Cricut Maker Block of the Week – Week 1: Introduction, Supplies, Border, Sashing

I’m so excited to share with you this project that I have been working on for weeks and weeks! As I mentioned in my last post, Cricut gave me one of their new Cricut Maker machines to play with. It has a special rotary blade attachment designed for cutting fabric! As a thank-you, and to pay it forward, I designed a FREE mini quilt pattern that is cut entirely on the Cricut Maker, and I’ll be sharing it step-by-step each week so you can make it yourself! I have recorded videos if you learn best by watching, and I’ll have step-by-step instructions here, if you like to read the instructions at your own pace.

Cricut Maker Block of the Week - Week 1 - Introduction, supplies, borders and sashing

This post includes affiliate links. These links pay a small commission back to me, at no extra cost to you.

Here are the basic supplies you’ll need to make the Cricut Maker Quilt:

If you want detailed supply information, check out the expanded supply list.

The Cricut Maker Machine: on the Cricut site or on Amazon
Fabric bundle (either the Cricut bundle or 5 pieces of fabric, each 1/3 yard): on the Cricut site  or on Amazon
Cricut Fabric mat, you’ll need a 12×24″ mat, and a 12×12″ mat: on the Cricut site
Cricut Fabric pen: on the Cricut site or on Amazon
Printable Vinyl: on the Cricut site
Sewing Machine
Thread

Iron & Ironing Board
Device with Cricut Design Space installed
Tweezers (optional)

If you’d like to watch the video, you can watch it here:

 

Preparing the fabrics:

The quilt is made using blocks that are combined with sashing, and has a border around the outside. In the videos, I’m using the Garden Girl Fabric. Here on the site, I’m showing the quilt made with the Rockstar collection.

If you’re using the fabric I’m showing, you can just follow along and use the same fabrics. But if you’re using a different set of fabric, or your own fabric, you’ll want to label each fabric so that you know which is which. I created a set of colored stickers that coordinates with the colors on the pieces in Cricut Design Space. So, if you see yellow and white pieces, you know to use the fabrics you’ve labeled as yellow and white. Use the print then cut label file, and print it onto Cricut Printable Vinyl.

Add labels

Here are the stickers on the fabric, identifying which fabric belongs with which color in Design Space.

fabric labels

Remove the protective cover from your 12×24″ mat. While working in the mat, try not to touch the adhesive. The oils in your fingers can reduce the tacky-ness of the mat.

Place the border fabric (marked with a purple sticker) right side DOWN on the mat. The raw edge of the fabric should be across the top of the mat. Make sure to press down the fabric securely, especially along the sides. This is where the rollers feed the mat into the machine, and could potentially move the fabric. Having these sides pressed down securely is key. Set aside until you are ready to load the mat into the machine

Cutting the Borders

Open up the Cricut Maker BOTW Border file in Design Space.

quilt border file in Cricut Design Space

It will tell you that you need the larger, 12×24″ mat. Click OK. You’ll see two longer pieces and two shorter pieces. The light blue lines show the seam allowance that will be marked with the blue fabric pen.

send to maker

Press “continue” in the bottom right hand corner. Then it takes you to a screen where you set the material. The fabric we are using is “Cotton”. Press on “Fabric – Cotton” on the bottom right.

select material

The next screen will prompt you to install your fabric pen and rotary blade before loading the mat. The fabric pen is inserted by opening the lever on side A, uncapping the pen, inserting it into the housing, then closing the housing. I like to put the cap on the back of the pen so that I can find it easily later.

If your rotary blade is not already installed, open side B. Remove the existing blade, and install the rotary blade. Close the lever.

Hold the mat up to the rollers, guiding the sides between the two white tabs on the sides, then press the arrow key. The machine will load the mat. Press the blinking Cricut “C”, and the machine will do its magic! First, it will mark the borders with the pen. Then it will cut with the rotary blade. When you’re done, it will prompt you to unload the mat using the arrow button. Make sure to remove the pen, and replace the cap. This will keep it from drying out.

