Cricut Maker Block of the Week – Sizing Options

A couple years ago, I shared the Cricut Maker Block of the Week – 9 quilt blocks that you can make with your Cricut Maker, along with a blog and video series that show you how to make each block, how to connect them with sashing, how to add a border, how to quilt it, and how to bind it. All of this plus the files for cutting all the pieces was (and still is) 100% free!

The series was incredibly popular! I was asked if I could share more quilt blocks. And so I did. I made 9 more quilt blocks that you can cut with the Cricut Maker, and I shared the cut files and made videos for all the blocks.

Two years later, one of the most common questions I get asked is about making a larger quilt from these blocks. The original quilt (and the sequel) are just sampler quilts – each finishes at just 23 1/2″ x 23 1/2″. Barely enough to keep your lap warm, and not large enough to snuggle under! I’ve tried to answer the question on increasing the size in the comments of the YouTube Videos a couple times, but it is a fairly long answer (with some math on my part), and so I decided it was best to explain it all in its own post that can be referred to easily.

lay out the shoo fly block

The first part to understand when wanting to make the blocks into a larger quilt is that you can’t just make the blocks bigger. This is because each unit has a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you simply double each piece in size, they may not fit correctly. It would work okay (ish) for the 9-patch block. Each piece is 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″. When you stitch them all together into a quilt, each piece becomes 2″ x 2″ (because a 1/4″ seam allowance on all four sides is used), and the finished block is 6″. If you doubled these pieces, you’d expect a 6″ block to become a 12″ block, right? But you’d be wrong! If you doubled each unit to make them 5″ x 5″. In the quilt, each piece would be 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ – Making the block 13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ in the finished quilt. Because the pieces are all equal-sized squares, they still fit together well. But if you tried that with some of the other blocks, you’d find that the pieces won’t fit together like the nice, neat puzzle pieces they were designed to be!

finished nine patch quilt block

So, if we wanted to re-size all the blocks, we’d have to subtract all the seam allowances first. Then we could re-size the units. And then we’d need to add back the seam allowances. Maybe one day I’ll take the time to do all that, but not at this point. It is a lot of work, and I have a long list of projects that I still want to make! Going back and adjusting old projects is not my favorite thing to do.

So instead, I’ve come up with two “cheat sheets” for how to turn these blocks into larger quilts. These are done with some rough math. So, while the sizing is perfect, the fabric requirements are not exact. If you buy the fabric listed in the fabric requirements, you should have plenty of fabric. Each 9-block mini quilt was made with five 1/3 yard cuts of fabric. So I used that same math – each nine blocks needs 1/3 yard of each of the five fabrics. However, you might be able to be more judicious with your cutting, and so you’ll likely have some fabric leftover at the end. You can always use this for backing or binding fabric if you like, or add it to your fabric stash.

If you scroll all the way down, you’ll find a link to download the PDF with both of these sizing documents.

This first cheat sheet shows you how many blocks you’ll need to make if you want to make a twin, full, queen, or king sized quilt without any sashing or borders. If you don’t cut the sashing and borders, you will have some extra fabric left over.

The second cheat sheet gives you the details for making blocks if you do want to add the sashing and a single border. You’d have to add all the horizontal sashing units between the blocks, and then piece together the vertical sashing units to stitch them between the rows. You’ll also need a few extra long sashing pieces to make up the length needed for those rows.

If you’d like to try out one of these larger quilts using the blocks from The Cricut Maker Block of the Week or The Cricut Maker Block of the Week the Sequel, then Click here to download the PDF cheat sheets that will help you with how many and how much fabric.

Square Dance with AGF Selva

Recently, I had the chance to play with one of Art Gallery Fabrics’ new lines, Selva. This fun, jungle inspired print was perfect for a quilt that I’d been bouncing around in my mind. Ever since I stitched up the “Square Dance” quilt for the Leisure Arts “Modern Patchwork” book, I’d been wanting to make a new version of the quilt.

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If you want to make this quilt, you can get your copy of Modern Patchwork from Leisure Arts here. or you can find it on Amazon.

The original version of the quilt is stitched up in Art Gallery Fabrics solids, and quilted using straight-line quilting. And while I do love it, I wondered what it might look like using prints instead. So, when I got my hands on Selva, that is exactly what I did!

