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.



Piecing Tips for Bow Basket Block

Of course, the first block I made was 10-1/2 x 10-1/4″–that just won’t do! Thus, here are the things I did to make sure the next block came out exactly 10-1/2″ x 10-1/2″. And remember how much easier it is to work with fabric, which has a fair amount of “give”, than working with some other materials such as wood.

1. Stitch scant 1/4″ seams – especially on the triangles. If the large center 6-1/2″ triangle isn’t just exactly sized, you can use the scant seam allowance in the center and on the sides to make up the difference.

2. Finger Press or Dry Press–NO steam!

3. Measure units before assembling. If one is off more than 1/4″, don’t use it. There is no reason to ruin an entire block because one unit is not sized.

4. Make sure the rectangles are the correct length and width. Gently stretch or ease the triangles to fit the rectangles as you stitch the block together.

5. Press to dark when possible. Press to side with least # of seams as needed.

6. Stitch seams so that dark is slightly “under” the light – or trim the dark if it overhangs so that you don’t have shadows underneath the light.



Remember that the rectangles are mirror images – be sure to sew accordingly. Half of them should have triangles added to the right and half of them should have triangles added to the left. 

Cutting Chart for Accuquilt GO! for Bow Basket Projects

This quilt block makes me happy–the red and white is so pretty and the design is simple and classic. Here are the instructions for cutting this block with the Accuquilt GO. Below you will find the number of patches per one block and the possible dies that can be used. The projects for Sew Cal Gal’s “GO! Ahead and Show a little LOVE” blog hop are as follows:

  1. table runner which requires 2 basket blocks,
  2. a medallion quilt which requires 4 basket blocks, and
  3. the traditional basket quilt which requires 12 basket blocks.

I hope you will decide to make one of these projects and quilt along with me. The actual quilt design is still a secret so we can show you during the blog hop. Decide which of the projects you want to make, use the number of blocks (2, 4, or 12) and cut the patches using the instructions below. Remember that when you have the finished size, you will need to add 1/2″ to each measurement so you will have a 1/4″ seam on all sides of the patch. For example, a 2″ x 2″ finished square is cut 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″.

A  (1 piece light, 3 pieces dark per block) is a 2″ finished half square triangle (HST)

  • 55018 Value Die – use the HST 2″ finished on that die, OR
  • 55063 HST Multiples 2″ finished

B (1 piece light, 1 piece dark per block) is a 6″ finished HST

  • 55001 HST 6″ finished

C (1 piece light per block) is a 4″ finished HST

  • 55031 HST 4″ finished

D (2 pieces light, 2 pieces dark per block) is a 1″ x 6″ finished rectangle

  • 55024 1 Strip Cutter 1-1/2″, and
  • 55000 Square 6″ finished (optional)

E (2 pieces light per block) is a 2″ x 6″ finished rectangle

  • 55014 or 55017 Strip Cutter 2-1/2″, and
  • 55000 Square 6″ finished (optional)

F (2 pieces dark per block) is a 2″ x 2″ finished square

  • 55018 Value Die or
  • 55014 or 55017 Strip Cutter 2-1/2″


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. . .

Well, I must have been dreaming when I said that variable star quilt used a snowball block. When I started working on it yesterday, I realized beyond all doubt that it is a “Square within a Square” or “Economy” block. Nevertheless, the principle is the same and the design uses fewer seams and is a great way to make this quilt. Here are some photos of what I did to make the connector blocks. Each unit – “Economy” block or “Pinwheel” block finishes at 6 inches (Unfinished 6 1/2 inches).

Three ways that you can make these are:

1) use the 4-3/4″ square and the 3-1/2″ half square triangle and stitch a scant 1/4″ seam


2) use the 6-1/2″ square and the 3-1/2″ half square triangle and mark the corners and stitch


3) use the 6-1/2″ square and the 3-1/2″ square and stitch across from corner to corner (save the cut off triangles for another project)



I used a template that I printed from EQ7 to mark the corners on the 6-1/2″ fabric square. If you have card stock, it’s nice to print the template on that for marking. I used a pencil to mark because it will be cut on that edge so the pencil mark will disappear. The reason I made the template with the square at the bottom and the triangles on the top is so that I could get the placement right on the fabric. It allows me to match up the bottom edge with the fabric square and have the correct placement for the corners. The point at the top extends beyond the square and is the “dog ear”.

And here is what it looks like in layout before stitching blocks together:

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.


Making Quilt Binding with Strip Die on the Lengthwise Grain

The best way to make quilt binding is to cut the strips on the lengthwise grain of fabric. The reason is that the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvedge), is less stretchy than the crosswise grain of the fabric.

To cut binding on the Accuquilt GO die cutting system using the strip die, you will need to make two cuts with the rotary cutter and then use the strip die to make the remaining cuts. The advantage of using the die cutting system is that you get very accurate cuts. You will have to make adjustments to the number of strips to be able to use this on the Accuquilt GO Baby.

You can use the chart below to determine how much fabric you will need and the number of strips you will have to cut.

  • The red numbers in the left column red numbers are the length of the binding needed for the quilt.
  • The blue numbers in the top row are the amount of fabric needed for each binding.
  • The black numbers in the rows are the number of strips needed from each amount of fabric.

Continue reading “Making Quilt Binding with Strip Die on the Lengthwise Grain”