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.


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.



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_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.


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.

IHAN Blog Hop Day 4

Several people have asked for the link to the Baltimore Album quilt. Here’s a link to all the quilts on the Anita Goodesign site:

Anita Goodesign quilts

And Kelly over at IHAN explained that Anita Goodesign is not a “she”. Actually, the designer and owner is Steve Wilson and the name means “I need a good design”. Fun!

Today, you have to go over to read Rebecca’s post at Cheeky Cognoscenti. I absolutely love her idea for a window treatment. And she also has some great tips for controlling the layers used in these embroidery designs by using tearaway stabilizer and cutting away the muslin underlay. I am going to try her idea today.


Quilt of Valor Project – Guest Blogger

We are so fortunate to have Margaret Pitt with a Quilt As You Go tutorial today showing how she has streamlined the process as she uses the quilted star machine embroidery set to make a Quilt of Valor. This quilted set was designed specifically for the Quilt of Valor project we did last year, so this is very dear to my heart. Maggie shows how she made these blocks in a long strip. After she finishes, these blocks are cut apart and put together with sashing. The assembly of blocks is shown here.

I am making a Quilt of Valor using Marjorie’s star quilted in the embroidery hoop. It sews out like a dream. My biggest challenge was figuring out how much fabric I needed. I used graph paper and colored pencils to figure out how many blocks I need for the back as my quilt will be 10 blocks wide by 11 blocks long. My hoop is 10 1/4 x 6 1/4. I fold the main strip in half and finger press this crease to help center the fabric in the hoop.


The backing will be in red, white and blue blocks so I used colored pencils to figure out how many of each color I needed. I chose a colored backing as I didn’t think all white would be the greatest for a quilt that gets used a lot.

I found that by cutting the main fabric and muslin stabilizer in 9 1/2 wide strips I can get 5 quilt blocks per strip. Cut the backing and batting in 8 1/2 inch strips and sub cut into 8 1/2 in squares.

Hoop your fabric and muslin together and leave just an inch over the top of your hoop, sew out your first block and when done and you remove to re hoop, first lay it face down and fold up the end from your last block and trim the backing and batting only so it is 3/4 of an inch wide. That gives you a little extra to square up your block and leave the 1/2 in seam allowance. The reason for trimming is that on the rest of the blocks when you pin the backing and batting on the back you can butt the top edge of it right up to the last trimmed backing block.


Now measure 1 1/2 inches down from the last block and place a pin in the fabric and then move your design and do a trace with your machine to be sure it isn’t higher then the pin. Sew out your second block and trim batting and backing as before. You will trim the bottom of the backing and batting on all but the last block.

After you have finished your second block, you can cut off your first block and square it up leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Now lay that block on your hoop in the machine and leave 1 inch between the last block. The reason for only one inch is the block you are using already has the seam allowance. Continue this method with the rest of the blocks.This method will allow you to get 5 blocks per strip .


I shut off my thread cutter as it only takes a second to hit and when the machine stitches down my star I use the same color thread for the next stitching and that way I just hit the start button and don’t have to trim the thread tail.


Big Little Book Blog Tour Recap: Tutorial Links and Winners

This has definitely been a non-productive week of stitching for me. I am fighting a cold and cough right now, but even before that, it seemed everything I stitched was just not quite right. On Wednesday, I finally stopped, shut off the machines and went downstairs to do family things. Sometimes if you just get away from it all, things work out better when you return. Thursday was better, but I didn’t get in my groove until Friday–and then there were errands to run which took me away from stitching. And today my cough and cold are bad enough that I think I’ll just veg awhile.

But I want to give you the final set of links to the Big Little Book of Die Cutting Tips Blog Tour tutorials as well as let you know that I did draw a winner immediately after the tour. Marilyn Lewis was the winner for my day of the tour and her book was shipped to her on November 16. And now, here are the direct links to the tutorials:

Quilting Zoo Animals Carousel

Just wanted to share how I figured out the curved lines for quilting on this quilt. I wanted to be able to follow the curvy lines of the rickrack applique . My attempts at following the lines kept getting off track and it would end up too wide or too narrow at the top or bottom. And then the light flickered. Recently I read (and can’t remember who or where it was) on a blog about using masking tape for marking a quilt for straight line quilting. This person suggested that one could use masking tape and rather than stitching right next to the tape, it would be better to stitch 1/4″ away so as to not stitch into the tape.