And then of course I had to pick an exotic spot to photograph it for the lookbook. I went with the Old Mission Dam in the Mission Trails park here in San Diego. It is just a short drive away, and the scenery is just so much fun!

Of course I brought with me all the tools I thought I’d need to style the quilt in the photos – pins, tape, string – but in all my planning I forgot about proper footwear! So, I was traipsing through the trails wearing my flip-flops.

Clearly, living in Southern California has absolutely gone to my head!

It was especially precarious as I was positioning the quilt for this shot. That water on the left is not my idea of a relaxing afternoon bath!

Of course I had to take a photo of the back of the quilt. I love a good pieced quilt back, when I have the time. And those AGF solids are so great for showing off the quilting!

I really had fun with the quilting on this piece. While straight-line walking foot quilting is fabulous, I love an excuse to put on the free motion foot and quilt! And none of these designs are super complex! Just lines, loops, and pebbles.

While I rarely make the same quilt more than once, I really loved taking a quilt that I had designed, and re-making it in a completely different way! It is so fun to see what a difference fabric choices make when putting together a quilt!

If you want to grab the Modern Patchwork book, you can get it from Leisure Arts here, or you can find it on Amazon.

Infusible Ink Book Bag

I’m super excited to share this project with you because it uses a brand new product, and I love playing with new craft supplies! This Infusible Ink Book Bag came together in about 30 minutes, and I just love how it turned out! I learned a few things about how to work with Infusible Ink, so keep reading for my tips!

If you haven’t heard of the new Cricut Infusible Ink, it is the latest product that they have launched. You can use it with any Cricut Machine, or you can play with the products without a Cricut if you like! You will need the Cricut Easypress – if you don’t own one of those yet, get the EasyPress II (mint or raspberry colored), and you may even consider upgrading to the larger size (I’ll explain why below).

To make your Infusible Ink Book Bag, you’ll need:

Cricut Infusible Ink
Cricut Infusible Ink Compatible Tote (a cotton or canvas tote will NOT work, it needs to be certain fibers to accept the ink transfer)
Cricut EasyPress
Lint Roller
Cricut Machine

The process works a lot like making an iron-on transfer. Make your design (you can grab my design by clicking here), mirror it, and then cut it out on the Infusible Ink setting.

You’ll notice that the ink looks very muted on the sheet. That is okay. The colors will pop when you add the heat. I promise!

While the sheet is being cut, you can prep your tote. Place a piece of paper inside to protect it, along with your EasyPress mat. Use a lint roller to clean off any lint. Place butcher paper over the top and give it a good pressing to heat away any moisture. Then allow it to cool.

While the tote is cooling, carefully peel away the negative space. It is like peeling a card stock sticker off of a sticker sheet. Use your fingers, go carefully. You don’t want to use a tool that can mar the ink or leave ink behind. Just bend and peel.

Place your image on your tote.

Cover the sheet with butcher paper, and then press. Here is where I noticed my first mistake. I should only have made the design as big as my EasyPress. Since this design is larger than the EasyPress, it would take multiple pressings. Each time you move the EasyPress, you slightly nudge the Infusible Ink sheet, and that leads to less crisp lines. Honestly, I think the finished result still looks fine (especially for a first try at using the product). But, if I were to do this again I would shrink the size of the design to the size of my EasyPress. Or, if I really wanted a large design, I would trim away some of the negative space so that I could use their heat resistant tape and really secure the design in place.

Once I was done with (multiple) heatings, and letting it cool as long as I could stand, I carefully lifted the butcher paper.

Once I lifted the Infusible Ink, I had a super professional looking tote! Yay!!

I’m very excited to play with the Infusible Ink some more … and to give you a chance to win some as well! Scroll down a little further to enter a chance to win an Infusible Ink Prize Pack of your own!

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Learn How to English Paper Piece

I’m so excited to share with you my new book! It is called “Learn How to English Paper Piece,” and was written with Nancy’s Notions. Learn how to English Paper Piece is available on the Nancy’s Notions website so you can buy it now! And to celebrate, for the next two weeks some of my quilty friends are checking out the book to let you know what they think! Be sure to scroll down to check out all their posts about the book!

