Brick Quilts

I have been fascinated by brick quilts for a long time. I’m not sure why I find them so much fun to make. Perhaps it is because the pieces have one long side and it seems like I’m going faster. Anyway, here’s a quilt, one of a series, that I think you’ll enjoy. I have given instructions for multiple size bricks. You will have to adjust the number of blocks to make the size quilt you would like. The nice thing about calculating how many pieces you need is that each block has four light and four dark bricks.

This is very scrappy and Accuquilt GO die friendly. You can cut the length of the bricks across the width of fabric. Then fanfold it onto your strip die and away  you go. You’ll have this quilt cut very quickly. The Accuquilt GO cutter has introduced me to cutting and stitching lengthwise, and I think my blocks are much more accurate now.

Brick Quilt #1 - click for instructions

edit: ooooooooooh! I see another way to piece this! Do you see it? It could be blocks of brick four patches and blocks of four bricks alternating colors, then stitch into rows. Hmmmmmm! These would be rectangle blocks, not square, but it might work even better for pressing. I’ll have to try that and let you know. 

Long Distance Quilting

I took a trip to my Mom’s this week. Most of our quilting is done long distance and it is not easy to quilt that way. We keep UPS in business, and they have great service. If my package gets to the UPS depot in the late afternoon, Mother gets it the next morning. It leaves Chapel Hill that night and makes it to Greensboro by 2am. UPS ground gets it on the truck to Shelby, and out for delivery the next morning.

One of the issues that we deal with in long distance quilting is that Mother doesn’t have a computer. Three times, we tried computers with her for email, but it was very frustrating for her. Since her stroke, some parts of her brain just don’t work normally. She has real trouble communicating numbers and the names of many things, although she knows exactly what she wants to say. And using a computer is the same way. My final solution for email was an HP service: which is an HP printer at her home that receives and prints email.  There is no way for her to email back, but at least she can receive text and picture messages. Even though verbal communication is difficult, she reads and understands everything.

I bought her an Accuquilt GO cutter for Mother’s Day. She hasn’t used it yet, but it will certainly get used. She has an incredible stash which hasn’t been touched in three years.  Her primary caregiver is going to help her explore her stash to find fabric for her next project. I would love to do this with her, but there is never enough time in a visit; and she can make this kind of decision if someone helps her overcome the physical limitations.

I had given her a Moda Butterfly Fling jelly roll before I even got my first Accuquilt GO. She has finally stitched it together, and we are making a Strip Twist quilt from with it. The strips Mother had stitched came home with me. Yesterday I pressed and cut them into triangles according to the instructions. I used a tiny bead of Elmer’s School glue to baste the triangles together and pressed it dry. I packaged them up, and she should have them first thing Monday morning. Once they’re stitched, I’ll try to make a trip back. She likes to make blocks but even more, she wants to put the blocks together to make the top. I can help her with that by trimming the blocks to size and then glue basting them into rows for her. She will enjoy laying them out so she can decide where each block goes in the quilt layout.

The Strip Twist quilt is one of my favorites. I have made it at least a dozen times for charity quilts and made it into a baby quilt using the Butterfly Fling jelly roll. It is also a great pattern for using your 2 1/2 inch strip die with your Accuquilt GO.

I’m glad to be home. I plan to be back to my quilt a week instructions by Monday. Hope you have a Happy Quilting weekend! 

Ribbon Weave Quilt (Accuquilt strip die friendly)

This is a quick and easy quilt to make and can easily be cut using the 2 1/2″ and 3 1/2″ Accuquilt strip dies, or it can be cut using your rotary cutter. Either way, cutting the 8 1/2″ strips across the width of fabric is the best way to do this. It means your strips are cut on the lengthwise grain and they stretch less when you’re sewing.

It has been blazing hot here. I hope everyone is staying as cool as possible. We’re looking for cooler temps, lower 90s, later in the week.

I’ve been working on ‘Delirious Again’, which is what I’ve decided to name her. Hopefully will have pictures tomorrow.