I decided to use the rickrack die to make a quilting template. First, I layered painter’s tape on the foam over the top of the blade, then ran it through the cutter. I actually added more tape to the straight edge to make it stay completely straight when I put it on the quilt. In the beginning I marked the quilt with a blue line following the tape, but that was just too time-consuming. So, I put the tape on the quilt and stitched a quarter inch away and used it for two or three lines and then moved it.

Quilting the Pumpkin Table Runner

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this blog post by Megan over at Canoe Ridge Creations. I was really intrigued by the quilting on her mini-quilt, so I just had to try it. And I had the perfect table runner for practice. This is the table runner that I made using Judy Danz’ Have a Pumpkin Good Day machine embroidery set. These applique shapes are cut with the AccuQuilt GO!™ Pumpkins die # 55323. 

Quilting was done by stitching a free-style squiggly line that was the width of my hopping foot. I just went up and down. Then I went back across filling in a squiggly line between each of the original lines. I didn’t try to match the squiggles in anyway, each was independent. The table runner looks great, was fairly easy to do, and not using a ruler with my longarm was far easier for me. I can definitely see that this would work well with free-motion quilting on a regular sewing machine as well as a longarm machine and that it may work better on smaller areas rather than going across an entire large quilt. Wouldn’t it be fun quilting for a mug rug?

Quilting wavy lines


This is the full runner on my kitchen table. I opened the leaves so it would lay flat.


This is a view at an angle so you can see the effect of the quilting and how it makes the pumpkins stand out–almost like trapunto. Quilting around the vines was a dilemma for me, and I did it a couple of different ways. The leaves were stitched in the ditch, but after awhile, I started stitching straight over the redwork stems instead of trying to stitch beside them as an outline. I really couldn’t tell that it changed the overall look and the stitches hardly showed. The thread used on this is Aurifil 50 wt in a color to match the background.

And you can see that the Irish chain squares are done with a freehand continuous curve as they’re definitely not perfectly even. The squiggly line piano keys in the border were also done free-hand. This whole thing really went fast and gave me the exact effect I wanted.





Crazy Hearts

Just wanted to show you some pictures of the crazy hearts quilt that I’m quilting this week. My friend, Sherry pieced this from a set of embroidery hearts I gave her. The hearts are made from crumb blocks and are cut with my AccuQuilt GO™ hearts die like this. They are cut from fabric that is randomly pieced together from scraps.


And then they are stitched onto background fabric with the basic hearts machine embroidery set.

And this is the way I’m quilting these. I am using this quilt to practice the swirls that I plan to use on Sherry’s bargello quilt.


Day 3 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop – Fall Medley

Today is Day 3 (and the day after the election) of the ME blog hop and SewCalGal has some great machine embroidery fun for you.

In addition, I’d like to share a couple of links to encourage all quilters to donate quilts to victims of the Hurricane Sandy disaster in the northeast. You can be sure that both of these organizations will deliver. Here are the links:


Quilted Panels and Kindles, etc.

I found a great tutorial over on Elizabeth Hartman’s blog–have you noticed I’m a fan– showing how to make quilted panels for a structured bag. It’s a great way to make quilted fabric for a bag and a great way to use up some fabrics that are sitting around and will never be stitched into slacks or clothes because you’re too busy quilting. I recently inherited a lot of fabric like that, and now I know how it will be used. While Elizabeth made her panels on the sewing machine, I am going to try this on the longarm and see how it goes. CLICK HERE to go to her tutorial.

I’ve had my Kindle Fire for a year, but am just now finding ways to use it that are fun for me. Did you know that not only can you get quilting books on the Kindle, but you can also get your Quilting Arts subscription on your Kindle now. Actually, it’s probably been around awhile, and I just didn’t realize it. And if you have an iPad or Android tablet, there are Kindle apps for them that work just like the Kindle.

And last, but not least, our little Ezri is growing up. I am managing the blog for the Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartoma Foundation, and my daughter has been telling Ezri’s story there. There are also blog posts about Faith, a little girl from England who is about six months younger than Ezri. Today’s post is about Ezri’s school trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and it’s a happy story.