Playing Around with Half Square Triangles

One of the best things about Electric Quilt software is that it lets you quilt whether or not you can sit at the machine and stitch. After being away from the machine and real quilting for awhile, I am absolutely itching to make some half square triangles. All I can say is “it must be an addiction of some sort.”

Sitting at my computer over the weekend, I started playing with half square triangles. I set up a horizontal layout 16 blocks x 16 blocks and set a single half square triangle into each block. Then I started rotating triangles, one at a time, until I came up with something I liked. If the triangles are 4 inches finished, the quilt will finish at almost 70 inches (depending on border/binding), and if the triangles are 3 inches finished, the quilt will finish at almost 50 inches (depending on border/binding).

I tried reversing the color scheme, but really didn’t like it. I like seeing the parallelograms with this coloring. I think this quilt could be good in different color schemes, even in light ocean blues and tans. But it also will be nice as a bold accent piece in a neutral room.

I don’t know when I will get this made, but I’m going to start making triangles as leaders and enders and see what happens. Have been saving black and red batiks for a couple of years from my monthly batik packs from Batiks, etc., so the fabric is already in my stash. And thanks to my AccuQuilt cutter, the entire set of 256 red and 256 black triangles can be cut in less than half an hour.

The first image is the EQ drawing of the quilt. The second image is the EQ layout drawing. In EQ, I add a quarter inch sashing around each block to get the layout image.




Wesley’s Quilt Finished

This quilt has been finished more than a week, but the photos are just now ready. It seems forever that I’ve been working on this one, but I am pleased with it. I think it’s sturdy enough for a very active 4-year old to have on his bed. He should be able to jump and play with this quilt and it will not suffer any ill effects. Function is always a #1 priority when I’m quilting. The Accuquilt zoo animals die was not available when I started this quilt, so I ended up using a different machine embroidery set.

And I’m ready to start blogging again – the stars are aligning. School starts (UNC) tomorrow and the public schools start in the next two weeks. My Mom seems to be getting better after a tumble in her wheelchair a couple of weeks ago. She always wants to be independent and sometimes that stubborn independence has consequences. My embroidery machine is back from the shop and as good as new – I picked it up Saturday. The grandchildren have passed along their summer cold to me – but I am only a couple of days away from feeling great again. We had a great trip to the zoo last Friday with the grandchildren. My six month dental saga is almost at an end. Last week I had lunch with my good friends who are also quilters, and it was so good to see them. I am feeling refreshed and ready to go quilting again.

Here’s Wesley’s quilt:



 And here’s Juma, the baby giraffe at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. She’s adorable.

And a zebra – aren’t the patterns on the giraffes and the zebras wonderful?


Pet Menagerie

This is my entry for the Pets on Quilts Show. It’s a Pet Menagerie of wild, safari animals that are just perfect for a snuggle. This quilt is made with applique animals alternating with safari animals print blocks. The back has a great zigzag across the middle.

This has been a year of making and quilting safari animal quilts – for my nephew and for my grandsons – and they all love their quilt “pets.”

Quilting was done on my Nolting longarm using Aurifil 50 wt thread on top and bobbin.










Accuquilt GO! Zoo Animals and a few Orphan Blocks

When I was making the quilt for my nephew, there were a few blocks left over from all the different layouts I tried. In fact, there were enough blocks left over to make another baby quilt. And, whenever I digitize, lots of blocks are created. Altogether, they turned into a cute baby quilt. And the machine embroidery set is for sale and ‘on sale’ in my shop. I also added some elephants to round out the ‘zoo.’ The photo is from my phone and it’s hard to hold it completely still – but you get the idea.

And since the top was 45 x 45 inches, the backing needed some extra width. Thus, I added some quarter square triangles that were cut using the 8 inch finished quarter square triangle die from Accuquilt. And that made a perfect back for this little quilt. Love the way this turned out – I can see using strips of triangles across backs in lots of different ways.

Believe it or not – the blue on the front is the same blue fabric as the back. The light really changes the appearance of color.

And I thought I’d add in a couple of extra photos that are fun. Here are Ezri and Kes at pre-kindergarten graduation. Kes will still be in pre-K in the Fall, but Ezri will be in Kindergarten. Don’t you love those paper hats? They’re like the paper crowns we used to wear when I was a child – what a nice and inexpensive way to “graduate.”

And my husband is building a “tree house” addition to the swing set for the grandchildren. Last summer just before school started, Ezri and Kes were having a conversation as to whether our house (back yard actually) was a playground or a park. Ezri, much more experienced with school, assured Kes that Grandpa’s house is a “park”. 



Quilts of Valor and more

While working on the Quilts of Valor that are just completed, I also took the opportunity to make a ‘leaders and enders’ quilt for my grandson. These are squares and triangles that I kept beside the machine and are made from scraps leftover from other projects that I cut using the Accuquilt 3-1/2 inch strip cutter and the 3 inch finished half square triangle. The centers of each star are novelty prints.

