You’ll see in my recent posts that I’m obsessed with learning how much mileage I can get with my Accuquilt GO!Cutter and the dies I already own.
I love the simplicity of the Sawtooth Star block and so I decided to see if I could design some pieced items with it using the dies I have.
Although I don’t own the 8” Go!Cube, I have almost all the shapes (see those in bold print on the list below). The only one shape I was missing was for the “flying geese” part of the star: the #4 GO! Quarter Square Triangle — so I ordered it. Yay!
To make the SAWTOOTH STAR BLOCK, you need four die shapes: GO! Shapes 1, 2, 4, & 5 (I’ve listed all the shapes that come in the GO! Cube below, and highlighted in bold the four you need),
GO! Quarter Square Triangle-4″ Finished Square (55711) —ORDERED IT
GO! Half Square Triangle-2″ Finished Square (55712) —GOT IT
GO! Square on Point-3 1/4″ (2 3/4″ Finished) (55713)
GO! Parallelogram 45°-2 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ Sides (2 1/16” x 2 13/16″ Finished) (55714)
Next I fired up EQ8 on my laptop and started designing. Here are just a few of the ideas.
I decided start with the table runner using some beautiful spring fabrics I had in my stash by Robin Pickens for Moda. I seem to love every fabric line she designs!
After making two more stars, I changed the original design a bit by surrounding each star with a black inner border and the whole runner with red outer border.
I think it looks good as a wall hanging too.
It was so much fun to make, I couldn’t stop there…so next I tried piecing a simple table topper with only one star surrounded with an inner and outer border for myself.
That’s how easy it is to figure out how to get the most “mileage” out of dies you already own (or like me buy one more die) to create dozens of new blocks. I hope you’ll fire up your EQ8 software or get out your graph paper and give it a try!
If you like the table-runner, it’s now on sale in my Etsy shop. The table topper has a found a new home in my diningroom 😉.
I hope you’ll give the Sawtooth Star a try! Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!
Since I last talked about my new obsession with my AccuquiltGo cutter (see last post) I’ve been busy trying out the dies I already own to make as many different blocks as I can. It’s fun to take apart a block and find the die shapes to make them. While playing, I discovered a new use for my Chisel Die.
Well, I didn’t really discover it—lots of other quilters discovered this… But I discovered their discovery (thank you Pinterest). So of course I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
Did you know you can use the Accuquilt Chisel Die to sew a braided strip? I didn’t.
It’s so easy! And a great “scrapbuster”. Just cut out a bunch of chisels (remember you can cut 6 at a time). It’s a one way (directional) die, so be sure to cut half with you fabric right side up, and half with your fabric right side down. Then place them using the photo above as a guide.
Sew them together, starting at the top, lining up the 90 degree ends. Keep sewing on chisels in that same manner until they’re a little bit longer than what you need and cut straight across the bottom and top with your ruler & rotary cutter to trim off the ends.
Voila! The braided strips are ready to use in your quilt. I made mine into a mug rug (snack mat). But wouldn’t they also make great borders? Or maybe a strip quilt? Or the side of a bag?
I purchased an Accuquilt Go die cutter awhile ago and have made so many great projects with it, including tumbler block baby quilts and Dresden Plate table toppers. But I wanted to use a combination of dies to create some other basic, well-known quilting blocks.
My original purchase of my AccuquiltGo! included a combination die (above). It has on it a 2” finished square, a couple 2” finished half square triangles (HST), and a 4” finished square.
Hey, that’s all I need to make the basic Bear’s Claw block! Perfect.
I haven’t yet purchased any of the the Accuquilt GoCubes. Mostly because I can’t decide which one to get! They have 6”, 8”, 9”, 12”, and have recently added a 4” GoCube. After doing a little research on the Accuquilt website I realized that each of these GoCube Sets cuts the exact same 8 basic shapes. The only difference is their finished size. The shapes are:
GO! Half Square Triangle-large
GO! Quarter Square Triangle
GO! Half Square Triangle-small
GO! Square on Point
GO! Parallelogram 45°
That means if you figure out the shapes you need for a block, the shape numbers are always the same, no matter which CubeGo you have—only the finished size changes.
The light went on in my brain! Ah-hah! I get it. I discovered I already owned shapes 1, 2, & 5. So all I need are a few more (shapes 3, 4, 6, 7, 8) and I’ll have all the dies in the 8” GoCube.
