SewCalGal created this tutorial during the holidays, but it’s great information for those of us who already have Spring Fever. This will show you how to create applique designs in EQ7 using the Accuquilt dies.
There are some wonderful Accuquilt dies that will allow you to create beautiful spring designs. One of my favorite designs is the Butterfly Garden Quilt, but I also love the Heart of my Heart Quilt. You can follow these patterns — or if you’re feeling adventurous, create your own.
I am just catching up from last week. Not only did we have a blog hop, but I had a terrible cold and got very little done. One of the things I did while I was “resting” during my cold was some hand piecing. I used the Accuquilt GO to cut some 3 1/2 inch half square triangles, and I marked them and stitched them while “resting.” They were absolutely perfect. Since I’m not much of a hand piecer, my success at joining one finished triangle square to another triangle square wasn’t great. I later took them to the machine to make pinwheels, and the centers were perfect. All of this is truly encouraging me to piece triangles–something I’ve stayed away from for most of my quilting life. My philosophy has been that if it can’t have perfect points, then don’t do it.
I have designed two new quilt tops with the triangles I’ve been piecing. People often ask how one comes up with designs. For me a quilt top design is often the answer to a question. For example: I had a lot of triangles. Did I want to accept the challenge of having them meet in the middle in a pinwheel block? How would it work if I stitched them together in a row across the block. What if the finished block isn’t exactly square or one side is a quarter inch shorter? After hand piecing, I’m certainly not going to throw anything away. So, these are the blocks for using my triangles–you can see that I added a small strip border around each block which allows me to size the block up or down just a bit so they are all the same size in the end:
And these are photos of what the two quilts would look like:
I love my Electric Quilt software and would never start a quilt without making sure that the quilt is not only drafted in EQ, but that I hold a printed copy of the quilt in my hand before I start cutting. The traditional way to determine what to cut has been to print the rotary cutting or templates from the block worktable to determine the patch size. Then go to the quilt worktable and print the quilt image, count the patches of each size, and write the number of patches needed on the printed copy of the quilt so that becomes the cutting guide.
The Accuquilt GO has revolutionized my system for cutting and has made me re-think everything that I’ve done in the past. One major change for me is that now I cut all (or almost all) strips on the lengthwise grain of fabric. In re-thinking the way I cut, I looked at the Accuquilt Fabric Reference Chart and the Electric Quilt software to see whether I could marry the two. Both of them are helpful, but I haven’t come up with a way to use them together yet.
By using the fabric yardage function in EQ’s Quilt Worktable, I discovered a way for Electric Quilt to tell me how many patches I need without having to count each patch individually. Step 1 is to save the quilt in the colors you will use to make the quilt. The example I’m using is a single Irish chain quilt.
Then re-color the quilt so that each separate sized piece is a different color. For example, all the sash strips are 2 ½ x 6 ½ inches, so they are all colored pink. All of the 6 ½ inch squares are colored green. All of the sashing cornerstones are 2 ½ inches square, and they are colored red.
When each different size patch is colored a different color, you can then print the fabric yardage chart and it will tell you how many patches of each size that you will need to make the entire quilt. For this tutorial, I went an extra step and used my graphics software to write the patch size on each color. The quick way to do this is to print the quilt and the fabric yardage chart and write the patch size on the chart by hand.
I realized as I was writing a reference post for the Accuquilt Sew and Tell Discussion Forum that I could make it easier to find links to the Accuquilt GO Reference Charts. I do keep talking about these charts–they are sooooooooooo helpful. All I can say is, use them, you’ll like them! So, I’m going to create a separate category on my blog for them, but I will also put the links here for you.
Based on a discussion on the Accuquilt Yahoo Discussion Group recently, I am going to post the information that was included in the first set of Accuquilt EQ7 blocks that I showed. This is about quilting nomenclature and will be helpful to those who are just beginning to quilt. I learned about this when I first started quilting from the book: It’s Okay if you sit on my quilt by Mary Ellen Hopkins. This information has been valuable many times and in many ways.
One important aspect of this is that the block size needs to be easy to divide into a certain number of patches. Thus, it is very hard to cut the pieces just the right size for a five patch block that you want to be 12 inches when it is finished. Five patch blocks should come out to be five inches, 10 inches, 15 inches, etc. when they are finished. Likewise, three patch blocks should come out to be three inches, 6 inches, 9 inches, 12 inches, etc. when they are finished. There are smaller numbers that can be used, but it gets complicated. . .
There are a couple of ways that we talk about how many patches make up a block. For example, when looking at the block below, we call it a four patch block and visualize a block that is two patches by two patches.
Two Patch Block:
However, we also describe blocks that are four patches across and four patches down as four patch designs. Thus, based on that nomenclature, the block above may be called a two patch block and the block below will be called a four patch block.