Take the mat to your table, and remove the extra fabric by lifting from one corner, and pulling up. You can trim off the small strings, then set the rest aside. We will be using this for one of the blocks, and the binding. Use tweezers to gently lift off the border pieces. Go slow, and pull up any fraying threads to keep fraying to a minimum.

If you have threads left on the mat, you can use tweezers to pick them up. A piece of strong grip transfer tape works well, too. Don’t use a scraper tool, don’t use your fingers… and don’t worry if there are a few stray threads left. It will not hurt to use a mat with a few threads left on.

Cutting the Sashing

Repeat these steps, this time for the Sashing Fabric (the aqua/teal color sticker), using the Sashing File in Cricut Design Space.

send sashing to maker

When you are done cutting, make sure to remove the pen and put the cap back on, so it doesn’t dry out.

Gently remove these strips, and set aside with the border strips.

cut pieces

 

Originally, this was all I had planned for today. But I knew that some people would be sad they didn’t get to do any sewing! So, later today I’ll be sharing the first block both here and on YouTube!

 

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Learn to Quilt with your Cricut – Cricut Maker Block of the Week

I’m so excited to share with you my new project … which could become your new project! The Cricut Maker Block of the Week! Over the course of several weeks, I am going to teach basic quilting techniques using the Cricut Maker.

Last month, I was invited to Salt Lake City to participate in the launch of the new Cricut Maker. This machine is extra exciting because it has a rotary blade attachment. The machine can rotate this blade 360 degrees to cut directionally. Which makes it perfect for cutting non-bonded fabrics (fabrics that don’t have an interfacing or interlining fused to the back). When I saw this, I was super excited. As a quilter who has taught all kinds of quilting classes, and is excited about teaching beginners how to quilt, I saw an opportunity to teach new quilters how to sew their first quilt! And teaching new quilters is a serious passion of mine.

Learn to Quilt with your Cricut Machine

Here are the details for the Cricut Maker Block of the Week:

Lessons begin Friday, September 22nd. It will take us 14 weeks to finish this quilt (so you can have it done in time for Christmas!). It finishes at 23″ x 23″ square, so it makes a great baby quilt or wall hanging. We will go through all the steps – cutting and piecing the blocks, adding the sashing and borders, quilting your quilt on your home machine, and even binding the quilt! It sounds like a big commitment, but most weeks you’ll be done in less than 90 minutes.

Every Friday I will share the lesson both here and on YouTube. You can watch the video, read the step-by-step instructions with photos, or do both. You can leave questions and comments both here and on YouTube if you need help.

The lessons won’t go away – if you start a week later, a month later, or 6 months later… everything will still be there. If you get busy (hey, life happens), everything will still be there for you to pick up when life settles down. As my uncle says, “No hurries, no worries.”

The cost is FREE. I’m not charging you anything to learn how to make this quilt. Cricut gave me the Maker machine, and this is my way of paying it forward. I will get a few pennies from ads on the YouTube Videos, and ads here on this site. And if you choose to purchase materials through my affiliate links, I’ll get a small commission which helps compensate for my time and materials. But I won’t ever ask you to send me any money. There won’t be a sales pitch at the end of the 14 weeks for a pricy course (although, hey… there is a thought… nope. nevermind. not interested).

If you’d like to join in, you’ll want to gather your supplies. Here is what you’ll need. BTW, I’ve put affiliate links here – if you purchase through these links, awesome! If you don’t, I’ll never know. Either way, we’re good.

Here is what you’ll need to make the Cricut Maker Block of the Week Quilt:

Cricut Maker Machine. Yes, it has to be the Maker. It is the one with the rotary blade, and that is really a must here. That first link will take you to the Cricut Site to buy the machine. If you pay for Cricut Access, you’ll get 10% off buying the machine there. If you’re an Amazon junkie, you can buy the Cricut Maker on Amazon. If you hate waiting, the Cricut Maker is being sold at JoAnns and Michaels as well. Just call ahead to make sure they have one in stock.

