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. 
 

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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Winter Fun

I saw a fun project last weekend and knew I just had to make these for my grandchildren. I can remember what rambunctious fun I had growing up with two brothers and a sister and my grandchildren can get pretty rambunctious too. So, I started making snowballs–yes, snowballs! It takes about five minutes at the most to hoop my fabric and stitch out these cute little faces. The balls are made in the shape of a baseball, so they’re one continuous seam. These snowballs are made from cotton lycra (dancewear fabric) because that’s what I had in my closet, but I’ve ordered some white fleece from Joann’s. They’re filled with fluffy fiberfill. I think about 2-3 dozen snowballs should be enough for three children. What fun to build forts and have a great snowball fight. (I purchased the embroidery files from http://www.CharmingStation.com.

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And this is the second thing I’m working on–ideas for quilting my candy hearts quilt. There are alternating plain blocks in that quilt, so this is what I’m thinking about doing for the plain blocks. I stitched it out this morning to size the hearts and see how it would look. I’m pretty pleased, but think I’ll use either a wool batting or a layer of Dream Request weight underneath my Hobbs Heirloom batting to give the quilting of the heart shape more definition. This quilting is with only one layer of Hobbs Heirloom.

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Patchy Hearts by Linda

I got an email yesterday with this beautiful quilt picture attached. Linda won the hearts giveaway last year, and this is what she did with the fusible hearts. I absolutely love the pastels and bright colors mixed together. This is Linda’s quilt design (she designed it in EQ). The hearts have sashing on two sides and the alternating blocks are half log cabin blocks. This is wonderful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the label she made. I love using the applique for the label.

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Quilting Fun Flowers

This is a UFO finish that has been in the stack awhile, but I just didn’t know have the inspiration to quilt it. Then I saw Angela Walters’ tutorial on SewCalGal’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge and have been playing around (doodling) with some geometric free motion designs ever since. Leah Day has some great geometric designs too. I recently purchased one of her design books for my Kindle Fire and absolutely love being able to take quilting books with me wherever I go.

 

At first I had some reservations about these rectangles on the background of a curvy design, but then it occurred to me that cross-hatching works well on any design and it is angular. So, why wouldn’t this work? And yes, it does. In fact, I have been at such a stalemate and so bored with feathers and swirls that I have hardly quilted anything for awhile. I am inspired again after this.

It’s fun to be ale to doodle on the Whiteboard and on Skitch on my Kindle Fire too.Hopefully, with this sketch you can see where i backtrack on each square/rectangle to start the next.

 
 

Progress on HST Quilt Top — And Winners!

The HST quilt top is moving along. There is only one vertical row to add to the horizontal rows. Then I will turn it and stitch all the horizontal rows. So far I really love it. Still not sure about the variegation of colors, but it may work. After doing the first couple of rows, I realized that because the triangles are not set in an ordered fashion, there will be some really bulky seam intersections. So, contrary to all my beliefs, I went back and pressed those triangle seams open. The seams from square to square will be pressed to the side. I think this is what will work best. However, I really believe I am going to have some points that just don’t meet perfectly–and that really bothers me when it’s my work. Doesn’t bother me a bit when it’s someone else’s quilt. Weird, huh?

And the quilt kit winners–ta da!

Janet Currier and Judy (email user name rcpjmp).  Quilt kits will be on the way to you shortly. You will be getting an email from me this morning. 
 

Variegating a Quilt

I am back to the Half Square Triangle quilt. All of the triangles have been stitched. This morning I sorted all the triangles and put them in order with color transitions that seem to work from one print to the next. They could be ordered differently, but this is the order I have them.

The next step is to decide how many pieces are in each variegation. Because the fabrics were chosen randomly, there are not equal numbers of squares in each stack. Thus, I expect to use 4-8 squares of a color in each variegation.

Hopefully this afternoon, I can start putting the squares up on the design wall and will take a pix and show you how it looks. This is a real shot in the dark – we may not like it when it is actually up on the wall.

Here’s the original quilt design – if you need a refresher. The colors in this EQ7 version are random scrappy.

 
 

Connector Block Tutorial for Halloween / Turtle Quilt

It’s raining cats and dogs here today – and more rain is on the way. It’s the sort of day that would be nice to curl up  and just knit or read a book all day. But I promised a tutorial for this quilt so here are the instructions for the connector block. This is an image of the connector block with fabric.

