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

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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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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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