of these hearts for a quilt. I sent some of the test hearts to Barb over at Bejeweledquilts by Barb, and she had them stitched into a quilt as quick as a wink.

Here are pictures of some of them (there are 52 files in all):





And later this week, we’ll work on the embroidery for the red and white project for the “GO Ahead and Show Some Love” blog hop. Here’s a peek at some of my finished basket blocks and my heart blocks.

 

  
 

Sewing the Units for the Bow Basket Block

Constructing this block is not difficult at all. I created some diagrams using EQ7 to show how to put this block together. The first thing we’ll do is stitch together the triangles and rectangles to make units that are needed to construct the block.

 

  
 

Bow Basket for Valentine’s

Have been busy this weekend working on a project for Sew Cal Gal’s “GO! Ahead and Show a little LOVE” Accuquilt Blog Hop which will be February 13-18. I designed a pieced basket block and an embroidery block and put them together into two different quilts and a table runner. So, rather than just give you something on Valentine’s that you might make for next year, it seemed appropriate to start a Valentine project that could be finished by Valentine’s Day. For the next four weeks, I will show you how to cut and assemble the basket and embroidery blocks and the week of the blog hop will be the big reveal showing how they go into the quilts/table runner. Let me show you the basket block:

Bow Basket Block (10" finished)

In one of the quilts, you will need four of the basket blocks, in the second quilt, you will need 12 basket blocks, and in the table runner you will need two basket blocks. This would be great made with scrappy reds or if you’re like me and buy red fabric a lot–you may have enough of one color to make a complete project.

I’ll use my Accuquilt GO! to cut these blocks, but you can also cut them using a rotary cutter. I have designed a worksheet that you can use to calculate what you need to cut for a quilt. Over the years, when using a rotary cutter for cutting, it seemed I always made lots of extra pieces. There is something about the Accuquilt GO! that gives me more control, so it makes me much more likely to plan ahead and cut just enough for a project rather than cutting until it looks like there are enough pieces.

The embroidery block can be done using an embroidery machine, but the design is also simple enough to make the block using the applique stitch on your domestic sewing machine.

Tomorrow, we’ll start cutting. Go check your stash and see what you’ve got in reds and whites! 
 

Variable Star with Pinwheel Center made with Snowball blocks

Yesterday, we talked about making pinwheel blocks. There is always a standard setting using sashing and that makes a very pretty quilt. But thinking about how to use my pinwheel blocks sent me to my EQ7 software to see what I could make. Here is one example.

The Variable Star block with a pinwheel center is one of my favorites.  It is usually made as a star block with the points constructed as Flying Geese units. In this version, I used a snowball block and a modified half snowball block rather than the usual flying geese unit to make the star points. This would definitely be easier to piece than the usual variable star. The other advantage is one that is always important — fewer seams which makes a prettier quilt.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how I would cut this with the Accuquilt GO and how I would piece it. There are multiple options for cutting and piecing.

Snowball Half Block
Snowball Block

 

 

Variable Star Quilt made with Snowball Blocks
 
 

Matching Points on Pinwheels

Pinwheels and triangles are the hardest thing for me to do when piecing. The reason is that I want the points to come out exactly in the seam. I pulled out an unfinished project of pinwheels when I needed some busy work last week. And here is the ‘aha’ moment that I had. While it’s not ideal that all seams are NOT pressed to the darker fabric, it’s very nice that the points meet beautifully in the middle. Maybe we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

What I realized is that having all the seams pressed in the same direction (clockwise or counter clockwise) is what gives me perfect points on the pinwheels. Look at the pictures below and you will see what I’m talking about. You may have to look carefully to see where the point is “off” on the second photo, but that is the one that has all seams pressed toward the darker fabric.