I’ve been a long-time EPP fan (that is English Paper Piecing for those of you not yet on a nick-name basis with this fun technique), and I was very excited when Nancy’s Notions asked me to write a book on the subject! One of my biggest frustrations with EPP is how long it can take to make a substantial project! To make a quilt out of 1″ hexagons can take YEARS. So this book is the opposite of that. Many of the projects in this book can be done in a single day, or even an afternoon. Even the quilt in the book could be completed in a weekend if you really put your mind to it! That makes for some EPP that is actually manageable, don’t you think?

I also want to send a huge THANK YOU to my friends at Riley Blake Fabrics who sent me all of the fabric featured in this book! Aren’t all these fabrics awesome?

You’ll learn how to English Paper Piece, as well as how to turn that EPP into a pillow, a pouch, a bag, a quilt, coasters, placemats, and more… check out all the fun projects in this video I put together about the book:

And if you’re new to English Paper Piecing, you can get the starter set that Nancy’s Notions put together on their website.

Books are amazing for sharing multiple patterns and projects along a theme, but if you are learning a new technique, it can be nice to have a person right in front of you showing you the basics. So I put together a simple video that shows you how to stitch together English Paper Pieced Hexagons. You can watch that here:

If you’d like to learn more about the book, over the next 2 weeks some of my quilty friends are sharing their thoughts! You can check out their thoughts on the book, what they plan to make, and even some finished projects made from the book!

Saturday, January 26th: Linda from Linda B Creative and Havalah from Sisters, What

Sunday, January 27th: Teresa from Sewn Up, Teresa Down Under and Stephanie from Modern Sewciety

Monday, January 28th: Jen from Faith and Fabric and Alicia from Sew What Alicia

Tuesday, January 29th: Sherry from Powered by Quilting and Marie from Underground Crafter

Wednesday, January 30th: Brooke from Brooklyn Berry Designs and Melody from Two Maker Chicks

Thursday, January 31st: Ali from Home Crafts by Ali and Sarah from Quilted Diary

Friday, February 1st: Bobbie from the Geeky Bobbin and Gemia from Phat Quarters

Saturday, February 2nd: Beth from Garland Girl Quilts and Bobbi from Snowy Days Quilting

Sunday, February 3rd: Kirsty from Bonjour Quilts and Simone from Charmed Life Quilting

Monday, February 4th: Aimee from Things Small and Simple and Mathew from Mister Domestic

Tuesday, February 5th: Kathy from Kathy’s kwilts and more and Kim from Stitched in Purple

Wednesday, February 6th: Audrey from the Cloth Parcel and Anorina from Samelia’s Mum

Thursday, February 7th: Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts and Lauren from Molly and Mama

Friday, February 8th: Sarah from Saroy and Stephanie from Swoodson Says

Cricut Maker Block of the Week: Week 13 – Binding the Mini Quilt

Today I’m sharing with you the very last step in the Cricut Maker Block of the Week: How to add the binding. While I do machine-stitch on my bindings on occasion, I was taught the “right” way to bind a quilt is to hand bind it.

Cricut Maker Block of the Week - Week 13 - Binding the Quilt

If you’ve followed along on this whole series, you know that I temper convention with practicality in my quilting. I have deep respect for our quilting traditions… but at the same time I believe that modern technology exists to make things easier. But there are times when I bow to tradition just because it is tradition. Binding is one of those instances.

If a quilt’s destiny is to hang out around the house, lay on floors, go through the wash many times, and generally be a utility quilt, then I absolutely machine bind it. Machine binding is more secure. It holds the binding in place very well. It is slightly less attractive because the stitching is visible on both sides of the quilt – but I give up that minor bit of beauty for the practicality of being finished quickly, and having a very strong binding.

For a “show quilt,” (a quilt that is going to hang at a quilt show), I always hand bind. A show quilt is my best work. It is me showing off my skills. I don’t want the stitching that secures the binding in place to be visible at all. Show quilts are meant to honor quilting traditions (even when pushing boundaries with color or composition). I show my deference for all the quilters who came before me with a well-bound quilt.

So today I’m showing you how to hand-bind your quilt. The binding is put on by machine, but the final stitching is done by hand. While it isn’t always my favorite part of the quilting process, I absolutely love the look.

Here is the step-by-step of getting the binding on your quilt!

This post contains affiliate links which help support this site at no extra cost to you.