Click on the image below for instructions for the Ribbon Weave quilt.

Ribbon Weave (click for instructions)

Strip Quilts that are so pretty!

A pattern designer who creates beautiful patterns that are both traditional and non-traditional is Terry Atkinson at Atkinson Designs. I have long admired Terry’s work not only for the designs, but also for the colors she uses. Do you remember as a child when you were learning to sew and you looked at the pattern front and thought that the fabric in the sketch was exactly what you were going to make? It took me forever to convince one of my daughters that it was the style–not the fabric– that she was choosing. But it is true that when we look at quilt patterns, we often view the colors used on the pattern sample when we decide whether to purchase / use a pattern. We all vary in our ability to view other color schemes. I love Terry’s color schemes as well as her designs.

I just want to say that if you’re going to pay money for a pattern, Terry’s new patterns are well worth it. Her Popsicle Sticks, Urban Cabin, and Pie Crust are all wonderful strip pieced quilts and could easily be made using your Accuquilt GO strip dies. She also has some cute accessory patterns – the Zippy Strippy bag and the Pockets to Go – if you like to make bags and boxes.

I think everyone has loved ‘You Can Quilt That Out’! I have watched it multiple times. It is so funny and so true and so well done. Kudos to Mavis Rosbach who created this video.

The forecast here is for heat and 101 degrees with late afternoon Tstorms. The humidity here feels like being smothered with a bear hug in a steam bath.  Have a wonderful summer day and find a cool swimming pool if you can! 

Brick Four-Patch Scrap Quilt

Over the weekend, I worked on instructions for another quilt that uses the 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ brick Accuquilt die. This one also uses the 3 1/2″ strip die. I have seen this quilt done lots of times and it is a very pretty quilt. It could also be done using the 2 1/2″ strip die and width of fabric precuts that are 4 1/2″ wide to be fanfolded across the 2 1/2″ strip die to make bricks.

Here’s a picture from EQ7 showing the quilt. Click the quilt image for a link to the instructions. Also note that I have been making my instructions in EQ6/EQ7. In the software, I go to Layer 2 and write the instructions using the text tool. Then I move the text box above or below the quilt so that it does not cover up the quilt image. The text becomes a part of the quilt image. I can then print a photo of the quilt to an adobe file, and I have both image and instructions in one and it’s all on one page!

Brick Four Patch Scrap Quilt

On other fronts, we’re still struggling with what to do for Ezriel and the remnants of her brain tumor. After three surgeries, the little pieces that are left are literally threads. It is complicated though because the strands can be seen on MRI, but the surgeons say that during surgery the strands are indistinguishable from healthy tissue. Thus, it is hard to delineate exactly where to cut to completely remove them. In addition, these strands are beside the optic nerve. Meanwhile, Ezri is having as many as 70 or more dacrystic and absence seizures daily. Her mom increased her antiseizure meds late last week and she seemed to be doing a little better when we saw her this weekend. However, the doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute are scheduling a series of appointments to include consultations with the gamma knife team as well as the pediatric microvascular surgeons. As always, your prayers and kind wishes are appreciated. 

Bricks and Squares

I am quilting today – and can’t wait to get to it. I also am trying to document all of the charity / comfort and donation quilt patterns that our quilting group has done over the past few years. I belong to a group called the Slap Happy Quilters, and our focus is to provide comfort quilts to patients at the Alamance Regional Cancer Center.

We made this Bricks and Squares quilt in 2004. It finishes at about 48 x 60 inches which is just perfect for comfort quilts.