It’s easy to make a triangle on the corner of a block, no math involved. I first heard of this technique from an amazing quilt teacher, Mary Ellen Hopkins, who wrote groundbreaking quilting books like “It’s OK if You Sit on My Quilt”, and “Connecting Triangles” among others. Mary Ellen was probably best known for creating the connector and perfect piecing triangles concepts. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to see her at her lecture in Milwaukee just a few years before she passed away (in 2013). Not only did she make quilting fun, her sense of humor and showmanship shined during what I would call her “performance” instead of her lecture.
Here’s how to do this technique. In this example, I’ll add a triangle to the top of a rectangle. I cut a square the same width as the rectangle. On the wrong side of the square, I drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner. Since I’ll be sewing on this line, I like to use a very fine point sharpie or a mechanical pencil with a light hand—just dark enough to see.
Place the rectangle right side up and the marked square right side down on top of it (right sides together) paying attention to the orientation of the angle.
Then sew on the drawn line.
If I’m making more than one I like to sew one after the other (chain piecing) without having to cut the threads in-between until I’m finished.
Then I take it to the ironing board (love my wool pressing surface by the way) and I give it a good press as is to set the seam.
Then I gently open the seam by folding the edge of the square to meet the opposite corner.
This video might make it easier to understand…just hit the play button below.
These corner triangles (made with marked squares) are sometimes referred to as “snowball” corners, or “snowballed”. You can use them to make all sorts of blocks: snowball, flying geese, or star points. Let me show you a few examples.
By adding a second triangle (same angle orientation) to the bottom, I’ve made a simple parallelogram.
Or by adding them to four corners of a square, I can make a snowball block. Here’s one of my baby quilts featuring the snowball. I’ve added color triangles to the white squares & white triangles to the color blocks.
But look what happens when
So give this technique a try. And play with different sizes and shapes. The sky’s the limit! Have fun.
Wow! 2020. This has been one crazy year so far, hasn’t it? And I just realized I haven’t posted a thing since it all started.
One reason I haven’t posted is that I‘ve been busy making face masks. I started making them back in March when there was a shortage masks. I got a few requests from family…and then the requests rolled in from all over—our local EMTs, my family doctor’s clinic, friends who are medical techs, nurses, and of course family and friends. It was my pleasure and a labor of love…a way (however small) of helping.
After fulfilling requests for 250 plus masks, I finally think I’ve perfected a pattern that I really like. It’s an accordion pleat style mask that includes a pocket in the lining (for those who want to add an additional filter), a nose wire (to help conform it to the bridge of your nose), different fabric on the front & back (so you can remember at a glance which side goes towards your face) and ear loops.
Now that face masks are more plentiful and easy to find and buy everywhere, I’m not making many masks anymore. But because many cities, counties, and even states in the US are requiring people wear masks inside public buildings—and with this pandemic staying around much longer than we had hoped—I thought I’d share my pattern step-by-step with you in case you’d like to try making some for your family.
There are a lot of face mask patterns & how-to’s out there to choose from. What I like about this pattern is that it includes all the features I want and it’s comfortable to wear. I can use scrap cotton fabrics I have on hand from my quilting stash, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make. Here’s how…
Materials: You’ll need a rectangle of cotton lining fabric cut 9×6”, and some pretty cotton fabric for the front cut 9×7-1/4”. You’ll also need either 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch elastic (white or black), each cut approximately 7”, and a 4-5” length of nose wire.*
Place the lining & front fabrics right sides together & make a mark 1/2” down & 2” from each edge the top (see photo below).
This is the only time you’ll use a 1/2” seam, …sew from one edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. sew the other edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. (This will leave a 5 inch opening in the middle. Take it to your ironing board & press the seam open.
Open it up & topstitch across the lining seam allowance only, about 1/4” from the seam/hole, which will finish that seam allowance. (Do NOT topstitch the fashion fabric front seam allowance.)
Next place the opposite ends right sides together & sew 1/4 inch seam across the bottom. Then press from that stitched edge (bottom) to the top. As you do this, you’ll notice the seam you just topstitched will automatically “roll” to the back/lining.— see photo below.
Elastic Ear Loops. Take the one of the pieces elastic and place one end inside the top edge of the side seam and begin sewing 1/4” seam, backstitching over the elastic, and continue sewing about half way down the side…
Then reach inside and (being sure the elastic doesn’t twist & that it lays flat) grab the other end of the elastic and place it in the bottom of the seam. And finish sewing the edge backstitching over the elastic. It’s ok to let a bit of end of the elastic hang out.)