Here are the Design Space files you’ll need to finish your quilt. You can use the scrappy binding cut file: Or the large binding strips cut file: Use the first link if you are using the scraps left over from cutting out the blocks, sashing, and borders. If you don’t have enough fabric left to get 110” of binding from your scraps, buy ⅓ yard of a coordinating fabric to use for your binding, and then use the large binding strips cut file.

If you want to learn even more about binding, there is a great Binding series on Craftsy. You can check it out here:

Here are links to supplies mentioned in the video. I’ve tried to give you two different places to find the supplies, so you can compare pricing. Cricut Maker Machine: (on the Cricut site) (on Amazon) Fabric: (on the Cricut site) (on Amazon) Fabric mat: (on the Cricut site) Fabric pen: (on the Cricut site) (on Amazon) Clover Wonder Clips: (on Amazon)

Bohemian Dyed Shirt

Bohemian Dyed Shirt

I absolutely love this shirt… and you’d never believe how easy it was to make! Adding all the tiny little circles was time consuming (if you plan to make one, grab your favorite movie and plan to spend 2-3 hours with a package of about 150 rubber bands), but so worth it! I started off with a great-fitting, comfy shirt… and ended up with a great-fitting, comfy and stylish shirt (winning)!

circles on the shirt

I dyed it using Pearl Gray dye, which is one of my favorite colors right now.  And you don’t need to be some fancy dye-master to get this look. Just time, rubber bands, and a good movie.

Check out the details on how I put it all together over on Rit Studio.

Goal Setting and New Year’s Resolutions

Do you set goals at the beginning of the year? Studies how that if you write your goals down, you’re more likely to achieve them. With that thought in mind, I created this free printable 2014 Goal Planner and Resolution Tracker as my kick-off post for this week-long organizing series. I’m teaming up with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage to share with you organizing tips. Each of us will share a new tip each day, and I thought I’d start out with big ambitions – by organizing the whole year!

Free Printable 2014 Goal Planner

I’ve created two versions of the Goal Planner and Resolution Tracker, one more planned out, and one wide open.

For the more planned out version of the Goal Planner and Resolution Tracker, there are two boxes at the top. These are for your word of the year and quote of the year. The large box underneath is for listing goals. The bottom box is to lay out more long-term goals.
The monthly boxes on the right can be used in a couple different ways. You can lay out monthly goals, or mini goals to help you achieve your larger goals. You can leave them blank for now and use them to track your progress towards your annual goals… up to you. This is just a tool for you to use as you plan and organize your ambitions for the year. In whatever way makes sense for you.

2014 overview monthly image

And, if you’re a more free-form person who wants to use the sheet in a different way, I have a plain version of the Goal Planner and Resolution Tracker for you. Use the mini boxes down the right for individual goals, or to measure progress in your own way large boxes in whatever way makes sense for you as you plan out your year!

2014 overview plain image

I’ll be back tomorrow and every day this week with more organizing tips. Make sure to check out what Angie and Gina are sharing today as well… they’ll have tips throughout the week as well, as we help you start off your 2014 more organized and with a plan in place!

The Internet Stole my Friends

I let the internet steal my friends

Warning: I don’t often get personal on this blog, but I’m about to get very, very personal.

People say that the internet has brought us closer. That the world is a smaller place. That because of the internet, people no longer feel alone.
People are liars. The internet has stolen my friends.

I have friends – the internet says so. I have half a dozen social media pages that tell me how many followers I have, how many friends, likes, shares, plusses… how many people I have in my circles. According to the internet, there are thousands of people who cared enough to press a button and make a connection. But there isn’t anyone to sit with me at my crumb-covered breakfast table to have coffee after sending the kids off to school?

I have some very close internet friendships. Crafters that I’ve met online, and later in person. Old friendships that have been maintained through wi-fi. These cyber pals have heard me pour my heart out through my keyboard as I worried about my pregnancies, my kids, moving, jobs, life… and all of them live more than an hour’s drive away. Too far for them to come over to give me a hug, or look me in the eye to see if I’m really doing okay. Too far for them to give me a high five …and too far for me to hold their hand when they go through loss. Too far for me to bring them a casserole or fold their towels. Too far for me to hold the baby while they take the first shower in over three days. Too far.

The internet has made me lazy. I’m able to make very simple connections with people too far away to touch. My friends are only a keyboard away, but we’re a world apart.

