Drum Roll—–and we have a winner!

Danita is the winner of the shapes to make a small turtle quilt. My random number generator consists of writing all the names on small pieces of paper, folding them up, shaking them up, and drawing a name. Thank you all for following my blog and Accuquilt.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. 

Trying something new

Don’t forget – LAST DAY FOR TURTLE GIVEAWAY – leave a comment here and LIKE the Accuquilt Facebook Page for a chance to win.


Today’s post is about trying new things. The challenge of finding the best technique is never-ending. Judy Danz mentioned to me that she has been using glue sticks instead of fusible for machine embroidery applique. I also have used glue stick on some things – like door hangers, but never on more delicate applique. So, I decided to give it a try. With Judy’s technique, she starches the fabric before cutting the applique, then uses glue stick around the edge of the wrong side of the applique. I used glue stick on the background just inside the die line. My method was a bit messier, but my fabric had not been starched, and I was afraid I would stretch it. But I wanted to show you the results. I love this method–it leaves the applique so much softer. Because of the number of stitches and the length of the stitch into the fabric, I do not believe the fabric will fray. I already washed the flower that is shown below, and it looks as good as new. What do you think?

Applique applied with glue stick


One important thing is that I really did manipulate the fabric to make sure that it came all the way out to the stitched die line. Because it is softer without fusible on the back, that was easier to do. I also used my mini iron to press the glued applique piece onto the background so that it would quickly dry.

Remember, these craft glue sticks are just starch, so they wash out very easily, leaving your work soft and beautiful. 

Let’s talk fusibles

This conversation came up yesterday with Judy Danz, and I thought you would all like to be in on it too. Judy mentioned that in many of her classes she uses glue stick to baste the pieces in place before stitching rather than fusible. I have done that when I am using a satin stitch on the applique. And it works beautifully and leaves the applique nice and soft in the end. It also does not gum up the needle as I thought it might. And you don’t even have to get up from the embroidery machine. I was able to find a piece of cardboard that was firm enough and thin enough to place under my hoop while at the machine, so I barely had to slip the hoop off the clamp to add the glue.

However, on the applique stitch, I have been using fusible just because I was thinking the stitches might fray a bit if I didn’t. The stitches that I am using to digitize are so close together that they probably won’t fray no matter what – so I’m going to try this experiment, wash it a few times and I’ll let you know how it comes out.

I use almost all the different types of fusible depending on what is available at any given time. But I’ll tell you what works for me and then you can make your own decisions. My top favorites are Mistyfuse and Stitch Witchery. Thirty years ago I made baby quilts for my children and those baby quilts are still in use today with the grandchildren and are just as nice as ever. They were fused with Stitch Witchery because that was the only fusible available at the time. Mistyfuse has come along and it is a bit lighter than Stitch Witchery, and I can find it a little more readily. These fusibles do not come on paper, so I have to lay them between two pieces of parchment, press, and then peel one piece off or lay them on the back side of the fabric and layer parchment on top. They leave the fabric nice and soft and fuse nicely.

Paper backed fusibles that I have used include Wonder Under and Steam a Seam. I love Wonder Under and like Steam A Seam Lite. The regular Steam A Seam is too heavy for appliqué, in my opinion; although I do use it when making boxes and things like that.

And that’s my two cents on fusibles.


Here’s Judy’s turtle


My Purple Turtle stitched by Judy Danz

Judy stitched up the turtle on her Bernina and it looks great. The center circle was a little long and we talked about the variabilities that occur with different fabrics and different fusibles and the dies. This is just the nature of the beast, and we talked about how accurate the fit must be between the appliqué stitch and the dies in order to work with machine embroidery. This does make me rethink my digitizing so I can add some stitches to account for that factor. But–the machine embroidery is so much fun that I am going to try to keep manipulating the fabric with complete abandon and will stick pin the edges and fuse them first and deal with the middle last.  I’m sure that will land me in trouble sooner or later. . .I’ll let you know 🙂


Another turtle – and last day to Vote for the Barn Quilt Block

I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone’s comments and have started sending out embroidery files. I extended the giveaway through Friday and will send files out for comments posted through Friday, April 22. In the meantime, I made a couple more turtles – just for a little variety – here is a photo of one.

Star turtle

Turtle Applique Using Accuquilt Die Cut Shapes and a Giveaway

I have been digitizing some embroidery for all kinds of quilt blocks from Rose of Sharon to whimsical blocks for children’s quilts. I love applique done with the traditional applique or blanket stitch, but find it difficult to cut accurately enough to make it work as perfectly as I would like using the embroidery machine. In addition, it is important to me to have as few thread changes and steps as possible and still have beautiful embroidery. So that was my challenge. Because of a love for turtles, that was my choice for this.

Initially, I digitized my own turtle drawing and then cut the fabric and made the applique turtle. Several issues were immediately apparent. When I cut the shape, it didn’t fit exactly the way I have digitized it – even though I drew the pattern from the stitched embroidery lines. Part of the reason for that is the width of the drawn/cutting line. Another thing that was a real problem was the amount of time it took to cut the shapes. These two things alone made me realize how important it is to use die cuts for machine embroidery.

After that experiment, I determined which shapes I would need to make a turtle using the Accuquilt dies. I chose the large hexagon and a medium circle for the body and shell, the curved feather shapes for the legs, and a small circle for the head. I took those shapes (with fusible on one side) and pressed them onto parchment paper to see how this would look. Here are some of the versions of what I got. It took several iterations to get the eyes, legs and head exactly the way I wanted them.