I believe that when we made it, we used 5 inch squares. However, I have modified this to fit the dies for my Accuquilt GO. Thus, the pattern has been adjusted for a finished 6 inch block and the 3 x 6 inch finished bricks. The dies themselves are 6 1/2″ square and 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ bricks.I also added a second variation. There are more ways to turn these blocks for different quilts, so try them out and see what you can do.
Bricks and Squares instructions link

Bricks and Squares
Bricks and Squares

One that I’m not going to tackle right now

I am always looking for ways to use my Accuquilt GO, and thought I’d found the perfect quilt. I love the way it looks. But beware, there are bias edges ahead. Of course, I thought I could find a way around that and could make a better mousetrap–quilt that is. So, I sewed strips together and stitched around the outside edges and cut through the middle, I stitched through the middle and cut through the middle. Alas, those bias edges never went away. I can do this, but am not willing to tell the inexperienced that this is a great quilt to make. I would recommend this only for the experienced quilter who is not afraid of bias edges. As a longarm quilter, the last thing I want are D cups on my quilt frame. Anyway, here’s the link: Hidden Wells – and good luck! This is an absolutely gorgeous quilt finished.

The primary reason I was not excited about the instructions in the link is that the seams did not alternate without a lot of fussing. I always want a system for pressing so that the seams in a quilt alternate and there are no lumpy bulges anywhere. This is one that I would put on my design board with the wrong side facing me, just so I could see the seams and make sure they were going to all go in the right direction before sewing the blocks together.

Oh well, I spent quite a few days thinking about this and made four sets of sample blocks. Two sets were perfectly flat, two sets were D cups–bummer. In the meantime, I finished quilting one and stitched together a baby quilt. I’ll have pictures up tomorrow for you, and a more positive message.

My EQ7 upgrade is going to be delivered today. YAY!!!!!!!!!! 

Patience Corners

I have been working on instructions for one of my favorite quilts. The first time I saw this pattern, it was on a bed at my Mom’s house. She said she made it as part of a block exchange. I have been making it ever since. This new method incorporates the Accuquilt GO and uses only the 6 1/2 inch die. It is very similar to the Disappearing Nine Patch method that we have all come to enjoy making. Somehow, though, Patience Corners is dearer to my heart.

Here’s a picture of a Patience Corner that my mother made and I quilted and here’s the link to the instructions on Scribd.

Patience Corners

Shiva Paintstiks and Accuquilt GO

This morning I had an idea to make a stencil with freezer paper from my Accuquilt GO applique dies. So, I tore off some freezer paper, rolled it through the GO, and ironed that freezer paper to a piece of fabric. I pulled out my Shiva Oil Paintstiks and went to work. I really only like the iridiscent Paintstiks–just me I guess–and the glitz of that doesn’t show in the pictures. But I was pleased with this little experiment – picture below. Now to try some other new things – like Angelina fiber bonded and run through the die, for some real pizzazz.

Paintstik stencil experiment with GO applique dies

Even studio cleaning can inspire

I spent most of yesterday cleaning up my studio. The applique project meant that I had pulled out pieces of fabric of every color. Fabric is the paint with which we create our works of art and sometimes we have to pull out a lot  to get just the right colors. And it’s so hard to know how to put away  all those smaller pieces of fabric. Often, I cut them into smaller pieces, but most of these were fat quarter to half yard size.

I did come up with some ideas as I worked. I had been dissatisfied with a couple of the appliques that I had done – or with the lack of contrast of my flower centers. So, I pulled out my Shiva Paintstiks and painted them. Otherwise, I think I would have thrown those applique blocks away–and they were a lot of work. I love the iridiscent paintsticks and that gave me the contrast and colors that were just perfect for those applique flowers.  I used stencil brushes so that I could control the amount of paint and for some of them I just gave them a light shimmer, and for others I gave them a big color change  from light to dark or dark to light.

Another idea was to go ahead and rough cut the flower shapes so that I could put away the fat quarter/half yard that  I needed  for that small 4 ” patch that would become the flower. I checked my Accuquilt GO dies and found that for the applique I’m doing right now, the hexagons are the perfect size – just larger than my flowers. So, now I have stacks of hexagons that will make flowers, and the centers of my flowers. This is so much more portable than all those stacks of little pieces of fabric with which I was struggling.

I started quilting an oak leaf applique quilt of Norma’s late yesterday. I am cross-hatching the background of the four blocks and will do a formal feather in the borders. I think it’s going to be pretty.