Fabric. I’ve designed the project to be made using a single bundle of Cricut Designer Fabric, plus 7/8 yards of backing fabric. I’ve used the Rock Star bundle for the first quilt (pictured above), and the Garden Girl sampler for the quilt I’m making on the video. But, I’ve designed this so that any of the available bundles will work. Or, you could create your own bundle. You’ll need 5 cuts of fabric, each 1/3 yard. Pick a fun print for the border, and 4 smaller prints or solids for the blocks and sashing. Make sure you get your 7/8 yards of backing fabric. Amazon lovers, you can also buy the Cricut Fabric on Amazon.

12 x 24″ Fabric Mat. The machine comes with a 12 x 12 mat, but to cut the borders and sashing, you’ll need a 12 x 24″ mat.

Cricut Fabric Pen. We will be using this to mark seam allowances. If you’re an experienced quilter, you can skip this. If you want to pay way more, you can buy the fabric Pen on Amazon. My Michael’s and JoAnns carry these pens as well, for the normal price.

Printable Stickers. I used Cricut Printable Vinyl because they are durable, but Printable Sticker Paper will work as well. We’re going to use 1 sheet to print-then-cut labels for the fabric. If you don’t have access to a printer, you could use regular labels and write the colors on them, or use marker to mark the colors (pink, yellow, white, purple, aqua). This will help you know which fabric to use when, especially if you’re using a different fabric bundle than I am.

Thread. I’m not terribly picky about thread. I have friends that are passionate about certain brands of thread. If you’re at a quilt shop and they have spools of Aurifil 50wt, that is great. If you’re at the store and see Coats & Clark, that is also awesome. You want a quilting-weight thread. If you’re not sure, ask a sales associate at the store, and they’ll help you find an appropriate thread. Find a color that blends in with your fabrics – white, cream, or light grey are often great choices. Some people are going to tell you that it has to be 100% cotton thread. I’m not going to. Go with what makes you happy, here.

Sewing Machine. The Cricut will cut the fabric, but we need a sewing machine to put the pieces back together. Use what you have here. I have a big, fancy machine… but I’m not using it for this quilt. I pulled out my nearly 20-year-old fully-mechanical Viking machine to sew this project on. I did this to show you that while fancy machines are fun… you don’t need to break the bank to sew something pretty.

Iron. Whatever you use to get wrinkles out of shirts when you have a job interview or parent-teacher conference will work great. If you don’t have an iron, find an inexpensive one at Walmart or Target. If you that hate ironing – don’t worry, this isn’t “real” ironing. This is quilt ironing, which is WAY more fun!

Ironing board/Ironing pad. You don’t want to melt your tabletop, so an ironing board or ironing pad is a great idea. In a pinch, you could use a folded bath towel, with a smoother tea towel over the top. It can be our little secret.

That will get you through the first 11 weeks! If you want to buy all your supplies now, read on. If you want to hold off on buying any more, then save the rest of this list until later.

 

After week 11, you’ll  also need:

Batting – a 25″ x 25″ piece of batting is plenty. You can purchase a crib sized quilt batting. I suggest a LOW LOFT batting. Either 100% cotton or 80-20 blend. I’ve been using Fairfield batting for years, and keep a giant roll in the sewing room. No need for you to invest in that yet! If you want cotton, try their organic cotton batting. If you want a blend, try their 40/60 blend batting. If you want something really fun, try their evergreen batting. It is made from recycled bottles which gives it that green color – but the green won’t show up on your quilts. It is really lovely for free motion quilting, and I wish I could buy a big roll of it!

Safety Pins or basting spray. We’ll talk about this more in week 13, and which is best for which type of quilting you want to do. If you have safety pins on hand, those will work. If you’re buying new ones, check out the curved safety pins. If you are going to try free-motion quilting, I recommend basting spray. I like Thermoweb Spray N Bond.

Walking foot or Free Motion Foot – this will depend on how you want to quilt your quilt. If you are new to quilting, a walking foot is usually the best choice. There is no one-size-fits-all for sewing machine feet. Check with whatever store distributes your brand of sewing machine to find a foot that fits your make and model. A walking foot can run you from $20-100, depending on how fancy your machine is. If you’re an adventurous beginner, or have some more experience, you might want to try free-motion quilting. Get a free motion foot for your machine. An Embroidery foot might work as well. I will be teaching both the walking foot and free motion quilting techniques in week 13.