The attic windows design seemed nicer than a standard sashing. This was a lot of fun to make and very quick to quilt using continuous curves in the 9 patch blocks and a single curvy line in the window frames.



And last – but not least – is the quilt label that I stitched for the Quilts of Valor. The main reason I purchased an embroidery machine was to make quilt labels – and then they never seemed to work very well. Finally, using a border from Embroidery Library and my own lettering, this is a very nice label.


Safari Quilt: Part 2

Once I realized that the original design wouldn’t work, I tried a new design. This design used two blocks, a log cabin block with the focus print as a 5 inch patch in the middle and a connector block using a 4 inch patch of the print in the middle. When these went together, it seemed the yellow background fabric overwhelmed the print too. Here’s a picture after trying several different backgrounds and realizing that it was the design/layout, not the fabric that was a problem.


So, back to the drawing board. It seemed the connector blocks were not “connecting”, so that was the first plan of attack. One way to add an extra connector is to add sashing the same color as the background and use a cornerstone that connects the connector block. That is what I did in EQ7, and it works! Can’t tell you how happy I am now.

This is a very traditional style quilt, but with the machine embroidery in the blocks, it’s going to be very nice when finished.


Safari Quilt for Wesley

Here’s a project that has been on the back burner for a long time, but for some reason the inspiration just wasn’t there. This is for my niece’s 5-year old son. He wants a wild animal quilt. First, the fabric we wanted disappeared almost as quickly as it was printed, and we didn’t get it. Then, for a year all the safari prints were in very soft colors. We wanted bright colors. Finally this print appeared and I bought it right away.

I also wanted to use machine embroidery on it and was pleased when Accuquilt came out with their zoo animals. But, there hasn’t been time to digitize those. Then I ran across this set of zoo animals from Embroidery Library. They look as if they were designed for this fabric. Sometimes it seems the stars must align for a quilt to be born.

The next step was to open EQ7 and see what could be created. I came up with a couple of designs and decided to start stitching. After two rows on the design wall, it was obvious that it was all wrong. The beautiful pinwheels and four patch blocks that I was using overwhelmed the print. The focus was to be the print and the embroidery, not the pieced blocks. Every time I looked at the blocks on the wall, my eye darted everywhere–there was no place for the eye to rest. Here’s what I had:

The rest of the story tomorrow. . . 

Linda’s Beautiful QOV Design

Linda in Arizona sent me this photo yesterday. I’m in love with this quilt. It is so beautiful with the rail fence blocks and the bordered star blocks. Linda used four strips on her rail fence blocks and rotated them around the center for a design that has a lot of movement and really focuses her star blocks at the same time. She used the machine embroidery stars that I designed – this is an update – at first I thought she used them without the applique shapes, but here are photos – she used a light blue fabric and the closeups show the blocks and stitching better.





Linda also sent the EQ7 file. Each block is 16 inches square, including the borders. The rail fence blocks use 2 inch strips and you can see that part of what makes this quilt so interesting is that the outer borders on the star blocks are different widths than the borders on the rail fence blocks. If you would like to have the EQ7 file, just leave a comment and I’ll send it to you.

And, I haven’t forgotten that you want to see my progress. Will give you photos tomorrow.


Secondary Design for a Star

A big Thank You to Sue Edberg for her beautiful quilts. I left her post up for a few extra days because her quilts are just so beautiful.

How is everybody doing with their QOV projects? I’d love to hear progress and even see some pictures. I’ll show pictures of my progress tomorrow.

And I’ve been thinking about what to do next for star blocks that are simple, but different. I played around a bit in EQ7 and came up with this variation on the Ohio Star. It is inspired by the 54-40 Fight Block which has four patches on all four corners.

To make a 12 inch block, each finished four patch unit would measure 4 inches. The star points are four inch finished quarter square triangle units, and the center square is a 4 inch square. It really is pretty simple when you put it together with simple sashing and cornerstones. And the four patch blocks create a very pretty secondary pattern within this quilt.




Another Eight Pointed Star

This Quilts of Valor GO! for a Star has made me try things I never thought I would do. This 8 pointed star is one I have admired for years. I even bought the Accuquilt die. But I’ve always been intimidated by triangles and even more intimidated by these triangles. Well, I tried it anyway—so here’s a quick photo essay on putting this block together. The finished size is 9 inches, so if you make blocks to send for a Quilts of Valor submission you can add sashing to the sides to make it come up to 12-1/2 inches. If you’re going to make a top or a quilt, you don’t need anything except the minimum quilt / top size of 55 x 65 inches.

Here’s the finished block:


 These are the dies that I used for a 9 inch finished block:


This the number of pieces needed for each block:

This is how I constructed the star points: