Squaring Blocks with AccuQuilt Dies – Part 2

In the previous post, the blocks that were squared had two sides that were already “square”. Today, I’ll show you how I squared blocks with a diagonal / half square triangle seam. My go to block for comfort quilts or a quick quilt anytime is the Strip Twist block from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com. I use jelly roll strips for it or cut strips from fat quarters. The blocks stitch up quickly and the seams always match perfectly. And while it’s a great scrappy quilt, it takes on a whole different look with coordinated colors or set on point. Here’s a single strip twist block.

01 Strip Twist Block

After the success of squaring up square blocks, I decided to see if I could do a block with a half square triangle seam. And it worked great. After stitching these blocks, for whatever reason, are just slightly wonky and no two are exactly the same size. So, I always square them up to the same size.

I used the 10″ square die for the GO! Big for these photos. But I have also squared this up with the 8-1/2″ square die and the GO! cutter.

I used my Square up ruler to measure the block when it was folded on the diagonal seam line and then I transferred those markings to my die using Painter’s tape. With the ruler on the die, I inserted pins in the foam at the end of the diagonal lines on the ruler and then stretched the Painter’s tape from pin to pin.  (Can you see my reflection on the ruler?)

Square up Ruler on Aligned on Die showing placement of Painter's tape.
Square up Ruler Aligned on Die showing placement of Painter’s tape.

Then I carefully laid two blocks folded in half in each corner = 4 layers, Do not press blocks open until after cutting. The diagonal seam is laid exactly on the line of the tape and the corners are centered beyond the blades.  This is what you have after it is cut. This is the easy peasy way to square these blocks.

Squared up Strip Twist blocks.
Squared up Strip Twist blocks.

And while I used the 10″ square die, this works well with the 8-1/2″ die too. It will all depend on your block size. 
 

Mr. Potato Head and more

Today’s post is about using the Brother Scan N Cut and novelty fabric motifs. The entire post can be found at a new blog area that I created that is specifically for projects and tutorials using/creating precut shapes and machine embroidery applique. I have added a link on the menu bar to that new blog area for those of you who are interested in machine embroidery, digitizing applique, and have either a die cutting system or one of the electronic cutters like the Silhouette Cameo or Brother Scan n Cut.

Recently I gave a talk at Electric City Quilters Guild in Anderson, SC. One of the members there showed me a beautiful quilt she made for her granddaughter using a Princess novelty fabric. She cut the motifs out and appliqued them onto the blocks. I think this could very loosely be called broderie perse. While the motifs are not fussy cut like real broderie perse, it is a patterned motif appliqued to a background.

On my way home I stopped at Mary Jo’s and happened to see an adorable Mr. Potato Head fabric on the sale table. This was the perfect opportunity to try to fussy cut the motifs with the Brother Scan N Cut.

More . . .

 
 

Log cabin quilts

Recently on the AccuQuilt Facebook group there has been a discussion about log cabin quilts. And particularly about curved log cabins. It’s one of my favorite quilt blocks. I thought I would revisit the curved log cabin with cutting diagrams for 8 inch and 10 inch finished blocks that can be cut with the 1-1/2″ and the 2″ strip cutter dies.

This is a curved log cabin that I made 15 or more years ago–I still love it.

Curved Log Cabin Quilt
Curved Log Cabin Quilt

To create these cutting charts I used EQ software and printed out the rotary cutting instructions. Then I used the text tool to write the cutting instructions on the quilt block set into a one block quilt layout. Click on the image to download the pdf file for the 8″ and the 10″ blocks.

LC-curved-8in finished
8 inch finished curved log cabin block
LC-curved-10in finished
10 inch finished curved log cabin block

A curved log cabin can’t be cut with the log cabin die, so you would need to follow the method shown in this Youtube video.
 
 

Strip Twist on Point

I received a comment from MaryAnn yesterday asking for the pattern for the Strip Twist on Point. My friend Sherry found a picture of this and wanted to make it as a wedding gift for her son. When we googled it, the only pattern that could be found has been out of print for many years. It’s a design I had played with in EQ7 (who says great minds don’t think alike), so we gave it a try and found that it is Bonnie Hunter’s exact Strip Twist pattern but is set on point. Setting it on point is the only change. To get the beautiful color layout, the strips have to be placed exactly with one strip set going from dark to light and the second strip set going from light to dark. When the strip sets are joined into blocks, the layout becomes apparent.

Follow Bonnie’s instructions to the point that the blocks are made. Then create your layout on-point and you will have the beautiful gradations in color.