Ruler, Rotary cutter, and mat (for squaring up). If you have a friend who is a quilter, ask them if you can square up your quilt at their house. If there is a quilt shop local to you that offers their classroom for open use, consider that. But if you find that you love quilting, this is worth the investment! Here are the supplies I love:

Omnigrid 6×24″ Ruler
Fiskars Rotary Cutter, I like 45mm size, but you can go with whatever you have. Omnigrid and Olfa make good rotary cutters as well.
Omnigrid Mat

Hand sewing needle

Thimble (optional) – my favorite is the Dritz Comfort Grip Thimble.

 

By now you’re probably thinking: WOW! That is a TON of stuff!

Well, you’re right. The first quilt you make is nearly always going to be the most expensive, as you purchase supplies that you’ll be using over and over again. If you treat them right, these supplies will last a decade or more. In my over 20 years of quilting, I’ve only had two 6×24″ rulers. The first one lasted me 15 years – and my mom had used it for many years before she handed it down to me.

If you’re not sure – before you make the investment, ask around. Someone surely has some quilting supplies in their closet they’d be willing to loan you. And maybe you can get them excited about quilting again, and make quilts together!

That’s everything you need to know to get started! Make sure you bookmark this post so that you can keep the supply list handy. Or start yourself a “quilts I’m going to make” Pinterest board (if you haven’t already). This can be your first pin!

I’m super excited to start on this quilting journey together! Please reach out if you have any questions!

 

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Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs

I am so excited to share these Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs with you!! One of my most popular videos is where I show you how to make  8 quilting designs using one basic motion, I regularly get comments from people who tell me they can’t wait to try the designs. This is going to make it so much easier! Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs This post contains affiliate links which help support this site with no additional cost to you.

 

When you first start Free Motion Quilting, you spend time getting used to working with your machine. You need to “synch” with your machine. Like a mind-meld, but for quilting. My friend Christa Watson calls this the “hum-purr”. (By the way, if you don’t know Christa, go check out her book Machine Quilting with Style. An awesome book for Machine Quilters! And check out her blog Christa Quilts.)

Since you’re spending that time finding your “hum-purr”, it can be hard to also focus on your design, and where you want to go next. So, when I found out that Cricut was coming out with a water-soluble fabric pen, I was EXCITED! I could draw out those designs for you, you can draw them with your machine (any Cricut machine that can operate with a pen – it doesn’t have to be the new Cricut Maker.)

Here is what you need:
Cricut Machine that uses pens and the Cricut Design Space
Cricut Mat (I used a fabric mat)
Cricut washable fabric pen
12″ square of cotton fabric for drawing on (light color that the pen will show up on works best)
13″ square (or larger) of scrap batting
13″ square (or larger) of scrap fabric for backing
Sewing machine with Free-motion foot
Super slider (optional, but I love it)
Basting Spray (you can pin baste or thread baste – but I love spray basting)

  1. Pen draws linesDownload one of my .svg files for Free Motion Quilting. Right now I have a loopy fill and a border file. Let me know what you think, and I’ll add some more.

drawn designs for free motion quilting

  1. Open Cricut Design Space.
  2. Upload the file into Design Space. It is an SVG file, so it is pretty easy.
  3. Resize the file to whatever size square you would like.
  4. Ungroup the image.
  5. Remove the background shape (I have it sitting in a square for easy resizing)
  6. Over in the right-hand panel, click on the scissors, and change that to write (select washable fabric pen, 1.0, Blue)
  7. Your file is ready!

Put your 12×12 fabric on the mat. Load the mat, put the fabric pen in the pen holder, and let the machine draw the design.

Cricut fabric pen can draw free motion quilting designs

 

Once it is done, you can unload the mat, turn this layer into the top of your quilt sandwich, and start quilting! If you haven’t watched my video, I give you all the basics for Free Motion Quilting these designs in my post on 8 quilting designs using one basic motion.

free motion quilting practice

I’m using my favorite Wonderfil 12wt thread here. You can use whatever you like – but I love this thread for really standing out against any fabric!

Once you’re done, admire your work for a minute.

Free Motion Quilting practice - border designs

Then, you can wash away all that blue ink!

washing away the ink

How cool is that?

