Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Going to Dresden, Part 2

This is a continuation of my last post, about constructing Dresden Plate blocks the Quick and Easy way using the Accuquilt Go cutter tumbler block die.  Click here for the full post and join in the fun!

We have 13 tumbler blocks cut out so it's time to start sewing.

Take each block and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together.

Sew a 1/4" seam along the bottom edge.

Turn it right side out.

A chopstick or knitting needle helps to get that point fully turned.

 Press flat.

Have an 18 1/2" square of background fabric ready, and lay out the petals in whatever order you think looks best.

Sew them together in the order you selected, then press the seams open.

Center the circle of petals on your background fabric, and pin in place.

Next post:  we'll finish the blocks and have fun with fancy stitches!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Going to Dresden, Part 1

Not this one, although I've been there and it's lovely


I recently made several Dresden Plate blocks with my quilt guild as part of our ongoing Charity Quilt project and, while I loved how the blocks turned out, the traditional method of construction was a little fussy for me, involving making templates, tracing around them, cutting them out and THEN getting to the actual construction process. There's of course nothing wrong with doing it that way, but working with handmade templates has never given me my most accurate, or satisfying, results.  And I'm all about instant gratification, or as close as you can get to it when quilting!

Well, what about the Accuquilt Go cutter, my go-to gadget for quick and accurate cutting?

There is, in fact, a Dresden Plate die:


But here's the catch:  it's $89.99, making it one of the most expensive dies made. That's just way out of the budget for this underemployed divorced violinist.  (If you're feeling flush, it's available at www.accuquilt.com).
HOWEVER:  take a look at the middle row of the picture of the die.  See those blue shapes?  Don't they look like. .  .

. . .tumbler blocks?
YES.  You can make the petals of the Dresden Plate out of the 4 1/2" Tumbler block die, available on Ebay or Amazon for around $30, PLUS the die can of course be used for it's original purpose for a tumbler block quilt project.

That's what I call cost effective problem solving.

So grab some 5" scraps (or use leftovers from a charm pack), cut out 13 tumbler blocks and meet me back here for the next part of this tutorial!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Quick Gift

A friend of mine in the orchestra has a birthday coming up and I was trying to think of something fun and useful to make for her.

She's a passionate cook (I've been lucky to be on the receiving end of her culinary talents many times) AND she loves cats and owns 6 of them.

How about a set of cat dishtowels?

They're a quick, easy and scrap eating project for me and something really useful for her. A win-win situation for sure.

There is of course an infinite variety of ways to approach a project like this, but here's how I did these:

Start with a strip of fabric on the side of a pre-washed dish towel.

Fold the long edges and short edges under, press, and pin.  Stitch really close to the edges, then sew a few parallel lines of stitching towards the middle for sturdiness.

I used a straight stitch, but a narrow zig zag or blanket stitch would work fine along the edge as well.

Prepare your appliques.
For this particular project, the cat die for the Accuquilt Go cutter was a natural choice.

Fuse the appliques into place, then sew a narrow zig zag stitch around the edges.

That's it!  I love fast and fun projects!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Basting, and meditation

My friend Christine brought over a new quilt top for me to complete.

You'll recall that she likes constructing quilt tops but doesn't enjoy the actual quilting process.  And her experiences with commercial long arm quilters has been somewhat less than satisfactory.

I think she likes how I finish her quilts because they still look homemade at the end of the quilting process, since I quilt them either on my sewing machine (for straight line designs) or on the Sweet 16 (for free-motion designs).

She brought a twin-size scrap quilt that she made for her husband:

ready for basting

That black and white design in the middle really makes it interesting.

I think I definitely want to quilt it so that black and white portion "pops" but HOW that is going to happen is still up in the air.  Further meditation (and maybe some inspiration on Pinterest) is needed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Custom Quilt Layout

Today felt like a big day for a big project.
You'll recall that several months ago I took on a large custom order from a customer who had saved dog kerchiefs for many years.

You can read the original post here.

I've been working on the blocks for this quilt for quite awhile, in between other projects and of course working as a violinist, which has been unusually busy for the past couple of months.

The kerchiefs (which had been given to the dogs at their groomer's) were all different sizes, so I cut them into squares and rectangles and sewed them together.

Today was finally time to clear the decks and lay out the blocks!


There was no way to "test" this pattern beforehand and of course once the kerchiefs were cut and sewn there was no undoing it, so this was definitely a Cross My Fingers And Hope I Like It type of project. But it looks just like I hoped it would!

Now on to sewing the blocks together!

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Finally!  This Accuquilt Go die has been hanging around for awhile, waiting for a little time and inspiration.

Time for a fun set of placemats for my Etsy shop (here)

Typical for me, I used four different fabrics for the cats.

Polka dots seemed perfect for the back.

Like all of my applique projects, the cats were fused to the background fabric, then I sewed a narrow zig-zag stitch around the edges.  After that, the whole placemat was then basted and quilted.

We interrupt this quilting blog for an epic amount of violin playing coming up:


Madame Butterfly is my favorite opera, so I'm so happy to be playing it again with Opera Tampa!

Also this week, with The Florida Orchestra:


Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947)
Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead
Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini
This all Russian program begins with Stravinsky’s Petrushka, the tragic tale of puppets endowed with human vulnerabilities.  Intertwining the themes of life and death, Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead sets a mood of mystery and contemplation. The evening closes with Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous yet tragic tale of love in his symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Keep it Clean

I recently tackled an unusual project, at  least for me:

Real Sewing (!)  With an actual pattern (!!)

I've mentioned before that I'm not, nor have I ever been, a Real Sewer.  I just quilt.

However, a friend at work asked me to help her out with a simple sewing project, and I said I would give it a try.

My friend's dad recently had a stroke, and while he's recovering well, meal time is still a little messy.  And the commercially produced bibs he's been using, while providing adequate coverage, are just plain ugly.
She even showed me one of the bibs he was using-- a depressing, limp thing made of terrycloth. Yikes.
SURELY I could produce something a little snazzier.

Even I can handle a tissue pattern that's just one piece!

I chose a spiffy madras plaid for the front and terry cloth for the back.

Rather than cutting out the front and back pieces at the same time, I cut out the front, sewed it to the back fabric right side down, THEN trimmed the back so all of the edges were even without the struggle of trying to sew both cut pieces together.

It was then turned right side out, ironed, topstitched and quilted.

I chose a brown homespun plaid for the second one.

The finishing touch:  iron-on velcro for the tabs at the top, no sewing needed!