This diagram (below) might make that step clearer…note the elastic is inside (between) the two fabrics.
Do the same with the second piece of elastic on the opposite side.
Turn the mask right side out through the hole (pocket) at the top and use your favorite tool to “poke” the edges out and give it a nice press with your iron.
*The nose wire. I’m using coated speaker wire a friend gave me. It keeps it’s shape and the plastic coating keeps it from rusting in the wash. But you can use floral wire, twisty ties, or pipecleaners.
I like to create the casement for the wire first, leave one end open to insert the wire & then sew it shut. Start sewing from the top edge about 2” in from one side, going down about 1/2”, pivot & continue topstitching parallel to the top edge. This will create a casing. Stop & backstitch when you’re a few threads from the end of the pocket so you have enough room to insert the wire.
Insert the wire into the casing and finish by topstitching starting at the top edge, pivot and topstitch until you’ve closed the opening of the casing.
Pleating. Now it’s time to make the pleats. I like to put three pleats on each side of the mask. Be sure your pleats face down when folded. If you’re making just a few masks it’s easy to make equal folds (pinches about 1/4” each) and either pin or clamp them downward and topstitch about a quarter inch from each side.
However, if you’re making a bunch of masks, I have a much better way of making consistent pleats that I learned from a YouTube video, and no pinning required! You can create a pleater to do the hard work for you. Here’s the link on YouTube created by Hilary Mark Nelson…genius! https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8
His gadget is made from lightweight cardboard (like cereal boxes) and then is taped together with packaging tape. I was lucky enough to have a friend‘s husband make one for me…thanks Rodger!
Topstitch about 1/4” from each edge.
At this point I also topstitch across the bottom of the mask. It’s not necessary but I think it helps the mask keep it’s shape after washing.
A little press with a hot iron and you’re done!
I hope this tutorial encourages you to try making a mask or two for your family and friends.
Until next time,
PS: Please note that these are not medical grade masks.
I’m participating again this year in Project Quilting, and this week’s Season 11.5 challenge is “Give It Away”. TRISH we must be on the same wavelength (LOL)!! Just the week before the challenge I made ten baby quilts for one of my favorite charities, Mikayla’s Grace! What are the chances?See that blog post here.
BUT those quilts won’t count for entry into this week’s challenge. The rules clearly state the quilt has to be made–beginning to end–during the challenge week. That’s not a problem… I see by their website that Mikayla’s Grace is still in need of baby quilts in their “large preemie” size. So I made two more quilts during the challenge this week.
Last time I used leftover blocks to make the quilts. This week I thought I’d change it up by using leftover jelly roll strips from a recent quilting project. I gathered up all the 30s reproduction strips I could find in my stash and started sewing them together.
If each strip has been 42″ (WOF), this would have gone faster–but most of the strips I had left were only 10″ …but it still worked just fine.
My “plan” (and I use the term loosely) was to make two similar baby quilts, each about 22″ square. Why two quilts? Because Mikayla’s Grace requests that donated items be made in sets of two. I also knew I wanted them to look “scrappy”, so I grabbed strips randomly and sewing them together until I had strip sets 11 strips wide (my simple math plan was 2″ finished x 11 =22″)… at least it sounds like a plan.
Once several strip sets were made (and I’d exhausted my pile of strips), I sub-cut them into 2-1/2″ strips and joined the edges together to make four identical really, really long strips.
I laid the subcut strips side by side and offset them by one square–“un-sewing” the last square from the bottom (see photo above) & re-sewing it to the top (see photo below).
I did the same thing with the third long strip, only offsetting it by taking two squares off the bottom & resewing them at the top… etc etc.
You get the idea!
If I had begun with full size (WOF) strips, or if I had more strips left to plan it all out perfectly, I could have figured out the exact size I needed to make the two quilts…but of course I didn’t have quite enough strips, so once I sewed all four long strips together, I simply un-sewed them into four sections and then combined two sections into each quilt…make sense? You can see in the photos how the diagonal stripes change color at their centers. But I don’t think it matters. It makes them more interesting.
I didn’t have quite enough subcut strips to make them square, so I added a strip to each side.
Both quilts are backed with the softest cotton flannel, sewn right sides together, then turned right side out, with just enough quilting in the ditch to hold the layers together nicely.
