Delectable ‘Crystal’ Mountains

I finally finished this one and here are a couple of pictures–will work on a “how-to” video and information sheet this afternoon.


Rectangle Block Lap Quilt

I’m still babysitting. I have decided that the best part of motherhood is knowing what is wrong when a child cries and being able to fix it. It really is satisfying when they wake in the night and you can easily stop the crying with a blanket or a stuffed rabbit or a pacifier. The hard part is if none of those things work.

The children will be home with Ezri today. The doctors at MGH in Boston said they would read her MRI scans and give an interpretation. They also said that if Barrow says she needs gamma knife radiation, then that is what they would recommend too, as the docs at BNI are the experts at treating hypothalamic hamartomas. As far as getting a better MRI, the new technology that is available at MGH has only been approved for ages 18 and over, so it will be some time before it is available to children as young as Ezri.

Now, for the quilting: Here’s a rectangle block quilt. I have drafted and re-drafted rectangle blocks. My goal was to create a block using only one strip width and for it to look like a rectangle, but actually be a square. That simply was not to be, so the quilt blocks have to be pieced in vertical rows instead of the usual horizontal rows.  It also requires cutting a couple of blocks in half so that the blocks are staggered on each row. You know I just hate having to match corners if I can get around it, and staggering the blocks makes it a much prettier quilt I think. The instruction sheet is here. This would make a great baby quilt in just the right colors.


Bias Binding for the Accuquilt GO

I did some written instructions for the Accuquilt GO for 2-1/2 inch bias binding. Ebony Love did a youtube video showing this on the Studio Cutter here:

I was so inspired by seeing Ebony do this on the Studio Accuquilt that I wanted to do it for the Accuquilt GO. The instructions are basically the same as for cutting continuous bias, except that with the strip cutter, you cannot sew the fabric into a big loop for a continuous cut. But you can stitch it into a parallelogram so that all the strips come out the same length.  I calculated and added a chart for the yardage needed to get various lengths of bias binding.  There’s a great web page done by Shelley Rodgers, Dread Pirate Quilter who has lots of great information, including instructions for calculating how much bias binding one will get from any size fabric. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of this.

bias binding instructions


Happy Mother’s Day

Just a quick note to say Happy mother’s day to all of you who are mothers or who have a mother 🙂 I am home today with granddaughter Kes because her mom and dad are traveling with her sister to Boston for a neurology appointment. Even though all but a whisper of the tumor is gone, Ezri is still having seizure activity deep in her brain and is declining cognitively again. We will never give up hope nor will we ever stop looking for answers for this precious child.

I  worked on Delectable Mountains yesterday and have it almost finished. Kes is definitely slowing me down today. Will get the video done Tuesday afternoon if Kes keeps me too busy until then. 

Accuquilt GO shortcuts

I really like my Accuquilt GO, but must admit it is a very expensive tool. For that reason, it has to be absolutely as versatile as my rotary cutter has been all these years. And I want it to replace my rotary cutter so that my rotary cutter is to my GO the way my scissors are to my rotary cutter now. This requires some innovative thinking on my part, and collaboration with all you other quilters out there so the folks at Accuquilt can take this to the next level. I’d love to hear your ideas either here or on the Accuquilt Facebook page.

Wish list for what I want from my GO system:

1. I need it to be able to do more than simply cut single pieces that can be stitched together into a quilt. I need it to be able to make any shape I want for any block I decide to make. For it to do this, I have to not only cut the single piece, but I have to stitch and re-cut the stitched pieces into the next shape.

2. I need it to stand alone. The tool itself is big and the dies are big, so I don’t want to have a table for it and another table for a rotary cutter. (Also very important for quilters with limited mobility). This means a need for some utility dies, e.g.,

  • a gridded die with a single blade down the middle so I can recut things after I stitch them. This die would be long like the strip cutters so I could lay several blocks on it at a time.
  • dies for squaring blocks – I’d redesign the GO (that’s pie in the sky I know) and make it just a couple inches wider – still portable, but able to square a 9 inch finished block.

So, that’s my wish list for now.

Tips for streamlining cutting with the GO:

1. Did you know that you can use the Accuquilt GO mats for cutting with a rotary cutter? They have a great straight edge. So, if you’ve got a large piece of fabric that needs to be pre-cut a bit, just use the mat to cut and then you don’t have to get out a ruler.

Note: I use Polar Notions fabric storage sheets because they are the best!

2. If you’re going to use your GO mat to rotary cut, why not mark a line on it with a permanent Sharpie, so you know how wide your cut needs to be to just fit over the die.

3. If your die needs to go into the roller in a specific direction (never send a straight edge going under the roller), mark an arrow on the die. Yesterday, I sent my Tumbler die into the roller the wrong way and cracked a mat so that was an expensive lesson.

4. Because you should send the dies through the roller from both directions, develop a system so you know which way the die went through last when you’re cutting a lot of pieces. The way I do it, is that I flip the mat and die sandwich upside down on the side that I started the cut, and lay the die back down on the side where it should start the next time. Then I take my cut pieces from the mat on one side and arrange my fabric for the next cut on the die on the other side.