FMQ Practice Designs on the Cricut Machine

By the end of a practice square or two, you’ll have found that hum-purr, and be ready to try it on your own, without practice lines!

Want to know what to do with your practice pieces? You can save them as reminders of your quilting journey. If you like, you can trim them up, bind them, and turn them into mug rugs and place mats.

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78 Degrees and… Quilt

Living in San Diego, you’d think it was always 78 degrees and sunny. Unfortunately, it isn’t… but this quilt makes it feel like it is! So I named it “78 Degrees and…” Not to be mixed up with “98 degrees and…” because that is way too hot! 78 is perfect for a beach day… or a hammock day!

78 Degrees and... Quilt Modern Improv Dresden

I made this quilt using the new Dimensional Dresden ruler that Nancy’s Notions sent to me to play with. I’ve played with other Dresden techniques before, like in my Roots and Wings quilt and Watermelon Coasters. I also made a Dresden Plate in Block 7 of the Technique Block of the Month.

Dimensional Kaleidoscope Dresden Template

The Dimensional Dresden ruler does much more than the average Dresden Plate template. First, it is HUGE! It can make a petal 10″ – which means you can make a Dresden Plate that is over 20″ across! You can use it to make curved ends, pointed ends, and flat ends. Also, it comes with a detailed instruction book. Not only telling you how to make a traditional Dresden Plate – but how to kick it up a notch. Making layered Dresdens. There are so many examples of how to layer the pieces by inserting them into the seams in different ways. The possibilities are completely limitless! Plus, it is on sale right now! Any ruler less than $20 is usually a good deal – but less than $10 is a steal (and since it is on sale, you can avoid the bad karma from actually stealing).

If you want to make a quilt similar to “78 degrees and…”, you’ll need:
Lots of assorted yellow fabrics (about 6 yards)
Nancy Zieman Dimensional Dresden template Regularly $17.99 – now $9.99 through July 31st!
6 1/2″ square ruler
Rotary Cutter and mat
Scissors
Seam Ripper
Blue wash-away marker or chalk pencil
Sewing machine and matching thread

I was feeling like I needed a little sunshine, so I grabbed my entire stash of yellows, pulling out anything that felt too orange or too brown. Leaving just the pieces that could read as solid from a distance. I might have given myself permission to head to my local quilt shop to add a couple yellows. Just to round it out.

fabric selections

Spoiler Alert: I used it all. Or, pretty close to all. I have a healthy bag of yellow scraps… and an excuse to shop for more buttery and sunshiney yellows. I might have a thing for all yellow quilts.

Using the ruler, I cut lots of wedges. First, I cut a strip the height of the wedges I wanted, then cut the strip up into pieces using the wedge ruler. No waste at all!

cut wedges

Lots and lots of wedges.

lots of wedges

I cut different sizes. More than half were 8″ or 9 1/2″. These would be my big background pieces. I also cut lots and lots of small 4″ pieces, and a variety of pieces in between.

All the smaller pieces, and some of the larger pieces, were stitched along the top to make dresden points.

stitched dresdens

And then pressed.

press all the pieces

There is a handy template that comes with the ruler for centering the seam on the back. So smart!

pressing points

Once I had all these points created, I used the instruction booklet to stitch together partial dresden plate blocks.

Pressing was sometimes tricky with all the bulk in the seams. I found that inserting a wooden point turner into the front of a tucked-in dresden helped. I could press the back seam open without pressing creases into the tucked in dresden. A round wooden chopstick would work well, too.

press open with stick

Three 8″ wedges going the same direction, and then a fourth going the opposite direction was enough to trim to 6 1/2″ square. For the blocks where I wanted the seams more diagonal, I used 9 1/2″ wedges.

big enough

I just used my 6 1/2″ square ruler to trim them up.

trim up the block

I kept the scraps to stitch to the sides of other blocks that needed a little more width to make it to 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

On some, the inserted dresden extended beyond the edge of the 6 1/2″ block. I didn’t want to cut off the points – I wanted to keep the dimension!

I cut the sides that didn’t have the point. On the last side, I marked using a blue water-erase marker.