Here are some of the various versions.  The final version has eyes like the one with the green body and  checkered shell, legs like the one with the red body and yellow legs, and a shorter tail.

Versions of the turtle


Shapes for turtle


Turtle Dies


Hoop the fabric, stitch the dielines, then remove the hoop from the machine for fusing the shapes.

Die lines for placing turtle shapes

This is the dragonfly, but shows how I fuse the shapes. Because all fabric has a slightly different hand and the fusible also adds some variables, the shapes should be pinned to fit the dielines exactly–you may have to give a little “stretch” to it or “scrunch” it in a bit to make it fit. In the end, it looks great because of the wonderful forgiveness of all those variables.

Pinning shape to dieline


I remove the pins as I press.

Pressing shape onto dielines

Next comes stitching the tail, then fusing the shapes to the dielines.

Stitch tail, then fuse legs, body, and head

Stitch the embroidery around the shapes.

Machine stitch the embroidery

Then stitch the dieline for the center circle, fuse the fabric to the dieline, and stitch.

This is the end result:


Finished size: 6.05 x 8.15 inches (154 x 207 mm).

If you would like to have a copy of the embroidery file for this turtle, please leave a comment on this blog and become a follower of this blog, LIKE  Accuquilt on Facebook, by Friday, April 22. I will email a link to the file to each commenter. In addition, one lucky person (random drawing) will receive ready-to-fuse die cuts for nine brightly colored turtles – just enough to make a baby quilt. Enter to win the shapes even if you don’t have an embroidery machine – you can still use the applique stitch on your machine to make a very cute baby quilt.

No-reply bloggers will not get a response as I must have an email address for the winner–make sure your email address is included in some way.


Delirious Again

I do love the name – probably more than the work I’ve done. But thought I’d do an update on what I’ve done and where I’m going with this.So–from the beginning: I used Karen Stone’s pattern for Delirious and did fused raw edge applique with an applique stitch and with free motion applique stitches. I also created the same design with Shiva Paintstiks using freezer paper as the stencil. The pieces I liked the most were the free motion applique blocks. However, a little voice inside told me that the painted blocks were ‘neater’ and more orderly. I looked at them and wanted some contrast between the motif and the background, so I cut them out and appliqued them onto different colors. They’re definitely neat and orderly now. I’m not throwing away the free motion applique blocks – they go in my orphan block stash – and I will stifle that little voice when I’m ready to use them.

I worked on this in EQ7 and this is the color scheme that looked good on the computer screen.

EQ7 Delirious image

Then I put the blocks on my design wall. The only blues in my stash with enough yardage were just too light. I was using a light red orange batik for the red blocks. I tried different red-orange fabrics. I kept walking away, taking off my glasses, and looking at it and nothing worked. Finally out of frustration –I was not going to the quilt store on Friday afternoon — I grabbed the color wheel (which I never do) from the wall and started turning it. It told me that I had a triadic red-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet color scheme. So, I went back to my stash and found just enough of a brighter red-orange to exactly make the backgrounds and sashing. I also found a Fossil Fern in blue-violet that worked. So here are the colors. Between the computer screen and the flash the colors are off a bit:

Delirious painted blocks
Blocks, Fabric for Delirious

I’m supposed to wait seven days for the paint to set and then heat set it. What I’m really going to do is to heat-set it today and put them in water to dissolve the applique stabilizer, dry them, and put this baby together.

In the meantime, this is a quilt of Norma’s that I have on the frame. Have finally decided on a quilting design.  This has taken a lot of doodling, but will show you as I go along. This has a lot of white space, but also lots of straight lines. I love to feather things, but that just isn’t right for this one. It needs ferns or palms I think. Have been doing the SID and stabilizing it and will start on the background next.

Norma's Circle of Geese
Norma's Circle of Geese

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.


Weekend Lap Project – Applique

I always have to have a lap project going – and this past weekend, my Accuquilt Rose of Sharon die arrived which led me to do some experimenting. I ‘don’t do’ turned edge applique. That said, Sharon Schamber with Accuquilt’s help, has converted me. She makes wonderful applique using a paper biodegradable tearaway stabilizer base. This is the result of my weekend.

I really like the way this turned out. I think I would like my flowers to have a little more color contrast in the center so I’m going to do some experimenting; but this was a lot of fun.

Use the Accuquilt GO dies – both the flower and the Rose of Sharon – to cut the foundations.
Then put a spot of Elmer’s purple school glue on the foundation and glue it to the fabric heating it with the iron to make it stick.
Carefully cut around with about a 3/16″ seam allowance, clipping the inside curves.
Rub school glue on the seam allowance/edge of foundation and turn it. A cuticle stick is very helpful with this.
Use the little iron to heat set the glue.
Arrange the pieces to your  liking and stitch it to the background using polyester invisible thread and a very tiny zigzag stitch (1.0 mm stitch length, and 0.8 mm zigzag-on my machine). I stitch very slowly–almost like handstitching and use the tieoff feature of my machine for starting and stopping so I can clip the thread at the fabric. This can be handstitched, but the glue makes one require a thimble.
After soaking it in water, the glue disappears and the invisible thread stitches disappear into the edge of the applique.

This was so much fun–I might be an applique addict now — LOL!

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Elmer’s disappearing purple school glue
Cuticle sticks
Paper biodegradable tearaway and wash away stabilizer
Accuquilt GO flower and Rose of Sharon dies
Small iron
Polyester invisible thread (Sulky or Monopoly by Superior are great)