Off these go in the mail to Mikayla’s Grace in McFarland, WI. I hope they’ll bring comfort to a little one in the NICU of one of our area’s hospital, and that these quilts will offer love, hope, and comfort to their families as well.
Do you have some jelly roll strips left over? Why not consider making a baby quilt for Mikayla’s Grace, or a charity near and dear to your heart? I hope this blog has inspired you to give it a try!
Need more ideas? Check my blog on using your leftover blocks here. Or click “Charity Quilting” under “Categories” on the right side of this blog to see even more ideas.
Enjoy! I’d love to see what YOU create.
And I’m excited to see all the charities supported and ideas by the wonderfully generous and talented quilters make for Project Quilting this week.
So this week’s challenge for Project Quilting is “Put a Heart on It”. I’ve been wanting to do another Lil’ Twister tool quilt AND break into a beautiful Moda charm pack I just got by American Jane called “Merry Go Round”. I love the bright & pastel spring flower-like colors.
So here goes! How do you make a Twister heart? First position all the 5 inch squares into a large patchwork quilt top, kind of in the shape of a heart. This one is 7 x 7 squares.
Sew it altogether, then add a border out of the same background fabric and start cutting with the Lil’ Twister tool, lining the marks on the tool up with the seam lines.
This is the fun part! … it’s fun to see it change.
The hardest part is that first cut… then you line them up into a whole new “twisted” design and sew up the rows and columns again. So cute.
I was able to square up the fabric left between the cuts to use as a 2-1/2 inch square scrap border. There were just enough.
I decided to do a faux piping binding in green and red for a quick finish.
And did simple straight stitch quilting around the pinwheel shape, the border, and a zig zag through the scrappy border. I may go back at a later date to add free motion quilted “petals” in each pinwheel shape and more quilting in the background–either straight stitching or free motion meandering.
So here’s this week’s entry in Project Quilting Season 11 (2020). There’s no voting this year, but come see the entries here.
So as you’ve heard me talk about before, Project Quilting is similar to Project Runway–you’re given a challenge & a limited period of time to make it, start to finish…but no one is voted off! It’s the creation of Kim Lapicek with her friend, Trish (AKA Quilt Chicken), and helps take the “cabin fever” out of the middle of winter here…although they have quilters from all over the world entering!
This is Season 11, Challenge 2: And the phrase is “Team Colors”. Well, I’m from Wisconsin, so of course (being football season) it’s either the Green Bay Packers or UW Badgers. I happened to have green & “gold” fabric in my stash & a technique I wanted to try…a perfect combination.
So info my stash I dove & cut strips of varying widths…even some with curves.
I layed them on a square of fusible interfacing (slightly overlapping) & just ironed them in place. Then I turned it upside down (photo above & below), and re-trimmed to size.
Then comes the fun part! I added yarns, ripped twisted thin strips of fabric, and zigzagged it all down.
Here’s a close up…
Then I simply put four squares together, and added the border on top of tge batting/backing and bound it.
I love the texture it creates. Fun!
It’s posted for this week’s challenge. There’s no voting, but check the Project Quilting website to see how other quilters have interpreted it. And give this fun technique a try.
It’s so nice to be able to place your fabric pieces on the wall when you’re piecing or designing your quilt. I had a small design wall in my tiny quilt studio at our old house. But after gaining a little square footage at our new location (and more wall space), I decided that a larger design wall was in order.
It’s easy to do-it-yourself! Here’s how I did it.
Insulation board— I headed off to my local home improvement store to pick up some insulation board. Since I have a small car, we can’t fit the standard six feet sheets into it, But I was able to find some the perfect size … 2 x 2 foot.
Measuring the space available on my largest wall, I found making my design wall 6 feet x 6 feet would use the 2×2 boards most efficiently, and still be enough space for most of the quilts I do. So I bought 9. If you’ve got the space in your car, it’s a little cheaper to buy the 6 foot boards. But this was ideal for me.
Next I taped the boards together using heavy duty strapping tape. I did both the fronts and the backs of each seam. Duct tape will work, but it’ll show more easily through the flannel covering. The hardest part was finding an area on our floor large enough to lay them all out. A carpeted surface isn’t ideal, it’s best to do this step on a hard surface.
I found it easiest to tape my insulation board pieces in columns & then tape the columns together by rows. Hmmm…kind of like putting together a quilt.