I carefully cut both sides with scissors, all the way up to the seam allowance. I ripped the seam on the part that needed to be removed, and removed it.

Then I pulled back the point, and cut into the dresden at an angle, towards the crease. I got to almost 1/8″ of the crease.

This allowed me to pull the point up and away from the side of the block, leaving plenty of room for the seam allowance. And all these raw edges will be protected when the point is appliqued down.

I repeated this process, making 47 blocks. The 48th block was special.

For this last block, I made a full Dresden with lots of points sticking out. Some sticking very far out!

Of course they wouldn’t fit within my 6 1/2″ square. I traced around the square.

I carefully trimmed each side like I had with the regular blocks – but this time I needed to trim all four sides.

Carefully moving all the points out of the way for cutting.

Or cutting right up to that seam allowance like before.

Cutting on all sides.

Once I cut in, I was able to pin the points out of the way.

pin out of the way

Then it was time to lay out the blocks.

lay out blocks

I made sure to have more points to insert in the seams.

pressed under

Some I stitched together.

stitch together

All of them I pressed 1/4″ in on each side to tuck in the raw edges.

press seams

I pinned them  so that the raw edges of the bottom extended beyond the edge of the blocks.

pin in place

And pinned them all over the quilt.

pin all rays in place

Then I stitched the blocks into rows… and the rows into a quilt!

finished quilt top

Then it was time for quilting. I used a walking foot to make rays out from the center. Then quilted the rays.

Swirls and pebbles, mostly.

Swirls mixed in with wavy lines.

I might’ve snuck in one feather.

Technically, she isn’t done yet. I want to hand-applique down all the points so they still have lots of dimension, but all the raw edges are tucked away and protected. And it isn’t bound yet. I’m undecided on if she will get a traditional binding, or if I’ll add a facing instead.

What do you think? Binding or facing?

Oh – and be sure to grab that Dimensional Dresden while it is still on sale! I have a couple more fun projects planned that you might be tempted to make!

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8 Simple Free-Motion Quilting designs – using ONE basic motion

Last year, I created this video showing 8 simple Free-Motion Quilting designs that you can make using one basic motion. If you learned cursive writing as a child, chances are your teacher started you off writing cursive ls or cursive es. Using this same looping motion, you can create 8 simple quilting designs that can be used as quilting fills and border designs.

You might not be able to have this video handy at all times, so I’m sharing a handout that goes with this video. I created this handout for a basic free-motion quilting class that I taught at my local quilt shop. You can download the PDF of this quilting printable here.

8 simple quilting designs from one basic motion

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How to Prepare your Quilt for Quilting

After you’ve pieced your quilt top, it is time to quilt it! But how do you prepare your quilt for quilting? I’ve teamed up with Fave Quilts to make this video showing you how it is done!

If you are sending your quilt to a long-arm quilter, you’ll want to make sure you have your quilt top and quilt back ready to go, so your longarmer can get your quilt done and back to you for binding. If you’re quilting it yourself, you’ll need to baste it. Spray basting is fast, easy, and my favorite way to baste a quilt. I’ll show you how to baste together your layers so that they don’t shift while quilting.

I use Thermoweb SpraynBond Basting Adhesive to baste my quilts. You can find it at JoAnns, many local quilt shops, and online.

Check out all the details on how to prepare your quilt in this post on the Fave Quilts site. And be sure to check out the Fave Crafts YouTube Channel for more fun quilting videos!

How to Prepare your Quilt for Quilting

 

How to make a T-shirt quilt from start to finish

It has been a couple years since I filmed my how to make a t-shirt quilt series.

Time for an updated video! I got together with my friends at Prime Publishing to show you how to make a T-shirt quilt from start to finish.

 

To make your quilt, you’ll need a few supplies:

T-shirts
Press Cloth (an old dishtowel will do)
Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
Border Fabric
Rotary Cutter, Mat & Ruler
Iron and Ironing Board
Sewing Machine.

In the video I take you through all the steps of making your t-shirt quilt. Learn the best way to cut your shirts so that your whole design fits on your blocks, and tips for how to center your design. What do you do when you have different sized shirts to incorporate into your t-shirt quilt? Add borders, of course! I show you what bordered blocks look like.

