Sunday, October 27, 2013

We Interrupt this Blog for a Commercial (or three)

I mentioned in my last post that I picked up some nifty gadgets at the last workshop I attended. I'd like to share them with you because these aren't all things I've seen at my local quilt shop, or that I've seen other quilters I hang out with use. I'm not being compensated (this basically amounts to free advertising for these three companies) but I love these products now that I've discovered them, so maybe they're something that can make your quilting life a little easier as well.

 First up is this wild and crazy Bloc Loc ruler for trimming up HSTs and QSTs. See that shaded diagonal line in the middle? It's actually a carved out groove that butts up against your seam and is held in place by the seam allowance. No worries about your ruler slipping when you're trimming your block, or trying to align a single printed line on your ruler with a possibly crooked seam.

My seam on this block is pressed to the black, so this ruler has just locked itself onto that seam and will not slip while I trim that block to whatever size I need. Love, love this item...a little spendy though. This 6" HST Bloc Loc retails for  $26.00. There are many other sizes available, so check their website to see if there isn't something there to make your cutting a little easier.

I don't know about you, but I love 'gadgets', and these neat little On The Dot reusable plastic position markers are really useful. You know how they say 'measure twice, cut once'? So every time you position your ruler on a piece of fabric you've got to make sure you've got the right measurement before you whip out that rotary cutter. I find myself not exactly trusting the line on the ruler, I've got to actually count off each inch (especially if I'm not starting from zero). Well, count no more...position this diamond on the line you want to align the edge of your fabric with and cut away.
Strip after strip, and no chance that one of those strips will be a half inch or inch larger than the rest.

But wait, there's more.....if you like to cut multiple layers of fabric at a time and you're never sure you're lining up the line on your ruler, or the pressure on the stack may fan the edges out slightly, try using Cutting Edge. These 4" repositionable vinyl strips adhere to the bottom of your ruler and create an edge to butt your fabric up against.

Just stick it along the line you are using for your measure, slide the ruler up against the edge of your fabric, and cut. Nothing slips, plus, you don't have to visually find your measuring line each time you cut..foolproof accuracy.

These products are made by the same company that brought you Sewing Edge, which is the repositionable  vinyl you stick to your machine bed to mark your seam allowance. All part of the 'Qtools' line, you can find them, as well as videos on how to use them at They retail for $7.95 a package. Buy them once, and that's it. If the vinyl seems to not 'stick', just wet it and you're back in business.

And finally....the scrap quilt I'm working on requires 40 4-patch diamond blocks to make the inner border of the quilt. Each unit is made with the leftover scrap that came into being when I cut the HST pieces from random Kaffe Fassett print squares for the quilt center (yesterday's post).  These triangles are laid on top of squares and stitched, resulting in a kind of wonky (though not technically) 3-1/2" HST.

You fold your white square in half diagonally, you fold your triangle in half and pinch the edge, then line up the point of the triangle and the little 'pinch at the back' on the fold line and scoot the edge of the triangle in 1-3/4" from the edge of the white background fabric. (Did you get that?). Okay....Do this 160 times. And when you're done stitching these together, cut off 320 dog ears.

Enter the Marti Michell corner trimmer. Okay, so I looked at this and thought...what do I need this for, really, it's a tiny little thing, I'm going to lose it. Not to mention you've got to make 2 cuts on every corner...and for what purpose? I can whack off those dog ears when I trim up my blocks. But then I saw the teacher demonstrate.....

You don't actually have to just place the template on your fabric and slide it down until the bottom and the side align with the fabric edges.Then you make the two cuts (preferably with your smallest rotary cutter....the 60mm Olfa would be a bit overkill for this :) ). Trim the other point.

Now when I lay that triangle point on the fold line of my background square, I simply slide my block over to where the two trimmed points of my triangle meet the edge of my background. I'm not looking to align a fold in the triangle, I don't have the ruler out to position my piece 1-3/4" from the background point....the printed triangle is simply positioned correctly because the points are cut to align with the edge of the square. Genius!

Let's check....yep, it's exactly where it's supposed to be. I'm guessing that this is going to cut in half the time it takes to make these 160 units.

But wait....that's not all. This nifty little item will not only trim corners, it will trim squares, allowing you to make perfect square in a square units. It will piece binding strips (forget buying the binding tool). You can even cut both triangles for flying geese units with it. The packaging says "It will change your quilting life!". Probably not mine, I don't do a lot of geese, or square in a squares, but for me it was $5.00 well spent to knock out these diamond unit borders. To see demos on this and view the other tools from this line visit

Hopefully you've enjoyed this commercial interruption, and maybe you've even found something you didn't know existed that will make your next project go just a tad smoother.