 This is the block showing the piecing:

These are the cutting instructions using the EDeN™ System.

Fabric Unit # # Needed per Block EDeN™ Number # Needed for Quilt
Light A 2 REC-1½ x 8 26
Light B 2 REC-1½x5 26
Light D 1 SQ-2 13
Dark B 2 REC-1½x5 26
Dark C 2 REC-1½x2 26

EDeN Numbers give the shape and size for cutting. All numbers given are finished sizes. Cut sizes should be 1/2” larger than the number given, i.e., 1½x8 should be cut as 2 x 8½. The abbreviations used here are: REC = rectangle; SQ = square

You can find more information about the EDeN system on the website.

This is the way that I would cut this block. I am going to tell you as a narrative without illlustrations, so I hope it is understandable. If not, please ask questions.

Light Fabric:

For the A unit, I would cut an 8 ½ ” strip across the width of fabric. This is an 8 ½ x 40” strip. Then I would fanfold that strip across the 2” strip die. This would yield 18-20 A units. I would repeat this step to make the remaining A units. Note that you do not need to fanfold the entire strip this time as you only need 6-8 more units.

But this leaves a strip that is now 8½ x approximately 24 inches. I would cut this to 5 ½  x 24” and fanfold it across the 2” strip die to cut 11 B units. Then I would cut a 5 ½” strip across the width of fabric and fanfold that across the 2” strip die. This will make 18-20 B units and with the ones that you cut previously, you will now have all the B units.

The D unit is the last unit of the light fabric and it can be cut entirely on the 2 ½” strip die. Cut 2 strips that are width of fabric on the 2 ½” strip cutter and then fanfold those 2 ½” strips across the strip die to make squares.

Dark Fabric:

Cut the B units as described above leaving the 5 ½ x 24” leftover from the second strip to be cut down and used for the C units.

The C units are cut 1 ½ x width of fabric (1 ½ x 40”) and then fanfold across the 2” strip die. 
 

Halloween Quilt / Wall Hanging

I seem to be collecting a lot of machine embroidery blocks. The more designs I digitize, the more I stitch, and then there’s no time to put them all into a quilt. But I can dream – and dream I do. That’s the beautiful thing about EQ7. It allows me to quilt with a computer.

The two most recent sets I digitized are the Halloween set and the Turtle Treks set. This is what I came up with for a quilt layout. I think both of these would be nice as a lap quilt, but even cuter as a wall hanging. Here are the two quilt layouts from EQ7–very simple – and the quilting will be the ‘piece de resistance’ for these quilts. The third image shows the block outline. Tomorrow, I’ll give directions for constructing the black and white connector blocks. And then maybe some lucky person would like to be the recipient of a kit giveaway to make one of these – blocks already embroidered!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
 

The best laid plans. . .

All that red and black fabric that I thought I had in my stash. . .well, it must have been too tempting for other projects because there was not enough left when I pulled it out to look at it. So, it was back to the drawing board for me. Since I have so many batiks and couldn’t decide on a single color, I decided to try a scrappy look. I played around with it in EQ and came up with this.

I knew babysitting was on the agenda today, so I quickly cut 4-1/2″ x 18″ strips from some fat quarters and half yards so that I could cut the triangles on the Accuquilt GO during baby’s nap this morning. One great advantage of the cutter is that it is so quiet – no motor, no noise at all. I layered several of the strips with the white background strips so the triangles would cut already layered and ready to stitch.

While I was rocking baby to sleep, Ezri (5-1/2 years old) was inside with me. She usually spends a lot of time quietly playing with Legos. After the baby was asleep, I walked into the kitchen and found Ezri cutting all my fabric strips into triangles–even the ones that hadn’t been layered. She had done a remarkable job of it – there were only two strips that had partial triangles – everything else was done perfectly. So, I spent awhile this afternoon layering the single triangles with background triangles. She was not at all interested in cutting white triangles – she only wanted to cut the colored fabric.

There are two t-shirt quilts sitting on my machine that must be pieced – so these triangles are ready to be the leaders and enders for those projects. It will be fun to get a third project out of the first two.