Stitching together stretchy shirts can result in puckers and blocks that don’t line up correctly. Adding a light-weight interfacing to your quilt blocks (I love and use Thermoweb brand interfacings) keeps them from stretching while cutting, sewing, and quilting your quilt.

Quilting your quilt is easy using a walking foot, or you can send your t-shirt quilt to a professional long-arm quilter to quilt it for you.

To finish your quilt, add binding and a label!

 

 

 

Blithe Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be part of Katarina Roccella’s Blithe Blog Tour! I’ve been a long-time fan of her whimsical fabric designs, and I have been a fan of Art Gallery Fabrics even longer! Katarina’s new line, “Blithe” is in stores now… I know it is at my local shop Cozy Creative Center… check to see if your shop is carrying these fun fabrics!

Blithe Fabrics EPP Pillow

Katarina asked if I would be part of this fun blog tour, and of course I said YES! I already had a project in the works… which is a funny story.

I attended Houston Quiltmarket in October. It was my third time going, and I really enjoy seeing what is new in quilting. I went to sample spree, hoping to get my hands on Katarina’s next line, “In Blue”. They didn’t have yardage yet, so instead I bought some Blithe. Which is equally beautiful. Really. The gorgeous colors and nature prints are just so inviting. And Art Gallery Fabrics always feel so nice, they are a pleasure to sew with. I don’t know what kind of fairy dust they weave into their fabrics – but if you’ve never touched AGF, you’re in for a treat!

I flew home after market was over, and was at the airport waiting for my flight. I had supplies with me for English Paper Piecing because I always have EPP supplies with me (and I had taught an EPP class that morning and done EPP demos while at market). I pulled out my Blithe and started stitching. I didn’t know what it would become… but my hands like to stay busy.

EPP at the Airport

By the time I’d gotten home, I had a message from Katarina. We have chatted via Instagram in the past – I created a quilt sample for a past line of hers. She asked if I’d like to turn what I was making into a project for her lookbook.

Of course, yes. I had a project that might get finished eventually. But now, it had a deadline. I was off and running.

finishing up EPP

English Paper Piecing is my favorite. I don’t knit or crochet, so this is the handwork that I can tuck in my bag and take wherever I go. When waiting at the doctor’s office, when waiting to pick up kids from school, in the evening in front of the TV… I love to pick up my handwork.

If you’ve never tried EPP, here is a video of me at Quiltmarket, showing
how easy it is:

You’re hooked already, right? Grab some papers and a glue pen, pick up your needle and thread, and start stitching!

Of course, once you’re done stitching, you have to finish your project. Since this was going to be a pillow, I pulled out the papers, ironed on some of my favorite Thermoweb Fusible Fleece, and did some simple straight-line stitching with my walking foot.

quilting EPP

You’ll notice I stitched to the side, and not “in the ditch”. English Paper Piecing doesn’t have a “ditch” to stitch in – the seam allowances are essentially pressed open. So quilting has to be done across the surface of the fabric.

Yes, I would love to have hand-quilted this piece. But time.

I did manage to put together another quick project for the lookbook… a simple clutch.

Stupid Simple Clutch

This is my “Stupid Simple Clutch” pattern that I’m still working on writing up. I’m hoping to release it this spring. Fingers crossed!

Those are the simple projects I created for the Lookbook, and for the Blog Tour… I hope you’re getting inspired to play with some Blithe yourself! Drop me a comment below and tell me what you’re planning to make!

 

 

Glory: Scrappy Flag Quilt Pattern

Happy 4th of July! A couple weeks ago, I had an idea for a Scrappy Flag Quilt. I went to my fabric stash and pulled assorted reds, then pulled out my Tumbler English Paper Piecing shapes. I had plenty of both, and a long car trip perfect for some hand-stitching time, so I got to work!

This quilt is part hand work (the red stripes are hand-stitched using English Paper Piecing), and part machine-stitched (the background is stitched together by machine, and the EPP is machine appliqued and machine quilted). All the beauty of handwork, without being crazy time consuming!

You can buy the pattern on Craftsy here.