Four Patch Block:
Likewise, we call blocks that are three or five or more patches across and down in the same fashion, as shown below:
You may remember a quilt I made back in September. I posted a video but never posted the written instructions. I have now uploaded those instructions and you will now find the written instructions in the left column with other instructions and videos. If you would like direct links:
I am back from traveling and headed to the gym first thing and then to meet with a quilting client. After that I will be back to my cleaning and organization activities. On the way back from the mountains yesterday, I stopped at the Ikea store in Charlotte and picked up some of their stackable plastic boxes. I love them as they are affordable and clear and square and stack so nicely on my shelves. Quilting and sewing and most artistic endeavors are intrinsically messy activities, but we are all so much more productive when things are neat and organized. I find that in the midst of creating, I pull out bolts and bolts of fabric and boxes of cut pieces before I find just the right combination to suit my fancy. But in the end, it all has to go back. If it’s organized in the first place, getting it back in order is much easier. The other thing that is so important for getting it back in order is not to have too much of anything — use it up or throw it away. And that is what I do at the end of every year. It is good to go through and re-purpose or get rid of projects that we’re not ever going to finish.
Besides the Ikea boxes, I love the Polar Notions fabric bolts. There’s a link on the right to their website. It truly makes organizing one’s fabric much easier.
You know how many smaller pieces of fabric you have left over. With the Accuquilt GO, I cut them into the largest possible denominator and follow advice from Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville.com for sorting. This is helpful for keeping my Mom supplied with pieces to stitch. It’s nice because Mother can piece a quilt in a day or two. The last set of nickels I sent were supposed to have the strips sewed to two sides like attic windows. The message got crossed, and she sewed the short strips to opposite sides. I am going to cut more strips so she can frame the nickels with the fabric and then set it into sashing for this quilt. I think it will look very nice when it’s done. She’ll have it done in a flash, but I’m quite sure that I can’t quilt it before Christmas. What would I do without my Accuquilt GO to cut things like this. It saves me so much time. I can just cut the strips and put them in a Priority Mail envelope and off they go.
On another note, I just came back from a visit with her. I gave her Christmas gift early because I thought she would enjoy. She loves to read, but is sometimes hard pressed to find large print books. It seemed to me that an Amazon Kindle would be perfect. While she often has had trouble using a computer mouse, she had no trouble at all figuring out what to do with the buttons on the Kindle. The ability to adjust the size of the print is wonderful for her.
Here’s my EQ7 draft of the quilt she’s working on:
It is sooooooooo cold here! I can’t remember ever having snow on the ground for almost a week. It rained it all away on Sunday, but it was so cold last week that the snow from the weekend stayed around until the rain. And this morning it’s 29 degrees F. In North Carolina we’re more used to snow one day and 70 degrees (or at least 50 degrees) the next.
I worked all day at the Womancraft Fine Handcrafted Gifts and Gallery coop on Saturday. I am a juried member there and am really enjoying being in the gallery and fellowship with other artists. I finished a quilt early Saturday morning and hung it there on Saturday. Here’s a photo. It is embroidery of snowmen and snowflakes mixed with 9-patch blocks. I recently bought a very basic embroidery machine– doesn’t it look nice. You’ve seen these 9-patch blocks before on the light blue pinwheel quilt. They make a great setting when used with sashing–and my Accuquilt GO will cut all the sashing and blocks in a flash–more details below.
The quilting was done with Glide thread on the top and a cotton magna-bobbin on the bottom – all from Fil-Tec. The Glide thread is shiny and pretty. I used Isacord thread for the embroidery. Another note – the red is really red, not the deep burgundy you see on the screen.
I had planned to take photos of how I do this, but the quilt went together so easily, that the blocks were made before I knew it. I think you can see the block and sashing detail in the image above. The 9-patch block and sashing are all made using the 2-1/2 inch strip die. I cut strips of the two solid fabrics. Remember that I always cut my strips lengthwise now that I use the Accuquilt GO for cutting. It makes a huge difference in the way strip piecing goes together and having nice square blocks. The blocks are all 6-1/2 inches unfinished (6 inches finished), and the sashing is the same width as the strips for the blocks. The cornerstones on the sashing is what gives me the nice Single Irish chain look. Here’s a diagram from EQ7 which shows the layout and the sashing.
Finally, I have added another block to our set. This is one of my favorites and in a 12 inch block, the center square is the perfect place to showcase a beautiful fabric, embroidery, or photo transfer. The possibilities are endless: use the same fabric for the colored triangles and rectangles or use a different color for the triangles for a completely different look. It’s all about your choice of fabrics. Wouldn’t some Christmas embroidery be pretty in the center square?
In this block there are two colors of each piece except the center square. It’s a really fun, but easy block to make. Click on the quilt block picture below for an Adobe pdf file of the instructions.