Here is a diagram of the block layout to help you see how this works.

Strip Twist Block Layout
Strip Twist Block Layout

And this is Sherry’s finished quilt (from her Facebook post) so you can see how she used different widths of strips to get the effect she wanted.

Sherry's Strip Twist
Sherry’s Strip Twist on Point

This photo is from the experiments Sherry and I did in January. You can see that it would have been better to have blocks all the way to the corner (half blocks) rather than plain setting triangles. But it was just an experiment. . .

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I hope this inspires you to go out and make a gorgeous quilt. If you do, please send a picture. 
 

Great Video for Making a Stencil

This is a great video showing how to make a quilting stencil using the Silhouette Cameo. A stencil like this could be used for hand quilting. It would also be a great way to make a stencil for marking for free motion or freehand longarm quilting.

This video is by Margaret Wilburn at her blog “Crazy4Cutters

 
 

A Big Thank You to All

The Quilter’s Giving Bee is closed to donations and now the gifts are being tallied and the prizes are sent to the winners. This is a big shout out to SewCalGal for organizing and sponsoring this great event, the four blogger participants and their organizations, and most of all to all of you who contributed money and/or purchased machine embroidery designs from me as a donation to HopeforHH.org. You will also find a post I wrote on the Craftsy blog for Holiday machine embroidered napkins for those of you who like to do machine embroidery on napkins. And for those of you who just want to use Christmas fabric to make napkins, here’s a link to a great tutorial for Nine Minute Napkins. I love cloth napkins and have loved making them using this tutorial. So many of the tutorials show how to fold the corners and trim, etc. This is so much quicker and easier for me. I also added links to these tutorials in my blog roll links. 
 

Grandmother’s Flower Garden Options

Grandmother’s Flower Garden is a very fun machine embroidery project because it goes so fast. Because of the size of the hexagons, I was able to use jelly roll strips for cutting the hexagons. I just fanfolded the strip across the hexagon die and cut six hexies at a time. (However, the new multi-hexie die came yesterday, so now I can cut more at a time. I hope it works as well with the jelly roll.

I’ll do a full tutorial as soon as I take some pics of the process, but will just explain it here. These are the steps.

1. Hoop fabric and stabilizer. (I used the Sulky Soft n Sheer cut away stabilizer – it is wonderful for light weight stitches for soft quilts). The fabric was hooped on point.

2. Stitch the placement line for the hexies onto the background fabric.

3. Use a glue stick or pen just inside the placement line of each hexie.

4. Place the center hexie first, then add the flower petal hexies. They fit together like a puzzle and go right up to the stitches and each other. You can use a cuticle stick or Purple Thang if needed to manipulate them. The glue softens the fabric and makes it easy to manipulate.

5. Put it back onto your machine and stitch away. The design will stop to use a different color for the center, but I decided I liked having a lighter/contrast center fabric and having the design stitch in the same color as the petals.

As for the design, I tried multiple layouts. My goal was to make the flowers sit together in the same layout as a traditional GFG. The only way I knew to do that was to set the blocks fairly close together on a solid background. After stitching nine flowers, I stopped. I had drawn a grid on the fabric and was aligning each grid on the hoop for each flower. The weight of the fabric was too much. I realized I could get the same effect with blocks set on point, so that’s when I changed to the current layout. Here’s what I have so far.

These blocks will finish at 7″ x 7″. They will be closer together by 1/2″ when the seams are finished. I think I like this. If they’re still too far apart, I may cut them down to finish at 6-1/2 x 6-1/2″. This is one time I don’t mind having an odd sized block if it makes the project work.

IMG_4536

I tried multiple layouts in EQ7 to see what would work. You can see the options below. It was very difficult to get an alternate block with squares an even size when the finished block would be 7″.

gfg 9 patch gfg alt block gfg on point gfg sashed 
 

Label Tutorial from Jaybird Quilts

Have you seen this tutorial on making labels using Spoonflower fabric? It is the greatest idea. And wouldn’t it be a great way to make care labels for your quilts that could be stitched into the edge of the binding on the back.

For care labels, I like to make a fold-over label. I fold right sides together, stitch the sides, turn right side out, and stitch the raw edge into the binding on the back. This is a little trick I learned from Linda Lawson at Longarm Chat.

Have you had fabric printed by Spoonflower? I used some in a commission quilt and it was very nice fabric. 
 

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.

IMG_3510

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.

IMG_3496

 

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.

IMG_3500

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.

IMG_3504

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.