If I want to celebrate a victory, I can post it online, I can text, I can message, I can even call… but not a single one would be able to split the calories in a victory cupcake without adding the cost of postage. On my birthday I’ll get dozens of messages on my Facebook wall, as my social media profile reminds people it is my special day. But not a single one of those people will get a slice of birthday cake (though they may see an Instagrammed picture of my slice).

The internet has allowed me to be fake. It doesn’t matter how my day is going, I can still share a picture of my smiling kids, a flower in the yard, or what I’m having for breakfast. I can invite the world into my home without having to mop the floors, fold the laundry, or unpack the suitcases from our last trip. I can selectively share the perfect things, without exposing my internet friends to the baggage.

The internet has stolen my friends, and I have let it. It is up to me to fix it. It is my responsibility to step away from the keyboard, to forge real relationships with people who are able to walk by my side.

This doesn’t mean I’m breaking up with the internet, or the people in it. It is a wake-up call for me – time to find a better balance in the real world.

What about you – have you reached out and touched anyone lately?

This week was brought to you by the letter Q

I’m not sure why I picked Q to be this week’s letter. Maybe because it is all crazy and curly, and this week has been crazy enough to make my hair curl. Or maybe because the letter Q makes me giggly… and I could use some giggles today… This is one of those weekends where I had 100 things to do when the weekend started, and when it finished I had 50 things untouched… and 50 things half done. At least there was progress…

Q might be for all the Quilting I’ve been working on. I’d love to say “getting done” but much of it is in varying stages of “progress”.

This past week I shared a fun project I did with Little Moore – a maze that can be re-made in an infinite number of ways. He’s been loving it.

On 30 Minute Crafts this week, I’ve been sharing some fun projects. I whipped up a fun necklace, with lots of great color. I called it the Gumdrop Bead Necklace. I also put together a roundup of fast crafts that can be made with paperclips.

LM graduated from Preschool this week. It was a huge milestone. His very first graduation. I made a boutonniere for him. Unfortunately, one of the other moms brought balloons for her son. My little guy ended up with the second-rate graduation token. Although, he did ask to wear the boutonniere a second day… so I’m going to call that a win.

This week coming up will be fun. On Tuesday, I finally get to share with y’all THREE awesome quilts that I’ve been working on. YAY!

On Thursday, I’ll be taking my oldest to the press screening of the new Monsters U movie. I whipped up some fun shirts for us to wear. I’m sure I’ll be posting it on Instagram, and I’ll have a tutorial for you on 30 Minute Crafts the following week.

If you experience some site outages this week, that’s just me working away on the back-end over here. I’ve got some improvements planned… wish me luck!

Cross Stitched Wooden Pendants

When Young House Love posted their latest Pinterest Challenge, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I saw these awesome cross-stitch pendants last month, and was thrilled. I love unusual craft supplies… and cross stitching onto wood? Yeah… pretty unusual.

I bought two of the scalloped edged pendants (they were the only ones left in the shop at the time… I’m sure I’ll purchase more in the future), knowing I was going to stitch one up as a roommate gift for my awesome SNAP roomie, Carissa from Creative Green Living. I ordered them super close to the conference date… and since they ship from Canada, they did not get here in time.

That’s where this Pinterest Challenge comes in. The pendants have been sitting in a stack for a couple weeks… yet another “to do” project with no particular deadline. Which generally means that they’ll be waiting around for a while. So I decided to attack these… which is exactly what this Pinterest Challenge is about. Taking projects that you really want to do, and pushing you to actually do them.

The bird pendant is pretty much the same as the original pendant on the Thompson Family Blog. For the second pendant, I created the pattern myself – it is the SNAP logo. The bird will be going to my roomie – and the second will be going to someone who, while at SNAP, really helped me out. I’m hoping she likes it!

If you want to make one of these pendants, the wooden blanks are laser cut by The Workroom. Currently, she’s sold out, so you might want to try The Geek Room on Etsy.

Here are my tips:
The blanks are laser cut, which burns the wood. Burnt wood can darken the thread, so dark threads are better to use here. Also, using shorter threads will prevent the ends from darkening by getting pulled through the holes so many times.

Be careful while you stitch. The wood has much less give than fabric, and stitching through previous stitches leaves ugly bumps. Try not to snag previous stitches.

After stitching, I sealed the backs with two layers of Mod Podge. This helps secure the threads so that the necklace really lasts.