Glory: Scrappy Flag Quilt Pattern. Uses English Paper Piecing and traditional piecing techniques.

Tumblers aren’t the most popular shape for English Paper Piecing, Hexagons are the most popular, followed by Diamonds. Both of these shapes have angles that can be tricky to piece, making paper piecing a great choice. Tumblers can be fairly easily machine pieced – but they are so satisfying for hand sewing! The edges line up nicely, and you can get this great zig-zag effect from alternating the directions of the tumblers.

Scrappy flag quilt - simple to make, easy to follow pattern with EPP instructions

The quilt makes a great wall hanging for any room. You can use it as a table topper. You can hang it outdoors for a picnic – or use it on a picnic table or picnic display table.

fun and scrappy flag quilt pattern

I had lots of fun quilting this one… I think my favorite part is the quilted stars in the 13 white tumblers!

close up of Glory scrappy flag quilt

Buy the Digital Download pattern here.

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R2D2 Quilt

My kids are crazy for Star Wars, and their favorite droid is R2D2. Which is why I made them this fun R2D2 quilt to hang on their wall. It is very simple to make – no curved piecing, no fancy quilting – just straight stitching and quilting using a walking foot.

Star Wars R2D2 Mini Quilt - easy to make in an afternoon!

To make this mini quilt you’ll need:

Fat Quarter Grey Fabric
Fat Quarter White Fabric
1/2 yard backing fabric
Thermoweb DecoFoil Hot Melt Adhesive
Thermoweb Decofoil in Blue, Red, Black, and Pewter
Fairfield Cotton Batting
Thermoweb Basting Spray
Iron and Ironing Board
Sewing Machine with Walking foot and grey thread
Rotary Cutter and Ruler
Needle to Bury Threads

Cut your fabric. You’ll need a 12×12″ piece of the white fabric and a 12×10″ piece of the grey fabric. Put the rest of the fabric aside for the backing and binding.

Sew the two pieces of fabric together along the 12″ side.

Press seam towards the dark side (see what I did there? The “Dark Side”? hahaha!)

Measure 6″ in on the seam, and 1.5″ up. Mark this point. Use this as the center to mark a half-circle along the top. supplies for R2D2 mini quilt

Cut the Hotmelt adhesive. You’ll need:
2 – 1″x2″
2 – 3/4″x2″
2 – 1″x1″
1 – 1″x6″
2 – 1″x4.5″
1 – 2″x4″ with 1.5″ boxes cut out of the middle
1 – 2″x3″
1 – 3″x4″ cut into a trapezoid
1 – 2″ circle

Place the HotMelt pieces onto the fabric according to the photo. Fuse in place. Allow to cool, then remove the paper backing.

If you’d like your R2D2 Quilt fully quilted, base the mini, and quilt around all the hotmelt adhesive now, before adding the foil. This will ensure that the foil isn’t scratched by the walking foot later. I skipped this step, because a wall hanging doesn’t need a lot of quilting.

Cut a 2″ circle from the black Decofoil and a 1″ circle from the red DecoFoil. Place on top of the HotMelt. DO NOT FUSE YET. This is my layered foil technique.

Cut a square large enough to cover the 2″ circle out of the Pewter, and put in place. Cut the blue DecoFoil to cover all the other pieces.

cover with foil
Fuse the DecoFoil in place according to the instructions on the package.

Allow the adhesive to cool COMPLETELY before peeling off the DecoFoil, removing early or not fusing completely will result in incomplete coverage.

Baste the batting, backing, and top together with the basting spray, or your preferred method of basting.

Using the chalk marking pencil, draw the additional un-foiled panels on R2D2, using the placement of the foil pieces as your guides.

With your walking foot, stitch around the additional side panels to define them. Tie off the threads, and bury them.

Trim the curve along the top with scissors.

Bind, using two-colored binding if you prefer. Make sure to use bias-cut binding along the curve.

My boys were absolutely thrilled with their mini R2D2 Quilt, and couldn’t wait to hang it in their room! It goes great with the BB8 Pouf that I made for them as well. You can whip up this R2D2 quilt in an afternoon – the Star Wars fan in your life will love you for it!

this R2D2 Quilt really shines - and is super easy to make!