The weekend's almost gone, and tomorrow is our Harry Potter themed Octoberfest at work (mostly catered by The Cheesecake Factory....yum!). I'm bring phyllo-wrapped, parmesan-crusted asparagus spears for an much to do, so little time!

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Vintage Rouge

Welcome to the Fall 2013 Blogger's Quilt Festival. I've entered my labor of love for this year, Vintage Rouge.

Vintage Rouge was a BOM project offered by one of my local quilt shops. It's a Bloom Creek pattern made with Marcus Brothers Fabrics. I fell in love with this quilt the minute I saw a photo of it in the shop's class listing.

I love hand applique, and I love Dresden Plates, so this project and I were a match made in Heaven.

 I like to make things my own, so in place of hand embroidery of the words 'love', 'joy', 'hope', and 'peace' in the 4 pieced star blocks, I made up a little applique flower, close to the style of the other appliques on the quilt. I liked this much better as it made the quilt appear a little less 'Christmasy', which would allow for year-round use.

Another way to 'make it my own' was to add a semi-scalloped border, only one diagonal top and bottom corner have scallops...the rest of the quilt edge is straight.

It was quite a challenge to quilt on my domestic sewing machine...the largest quilt I have quilted so far (84x84 inches), but I carefully marked out grid lines and I taught myself how to make tuille stencils for some of the quilting (corner blocks) and I echo-quilted around the applique. I was very pleased with the finished quilting and it gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to handle machine quilting on my home sewing machine. Not to mention, I learned quite a bit about what kind of markers to use on fabric (water soluble is not always water soluble :) ).

Vintage Rouge won 2nd place in our Viewer's Choice large quilt category at my Guild's Spring quilt show. It won First Place in the applique quilt category at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Maryland this past August. This is the first time I've ever had a quilt I made judged, and I was pleased with the judge's comments (though they think my binding could use a little improvement :) ).

Of all of the quilts I've made, I'm most proud of the work I did on this one, and I'm looking forward to taking it out as soon as I put away the Halloween quilts this year.

If you'd like to read more about the process, or see my tutorial on how to make tuille stencils, just enter 'Vintage Rouge' in the search box at the top of this blog post. All posts related to this project will be displayed.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you love Vintage Rouge as much as I do. Be sure to use the link in the sidebar at the left to jump back to the Blogger's Quilt Festival site to visit the rest of the beautiful quilts on display this Fall.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's Been A Busy Month, But I'm Back on Track (Almost)

 There's been a flurry of activity in the studio for the past month or so.....

First off, I finished the quilt top for the Aiming for Accuracy quilt along. It's 95% Kaffe Fassett prints, stitched together with a 50 wt. Aurifil gray thread (switched to black on those filmstrip borders). As you know, it already has a's going to my SIL's beachhouse when it's done. She's already chosen a fabric for the back from my Kaffe stash, but I think I'm going to shake things up a bit when I get around to it.

While working on this, I couldn't resist starting another project in my down time waiting for the next block to upload....

You remember 'Lemon Pepper', right? Well, the top is pieced, and there were 34 blocks left over (I was going to make pillows but decided against it).  So I laid them out on the design wall a few different ways and came up with a pattern of blocks to be pieced with solid gray...

creating a reversible throw. This one's for Jenifer. I hope to finish it for Christmas, so it's in the queue ahead of the A4A (above).

By now you know that 2 projects at a time is simply not challenging enough for me, so I added a third.....

This is just the center of it (I've sewn together the top; two rows so far). If you think that's a lot of 2" squares, wait until you see the's got about a thousand of them in it. I'll be constructing it using a fusible grid, so I'll be sure to show you how that's done once I get to it. There's still an inner border of 4-patch diamonds that goes around this. I'm stitching this one with a 50 wt white Aurifil. I'll probably quilt it with a 40 wt white, though I may have an appropriate variegated 28 wt in the thread cabinet.

Call me crazy, but I had all these scraps of Kaffe Fassett left over from the A4A quilt, in addition to my hoard stash of uncut Kaffe. Well, my Guild just happened to have a workshop scheduled with Joan Ford of scraptherapy fame, so I signed on at the last minute. In the end, it cost me a ton of money to make this quilt (I bought a lot of neat stuff at the workshop that I'll show in another post), but I really love it. It's going to be a perfect summer quilt, and this one is staying here :)

Check back tomorrow for a little demo of some neat tools and accessories that you may not know about. I'm off to enjoy a cocktail before I start prepping some applique blocks to work on during our upcoming trip to Florida....could be another quilt in there before the end of the year!