Here it is (above) all taped together on both the front and the back sides.
FLANNEL– You’ll need a soft material (like cotton flannel) that fabric pieces will cling to to cover your insulation board. White or a soft light neutral are the best choices of color. I headed off to my local big box fabric store thinking I could find some inexpensive white wide flannel by the yard. Nope! Any other color or pattern BUT not white! Ugh!
So instead I found these white flannel sheets at a nearby Kohl’s…on sale!…perfect! This one was full size & I only used the flat sheet so the fitted sheet can be cut up and used in another project(s), like my charity baby quilts.
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo–but I laid the flannel sheet on the floor, placed the best looking (& smoothest) side of the taped insulation board on top of it, and worked folded the flannel over, trimming it as needed, and taping it to the back with duct tape. I worked the wrinkles out (taught but not too tight) as I went. You could also use a staple gun, but be sure your staples are short enough that they don’t go all the way through the board.
All that’s left to do is to mount it on your wall. How? There are a few options. You could try heavy duty sticky-back Velcro. Or picture hangers. But I chose to use drywall screws with washers. The insulation board is light weight, so I only needed about ten. They’re not pretty, but I hardly notice them. And it’s very sturdy.
You’ll notice in the photo above that I used a couple of boxes to hold it up so I could stand back and judge the placement on the wall before I committed to it and screwed it to the wall.
Here’s a closeup of the washer & screw. The washer needs a hole large enough for the screw to fit through, but small enough to keep the screw head from going through. I imagine you could camouflage it with a dab of white paint.
I can’t tell you how helpful having a larger design wall is. I love it. Most fabric pieces stay put without assistance, but I have the option to stick pins in the fabric to insure they don’t fall off before I get the chance to sew them all together. And it only took an afternoon to do make it.
So get going and give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love yours too.
You can make yours as small or as large as you like. You’re only limited by the size of your wall and your flannel covering.
This is the third challenge in Season 10 of Project Quilting, and the only rule is that it’s “Bigger than a breadbox” … Wikipedia says they’re usually 16″ x 8″ or so, and that’s the MINIMUM size for the completed piece to meet this week’s challenge” … OK, I can do that.
I’ve been wanting to challenge myself by:
Using a small French linen printed panel I bought at the Madison Quilt Expo
First I got out every red & beige fabric I could find from my stash. I love the fat quarter pack I recently found at the Craftsy site (which is now Bluprint), called Boundless Ruby Rue. Isn’t it beautiful fabric?
Next I opened up my EQ8 software and created a quilt the size of my center panel (finished 6×6 inches) and experimented by adding one border after another until I reached the required size. EQ8 lets you import pdf images from fabric companies (I found my Ruby Rhu online & downloaded) so I could “paint” the blocks on my pattern draft with my actual fabric! And could scan the panel so it shows ad well. So cool.
I printed out a first draft the quilt (full color & one just outline), and rotary cutting instructions (see above & below).
After adding the first two borders (above), I did a little tweaking on the pattern to get the next borders right.
Piecing 4-patches this tiny isn’t easy. There are so many seams, even a slight error on piecing really adds up to a disaster! I found it helpful to “square up” each tiny 4-patch before continuing to piece the row.
It helped enormously to do some checking every step along the way! You wouldn’t think it, but even a sliver makes a difference (and I can use all the help I can get).
Almost there! All I need is one more border. I had just enough of the light rose stripe to finish the last row of 4 patches…so I’ll need to choose a different fabric for the last border.
Here’s the final draft of the pattern for my wall hanging done on my EQ8 software…
And here’s the actual wall hanging…it ended up to be 20 inches square.
I couldn’t bare to part with it, and I think I found the perfect spot for it on my kitchen wall…next to my Cappuccino maker.
But first…coffee! LOL. (My sister brought me this sign the last time she visited…my morning for sure!)
HOW TO VOTE: Just go to the link above, scroll down to the bottom until you see the thumbnail photos of the quilts. Then click on the heart in the upper right hand side of the photo of the entry you want to vote for ❤️ and it’ll fill the heart in & tell you how many votes you have left. If there are over a hundred entries, you’ll get 10 votes. Enjoy!
UPDATE: Voting has closed. Thanks so much for your votes!
I didn’t win, but a very talented quilter, fellow Etsy Quiltsy Team member, and good friend Sally Manke did! Very well deserved. congrats Sally! Mine came in at #29 of 136 entries