5. Did you know that the die rack also works for plexiglass ruler and templates – both rotary cutting and longarm templates? I use two racks for my strip cutters, although one will work.  (Note: You can use a pot lid rack too, but the dies will fall through the bottom because lid racks are designed for round things and dies are square. And a GO rack costs the same as a pot lid rack)

6. If you label all four sides of your die, then you won’t have to worry about putting them back into the rack with the label on top – you’ll always know which die is which.

7. Remember when you finish your cut to flip the die/fabric/mat sandwich upside down. All the fabric will stay on the mat and makes it easier to remove your cut fabric.

8. If static electricity is a problem, run a dryer sheet through with your fabric. I use the non-fragrance type.

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Stay tuned for  new videos I’m making:

Delectable Mountains Quilt Block, and There’s More Than One Way to do Applique


A little nutrition note about fats and oils in our diet

Last week I spent the week with my younger daughter, her husband and her two beautiful sons. I had a wonderful time. She fed me well–yogurt and salads all week. And her salads are not ordinary salads, she did things like roasting sweet potatoes and added lots of wonderful fruits and nuts to her salads. I have been trying very hard for several months now to make sure that I get the recommended ratios of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids in my diet; so this was a great boost to me. My efforts have paid off as my last check for cholesterol and lipids showed very high levels of HDL and lower cholesterol levels.  We went shopping and I found high oleic acid Sunflower Oil which gives me a neutral oil to add to the Extra Virgin Olive Oil that I have been using. This is wonderful because the sunflower oil has a neutral flavor as opposed to the EVOO.

I get a newsletter from Vital Choice Seafood that gives lots of wonderful information about research studies related to dietary fat intake. Of course, they’re biased because they’re selling salmon and other seafood; but it is good information for all of us. You may not know that I’m also a registered dietitian and spent my entire career working in the area of clinical research which explains my interest in all of this.

Thus, my take on all of this is that the goal for the total diet (based on the caveman diet) should be omega-6:omega-3 = 3:1. Oils containing omega-6 fatty acids are everywhere, but we have to eat very specific foods to get omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the typical American diet is anywhere from 20 to 40:1 because of the use of canola and soybean oils. By reducing omega-6 in the diet and changing it to high oleic acid oils, you can change the ratio of omega-6:omega-3. Omega-6, specifically linoleic acid, is metabolized to arachidonic acid which is responsible for pro-inflammatory responses. When you change to high oleic acid oils you also get the benefits of high levels of antioxidants and other compounds like phytosterols, tyrosols, and choline that are good for vascular and brain health. Although some vegetable oils are high in saturated fat (like coconut oil and butter), the benefits of antioxidants, choline, and other compounds appear to outweigh the negatives of saturated fat.

Now, back to quilting–I’m working on a t-shirt quilt – will post a picture tomorrow. 

Patsy Thompson’s Two New Books on Quilting

Patsy Thompson is a wonderful quilter and although she uses a domestic sewing machine, and I am a longarm quilter, I love her work. She does absolutely stunning quilting and uses innovative techniques for quilting and applique. I am so intrigued by her hyperquilting designs and have actually used the technique on a quilt. I’d love to try it again and think I must have both of her new books.

The first book is a primer on feathers and the second is a book on hyperquilting. She has videos on her website:  Patsy Thompson Designs:. that allow you to see the details inside her books. These videos are enough to make you sure you want to purchase them if you are a quilter. I have no affiliation and don’t know Patsy, but I have followed her website and blog for many years.

Patsy also has some wonderful instructional videos on youtube as well as free downloads of quilting designs on her website. 

Friendship Star Baby Quilt

Since I’m not quilting this week, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the things I’ve done. This friendship star baby quilt, pieced and quilted in 2007, is one of my favorites. While the fabrics are not traditional baby colors because I used a novelty print with brightly colored dolphins and then added purple and orange Moda prints, it is a fun quilt for a child. In order to use up all the fabrics, the back has some piecing also.

The quilting design is one of my favorites and is a combination of two different types of swirls that I often do free-style. I have a digital quilting design at called Lollipops that is the pattern for this quilting design.

I designed the quilt in Electric Quilt 6 software and you can download it here.

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Variation added to Layered Pinwheel Block Instructions

I added a variation to the Layered Pinwheel Block instructions. The link is below – hope you enjoy!

Layered Pinwheel Block rev 04-27-2010

I’m visiting my twin grandsons and having a grand time. They’re such a delight as are my daughter and son-in-law! Now we’re off to the park! 

Finished t-shirt quilt for alumni group

What a busy week this has been–so busy I didn’t get to the gym on Wed or Fri. But I did finish the t-shirt commemorative quilt for the alumni association group at UNC. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this one. First of all, I love Carolina blue; and second, this quilt is a commemoration of a very special faculty member. Here are some photos.

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